Each and every student should be the protagonist of his or her own learning process of a foreign or second language.
How to accomplish this goal, we could ask. You know, he or she should apply some specific learning strategies to this point. Self-assessment and self-evaluation, so as to be more specific about what has been learned.
Also that person has to plan his or her learning and acquiring the language. What am I doing this evening when I had planned to spend half an hour at learning English? Or before an English class: How should I do to better understand listening activities, which are so difficult to me and I usually catch little yet? Okay (that learner can think) I will write some brief notes as I’m listening to the CD or DVD or podcast. And I will try to make up a thread with the main ideas about what the speaker is saying…
Autonomous learners achieve more because they propose some goals to themselves and try hard to pursue them. They’re reflexive about the way they learn. Alike that person can think, I should speak more with my teacher and my classmates – and some written notes will help the purpose.
And we could go on that way, but now I would ask, How can I make my students would become more autonomous learners if I’m the teacher? Well I could talk to them about learning strategies: I would ask them what they do for this and what for that, so as to make them become aware of their inner processes of learning and acquiring English.
Also I as a teacher will ask them to choose for example between either reading a text summary or conveying it by speaking, when precisely that’s the activity we’re carrying out right now. I could turn to Rebecca Oxford (1990 or something from the Internet, to start with: http://www.teacamp.eu/moodle2/pluginfile.php/1779/mod_resource/content/1/VDU/Oxford_2009_cp.pdf or http://web.ntpu.edu.tw/~language/workshop/read2.pdf ), or I could read through the posts from this blog about learning strategies, at the right column of it, where the contents tags are displayed in order of occurrence.
Summing up I would make my students become aware of their thinking processes plus I would add some other strategies that are okay with me, in case they are useful for them too. The more they study and learn, the better students they’ll be! / Photo from: Person-Excited-at-Computer blog compete com. The picture might show a successful learner.