Empowering Students to Self-Learn

by Peggie Chan
Centre for English Language Communication
National University of Singapore

Abstract
This article describes two approaches to learning and teaching used in the module “Evaluating Academic Arguments.”   Both approaches address how learners independently process information on topics discussed in the module and then work with that information.  In one approach, learners study logical fallacies and then peer teach aspects of that. In the other, learners are given input to explore related to a position paper, which they need to work with and eventually write. In both approaches, the emphasis is on learners making their own discoveries about a pertinent topic as opposed to being explicitly taught.


View full paper (PDF)

Encouraging Proofreading and Revision

by Hayo Reinders
Middlesex University, United Kingdom

Abstract
Recent years have seen a lot of interest in learner autonomy. Although many teachers can see the value of encouraging in learners more awareness of the learning process and the ability to make decisions about their learning without the help of a teacher, it is not always immediately clear how to do this. In this practical article, one activity is presented that could be used as part of a classroom language course or implemented in a self-access centre as a way to encourage students to take charge over the academic writing process. By being given the tools to monitor and assess their own work, students are being helped to become independent writers, and in this way, being given greater opportunities for more success in their academic careers.


View full paper (PDF)

Re-conceptualizing Homework as Independent Learning

by John Spiri
Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Japan

Abstract
Homework has become an institutionalized aspect of schooling for students from primary school through university. The reasons given to defend assigning, encouraging or forcing students to complete homework almost exclusively refer to academic achievement as opposed to encouraging student autonomy or increasing motivation. Moreover, few studies that seek to ascertain whether homework is effective or desirable ask students to comment or evaluate its place in education. The present study describes an independent learning system (ILS) assigned to students at a science & technology university in Japan. A key feature of the system was an independent learning journal, which each student kept to record her week to week efforts in studying English from various language learning websites provided by the instructor. The ILS is designed to offer students greater autonomy, introduce CALL (computer assisted language learning), and encourage lifelong learning. A survey given to students showed that both first- and second-year students expressed a preference or strong preference for ILS over traditional homework.


View full paper (PDF)