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Independent Language Learning

Building on Experience, Seeking New Perspectives

Edited by Bruce Morrison

Publication Year: 2011

Independent learning is not a new concept for language educators but while teachers, curriculum designers and policy makers have embraced it as underpinning modern notions of education, it remains a dynamic and vibrant field for researchers and academics who aim to broaden its scope and deepen our understanding of how it may be applied most effectively both inside and outside the classroom. The book’s authors use their experience of applying the concepts related to independent learning in various geographical, cultural and pedagogical tertiary level learning contexts to present new perspectives on how independent learning can inform and support policy, teaching methodology, curriculum development and the nurturing of successful learners. While the first section of the book provides a view of the field from three broad curriculum development viewpoints, the remaining chapters primarily focus on the experience of learners, teachers and curriculum developers in applying principles of learner autonomy, self-regulation and self-direction with various types of learner – each with their own identities, motivations, expectations and goals. These learner and teacher stories provide insights that are important for an understanding of some of the impacts an independent learning approach to language learning have on learners in various educational contexts. This book will be of value to pre-service and in-service teachers, curriculum developers and teacher educators working in diverse educational contexts in more fully appreciating the contribution an independent learning focus can make to successful learning.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU

Contents

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pp. v-vi

Contributors

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pp. vii-viii

Introduction

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Building on experience, seeking new perspectives

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pp. 3-10

Independent learning is hardly a new concept. Its twentieth-century roots lie in the work of educators such as Dewey (1916) and Tyler (1949), both of whom emphasised the need for teachers and students to take a greater role in and responsibility for the educational process. ...

Section 1 - Emerging perspectives

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1. Inside independent learning: Old and new perspectives

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pp. 13-23

Independent language learning (ILL) has been conceptualised and researched from a diverse range of perspectives and theoretical frames developed over the past three decades. A common thread in all these has been seeing the fundamental challenge of independent learning as developing the ability of learners...

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2. Learner autonomy, self-assessment and language tests: Towards a new assessment culture

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pp. 25-39

Cognitive autonomy is a species-specific imperative (Little 2009, 52): each of us has his or her own thoughts and emotions, and the extent to which we can penetrate the thoughts and emotions of others is strictly limited. Perhaps as a result of our cognitive autonomy, behavioural autonomy seems to be one of three basic human needs...

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3. Strategic and self-regulated learning for the 21st century: The merging of skill, will and self-regulation

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pp. 41-54

We are currently experiencing a worldwide need for our citizens to be better educated, more skilled, lifelong autonomous learners who can adapt to the rapidly changing and evolving demands of the modern world. However, at a time when we have increasing needs for an educated and skilled workforce...

Section 2 - The independent learner

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4. Identity and learner autonomy in doctoral study: International students’ experiences in an Australian university

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pp. 57-71

Studying in an overseas university involves challenges ranging from adjusting to differences in food and climate to making sense of the local academic culture. Previous research into the linguistic and academic challenges overseas students face suggests that being able to solve learning problems independently is a prerequisite for survival...

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5. I’m not giving up! Maintaining motivation in independent language learning

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pp. 73-85

In any language learning context, learners need to maintain their initial motivation until they achieve their intended goals. Research has increasingly highlighted the significance of affective and social aspects of language learning, particularly in independent, distance learning contexts (White 2003, 2005). ...

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6. Research methods to investigate emotions in independent language learning: A focus on think-aloud verbal protocols

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pp. 87-100

Affect as a critical dimension of language learning has been attracting a growing number of researchers as emotions continue to play an increasingly prominent role in theories of learning and language learning (Brown 1994; Arnold 1999; Oxford 1999; Young 1999; Dewaele 2005; Beard, Clegg and Smith 2007; Putwain 2007; Dewaele, Petrides and Furnham 2008). ...

Section 3 - Supporting the independent learner

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7. Achieving your GOAL: A case study of three learners

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pp. 103-118

Learning a second language can be a frustrating process if a learner does not develop effective learning strategies to take control of his/her learning process. Taking control of one’s learning involves developing metacognitive strategies such as setting appropriate goals, monitoring progress and reflecting on outcomes...

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8. On the road to self-directed learning: A language coaching case study

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pp. 119-129

Learner autonomy has gained its place in both the discourse and practice of the language learning domain. One approach to fostering autonomy is self-directed learning (SDL), where a learner assumes responsibility for his/her language learning but does not necessarily operate in isolation. ...

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9. Developing learner autonomy through peer teaching experiences

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pp. 131-144

‘Peer teaching’ refers to students’ involvement in learning from and with each other, sharing knowledge, ideas and experience (Boud, Cohen and Sampson 2001). With its emphasis on learning, it is often associated with terms such as ‘peer and cross-age tutoring’, ‘peer learning’, ‘learning through teaching’ ...

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10. Developing the ARC: Creating an online autonomy resource centre

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pp. 145-155

Japanese universities are struggling to come to terms with the effects of a shrinking student population and the worst economic environment since the Second World War. The declining birth-rate in post-baby boom Japan has resulted in increased competition among universities for the diminishing student population (Poole 2005). ...

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11. Autonomous learners in digital realms: Exploring strategies for effective digital language learning

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pp. 157-171

The arrival of the Digital Age has been a ‘white water change’ (Oxford 2008c, 191), a metaphor describing the rapid, complex and all-encompassing nature of this technological wave. The Digital Age has changed the characteristics of language learners themselves. ...

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12. ePortfolios for independent language learning: Episodic innovation or lasting reform?

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pp. 173-186

Since the 1990s, teaching and learning in higher education has become increasingly technology-mediated and student-centred (Benson and Brack 2009). As part of this move, many universities have pursued the development of a managed learning environment with efficient interfaces between web-based learning materials and learner support...

Index

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pp. 187-190


E-ISBN-13: 9789888053919
Print-ISBN-13: 9789888083640

Page Count: 184
Publication Year: 2011