On researching learner autonomy in writing

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anacik's picture
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Hi everyone

Our colleague Djalal Tebib has sent the following discussion prompts:

- How can we effectively assess learner autonomy in writing?

- Can a students-directed wall magazine* be a pragmatic method for fostering learner autonomy?

*A wall magazine involves self-assessment, creativity, responsibility, time management, editing, proofreading, peer review and so on. In addition, it is affordable and it can be done anywhere unlike technology-based approaches which many universities can not afford.

Does anyone have experience with researching learner autonomy in writing?

All comments welcome!

ana

humbertomm's picture
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Writing is a process the learner has to follow as you mentioned above. The approach I suggest is to assess their writing in different moments of the process; but collecting all the class written language samples will allow the teacher to compare his students' works with other corpora of academic writing; for example, the BAWE corpus, just to mention one.
The result of this cross-corpora comparison brings about which pedagogical solution you will give to your instruction on writing at that very moment.

joebib's picture
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That's very interesting. However, it does not, as I see it, measure our learners' autonomy but rather their writing proficiency.

Best,

Djalal

humbertomm's picture
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The more proficient in a particular skill the more autonomous a student can feel; so I think both categories are not pedagogically divorced. Although I undertood your criterion that they are not identical, I think they can be related one to the other.
Thank you very much for helping me meditate on this issue.

joebib's picture
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You are most welcome, Humberto.

Yes, you are right. They seem to be related in some ways. For example, proofreading or editing are, I think, important steps in the writing process that only an autonomous learner go through them each time s/he writes.

humbertomm's picture
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Autonomous writers like to learn how close they are to the target language. Comparing is a strategy teachers can encourage and if it proves valid learners will asume it autonomously. I have several students who have asked me for the BAWE corpus and how to work with it to compare what they do with the native samples.

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