Plenary Speakers

 

Leni Dam, LASIG Coordinator, Denmark

Leni Dam graduated as a teacher of English and Mathematics in 1964. In 1973, she took her first steps towards developing learner autonomy with a group of 14-year-old mixed-ability students learning English at a comprehensive school south of Copenhagen. In the following years, language learner autonomy was developed in all her classes at primary as well as secondary level. In 1979, she combined teaching at school with a job as an educational adviser and in-service teacher trainer at University College, Copenhagen till she retired in 2006. In 2004, she was awarded an honorary doctorate in pedagogy by Karlstad University, Sweden. Together with Lienhard Legenhausen, Münster University, Germany, she has studied the linguistic development of learners in autonomous classroom environments. Her areas of interest are the development of learner autonomy, differentiated teaching and learning, internal evaluation and the use of logbooks and portfolios. Within these areas, she has produced materials, written articles and books, and given numerous talks in many different countries. She is now freelance.

Teachers and learners as companions on the road to developing learner autonomy - examples from the autonomous classroom

 This talk will give examples of teacher/learner interaction and interdependence in the process of developing learner autonomy with learners at secondary level . The data included will partly be taken from learners’ logbooks and portfolios, partly from other sources of classroom data such as posters. Even though the data is elicited at secondary level, experience has shown that the process described can be used at all institutional levels aiming at developing learner autonomy.

Jo MynardKanda University of International Studies, Japan

Dr. Jo Mynard is an Associate Professor and Director of the Self-Access Learning Centre at Kanda University of International Studies in Japan. She has an M.Phil in Applied Linguistics from Trinity College, Dublin and a Doctorate in Education (TEFL) from the University of Exeter in the UK. She has been involved with language learning and teaching since 1993 and has taught in Ireland, the UK, Spain, the UAE and Japan. She has co-edited three recent books on advising and learner autonomy and is the founding editor of Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal.

Learner Involvement in Self-access Learning 

There may be numerous ways in which learners can be involved in self-access, and in this presentation I will discuss three of them (see Mynard, 2011). Firstly, by learners can be involved in monitoring their own self-directed learning. Secondly, learners can be emotionally involved and invested in their learning. Thirdly, learners can be involved in actually running a self-access centre. I will give examples for each of these ways. With regards to the first way, monitoring self-directed learning, this necessitates the need for some tools, training and support, so I will touch on how these can be made available to learners. In terms of the second example, emotional involvement, I will look at the importance of affective factors in self-access and how learners can be supported emotionally in a self-access context. Finally, I will look at the concept of ‘Self-Access 2.0’ (Manning, 2013) whereby – as with Web 2.0 – learners are not simply recipients of materials, resources and support made available in a self-access centre; instead, learners themselves contribute significantly by creating and sharing content; organising events; conducting action research in order to improve a centre; and supporting other learners. These learner-driven endeavours may require a shift in mindset on the part of professionals working in self-access in order to ensure that learners are able to contribute in meaningful ways.

Simla Course, Akdeniz University, Turkey

Simla Course currently works as a teacher trainer at the ELT department of Akdeniz University, Turkey. She obtained her PhD degree from the University of Warwick, UK, in developing critical reading skills in EFL and is specifically interested in issues of power and agency in language teaching and learning. Her research interests include critical theory, learner and teacher autonomy, developing critical reading skills in EFL, critical discourse analysis and motivation. 

Teacher and Learner Autonomy for Agency in the Language Classroom

 

In this talk I will talk about teacher autonomy in relation to learner autonomy and agency. Little remarks that learners are historical beings who develop their agency through interaction with others (2013). Same is true for the teachers. However, for teachers, such interaction can often be defined by social structures, such as an exam system, curriculum, or institutional policies, where these structures limit teachers’ (and very often learners’) agency.

 I will argue that teacher and learner autonomy is a prerequisite of agency. I will also argue that action research is valuable in not only helping teachers assume more autonomy in their practices, but also in its potential to give learners a voice in the classroom, often encouraging them to reflect on the process of their learning.