From the cosy environment of an intimate conference to the mass of a gathering of more than 1500 delegates, I arrived at the International Association of Teachers of a Foreign Language Conference in Cardiff on Monday night (30th March). In a Professional Development Day event on Tuesday that ran from 10:00 until 17:30, I was inspired (yet again!) by talks, workshops and poster presentations in the Association’s “Learner Autonomy” Special Interest Group. Of course, what contributed to making my day all the more exciting, was my well-mapped out plan for darting across to the “English for the Workplace” (abbreviated E4WP) group to listen to 2 particular talks:
A pedagogical perspective on the needs of E4WP: The Omani context
Teaching E4WP in Nigeria using literature and the media.
Back in the Learning Autonomy group, what was most impacting were the discussions, ideas and reports on the implementation and results of strategies like providing support for learners in Self-access (Learning) Centres and the use of tools like class journals and newsletters with feedback and self-evaluation elements. Additionally, there was an exchange of ideas on what constitutes café-culture and how a “language café,” for example, can support more self-regulated learning. To be honest, I had no idea how they knew about this idea which is so similar to the literature café which I am sure I invented . In exploring how we might facilitate independent/autonomous learning in the ways described above and the innovation which comes with it, participants highlighted the need to introduce small changes systematically.
I am definitely enjoying this experience and was wondering if anyone has a short comment on any of the issues I have raised in the last few days. It would make for some nice reflective exchange. Would be nice for you to share this time with me, even if it’s a short or “I’m-in-a-rush” comment. Hoping to hear your thoughts.