May 18, 2011

Autonomy and Foreign Language Learning.

Dimitrios Thanasoulas in his article suggest that students have the ability to take an active role in the learning process. I consider that there are many aspects that could influence student's greater autonomy. Students are encouraged to be more self-motivated to find ways for improving their skills in a new language.
There are several methods that I use to help my students acquire the language in a most autonomous ways. For example, I usually challenge them to only use English in class, and I challenge them to listen to English music and watch some movies in English because it can help them to improve their skills. By doing this, I help them to increase their self-confidence when speaking in another language. It helps them to feel free to speak in another language without feeling shy. I try giving awards to the student who do not use Spanish during the class session, so students are encouraged to speak English only. I do also use technology as an aid for helping students be more autonomous because they can log in the computer and use my blog if they want to rehearse listening. I always try to use WebPages that have vocabulary with audio, so students can hear the pronunciation and repeat after they hear the word.
I also use weekly diaries where students are asked to write anything they did during the weekend. I ask them not to worry about grammar punctuation and mistakes, so they can feel free to write whatever they want. I usually recommend my students to self-monitor when they practice for their speeches, so they can have an idea of where to improve the presentation. By using technology and non-technology, I help students become more autonomous. I have seen a greater engagement, greater conceptual learning and higher academic achievement.


  1. Hello Santiago.

    I like your ideas how to foster you students' autonomy, they are simple and efficient.

    I also have a strategy how to do that. Since we have a great number of English graded readers at school, I give my students an optional task to go to the school library, take any of these books, fill in a simple book report after reading it (I created, copied and gave them to our librarian to be handed in with the books) and recommend it to their classmates - or not - before giving me the report back. They usually like being able to read a book by themselves, especially when there is no pressure but only the idea of doing something which is not for the lesson exclusively and graded (or if it is, it's only to get an A) and which they might possibly enjoy. I can tell you that there are quite few of them (especially girls) who have picked up the habit and rent those books on regular basis.


    Nada, Serbia

  2. Hi Santiago,
    I think you are doing a great job with your students, allowing them only to speak English in class. Additionally you help them with other sources like the web pages you mention. Watching films for them to improve listening comprehension, vocabulary and pronunciation is also important.

    Warm regards,


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.