Published: Learning lessons: Implementing the Autonomy Approach

17 07 2012

ELI Lecturer Brian Morrison published the following article:

Morrison, B.R. (2012). Learning lessons: Implementing the Autonomy Approach. IATEFL 2011Conference Selections, pp. 73-75. Canterbury: IATEFL.


Japanese education policy ensures that upon graduating from high school, 18-year-olds will have studied English for six years. If they have done well, they will have learned the vocabulary and grammar taught to them in class and this knowledge will have been applied successfully in gap-fill tests. Students who have gained high grades have thrived within this system. Kanda University, which specializes in languages, receives new undergraduates every year who have been successful in this way. However, the English-only policy in this institute’s English language classes, assessment of skills rather than of traditional grammar and vocabulary tests, and the greater independence expected of students can create a challenge for those who find the strategies that worked so well at high school are no longer fit for purpose. In recognition of this, the university promotes out-of-class learning with a purpose-built self-access centre, discussion areas, a writing centre, a practice centre and full-time learning advisors offering self-access learner-training courses and consultations. In 2010-11 a new elective taught course was piloted in an attempt to support students to become more effective language learners.

Published: The bespoke syllabus, objective setting and WIN analyses.

21 10 2011

SALC Learning Advisor Bob Morrison published an article in the Independence IATEFL Learner Autonomy SIG Newsletter.

Morrison, B. R. (2011). The bespoke syllabus, objective setting and WIN analyses. Independence IATEFL Learner Autonomy SIG Newsletter 52, 16-18.

In Richard’s (2001) seminal work on curriculum development and syllabus design, he discusses “organized course[s] of language instruction” (p.1). Much of what is covered in the areas of planning goals and learning outcomes are clearly relevant when planning a bespoke syllabus for an individual learner, yet the teacher-led needs analysis goes against the philosophy underlying self-directed language learning and the autonomy approach to learner facilitation. Nevertheless, with a few modifications, learners can be guided through a process of objective setting which goes beyond needs analysis to incorporate wants and interests. For learners without a clear knowledge of their learning objectives or the gaps in their linguistic abilities, this will result in learner-generated focus that can identify a clear purpose for language learning.