How important is the role of learner autonomy in the process of learning a foreign language as well as in the child's general development?
In her presentation Ljiljana Kostandinovic referred to the main theories of the child's cognitive, emotional and social development and she moved on to explain how theory is applied in learning strategies and which techniques have been developed through the learning process of a foreign language at primary school.
The main focus of her presentation was on the importance of teaching students how to learn and how to become independent and responsible for their own learning from a young age. She pointed out that due to the fact that learner autonomy is a long process, it is crucial not only to be initiated at primary school, but also different activities should be involved in order to create a positive influence on learners and lead to positive learning results.
Ms Kostandinovic introduced the meaning of metacognitive awareness. She explained that the term includes four aspects: Language, social, cognitive, and cultural awareness. Each aspect plays a very important role in developing learner autonomy. Language awareness enhances curiosity. Hence, learners tend to ask more questions about language in order to discover and understand more. Social awareness boosts social interaction,cooperation and teamwork. Cognitive awareness helps learners to understand the reasons and the ways that a foreign language is learnt at school. Finally, cultural awareness creates a positive attitude towards the target language.
To conclude with, Ms Kostandinovic pointed out that factors like time management, selective material and good coaching from the teacher lead learners to become autonomous. Also teacher's skills like setting objectives and planning their study are vital and play a significant role in learner autonomy.
By Efi Tzouri
Interviewed by Lana Lemeshko