#ELTchat summaries

(Please note that the date you can see above is when I started this blog; I update it regularly!)


#ELTchat – a twitter discussion with like-minded colleagues, every Wednesday. Do join! http://eltchat.org/wordpress




2017 March 22 #ELTchat


Participants: @fwalkerbcn @fionaljp @rapple18 @EdTechTV @GlenysHanson @Nafooh1988 @TESOLacademic @faleh_muhammad @Marisa_C  [@SueAnnan in the background; missed, thanks to technology …  @angelos_bollas ]

[Image from www.thegazelle.org/issue/63/opinion/ling-2] 

This week’s topic was an area proposed by @ElleninEdmonton and @Nafooh1988

Preamble … Marisa_C pre-empted and attempted to prevent overlap and repetition with a heads-up on three past chats on the topic (although I’m not sure we succeeded!), posted here

  1. Tips for delegating responsibilities to students – training them for autonomy Transcript (Summary not available)
  1. Learner Autonomy: Is it important? If is it, why is it and how can we promote it (should we?)  Summary 6 February 2013      Two definitions from this post were useful: NikkiFortova  “The way I understand it is the learner’s ability to take responsibility for their learning inside and outside the class”, and elawasell  “Learner Autonomy – being able to study on your own, have a say about the direction of learning, responsibility for own learning”. It was later agreed that age and culture were important implications.
    More in the Summary by Bob Knowles @BobK99
  1. Ways to develop learner autonomy: tips for learning outside class time, Summary: http://eltchat.org/wordpress/summary/ways-to-develop-learner-autonomy-tips-for-learning-outside-class-time-eltchat-summary-26012011/ 26 January 2011      Useful starting points from this summary [edited]:

Main goals:
• Make your students independent of the teacher
• Help the learner to become his/her own mentor
• provide students with learning tools
How autonomy starts in classroom:
• Give them choice
• Show them ways of learning
• Use their interesta
• Talk about it in classroom
More in this Summary by Vladimira Michalkova @vladkaslniecko 

Marisa_C also mentioned up-front recent trends and echoes of this topic in Sugata Mitra’s IATEFL 2014 talk.  Here is the summary of a chat on SOLE, and a discussion after Dr Mitra’s presentation: The Future of Learning – Reflections on Sugata Mitra’s Plenary at IATEFL http://eltchat.org/wordpress/summary/sugata-mitra-and-the-future-of-teaching-an-eltchat-summary-090414/


I’m not sure we all had time to read the above summaries, but the evening’s tweet-exchange on Encouraging Self-Directed Learning can be summarised and defined under two key areas: issues to be aware of, and ideas to promote Self-directed Learning.

Issues re. Self-directed learning

  • do they want it? (fionaljp); are they motivated?
  • the relationship between motivation and autonomy (Nafooh1988)
  • do sts value the importance of autonomous learning? (rapple18) – yes.. when they perceive learner autonomy as relate to their life outside the class (Nafooh1988)
  • ways of training learners to do what happens naturally out there on the web (Marisa_C)
  • if they are learning outside the classroom, what are they [we?] doing with the data, and who can we make sense of it (Marisa_C)
  • it’s a gradual process: increasing awareness, changing attitudes, changing roles (Scharle & Szabo http://www.cambridge.org/us/cambridgeenglish/catalog/teacher-training-development-and-research/learner-autonomy/learner-autonomy-a-guide-developing-learner-responsibility-paperback) (Nafooh1988)
  • … and never ends (TESOLacademic)
  • Ts need to create the right environment (fionaljp)
  • sts must be aware of own strengths and be able to make the right choices, hence learner training (Marisa_C)
  • metacognitive awareness: Qs become deeper – e.g. how do I learn best? (Marisa_C)


Ideas to encourage and promote Self-directed learning

– begin early, – i.e. get them used to the idea
– involving learners in making decisions about their learning
– weaning them off being spoonfed
– the less I chose & explained subjects the more students did
– Guide them, show them where they can find suitably challenging self-directed learning material
– collaboration and sharing ideas is key to encourage and maintain autonomy
– give [sts] the tools, encouragement but at some point it’s a choice
– get students to write summaries of texts they have chosen [see summary writing ling below]; then share
– a new approach to teaching – called “keep it Mysterious and they will WANT to learn it”
– creating a social network of sorts that they will WANT to belong
– getting them to do stuff in English which they’d otherwise do in L1 – [e.g. online / social media if studying in their own country, or having to go to the corner shop if studying in an English-speaking environment / ESOL]
– Vocab challenge can begin with sets of Quizlet cardsready made; later Ss make their own
– Reading challenge – can begin from a list, but later Ss choose own texts
– (via @ShellTerrell) different colour cards for T to monitor degree of autonomy – great for YLs
– autonomy + edtech is more about language use on social media then apps to practice
– huge potential of gamification (not to be confused with Game-base learning EdTechTV)
– asking ss for evidence of autonomous learning, e.g. a learner diary is one way of encouraging ss
– not only about materials, but now we approach them.
– a case of providing a model and a gradual process for sts to take over
– handling data: Facebook post by @nicolaMeldrum looking for platform for collecting data from students’ self-study: suggestions include GoogleForms, and Slack https://slack.com

A few extra links were included by Marisa_C and fionaljp:

http://linkis.com/myenglishclub.com/xqGVw ENGLISH CLUB: self-motivated adults led by one @tarabenwell – sts long on every day, they talk to one another, they lobg and post anything that strikes their fancy and learning on their own
http://www.controlaltachieve.com/2016/11/docs-blackout.html helping sts write summaries – hard copies, or using Google Docs “Black out”
YLs – How to help your students work independently (colored cards) http://linkis.com/blogspot.gr/2ytmG
Capacity Matrices – to describe, document and monitor our learning (via @jayraguda): https://multiplepathways.info/2013/12/31/capacity-matrices-examples-overview/ – ladders or scales, a tool to support student metacognition

On reflection, I’m not sure we took the topic much further on from previous #ELTchats, except that there were different participants, plus there’s never any harm in being reminded of these issues. I think what I might find useful another time would be to focus on specific areas of independent learning and autonomous tasks, e.g.

a) the WHAT, e.g.

  • student materials (e.g. workbook, ‘supplementary’ materials); especially prepared / set-up stuff (designed/prepared/suggested by the teacher .. or later by students – e.g. Quizlet); miscellaneous stuff – e.g. films, articles, etc. (‘authentic’ materials, suggested by T/St); real-life stuff (e.g. buying bread at the supermarket, going to a film, reading a newspaper/magazine/brochure – in an L2 [probably] environment; online social media in English (use of Facebook, Twitter, blogs. etc); etc.

b) the HOW, i.e.

  • student- or teacher-led; competition/challenge/gamification elements; etc.

c) KEEPING RECORDS, comparing and sharing with other students, etc.

  • When / Where / For how long (activity length) / Outcomes (benefits-pitfalls) / Follow-up suggestions

Perhaps a future #ELTchat could drop in to focus on some of this (but by no means all!) – the more focused the topic, the deeper we can go, and perhaps this would be useful!

Thanks to all for joining in last Wednesday – it was great to be part of the group! (It was another reminder that I don’t do #ELTchat often enough!)

… and don’t forget to read the latest from #ELTchat: http://eltchat.org/wordpress/latest

[Excuse the mix of links and hyperlinks.. having tech problems!)

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2016 March 2 #ELTchat


How can we develop metacognitive awareness of reading strategies in our learners? 

strategies which are transferable from text to text, genre to genre and context to context; and students need reading skills they can use regardless of text type; this then developed towards ensuring students are aware of how they read, and how to approach a text. You can read my summary:


Original drawing from http://www.adventuresinliteracyland.com/2014/01/concrete-metacognition.html


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2013 October 16 #ELTchat


Ways of really getting students to use Target Language (vocab, grammar, phrases) in tasks / exercises, and/as a means of showing visible progress (Sp, Wr)

Getting students to talk – really communicate with each other in English in a meaningful way – is always an issue for me for a number of reasons. So I was delighted that this topic was chosen for an #ELTchat discussion.

In the precious hour we had for the chat, I felt we covered a lot of ground, from clarifying what we meant by freer practice, to talking about how we get students to use new language, as well as giving feedback and evaluating students on the way (two different things, it was noted!). You can read my summary:



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2012 February 22 #ELTchat

IPA: THE THEORY AND BEYOND. Is knowing the IPA essential? Do you use phonemic script in class? Why or why not?

ELTchat IPADealing with pronunciation in the classroom is one of those things that comes naturally to some, is consciously avoided by others, and is a bit of a bête noir for a few. We know these symbols are also something that many students fight shy of, especially at lower levels, and in particular if they are coming to English from a different script (Cyrillic, Arabic, etc.). So it needs handling with kid gloves. Or does it?

You can read my summary:  http://eltchat.org/wordpress/summary/ipa-the-theory-and-beyond-is-knowing-the-ipa-essential-do-you-use-phonemic-script-in-class-why-or-why-not-eltchat-summary-22022012/