My ELT Book Challenge (Update 1)

About a week ago or so ago, I invited you all to join me in an ELT Book Challenge. Judging by the number of comments it attracted (much more than I had expected), I’m not alone in looking at my collection of ELT books and thinking “I really should open you more” …!

It’s been a bit of a juggle this week (and will continue to be for a while!), as I had already borrowed two ELT theory books from the staffroom library: Garton, S. and Graves, K. (2014) International Perspectives on Materials in ELT  published by Palgrave Macmillan, and Roberts, J. (1998) Language Teacher Education published by Arnold. I chose the former because it’s come out since I did my M.A. ELT and read All The Books about materials development, which I continue to be interested in, and the latter after being inspired by the Teacher Education Scholarship Circle. However, in order to fulfil my aim to pick up also one of my own books, I decided to continue with Eggins, S. and Slade, D. (1997) Analysing Casual Conversation published by Equinox, which I’ve been meaning to read for ages – since I dipped into it for my LSA4 speaking skills essay, in fact!

Pleasingly, my choice of books spans not only a large time range (1997 to 2014) but a nice spread of topics – materials development, teacher education and spoken language analysis. I say “pleasingly” as it feeds my hunger for variety!

In terms of materials development, so far I have read the introduction of the book, Materials in ELT: Current Issues, which, as you would expect, situates the book, and the first chapter, The ELT Textbook, which was by Jack Richards and opens Part 1 – Global and Local Materials. (This is an edited book, so each chapter is by a different author and on a different topic, making it nice and easy to dip in and out of!) Richards looks at the role of the textbook in language teaching, making reference to McGrath’s (2002) metaphors for describing teacher relationships with textbooks and exploring issues such authenticity and representation (this is something I explored in my research module, as I looked at phonological representation in that well-known course book series Cutting Edge), as well as the process of choosing a textbook, distinguishing between analysis and evaluation (including pre-, during and post-use), and, briefly, adapting it. This was quite a general chapter, and for me was a useful revision of aspects of materials use that I studied in the academic year 2012-2013. I imagine those who are doing the course now would probably find it a good starting point, as it is brief and general, and would be able to use the bibliography to go into greater depth on the various elements explored.

As for Teacher Education, I am still on part one (in my defence, it goes up to page 61!), which looks at theories of learning and teacher education and is titled thus. This is an interesting read, as it revisits the theories of learning that I looked at as part of my Delta and M.A., but relates them to teacher education. So, there is a little bit of revision but also adds something new. So, it considers the behaviourist approach, where trainees are expected to follow a particular model of teaching, with no deviation, so that learning to teach is an exercise in imitation; the humanistic approach where change is enabled rather than directed by other people, giving the trainee more control; the constructivist approach, which draws on Kolb’s theory of experiential learning and draws on a trainee/learner’s existent knowledge and experience, so they are no longer a blank slate but somebody who brings something of value to the table; and finally a socialisation approach, where as well as the trainee’s own experience and background, influences on the trainee are also taken into consideration e.g. the school, the community, the education policies in play etc. According to the contents, the author is going to conclude that a social constructivist approach is the best, but I have not yet read the conclusion (that is the point I have reached!) so I am not sure exactly what reasons he will put forward. (Though, I could probably guess at some of it, as when I was studying, I, too, became a big fan of this approach in language teaching!)

Finally, as far as Conversation Analysis goes, I’ve read chapter 1, called Making meanings in every day talk, in which the authors demonstrate that language is “used as a resource to negotiate social identity and interpersonal relations”, giving examples of conversation and showing how we can begin to guess at the type of speaker (gender, class etc.) based on the language they use. Apparently what’s special about casual conversation is that it seems trivial and yet is anything but trivial. It is carefully constructed even though that careful construction is achieved without the speakers thinking about or being aware of that construction.  Casual conversation is different from transactional or pragmatic conversation (e.g. buying something) in a variety of ways, including length (casual conversation tends to be longer), formality (casual conversation is generally more informal) and use of humour (casual conversation uses humour). In the second chapter, which I have only just started, the authors start to discuss the different approaches to analysing conversation, which are sociological, sociolinguistic, logico-philosophical, structural-functional, critical linguistics and critical discourse analysis. As I have only just started, I can’t tell you the difference between them all for now, but I assume I will have a better understanding of this by the end of the chapter.

As is usual at the beginning of a project, excitement and motivation were sufficient to allow me to not only do the theoretical reading but also use one of my more practical/methodological books. I had planned to use two, but ran out of time and cut my use of the second one, though I think it will fit nicely into next lesson.

The first book I used was part of the Delta Publishing Teacher Development series: Morrison, B. and Navarro, D. The Autonomy Approach. This is a book that I discovered at IATEFl last year, and was delighted because it reflected and extended the approach I had been using with my learners in Palermo, in terms of helping them become more autonomous. The great thing about this series of books is that they combine theory and practical ideas for implementing it. In my case, I had gathered a lot of the theory during my M.A. and set about trying to implement it once I returned to teaching. I’m quite glad I didn’t discover this book until after I had tried to do that, as it was a really interesting and rewarding process to go through, but would nevertheless recommend this book to anybody with an interest in learner autonomy and its development (which surely should be most, if not all, of us!).

I chose an activity for reviewing resources, as I have been encouraging my learners to choose different activities each week to try. This activity can be found on page 67 of the book. The heart of the activity is a set of questions that encourage reflection on the use of a set of student-chosen resources. In my case, it was student-chosen activities rather than resources, but there is some overlap, as the activity tends to specify the use of a given resource. I decided to do it as a speaking ladder activity, as I wanted it to be reasonably fast-paced and I wanted the students to talk to as many classmates as possible. Why? Well, students had chosen different activities to try, so hearing about what classmates have tried could sow seeds of interest and inspiration for future weeks. I did the activity at the start of the lesson, and it certainly lifted the energy levels in the room, ready for the rest of the lesson. There was potential for chaos, as the questions didn’t explicitly ask students to tell each other WHAT activity/resource was under discussion (the activity assumes sustained discussion with the same group of people) but students are not stupid, and indeed they quickly explained their activities to their partner before launching into the discussion of the particular question at hand. There were enough questions that they spoke to some people twice, so then there was familiarity with partner’s activity and a bit more depth was gone into via the additional question.

The second book I chose to use (but didn’t get round to using) was The company words keep, another Delta Publishing special. However, as I didn’t get on to using it, I will save it for a future post!

Have any of you started the challenge yet? Have you blogged about it? If so, either link to your blog post below, or use the comments to share your thoughts on what you have read or tried. I look forward to seeing what you have all been up to! 🙂 Not sure when my next update will be – hope to strike a balance between too often and not often enough, though!

My ELT Book Challenge

The summer before I started my M.A. ELT/Delta, that is, summer 2012, saw me starting to build up a collection of ELT books. Prior to this, I mostly just had my trusty Scrivener and Parrott books from my CELTA days and my copy of Harmer acquired later upon recommendation from one of my CELTA tutors when I asked her what would be a good book to buy. Now my collection looks like this:

My books! (Not pictured: Eggins and Slade: Analysing Casual Conversation – which is by my bed…)

Many of them were acquired during summer 2012 and the academic year 2012-2013, and a handful since then too (though nowadays I tend to buy kindle editions rather than paperback, as carrying an iPad/e-book reader is so much easier!). Roughly half have a practical/methodological emphasis and half are more theory focused. During my M.A. year, the (growing) stack lived under my desk in several piles. Since then, they have mostly lived in boxes/crates, too heavy to take with me on subsequent adventures, save a select few. Finally, they have found their way back into the open. As yet there is no book case to house them, but a patch of carpet and some book ends have done the trick. The next trick is to actually open them again! And this is where the challenge comes in.

The challenge

I challenge myself (and, of course, anyone who cares to join me using their own collection!) to try something new from one of the (methodological/teaching ideas) books each week or read a chapter (from one of the theory-focused ones), and, of course, to reflect on what I try or read.

Even if I don’t manage it every week, having a goal will help me do it more frequently than having no goal would! 🙂

My top ten ELT books – how many have you read?

Faced with the hundreds of ELT-related books there are out there, an oft-repeated question, when teachers want to learn more about their profession and develop themselves as educators, is “What should I read first?”. Here is a list of books that I believe you can’t go wrong with. I have made the list deliberately wide-ranging in terms of what is covered (i.e. it’s not a list of ten vocabulary-related books!), again slightly stretching the concept of “top ten” with a little bit of grouping! 

If you disagree and feel that there’s another book that definitely ought to be on this list instead of one of the ones listed, please comment and say so! 🙂 Hopefully in the end, this post will be a list of books that everyone believes are a good starting point for teachers who are also motivated learners… And do comment in relation to the title question too! 😉

NB, I am not on commission! Also, I do not condone downloading any of these for free from any online sources. Some of them are available as e-books but you still have to pay! I do recommend checking if your school has them available to borrow. If your school is a CELTA (or equivalent) or a Delta (or equivalent) centre, then it is very likely to do so, and even if it isn’t, it may have acquired a few books that it makes available for teachers to borrow. University libraries (if the university does any ELT/TESOL/Applied linguistics type degrees) are good place to try too, if you can get access. 

In no particular order, then…

  • Learning Teaching by Jim Scrivener

Screenshot from www.amazon.com

Screenshot from http://www.amazon.com

Initial teacher training courses tend to have a core text that trainees are required to buy and from which various portions are set as compulsory reading. For me, that was Learning Teaching (though this was pre-inclusion of free DVD). The usual alternative is The Practice of English Language Teaching by Jeremy Harmer. Either of these two general methodology books are a great starting point for a novice teacher  – or an experienced teacher looking to refresh their memory. I’ve read both from cover to cover. I also dipped into Learning Teaching extensively in my first post-qualification year of teaching. They give you a good overview of the many different elements that come together to make up language teaching. I’ve chosen Learning Teaching over The Practice of English Language Teaching to list here on a purely subjective basis: I found it more readable. I’m sure there are people who will read this post who would staunchly argue the reverse. My advice would be, take your pick – you can’t go wrong with either!

  • About Language by Scott Thornbury

Screenshot from Amazon.com

Screenshot from Amazon.com

How is your language awareness? By this I don’t just mean are you a grammar genius. What about discourse? lexis? Phonology? I didn’t use this book until I was preparing for my Delta but I firmly believe that all language teachers should make their way through it at some point. The great thing about it is that it doesn’t just describe things, it makes you do hundreds of tasks (for which the answer keys are at the back of the book) so you can test your understanding of what is being discussed. Why not do ten or fifteen minutes on a regular basis as part of your continued professional development?

  • Teaching and learning second language listening: metacognition in action by Larry Vandergrift and Christine Goh

Screenshot from Amazon

Screenshot from Amazon

This gem of a book was in close competition with John Field’s Listening in the language classroom but won its place on the list by combining its extensive treatment of teaching listening with discussion of metacognition and how to integrate development of metacognitive awareness into listening pedagogy. It has a strong theoretical thread running all the way through, but manages to be very readable as well as containing plenty of very practical ideas for implementing the theories discussed. I’ve read both Vandergrift&Goh and Field from cover to cover, as well as dipping into them repeatedly since, both are well worth investing in and reading.

  • How languages are learned by Patsy Lightbown and Nina Spada

Screenshot from Amazon.com

Screenshot from Amazon.com

How languages are learned is an accessible introduction to the theories behind first and second language acquisition. As teachers of language, it is helpful for us to have an understanding of theories surrounding learning and acquisition, as these have informed the approaches, methodologies and teaching techniques that evolved over the course of time. This book is good because as well as discussing a wide range of FLA and SLA theories, it encourages reflection on the topics discussed through the reflective questions that punctuate it at the end of every chapter. There are also activities that you can do to explore topics further. I read this book in preparation for Delta but I think there’s no need to wait until you are doing such a qualification before you open it.

  • Beyond the sentence by Scott Thornbury

Screenshot from Amazon.com

Screenshot from Amazon.com

Another Scott Thornbury gem – his name features rather heavily in this list, I’m afraid! – Beyond the sentence is a great introduction to discourse analysis. Each chapter has a corresponding task, for which there is an answer key, to focus you on the main points of what has been discussed and get your brain zooming out from individual grammar and lexical items to think in discourse terms. The activities are readily adaptable for use with students. A lot of of the lexical and grammatical choices we make are down to the influence of language we use not existing in a vacuum but as discourse, so it is worth learning about how discourse works. It makes more useful pre-Delta reading, and whether or not you plan on doing the qualification, is worth spending time on.

  • Implementing the lexical approach

Screenshot from Amazon.com

Screenshot from Amazon.com

Some will argue that I should put The Lexical Approach in instead of Implementing the lexical approach but what I like about the latter is that as well as presenting all the theory around the lexical approach, it also offers lots of ideas for using the approach in the classroom. The best thing to do, of course, would be to read both! And then follow that up with Teaching Collocation. All three of these were published by Thomson and Heinle, but Teaching Collocation is edited by Michael Lewis with contributions from Peter Hargreaves, Jimmie Hill and Michael Hoey. All three contain valuable information about how lexis works and why we should change our focus from grammar which we slot bits of lexis into to looking at the grammar of lexis and the company words keep. I didn’t read these until I was doing my Delta – I didn’t know about them before then. So here we go, the secret is out! 😉

  • “The How to…” series – especially How to teach vocabulary and How to teach speaking, both by Scott Thornbury

Screenshot from Amazon

Screenshot from Amazon

Screenshot from Amazon

Screenshot from Amazon

How to teach speaking doesn’t actually look like that anymore – now it’s a green version of How to teach vocabulary! Both are really great in terms of being very readable and combining theory with practice, in terms of giving you lots of ideas to try out, as well as the rationale behind them. I read them both cover to cover before starting Delta and found they gave me a really good grounding, which I was able to build on with more in-depth theoretical stuff when it came to essay-writing. Both highly recommended whether or not you intend to go on and do a further qualification.

  • Conversation: From description to pedagogy by Scott Thornbury (!) and Diana Slade

Screenshot from Amazon

Screenshot from Amazon

This book is fascinating. It analyses conversation, taking it apart and explaining how it works, why and how we do what we do when we speak, as well as looking at the implications of this for language teaching. Not a whizz-bang of activities to deploy following a five minute flick through, but well worth making the effort of sitting down and reading it, to expand your understanding of how conversation works. This is another book I didn’t discover until I was doing my Delta – the library had multiple copies so I had one out while preparing my LSA4 on speaking, but again merits not being consigned only to being read by Delta/equivalent trainees!

  • Sound foundations

Screenshot from Amazon

Screenshot from Amazon

This was one of the first books I read (apart from Learning Teaching) post-CELTA. I happened upon it in the teachers’ library at my second school. It absolutely revolutionised my understanding and teaching of pronunciation. That was also when I learnt about phonemic symbols and used to practice writing with them. Then it turned out that it was very useful to have already read the book and processed it, as well as having learnt the symbols, prior to starting Delta, as I had a good knowledge base to take in with me. However, it is definitely recommended regardless of your further qualification plans, in order to extend your pronunciation teaching skills. It contains theory written in easily understandable language, as well as lots of discovery tasks to help you understand how sounds work and lots of activities you can take into the classroom with you too.

  • Teaching and learning in the language classroom by Tricia Hedge

Screenshot from Amazon

Screenshot from Amazon

This is another more general book, and its strong points are that it goes into reasonable depth on a range of things, including course design and assessment, learner autonomy and so on, as well as the treatment of the more obvious elements like teaching the skills (reading/writing/speaking/listening), grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. It is a good, solid all-rounder to have at your finger tips. It also sports “further reading” lists at the end of each section, which are a great place to start if you are looking to explore something further and increase your depth of knowledge and understanding with regards to that topic.

A good grammar reference

As well as this list of books, every self-respecting language teacher should have (access to) a good grammar book. This will probably have been written by someone with a surname that is also an animal. E.g. Martin Parrott (Grammar for English Language Teachers), Michael Swan (Practical English Usage)…! Which you choose will be a matter of taste. Ideally, try and have a go at using a few different ones and find one that best suits the way you think. For me, it’s Parrott, but that’s largely because it’s the one I bought and used during my CELTA, and I became rather attached to it!

Reference Lists/further reading

And don’t forget: if you have read all of the books on this list, they all have bibliographies/reference lists, in which you can find the details of a whole load more books and articles that could be worth your attention! You can never run out of things to read! And that is a Good Thing. 🙂

Happy reading! And don’t forget to suggest books that YOU think should be on this list!!

reading glasses pixabay

Image taken from pixabay.org via google search for images licensed for commercial reuse with modification

 

“How to be a good Director of Studies?” – Some useful links!

The third most common search term (out of dozens and dozens) that brings people to my website is:

 director of studies

Other searches such as:

how to be a good director of studies (6th)

what does a director of studies do? (13th)

what makes a good director of studies? (15th)

are all apparently rather frequent too. This amuses me, as I’ve never been a DoS or written any posts telling people how to be a good one. However, I did once summarise an #ELTchat summary on the subject (see here). Apparently when you trawl Google for useful sites to learn about being a DoS, my summary is one of the links that pops up!

So, I thought I’d be kind to all those who wind up on my blog in their hunt for pearls of wisdom in this area, and make it worth their while visiting my blog, by bringing together a few links to further sources that may be of use when they’ve done with the chat summary…

Useful links for DoS’s or budding DoS’s or anyone else who wants to know about the job that is DoS

  • The Secret DoS is a must-read for any would-be or current DoS – to make you laugh and feel less alone in those tearing-your-hair out moments. Plus said Secret DoS goes deeper than humour, providing insightful and interesting food for thought.

(SD can also be found on Twitter if you want to keep up that way…)

  • Be the DoS is the blog belonging to Josh, who is the (ever-developing) DoS of a continuous enrolment language school. His tagline is “the trials and tribulations of a developing DoS” – so plenty to be learnt from having a browse.

(In fact, my current and rather brilliant DoS has been inspired by Josh, and gave us a brilliant CPD session, which idea he got from this post/talk of Josh’s.)

  • This is a link to a description of the International House Director of Studies course, which might be a useful building block if you are advancing in the direction of DoS-ing.
  • On the Teaching English British Council page, you can find Tips for ELT Managers – aren’t we lucky to have such a wonderful resource as this website (which is currently being redesigned and will then be even more awesome!), containing information about anything ELT-related that you could possibly think of!
  • The benefits of observation and feedback is an #ELTchat summary by @ashowski. Helping teachers develop is an important part* of a DoS’s role (in my humble opinion!) and this summary could be useful in this respect. (*Yes, I know, there are many “important part”s of a DoS’s role!)
  • Refresh your ELT project planning know-how is a videoed session from IATEFL 2014, which will help you plan an ELT project from start to finish. Now, as I mentioned, I’m not a DoS, but I imagine DoS’s have to manage multiple school-related projects simultaneously, so this could be helpful?!
  • Recommended by Josh Round, the IATEFL Leadership and Management Special Interest Group (LAM SIG) have a website here , with information about future events, such as management-related webinars, as well as a page for resources and other links, and ways for DoS’s to connect by using the #lamsig hashtag on Twitter. Apparently there is a LamSIG LinkedIn group too, if you are a LinkedIn fan.
  • Jonny Ingham has a small corner of his EFL Recipes blog dedicated to ELT Management. He is my afore-mentioned current DoS and so I can vouch that what he has to say about management should be worth reading!
  • Swandos is Rachel Fionda’s blog. Rachel is DoS at Swan Training institute and has shared some interesting posts on her site.

Finally, as far as I understand, and as I think any DoS will tell you, if you are a DoS, you just need to accept that the timetable will never be right. It’s just one of those things… 😉

If you know of any other blogs or links that you think could belong in this little list of useful links for people who want to know more about DoS-ing, please comment and share the link so that I can add it!

Have you seen these? My top 5 2013 blogposts from other blogs

As promised in  my self-indulgent review of my own posts from 2013, I will now look at some of the posts I’ve read that were produced by other people…

In 2013, I read dozens of interesting, well-written blog posts that inspired me to try out new things in the classroom and to respond with reflections of my own. For my first post of 2014, I’m going to attempt to pick out my top 5. (Choosing 5 out of so many was a difficult enough task, so I’m not going to attempt to rank them! 😉 )

  • Ways of exploiting lexical self-study material in the classroom part two: some things we can get students to do.  This is the second post in a series written by Hugh Dellar, on his well-known blog. I first became aware of this series of three posts when a member of my PLN tweeted part 2 of the series (as linked). Of course I then also read part 1 (and part 3 when it later came out!) Bursting with helpful ideas, these posts really got me thinking and indeed experimenting in the classroom. I drew on part 2 when I did my first observation in my current job and opened up a key area to develop within my practice, which was (and is) very exciting. I really recommend reading these posts if they’ve slipped beneath your radar thus far…
  • The case for: 6 reasons why our language learners should get homework. This post by Adam Simpson was brought to my attention by another member of my PLN, this time by way of Facebook. It particularly resonated with me because I’m working in a context where giving homework is compulsory, and I’ve tried really hard to make the homework as meaningful and relevant to the learners as possible, as well as trying to use it as a tool to help them become more autonomous. What I particularly like about this post is the inclusion of questions for us teachers to ask ourselves when we are thinking about setting homework. These are questions I want to return to regularly this year, as I continue in my mission to make homework really worthwhile for my learners.
  • Teacher Dereliction Anxiety Disorder  Yet again, I became aware of this post by Kevin Stein as a result of a member of my PLN sharing it via social media. (Are we sensing a pattern here?? 😉 ) It is the second in a series of posts about extensive reading, on a blog called The other things matter – which I think is a fantastic name and concept, by the way! Don’t you agree? The “other” things really do matter, in teaching. The post contains a lot of useful ideas for getting learners reading extensively whilst combatting teacher anxiety at using class time for “such things”. Although in my current context, contact time is too brief for a lot of what is suggested, the concept of using time for things other than teaching <insert language point here> is far from lost on me: my current learner autonomy development and extensive reading projects require brief but regular use of class time to maintain – time that I would argue is well spent.
  • Writing journals with students  by Sandy Millin is one of the many posts that I read on her blog last year. In this post, she tells us about how she used journals with various of her classes in Newcastle, and the benefits this had for both her and the learners. The activity may need a little adjustment/adaptation to work in contexts with less contact time available but nevertheless it’s another shining example of the wonderful “other” things teachers do with their learners, so if you haven’t read it yet (unlikely – everybody has read Sandy’s posts, I think! 😉 ) then get on over to her blog and have a squiz.
  • Can teachers do research? is by Marisa Constantinides. She talks about a research project she carried out and then goes on to discuss the question in the title, providing suggestions to help teachers get started with action research. I like this post because I strongly believe that doing classroom-based research is a great way to develop and can also be very motivational for teachers: instead of getting bogged down in a rut and doing the same thing, in the same way, time after time, it allows you to explore and evaluate different ways and new ideas for doing things. I’m currently in the middle of some small-scale learner autonomy-related research projects with my learners, as a result of which I’ve done fair bit of reading of relevant literature and reflecting over this break and am keen to continue working with my learners, and see where the project takes us next. (Just as well, as the holiday is all but over!) Maybe 2014 could be the year for you to start researching in your classroom too? Have a look at Marisa’s post for tips on how to go about it…

So, that’s my top five. I could have kept listing posts ad infinitum, but, instead, over to you: It would be fantastic if you could comment on this post with a link to any one (or two or three..) blog post that caught your eye and inspired you in 2013. 🙂 I look forward to seeing your comments and visiting the posts you recommend…

The 2nd ELT Research Blog Carnival on Learner Autonomy has arrived!

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the opportunity to see, for the first time united in one place, a collection of links to a series of reviews of articles related to the fascinating area of study that is learner autonomy!

First up we have:

Anthony Ash writing about an article that features in the English Language Teaching Journal (vol. 62/4) published by Oxford University Press. This article is entitled Learner Autonomy and was written in 2008, by Richard Smith.  Please find Anthony’s review here and a link to the original article here. A fine choice of article and a succinct review. I’d highly recommend reading the original article, it’s freely available and offers a brief overview of issues around the concept of learner autonomy.

The second contribution came from:

Me! I reviewed an article by Robert Godwin-Jones (2011): Emerging Technologies: Autonomous Language Learning in Language Learning & Technology vol. 15 number 3. October 2011. You can find the review here. This article looks at various technological tools from the perspective of interest in developing learner autonomy. Godwin-Jones also addresses various issues related to learner autonomy along the way. Again, freely available by clicking on the link attached to the title (above) of the article.  In my review, I also finish off by indulging in some of my own reflection on the content.

The third review to join the party was sent by:

Another Anthony! He treats an article by Cynthia Carr: Enhancing EAP Students’ Autonomy by Accommodating Various Learning Styles in the Second Language Writing Classroom which appeared in the INTESOL Journal,  vol 10/1 in 2013. As well as reviewing Carr’s article in depth, Anthony writes of his own experience as a teacher and learner in relation to learner autonomy and learning styles. You can find his review here. The article itself is available freely, but the link I found generates an automatic download rather than a webpage. So, if you want to read it, just put the title and author into Google and click on the link provided. 

Our fourth contributor was:

Mura Nava, who reviewed Possible effects of free online data driven lexicographic instruments on foreign language learning: The case of Linguee and the Interactive Language Toolbox in Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences , issue 95, a conference paper by Buyse K. & Verlinde, S. (2013).  You can find the paper here. The paper reports a study of the use of online corpora-driven dictionary Linguee and their success in comparison with other online dictionaries.  Mura’s review is available here.

The fifth review was submitted courtesy of:

Nathan Hall, who reviewed the following article: Lee, Lina. (2011). Blogging: Promoting learner autonomy and intercultural competence through study abroad in Language Learning & Technology, 15(3). 87-109. You can find this article here.  As the review explains, it reports on a study relating to the use of blogging tools  and ethnographic interviews in the context of studying abroad. Nathan brings out and comments on some interesting elements of the study, and you can read his review here.

Finally, in by the skin of his teeth, came:

Glen Cochrane and his review of Dias, J. (2000). Learner Autonomy in Japan: Transforming ‘Help Yourself’ from Threat to Invitation in Computer Assisted Language Learning, 13(1), 49-64. This article treats an action research project at a university in Japan, in the context of a speaking/listening class. Unfortunately, the article is not freely available, but nevertheless Cochrane gives a detailed synopsis of the findings and again highlights the importance of sensitivity to context in the development of learner autonomy. You can read his review here.

This brings us to the end of the 2nd ELT Research Blog Carnival, which has brought together an interesting range of perspectives on the topic. I hope you’ve enjoyed this snapshot of ELT Research on a very topical issue in ELT If your interest has been aroused, I recommend also having a look at the following pieces of work, if you can get your hands on them:

  • Benson, P (2007). Autonomy in Language Teaching and Learning in Language Teaching vol. 40 /01. January 2007, pp 21 40. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.

(An overview of all the literature related to LA up to the point of publishing!)

  • Illes, (2012) Learner Autonomy Revisited in ELTJ vol. 66/4 Special Issue. Oxford University Press. Oxford.

(A look at some of the very interesting and pertinent issues that emerge in relation to LA in this day and age.)

  • Oxford, R. (2003) Towards a more Systematic Model of L2 Learner Autonomy in Learner Autonomy Across Cultures. Ed Palfreyman, D and Smith, R. Palgrave Macmillan. Basingstoke.

(A brave – and extremely useful! – attempt to synthesis and systematise the theories surrounding Learner Autonomy)

  • Smith, R. (2003) Pedgagogy for Autonomy as (Becoming) Appropriate Methodology in Learner Autonomy Across Cultures. Ed Palfreyman, D and Smith, R. Palgrave Macmillan. Basingstoke.

(A look at different approaches to realising learner autonomy as well as the importance of context and its influence on the approaches chosen.)

**Learner Autonomy Across Cultures is a great book if you can get hold of it, brings together a lot of interesting research and theory on the topic of LA

  • Vandergrift L. and Goh, C (2012) Teaching and Learning Second Language Listening. Routledge. Oxon.

(An in-depth look at metacognition, which also addresses the role it plays within the development of learner autonomy)

And finally, from the most recent ELT Journal, (an article I read yesterday and would have liked to review for this carnival if I hadn’t already done one on a different article!):

  • Humphreys, G. and Wyatt M. (2014) Helping Vietnamese Learners to become more autonomous in ELTJ vol. 68/1. Oxford University Press. Oxford.

 

2nd ELT Research Blog Carnival on Learner Autonomy!

I am delighted to be hosting the second ELT Research Blog Carnival, on a topic that is near to my heart: Learner Autonomy. (To gain an overview of learner autonomy with regards to the ELT classroom, you might like to read the opening chapters of this document from the British Council.)

There are vast quantities of articles related to Learner Autonomy within ELT, indeed it is something of a buzzword in our profession these days. As such, there is no shortage of material for you all to get your teeth into and share with the community via this Carnival. 🙂

The deadline is 20th December 2013.

To participate, write a post reflecting on a research article related to Learner Autonomy, send us your post link via an email to the ELT Blog Carnival Leader, Nathan (nathan@nathanhall.ca), or a tweet to me, @LizziePinard, including the #eltresearch hashtag in your tweet, or simply post a comment here.

I will then publish a blogpost collating all the links and a brief description of what each post contains.

I look forward to reading your reflections, so get involved and get reading/writing! 🙂