Thursday, November 21, 2013

Week 7

Developing Autonomy in Language Learners

 I never teach my students. I simply provide the situations in which they can learn.”

Main goals:
• Make your students independent of the teacher
• Help the learner to become independent and become his/her own mentor
• provide students with the tools to be able to learn on their own
• make your students part of the decision making about classroom activities
The role of teacher in developing learner autonomy:
• model role
• moderator
• facilitator
How autonomy starts in classroom:
• Give them choice
• Show them ways of learning
• Use the learners’ interest
• Talk about it in classroom

Here are the tips:
• show them how to learn (teach them also study skills), what suits them most and how to get most out of it
• Show learners ideas from your own learning (writing coloured words on papers, putting them on the walls). You can be a good role model for your students.
• suggest websites, radio stations anything that could be interesting and can motivate them to use these things outside classroom
• Films – discuss the films in classroom, watch film with/without subtitles, watch film in L1 and then in L2.
• Give them mLearning tech and tools
• Show them how to do things on the blog which they do at home (toondoo, embedding youtube,
• etc. ), create class blogs, yahoogroups
• Have your students set the objectives and then have them evaluate their progress
• Give them tools like spidergrams, guessing from context, train dictionary use
• Use student-generated content, peer pressure/role modeling
• Use self-access box in your classroom
• Do not let your course book limit you in developing learner autonomy – enrich, adapt, enliven it
• Tell your students about multitasking – learn while doing something else
• Show them the ways they can use course book at home (transcripts, grammar pages…)
• never do anything that you can get students to do
• Make your students think about why you do some activities in classroom, help them to become aware of the purpose
• Show them how they can use target language outside the classroom (where they can find it)
• Students’ diaries/journals/audio diaries
• Give them feedback (more than correction)
• Be careful with homework – think how to present it (rather search/project/task like than exercise or a worksheet to fill in)
• Use readers, classroom library
• Encourage your students to make friends with other people using English for communication
• Record your students…and their progress
• Encourage students to use Google Docs as their online vocabulary notebooks
• Ask them to teach (what they have learned) someone else, family members, friends…
• Persuade your students to use their mobiles in English for a week or so… (switch to English where you can)
Useful web applications:
• Voicethread
• Vocaroo
• wikis
• Tutorials (,
• Moodle
• Audio boo

Further reading/activities on Learners’ Autonomy:
o lecture by Leni Dam on learner autonomy -
o 40 odd websites to learn outside the classroom –
o A lesson by @sabridv where students take over the teaching for a day –
o I have also blogged about the stuff related to learners’ autonomy so if you are interested you can find it here:
o Learner Autonomy – a guide to developing learner responsibility (Agota Scharle and Anita Szabo), Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers
o Holec, one of the main sources of inspiration for LA
o some free books with audio recordings on

Thursday, November 14, 2013


One more week is almost over… What a fruitful week it was! So many materials, so many activities, techniques and so many ideas how to use them in class.
I have tried to classify all the activities proposed in the articles for discussion according to the lesson type: while teaching listening, writing, speaking, reading, grammar and vocabulary training. Some of the activities described in the articles are known to me and I use them very often but it was really curious how they are interpretated. I also described the activity I often use in class, it is so called "traffic lights technique", which is useful for organizing differenciation in a big class.
I have made two interaction presentations: one is aimed at practising Passive Voice and the other is a n interactive support for the lesson "My English Studies", you`ll find an audio file for practising listening skills and some interactive tasks on phrasal verbs. (the links are on our wiki page)
I like such kinds of presentations as they stimulate students` activity, and you see the feedback, more over it contributes to students` motivation.
This week I have decided to try my ideas in class.The project I plan should be a kind of interactive support for my students` course of English as a foreing language. I have made one more page on my blog ( and added there some links for the tasks I made with the help of one more tool -
I proposed my students to do these exersices both in class and at home, and by far they like it very much.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Week 5
This week`s tasks were very responsible, we had to make a decision and plan our future work.

1.      Project step 4

This week I was thinking how to create individual learning routes for my  students, it should be  a special resource, some kind of an interactive support of the course, where all the materials could be gathered and the students could have a chance to work at their own speed developing their skills and abilities. I think it will be a blog where once a week I`ll publish some information for them to comment (aimed at writing and speaking skills development) and some links for grammar  training, listening and reading practice. Every student will choose the materials he has problems with and work independently, I`ll coordinate their work, comment and try to follow their individual route the most careful way. Hope it will stimulate their learning process and will help them pass exams successfully!

2. PBL, Rubrics and Assessment

PBL (Project-Based Learning) is treated in our methodology as Project technologies and are rather popular in teaching foreign languages. I have used them in my practice for more than 10 years as they are practically-oriented and provide students with different activities both developing their skills and competences and stimulating their motivation. More over, PBL gives us lots of opportunities for class interaction: brainstorming, problem solving, collaboration, critical thinking and so on.

Working with Rubrics  was a completely new technique for me and now I am planning to use them in my work as it seems to me a really effective evaluation  tool. Rubrics also make grading much easier on the teacher and the grading is more efficient.They make the assessments more reliable, relevant, and objective. The list of criteria helps students to concentrate on and later analyze their answer/performance.
Here is the link for my Rubric:
It deals with project presentation criteria.

3. WebQuest

WebQuest as an inquiry-oriented activity that uses resources on the World Wide Web. WebQuests pull together the most effective instructional practices into one integrated student activity. These Web-based projects use World Wide Web sites to help students develop problem-solving and decision-making skills. WebQuests are interesting and motivating to teachers and students. An effective WebQuest develops critical thinking skills and often includes a cooperative learning component.
I have heard a lot about WebQuests but it was my first experience in creating it. My WebQuest deals with Schooling systems of English-speaking countries:

The week is over…

Looking forward to new ideas, tools, activities and positive emotions…

Sunday, November 3, 2013


One more week of the course is over...
It was a very productive week with lots of tasks and at the same time with lots of new ideas.
But first of all it started from a nice surprise - one more person joined our company  and we heartly welcomed Andrea Banicki!
This week's topic was focused on how to use technology to enhance reading, writing, and vocabulary skills.
I have read the proposed three articles on enhancing reading and writing with the help of technology in the classroom with great interest. Using computer and internet is similar to that of educating in completely new and fascinating ways. 
The article Using the Internet in ESL Writing Instruction by Jarek Krajka gave me lots of ideas about using the listed resources in the classroom.
The writing instructions enriched with the Internet component will provide students with choice, variety, authenticity, and give them a real purpose for writing, allow them to experience the authentic written interaction with other people, give them the feeling of self-confidence when seeing their works published on the class website.
The author underlined three elements of on-line lessons, which are used while teaching most of the writing: 1) web pages are the endless source of varied materials both for the teacher and students; 2) the key pal connection can be used for every writing genre, giving students a real purpose for writing and teaching them written interaction while communicating in writing with their peers of similar age and interests; 3) the class website as a publishing medium for students' pieces gives the chance to reward students, to make them read others' pieces attentively, and is an interesting and cheap way to promote students' writing. 
I also liked the scheme proposed by the author about two periods to teaching one genre. The first class, entirely off-line, would be focused on analysing model pieces, work on structures and vocabulary based on a specialised writing skills book This could save on-line time necessary for browsing, reading and digesting information from the Web, and also while browsing the Internet sites, students would already have the knowledge of the formal requirements of the genre, and could see how these work in practice. The on-line lesson should be followed by another off-line or on-line lesson, done after students wrote their pieces, the teacher corrected them and they were put on the class website, in order to discuss students' performance, to let them experience one another's writing, and to develop listening and speaking skills on the basis of the information gained during the on-line class. 
The article Three Extensive Reading Activities for ESL/EFL Students Using E-books
by Mei-Ya Liang describes how to interpret, appreciate, and respond to the texts, all of which lead students to read more and study more outside of the classroom. Online resources enable ESL/EFL learners to get access to authentic materials and communicate online. With appropriate guidance, students will increase not only extensive reading, writing and thinking skills, but also their confidence in and motivation for reading L2 texts.
I also liked the resources proposed by Larry J. Mikulecky and am going to use them in the classroom. 
We were proposed to read about technology enhanced lesson plans from "Tips and Advice from your Webskills Team: How to Write a Technology Enhanced Lesson Plan" and look at a sample or two from the Baltimore County Public Schools Office of Instructional Technology.
I have done a technology enhanced lesson plan and have learned quite a lot. Here is the link:
We had to think about the class and students that we described in Week 2 and write about an issue(s) or problems this class is experiencing. This should be issue or problem that technology might help with. It was really interesting to compare the problems in class and to find the solutions together.