autonomous learning strategy in reading comprehension

One of the most important challenges facing foreign language teachers is that of
making students self sufficient, autonomous learners who can manage their own
learning and survive outside the sheltered environment of the classroom. Student
perception of needs, knowledge of individual learning styles, ability to set goals,
monitor the learning process, and carry out self-evaluation are all needed for
independent learning. Technology can deliver the pedagogical support students
need. This paper discusses autonomy, student empowerment, and the use of learning
styles and strategies in language learning and will show how these can be
implemented through a classroom methodology which makes use of tools available
through the WWW

Dam (2000) speaks of autonomy in terms of creating an atmosphere conducive to
learning within the confines of the educational system where learners are given the possibility to
be consciously involved in their own learning. Nunan (1997) mentions achieving “degrees of
autonomy” which range from making students aware of the learning goals and materials, to
making links between the content of classroom learning and the outside world.

Making students aware of these strategies, as well as incorporating their use in activities
done throughout the term, is perhaps the first step toward learner autonomy. This might be
achieved through learner training or learner development (Sinclair, 1996), where students learn
about the factors which affect their learning, discover the strategies needed to become more
effective learners, and in so doing take more responsibility for this process (Ellis & Sinclair,
1989).  However, knowing about strategies is not enough, for students should know when, why,
and how these should be used in order to select the most appropriate according to their
individual needs. The route to student autonomy can therefore be initiated in the classroom by
incorporating Nunan’s (1997) degrees of autonomy with a raised consciousness of strategy use
(Oxford, 1990, 2002).


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