Today I was lucky enough to do a 45 minute presentation at the MATSDA conference in Liverpool. This was held at Liverpool University and the usual lovely crowd of people attended. Thank you to all who attended my talk – one of four that took place at 12.0o.
My presentation focused on ways of helping learners increase their exposure to English, and their use of it, outside of class time. I feel this is essential for learning and acquisition to take place, as the limited quantity of time available in class is insufficient, and beset with course-book related issues.
I discussed obstacles to acquisition and then looked at the various projects I’ve been working on with learners, for the last 8 or 9 months: my reading project, my experimentation with English project, my use of collaborative tools project (which is linked with the aforementioned experimentation project), my efforts to help my learners become language researchers. I also briefly discussed the materials I made for my dissertation project, whose goal was also to help learners make use of the language in the out-of-class environment.
For further information about these projects and to access all the references made during the talk and that I’ve used during the course of all the projects, please visit my learner autonomy page and look in the section entitled Learner autonomy-related projects. For information about my dissertation materials, scroll down further on the same page and see the third link in the Presentations section.
Finally, here are the slides I used during the presentation.
Thank you to MATSDA, and especially Brian and Hitome, for allowing me to speak and making me feel very welcome.
A belated comment, as always! It’s fascinating to read about how you’ve incorporated learner autonomy projects into your teaching. I wonder how strict your year-round syllabus is and how much freedom you have. Do you share classes with other teachers? Do you have to ‘get through’ a coursebook in a year to show students that they have ‘completed’ a level? We’re currently putting together our syllabi for 2014-2015 and I’d like to include more space for autonomy, but at the same time we need to ‘sell’ progress to our students. We both know that becoming more autonomous ultimately means making more progress, but that’s not a great marketing tool!
Thanks for commenting! 🙂 We don’t share classes, we have our own classes. There is a coursebook for each level, and obviously we have to use it a reasonable amount as ss get them included in the course fee. But we have a good degree of autonomy over how we do it and what we do in our classrooms, fortunately! Also, they have to complete a guided study form (10hrs of out of class study), as part of the course, in order to pass, so the ss can see the link between that and what I do with them. Obviously they could just lie on the form, but I think the majority don’t. They recognise the benefits of doing more, esp. if encouraged by the T. Good luck with your syllabus! 🙂
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