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Ho Chi Minh City Open University
Graduate School
97 Vo Van Tan, Dist.3, HCMC, Vietnam
ASSIGNMENT COVER SHEET AND REPORT
GRADUATE DIPLOMA in TESOL
Name of candidate:
TUAN ANH HOANG
Student No:
199140111065
Email address:
[email protected]
Name of coursework subject:
Academic Writing (ENG503)
Title of this item of work:
A literature review on promoting learner autonomy
Name of lecturer:
Ph.D. Le Xuan Quynh
Due date:
January 22nd , 2020
STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP:
I certify that the above assignment is my original work; it is based on my own research. All
sources used by me have been documented. No other person’s work has been used without
due acknowledgement. This piece of work has not previously been submitted for assessment
in this or any other subject or course at this University or elsewhere.
Student’s Signature…………………………………
Date: January 22nd , 2020
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TABLE OF CONTENT
1. Introduction ...............................................................................................................................3
2. Literature review......................................................................................................................3
2.1. Definition...........................................................................................................................3
2.2. The role of students ............................................................................................................3
2.3. . The role of teachers ..........................................................................................................4
2.4. How to promote learner autonomy ...............................................................................5
3. Previous study ............................................................................................................................6
3.1. Background information and instructions ..........................................................................6
3.2. Research questions..............................................................................................................6
3.3. Methodology .......................................................................................................................7
3.3.1 Skills and Strategies ...................................................................................................7
3.3.1 Decision making ........................................................................................................7
3.3.1 Developing independence .........................................................................................8
3.3.1 Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation ..............................................................................8
3.4. Main findings .....................................................................................................................8
4. Conclusion .................................................................................................................................9
5. References ................................................................................................................................10
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1. Introduction
In modern society, autonomous learning makes a huge contribution to a successful learning
process. This means students are encouraged to work independently until achieving their goals. In
the same vein, Le (2013) in his research notes training courses have led to a dramatic increase in
awareness of autonomous learning 1. Furthermore, the benefits of self-regulation is beyond belief
if students are absolutely inspired (Nakata, 2014). Particularly, they are gradually responsible for
lifelong learning without being forced. This paper attempts to show that 2 the understanding of
independent learning with respect to theory and how to foster learner autonomy through provided
previous study related to the use of technology.
2. Literature review
2.1. Definition
Various definitions of learner autonomy have been illustrated through a long period of time. I,
however, only mention the two concepts including the initial one and the most commonly used
one (from my perspective). According to the Wikipedia, Holec (1981) states autonomous
capability is formed if students take learning process into consideration. Benson (2007)
emphasizes that learner autonomy is seriously responsible for their learning performance.
Generally, self-directed learning represents both fundamental factors including independence and
responsibility.
2.2. The role of students
Additionally, self-directed learners could fulfill their expectations if they profoundly understand
the importance of making appropriate learning strategies, self-reflection during the learning
1
2
Morley (2017, p.15):
Morley (2017, p.10): This paper attempts to show that ….
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process. Firstly, a personalized learning plan enables them save time and logically get engaged
through their learning paths. Therefore, students become more independent, disciplined, curious
and persistent. Secondly, there are a variety of positive and negative changes, considerably
affecting their studies. As a result, their performance should be frequently adjusted to suit the
current needs.
2.3. The role of teachers
Despite the final decisions made by learners, they still suffer from low efficiency without
supervisors (teachers). To facilitate students’ learning process, language teachers are described as
numerous roles in educational environment. Harmer (2007) suggests that an effective teacher could
be an instructor, a participant and feedback provider. Firstly, giving learners discrete suggestions
enable them to get involved in autonomous learning processes systematically. This approach
prevents students from confusion while studying. Secondly, self-directed learners could learn far
better if there has been a strong interaction between students and teachers. When their positions
are equal, they tend to be communicative. As a result, it is easier for teachers to meet their needs.
While a variety of definitions of the term scaffolding have been suggested, I will use a brief and
outstanding definition suggested by Puntambekar and Hübscher (2005) who saw it as support 3.
Therefore, the use of scaffolding technique should be maximized to provide learner autonomy with
useful and essential knowledge. Thirdly, the assessment of students’ performance not only helps
them correct errors, but also increase their intrinsic motivation to perform successfully. More
importantly, creating an autonomous learning environment encourages learners to be more creative,
independent and builds their metacognitive awareness.
3
Morley (2017, p. 12): While a variety of definitions of the term X have been suggested, this paper will use the
definition first suggested by Smith (1968) who saw it as ….
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2.4. How to promote autonomy learners
In 2013, Ikonen demonstrated that language teacher could develop learner autonomy via the
following approaches 4. These consist of making use of technology, opening training self-study
programs, the encouragement of independent critical thinking from learners and students’
participation in curriculum design 5. A broader perspective has been adopted by Dang (2010) who
suggests that the strong connection between students’ prior educational experiences and a new
area of knowledge provided by teachers should be formed 6. According to Brown (2001) 7, selfdirected learners derive substantial benefits if rewards and punishments given by teachers are no
longer regulated. Apart from the aforementioned statements, there is a strong correlation between
teachers’ beliefs and their behaviors in fostering autonomous learning (Wedell, 2009). 8 Similarly,
Cotterall (as cited in Phan, 2012) found that the teacher’s behavior results in the change of
learners’ beliefs9. Recently, modern technology presents enormous implications for sustainable
development of learner autonomy. Raya and Fernández (2002) pointed out10 that the traditional
roles of teachers are no longer centers due to the appearance of different learning methods. A
recent study by Bhattacharya and Chauhan (2010) involved in the use of blog to augment
learner autonomy11. The central thesis of this paper is that learner autonomy derives substantial
benefits from blogging12.
4
Morley (2017, p.15): In 1990, Patel et al. demonstrated that replacement of H2O with heavy water led to ….
Morley (2017, p.43): The Mass for Four Voices consists of five movements, which are: the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo,
Santus and Agnus Dei.
6
Morley (2017, p.17): A broader perspective has been adopted by Smith (213) who argues that ….
7
Morley (2017, p.16): According to Smith (2003), preventative medicine is far more cost effective,….
8
Morley (2017, p.24): There was a significant positive correlation between ….
9
Morley (2017, p.17): Similarly, Nicoladis (2006) found that X ….
10
Morley (2017, p.16): Smith (2013) points out that ….
11
Morley (2017, p.15): A recent study by Smith and Jones (2012) involved ….
12
Morley (2017, p.10): The central thesis of this paper is that ….
5
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3. Previous study: Augmenting learner autonomy through blogging conducted
by Atanu Bhattacharya and Kiran Chauhan
3.1. Background information and instruction regarding the study
The study was conducted with the participation of 35 sophomore students. Due to having different
levels of learning and mainly living rural area, their access to English and technology is limited.
Therefore, it is essential to promote their autonomous learning through this program. After
answering a 15-item Likert-scale questionnaire based on four skills (independence, coordination,
relational and computer), the researcher divides 35 students into 12 groups with three members for
each. In every group, there are two fundamental positions: group coordinator and project
coordinator. The former person could be identified as a manager who are responsible for the entire
activities whereas the latter one only assist members in professional knowledge. Writing a personal
blog and submitting reflective reports are their responsibilities. To facilitate their learning
processes, language learners are provided with useful instructions by researchers.
3.2. Research questions
The aim of this study was to clarify several aspects of 13 using a blog as a learning tool is definitely
beneficial to autonomous learning. The research paper would answer the following questions:
1. How can blogs help improve self-study?
2. Whether working in group to design personal blog would stimulate leaner autonomy?
3. Does intrinsic and extrinsic factors appear while writing blog?
4. Is it possible to develop metacognitive skills?
13
Morley (2017, p.10): The aim of this study was to clarify several aspects of ….
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3.3. Methodology
Thirty-five reports would be analyzed based on 4 basic criteria of development including skill and
strategies, decision making, independence and motivation. To obtain concrete and objective results,
an interview with open-ended questions is given to a group of learners. Most of the questions
related to the feelings and changes of learners after writing blog.
3.3.1.. Skills and strategies
The proportion of learners (36%) believed blogging is beneficial to editing and communication
skills while 61% (22 of 35 students) commented that cognitive skills, especially, writing skills
would be improved. According to the results of the interview, student 1 expressed her idea that not
only does blogging boosted her writing skills, but also made her more responsible. According to
Dam (1995) and Crabbe (1999) (as cited in Bhattacharya & Chauhan, 2010), specific strategies
and positive results would be generated if learners are able to show their independently working
abilities. According to Dam (1995) and Crabbe (1999) (as cited in Bhattacharya & Chauhan, 2010)
3.3.2. Decision making
In reflective reports, numerous categories of decision making were mentioned and the decision on
overcoming resources was the most challenging. Specifically, self- directed students face technical
problems and limited sources. Regarding the first issue, due to the lack of experience in creating a
blog, individuals definitely encounter various obstacles. Student 3 said that technical issues are
only addressed until other members support him. As a result of the survey, at least 4 groups decided
to use WordPress instead of Blogger because of its convenience. This means the new option
received approval from every member. With respect to the second one, despite the limits on the
number of sources, there has been a consistent improvement in students’ learning process. It is
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believed that no matter how difficult the situations are, being constant with made decisions is
useful for autonomous learning.
3.3.4. Developing independence
Both researchers illustrate that working in groups makes a huge contribution to the success of
individual action. 52 percent of students are interested in conducting group work due to the
increase in mutual interaction. According to Student 5, it was uncomfortable for him to work
independently at first because he was not able to regulate arising matters. Thanks to his
participation in group discussion, it enables him to gain confidence and essential knowledge.
3.3.5. Intrinsic and Extrinsic motivation
Based on the recorded results, an outside reward (financial gain) gave 25 percent of the students’
encouragement whereas a high proportion of learners (67%) experienced the process with inner
satisfaction such as the sense of achievement, creativity and innovation. The intrinsic motivation
plays a crucial role in the development of the self-study process and blogging is considered to be
one of the most typical examples. Student 1 honestly stated that having the blog post was
meaningful to him because it represents his efforts and dedication. Additionally, this motivated
him to get involved in writing blog without hesitation.
3.4. Main findings
Firstly, blogging has positive impacts on language, cognitive skills and decision-making. Secondly,
intrinsic motivation is significantly taken into consideration. To be more specific, blog posts
consist of personal perspectives and efforts, therefore, learners would be dedicated to their work.
Generally, if learners are driven by intrinsic motivation, it brings them a sense of confidence in
working autonomously, resulting in the expansion of metacognitive strategies.
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4. Conclusion
Taken together, these results suggest that there is an association between learner autonomy and
blogging 14. Obviously, blogging creates motivational environment where self-regulated learners
are able to enhance metacognitive skills. In his major study, Le (2012) 15 suggested that
metacognitive strategies are increasingly recognized as one of the most vital aspects in autonomous
learning. He illustrates that these strategies could as catalysts for the advancement in the capability
of planning and self-access. Furthermore, instructional scaffolding provided by teachers allows
self-directed learners to both perceive substantial knowledge and stimulates curiosity.
14
15
Morley (2017, p.31): Taken together, these results suggest that ….
Morley (2017, p.16): In her major study, Smith (2012) identifies five characteristics of ….
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References
Benson, P. (2007). Autonomy in language teaching and learning. Language Teaching, 40(1), 21–
40.
Bhattacharya, A., & Chauhan, K. (2010). Augmenting learner autonomy through blogging. ELT
Journal, 64(4), 376–384.
Brown, H. D. (2001). Teaching by principles: An interactive approach to language pedagogy.
White Plains, NY: Longman.
Dang, T. T. (2010). Learner autonomy in EFL studies in Vietnam: a discussion from a sociocultural
perspective. English Language Teaching, 3(2), 3–9.
Harmer, J. (2007). The practice of English language teaching (4th edition.). Harlow:
Pearson/Longman.
Holec, H. (1981). Autonomy and Foreign Language Learning. Oxford: Pergamon Press.
Ikonen, A. (2013). Promotion of learner autonomy in the classroom: The student's view. (Master’s
thesis). University of Jyväskylä.
Le, Q. X. (2013). Fostering learner autonomy in language learning in tertiary education: an
intervention study of university students in Ho chi minh City (Vietnam. PhD thesis), University
of Nottingham.
Nakata, Y. (2014). Self-regulation: Why is it important for promoting learner autonomy in the
school context? Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 5(4), 342- 356.
Phan, T. T. T. (2012). Teacher autonomy and learner autonomy: An East Asian’s perspective.
International Journal of Social Science and Humanity, 2(6), 468-47.
Puntambekar, S., & Hübscher, R. (2005). Tools for scaffolding students in a complex learning
environment: What have we gained and what have we missed? Educational Psychologist, 40,
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1–12.
Raya, M. J., & Fernández, J. M. P. (2002). Learner Autonomy and New Technologies. Educational
Media International, 39(1), 61–68.
Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learner_autonomy#cite_note-5
Wedell, M. (2009). Planning Educational Change: Putting People and Their Contexts First.
London: Continuum.
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