• Helping learners to develop learning technique (learning strategies) so that they can exercise their independence
I strongly believe that helping students develop learning strategies should be a key element for a teacher to bear in mind when planning the course program as well as a cross-curriculum item to discuss with teachers from other subjects. Taking these strategies into consideration will shape our way of teaching and our way of organizing the classroom. For instance, if we consider that interaction is one of the strategies to foster, organizing pair work should be a key concept in our class planning.
When choosing the course book and the resources for the class, we need to consider also the degree of independence we want our students to get, i.e. we might encounter students who are exposed to these meta-linguistic concepts for the first time, requiring a more active role from our part in their training of learning techniques. It is important to include our objectives are independence trainers in our global objectives for the course.
• Convincing learners that they are capable of greater independence in learning, probably most effectively by giving them successful experiences of independent learning
It is high time to be honest and assume that half of our job is the one of a “top-seller” from the business world, we need to “sell” our views to our students, or as Tricia Hedge says “convince our learners of...” In this particular case, we need to convince them of their own potential and that requires an extra effort on our part since our students are mainly teens or adult who may easily get frustrated. Success oriented experiences are a must in our classes if we professes the independent learning.
The question is if our classes are ready for that. Traditional teacher-centered education would consider self-access training as a way of “disorganizing” classrooms and curriculums; fostering independence can be even threatening for them. So, are we prepared to face the challenge that braking with that traditional viewpoint means? It will demand more time for planning and for organizing different activities; but for sure, it will be a rewarding task!!! :) :)
Based on Tricia Hedge, Teaching and Learning in Language Classroom, Oxford, 2000 (Chapter 3)