learner autonomy for teenagers!?

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learner autonomy for teenagers!?

Unread postby mvoostveen » 03 Nov 2010, 11:53

Dear reader,

My question is: How conducive is it for a teenager to acquire learner autonomy? How far should this go? How should I interpret learner autonomy when teenagers are concerned?
I am really interested in as much responses as possible, because I am struggling with this!

Let me tell you a little bit about myself too:
I am Myrthe, 26 years old and I am a teacher of English and history in the Netherlands. I teach teenagers aged 12-16 (roughly spoken). Over the years I have heard several theories about the role of the pupils in their learning processes. I do think it is a good assumption to believe that teenagers are quite capable of having learner autonomy, but how do I apply this in 'the real world'? It should include some sort of constraint for the role of the teacher, shouldn't it?

Thanks very much in advance for helping out!

Myrthe
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Re: learner autonomy for teenagers!?

Unread postby Alex Case » 03 Nov 2010, 12:07

That's a tricky one. Some things that you can do with adults really don't work with most teenage classes. For example, if you give them the answer key the worst students will copy the answers without trying first and the good students will be too shy to ask questions if they weren't sure if an answer was correct.

Learner autonomy stuff in class can work. For example, class contracts usually go down well, and discussion on the topic of how to study and learning styles is of course of interest to students. Your other main role in class is to show them books, films, TV programmes, websites etc that they will hopefully find interesting enough to use outside class.

Outside class, maybe the best thing to do is to give them open ended projects that they need to do research for.
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Re: learner autonomy for teenagers!?

Unread postby mvoostveen » 03 Nov 2010, 19:33

Thanks very much for this quick reply!
I hope more people might share their opinions, but yours was helpful already!

Best,
Myrthe
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Re: learner autonomy for teenagers!?

Unread postby jetard » 03 Mar 2011, 15:38

I think it is really important for learners, especially for teenagers, to develop autonomy in their learning. If teaching is more students centered, learners get more involved in the learning process, participate more in the lessons, and become more responsible for their learning and success. Having our students being responsible for their learning helps them to develop autonomy and intrinsic motivation. Learners' autonomy could be observed through the use of learning strategies. For instance, do your students use appropriate resources and tools you gave them? Do your students reflect on their learning and select appropriate ways to enhance their learning?

I hope this will help!
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Re: learner autonomy for teenagers!?

Unread postby nicolasbru » 03 Mar 2011, 15:51

For my part, I really believe in autonomy especially for teenagers. I think it is a notion of teaching in a high school, which all teachers should pay attention to. It is known that most of teenagers has a certain desire of liberty. Restraining their liberties will probably carry problems of discipline. The teacher has to show to the class that won't be treated as children. However, it is important not to lose the control over the class. So the teacher has to propose activities that gives a certain liberty or autonomy in a controlled environment. It's quite hard to produce, however I believe that once the class understood how to work in this context, it will get easier for everyone.
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Re: learner autonomy for teenagers!?

Unread postby jaipmaron » 03 Mar 2011, 17:11

In my opinion, there is a necessity for them to learn how to be autonomous. Nevertheless, autonomy must be differenciated from the control you have on their learning. Balance must be made between the two because losing control is a very real issue that can lead to enormous problems afterwards. Teenagers are especially able to take over the class and make it their own period of wasted time and fun instead of getting the knowledge they are expected to have within each period of English. To encourage autonomy, I believe it has to be stated right from the start that they will have their opinions and suggestions seriously considered each time they are in the English classroom. Once the atmosphere of the class is set up, autonomy and trust are going to be great tools for enjoyable learning.
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