Learner Autonomy: Issues and Challenges

Anja Burkert and Dietmar Tatzl (University of Graz; FH Joanneum University of Applied Sciences, Graz)

In this workshop, we will first explore the psychological justification for pursuing autonomy as an educational goal and then present our individual approaches to the concept of LA. We will address the challenge of assessing student performance in autonomous settings, present a project on peer-group interaction, and introduce the notion of systemic autonomy.

Developing Thinking in EFL Learners

Marion Williams (OISE and Helbling Languages)

In this workshop, I shall discuss the teaching of thinking and what is involved in the thinking process, and outline some programmes available to teach thinking. I shall present a number of activities designed for young EFL learners to develop language and thinking together. I shall also indicate how these can be adapted for adult learners.

Meta Programmes and Their Effect on Learners’ Thoughts and Reactions

Marjorie Rosenberg (University of Graz)

In this workshop, we will explore the concept of meta programmes, which can be defined as patterns of thinking which have an effect on what motivates individuals as well as the methods we use to work or learn. As we constantly receive large chunks of information, we need to have a way to filter out what we feel is important to us in order to react to it. Being aware of these thought patterns can be an invaluable tool to help us develop a variety of methods to reach our learners.

Addressing the Four Horsemen through Authentic Alternative Affective Assessment

Tammy Gregersen (University of Northern Iowa), Elaine Horwitz (University of Texas at Austin), Peter MacIntyre (Cape Breton University) & Rebecca Oxford (University of Maryland)

Language learners experiencing negative affect such as debilitating anxiety, low motivation, weak perceived competence, and/or an unwillingness to communicate frequently cannot demonstrate competence when confronted with traditional testing. This workshop exposes participants to alternative, authentic testing techniques using activities that broaden learners’ thought-action repertoires, providing continuous iterations between instruction and assessment.

Managing Diverse Learning Styles in the Language Classroom

Carol Griffiths & Görsev Inceçay (Fatih University, Istanbul, Turkey; Yeditepe University, Turkey)

The learning style concept has attracted much controversy. This workshop will suggest a definition, review some well-known conceptual frameworks, and present the findings of two studies before dividing the participants into groups and brainstorming ideas for managing diverse learning styles in the language classroom. The session will conclude with final remarks and suggestions for ongoing research.