I have always wondered how I could help my students of English become independent learners. I teach one-to-one classes and group classes. In the case of the one-to-one students, it is easy to encourage them to go on practising after class because in general, they are adults who don't have time to learn English in a language school and so decide to take classes alone and do their best to progress through the learning experience. My group classes are adolescents at upper intermediate level who, in general, are sent by their parents to learn English so as to be better prepared for their future careers. These students go to high school and many times they use this fact as an excuse not to do their homework or study. In this case, it is difficult to motivate them go on practising English outside the classroom.
Internet as a Useful Tool
The use of the Internet has been great help for me to be able to make my students expand on what they are learning. Outside the classroom, they are able to:
- Watch videos of films made on the books we are reading
- Do interactive grammar exercises to further the practice of a certain grammar point
- Create mind-maps so as to organise their material
- Ask teachers questions so as to solve their doubts as to the tasks they are supposed to do at home
- Use dictionaries
- Express their messages at any time instead of waiting for the next class
- Upload their homework for teachers to correct
- Solve queries they do not feel like asking in class. This has been specially useful for weak students who feel embarrassed to show their difficulties among their peers.
Plans for This Year
For all the advantages I have mentioned above and many others I am planning to make my students have their individual blogs this year. In this way, they will succeed in becoming autonomous as they will select the material they think they need for their learning experience with their teachers supervision. I hope this way, they will feel motivated to see some English outside the classroom.