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    • #8704


      In your teaching context what can you do to encourage learners to take their learning outside the class? Think of at least three ideas.

      Post your ideas in a reply below and comment on other teachers’ ideas.

    • #8761

      Steven Herder

      At my university in Japan, we do a number of things:

      In Class
      Introduce the following to students:
      – Listening Websites: Too many
      – Quizlet for vocabulary study, and live quizzes: https://quizlet.com/latest
      – News Websites: https://www.huffpost.com/
      – Counting words per minute (WPM) in speaking output and writing output
      – Grammarly for writing feedback: https://www.grammarly.com
      – Text analyzer: https://www.usingenglish.com/resources/text-statistics/

      Out of Class
      Activities using English
      – Weekday lunchtime presentations including: Pecha Kucha, Poster sessions, Show ‘n Tell, My Instabae, Kyoto Culture
      – Karaoke in English
      – Yoga in English
      – Cooking in English
      – Craft making in English
      – Games in English
      – Movie night

      We are aiming to find the balance between fun and useful.

    • #8787

      Rhett Burton

      Three concepts I do to promote self-directed learning.

      1. Daily Desires – I believe that children, by nature, are directed, learners. They incorporate everything that they desire to learn. They learn to eat, walk, run, talk, and solve problems. They learn to follow, copy, adapt, and create. They do it because the desire to do so is too compelling for them not to. Stimulate the mind, body, and heart. Put engaging tasks in front of the students and learn to see how they engage. Scaffold their learning and provide strategies when they are most relevant.

      2. Provide strategies to make tasks practical and useable. Spend more time doing than teaching. Students will naturally incorporate the practiced strategies into their daily lives. The more successful we are at aligning to the students’ desires, the less resistant they are to incorporate the learning strategies we guide them to use.

      3. Comprehensible Input – Know your students. Interact with your students through language and strategies that you know will have the most success of being incorporated. Use the senses to make the input more enticing. Use the situation to make the input practical. Circle around the input to provide a wide range of usage. Drip your input to break expectations into stages of usage (present, practice, produce).

      Tools I use:
      For Listening. – top songs on youtube
      For Grading input: Text analyzer and vocabulary kitchen
      For task: the community we live in

      • #8801
        • Whilst it’s an important point to acknowledge kids’ drive to do what they want (or think they want) to do, I’m not quite sure how presenting them with engaging tasks necessarily leads to self-direction or autonomy, although scaffolding and helping students develop learning strategies are crucial.
        • What kinds of strategies do you find most appropriate and useful with your learners?
        • Comprehensible input is also important to language learning as you know, but how does this connect to promoting self-directed learning in your context or getting them to use English outside of class?
      • #13349

        Rhett Burton

        These bullet points are quite complicated, and I don’t know to delve into them beyond my own experience and understanding.

        Interacting through engaging tasks provides the lens into which to gauge the stakeholder attitudes and interest towards a primary focus. Teachers, parents, and algorithms are some of the sensors collecting information on how to stimulate the student with the best forms to maintain engagement. The continued engagement leads to procedural awareness, deliberate practice, and then fulfillment when an exercise, activity, or task is completed. The degree to which the task is completed may be negotiated.

        Some strategies developed through interactions-

        Social Construction of Language aligned to a mantra, set of principles, and tenants that encourage co-created experiences.

        Here are some hooks used to gain the students’ attention – authority, credibility, community, events, reciprocity, social proof, anticipation, scarcity, consistency, like-ability, controversy, novelty, and attention. I find that social interactions are complex and require vast sensing that humans have developed systems to negotiate somewhat seamlessly.

        Putting everything together requires frameworks for interaction through the curriculum, syllabus, schedule, access to materials, and the ability to motivate using the resources to get students/parents/teachers to adopt the school’s mantra.

        As for getting students to use English outside of class? I like to get students confident inside of class.

      • #13351

        Good to pick up this conversation from your previous post, Rhett, whilst keeping in mind the original question:

        In your teaching context what can you do to encourage learners to take their learning outside the class? Think of at least three ideas.

        I think your consistent use of songs plus creation/use of playlists is one effective and proven way that you have successfully gotten students using/singing in English out of class, notably of their own accord.

        Many kindergartens and young learner programmes also use online quizzes/games (e.g. https://wordwall.net/ and https://quizizz.com/) both in and out of class.

        And traditionally, for instance, reading programs with parents’ help has been crucial for language development and can incorporate choice as well as self-direction with positive encouragement and reinforcement.

    • #8802

      Self‑directed learning can be described as “a process in which individuals take the initiative without the help of others in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating goals, identifying human and material resources, and evaluating learning outcomes” (Knowles, 1975, p. 18)

      Whilst lesson 4.3.3 focuses on self-directed learning, the question here focuses more narrowly on what we can do to encourage learning out of class. That said, it can also be quite broadly interpreted to mean doing homework, working on projects or encouraging any use of English out of class (especially in EFL contexts that lack immediate needs or opportunities to use English).

      Knowles, M. (1975). Self-Directed Learning: A Guide for Learners and Teachers. Chicago, IL: Follett Publishing Company.

    • #8803

      Barbara Bujtás

      One thing I always do with my students is to show them authentic videos or online text about a topic we cover and/or they are interested in. Cooking, DIY, ukulele tutorials, explanation videos, movie reviews, hotel reviews, booking sites, vlogs, etc. The aim is to show them that the fact that they don’t understand a lot from what they see or read, that content can be useful.
      I ask them what they feel works for them and what they enjoy doing (as for learning English).
      I try to avoid being too paternalizing and try to make them feel that their learning is not entirely my responsibility. (In Hungary people are not too autonomous, especially in the field of learning.)

      • #8804
        • I think it’s good to show learners what the possibilities are, encourage them to explore and experiment themselves, and wherever possible, share with each other, too (or me if it’s one-to-one teaching)
        • Starting with their needs, interests, and sources of enjoyment definitely puts the learners at the centre of what they do. Quite often, however, I find it’s important for them/us to come up with concrete goals or a plan to ensure that they follow through.

          On the other hand, there as some learners who don’t like to have a plan because, for them, it takes the fun out of doing it. For example, they’d happily go to karaoke in English, read a book, etc but if they had it scheduled then it would make it feel like homework. (This is what a couple of teenage and adult learners have shared with me over the years and, although they’re a minority, it’s something worth keeping in mind.)

        • Indeed, sometimes our well-meaningfulness as teachers can be (mis)interpreted as being patronizing. Like you, I try to ensure that (school-/university-aged) students know that whilst teaching is my responsibility, the learning is entirely theirs.
    • #11093

      Masatoshi Shoji

      Knitting together while speaking in English
      Checking and watching youtube videos in English in their favorite field if applicable
      Exchange skype messages (I always wonder more schools do this globally.)

      • #11102

        Good suggestions, Masatoshi, although I wonder how many of your students enjoy or would like to try knitting. That said, I think it’s good to encourage students to explore what enjoy doing already or would like to try, but do it in English. For example, 3 memorable uni students I used to teach took up this advice and decide that they would meet once a week and do something they enjoyed in English. They didn’t have so much money so I suggested it was a good alternative to paying for extra lessons. They went bowling in English, did English karaoke, and hung out in a cafe playing card games, among other things. Their progress from low-intermediate students to upper-intermediate and advanced was the best amongst the students that took English conversation classes once a week at our language school.

        Often we give tips and advice to students to help them use and develop English outside of class but they don’t follow them. What are some of the reasons why, and what can you to do increase the likelihood that students will follow up?

    • #13312

      scott gray

      As part of our course we use EnglishCentral where they should be doing about two hours of work outside of class a week. I also use quizlet and have them make sets they share in addition to doing mine. For some of my good kids we have started to have them make their own Kahoot! or I assign kahoot a as a challenge they do outside of class. Another fun way is they do lyricstraining.com and either choose the lyrics or type them out. They report their score back later.  In our old drama class I have had them break up into their own film crew, actors, cameraman, director, and sometimes narrator and shoot their drama. I would like to give them a project they make a PowerPoint for and present but not real chance to do so as the schedule too changing this year.

      • #13329

        That’s a really good mix of out of class activities and it’s especially good that they’re making their own sets of Quizlet and choosing their own lyrics, for example.

        To what extent are they fulfilling requirements (i.e.g doing set HW, albeit with plenty of choice) and to what extent is it really self-directed? (See further, my Nov 2, 2019 post above.)

        If you think of a cline from teacher-directed to self-directed, how far do you see them along that cline and where would you like them to be at the end of their course, for example?

      • #13334

        scott gray

        Right now other teacher’s running the course but when I did it, They had almost always free choice of what videos they watched. For some special homework or projects I gave them a set of videos or a course that they had to watch but usually they can choose whatever they like. Caveat being that on the test I would give them a list of ten videos and tell them that four of them will be on the test. So if they wanted to prep for the test it was up to them.

        Mostly they did it but to record their own voice it did take me setting aside some class time where they had to do the recordings as many tried not to do it. Since their grade was mainly their daily numbers it put a lot of the onus on them. Still have to get after many students but that is the job.

        I would like to see them more self directed but around the middle I would say. The really good students get very self-directed and a few just go wild at times. But would like to see them do more of the recording on their own without me having to be after them. It is great though as it is not the teacher correcting them but the machine and that is worth so much.

    • #13321

      Jessica Sohn

      In your teaching context what can you do to encourage learners to take their learning outside the class?

      We currently use Quizlet for self-directed vocabulary practice. And for extra reading we are using RAZ, where you have them read, listen and record. For the 3-day classes for example, we have one books assigned every week. Just to add some seasonal events, we are doing a sing & dance competition for Christmas. So, they have to listen and memorize and practice the moves at home. I am sure this adds on a extra listening practice for them. So, I feel these kinds of events, exercises or projects help them take their learning outside the class.

      • #13330

        Quizlet and RAZ are good ways to get students using and learning English out of class, focusing on several key areas – building vocabulary, plus reading, listening, and speaking (recording). How might the recorded task be more interactive (or is it already in some way not mentioned)?

        And, yes, when there is a performance that inevitably requires rehearsal (like your song/singing & dance competition), it’s great for developing fluency whilst retaining what is learned.

        How much choice do you include in their out-of-class study or HW? And, as per my question to Scott, to what extent are they fulfilling set requirements (i.e.g doing set HW), and to what extent is it really self-directed? (See further, my Nov 2, 2019 post above.)

    • #17123

      Rhett Burton

      My primary strategy to get students to take their learning outside the class is to model more content types. I use lots of youtube videos, Netflix shows(Peppa Pig), board games, tools, equipment, recourses, mobile games to enrich the content we use. I motivate students to complete the tasks via homework, but I haven’t been able to get the kids to engage with the activity at free will. King’s Card has been the most successful out-of-school task being done with family and friends.
      I would like to have monthly challenges set up to present the mission and motivate the students to achieve them, but managing all the roles required to get buy-in by kids, parents, and staff is challenging.

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