Thursday, May 24, 2012

Week 7: Autonomy and The One-computer classroom

This week I learned strategies to promote student´s autonomy and how to deal with a one-computer classroom for the benefit of learners. In our discussion forum, almost all of us have agreed that autonomy is not a concrete state that is learned in a single step but it is rather an ongoing process along the way of education. We also learned that the first step towards this transformation is assisting students in their own awareness of autonomy. Our education system has traditionally been very authoritarian and leaving a small space for students to develop their own interests and leaning goals in a manner that is consistent with their potentials and capacities. It is also true that this change of approach should also start with the educator. We as teachers need to see the possibility of teaching modification to enable a more autonomous learning environment. The promotion of this new aptitude towards leaning should come from the teacher’s trustful guidance and counseling and it may be expressed in the early stages by assigning seemly simple tasks like cleaning the tables, boards and any other classroom chore to initiate or promote mutual interdependency and autonomy. Others see independency when students engage in real world tasks like giving an address or explaining something in a second language, I do agree with this as well. As I see it is like a symbiosis between the teacher and students where the first lay out a propitious space for the others to develop their skills and abilities. This in turn, will benefit the teacher as to a sustainable teaching environment. 

Regarding the topic of the one-computer classroom, it may surprise some that there are still many places in the education world where technology is rare or of difficult access. We learned lots of ideas on how to promote learning with technology with such a shortage of resources. I particularly liked the combination of the Jigsaw group technique to work with a computer as a workstation and the colorary collaborative learning environment that results from this procedure. It is incredible the amount of ideas we learned this week for using just one computer. 

As for my final project, I chose and I was selected as a peer-reviewer of the first draft which is due next week. I have already started to type the first part of it. Last week I assigned a task to use a web-based tool to improve reading pronunciation. This week I sent a massive e-mail with a survey hoping to get some insights from my online students about their experience with the new voice recording tool. I am looking forward to seeing the results of that survey by this weekend.


  1. Julio:
    I am totally agreed with you when you mention autonomy is not a concrete state, and also about your opinion from our educational system. That is why people like you and me are here, working to form a better world. On our hands is the decision to follow the traditional way or to start looking for new ways to build different learning skills.


  2. Hello Julio!
    Certainly, as you noted, authoritarian nature of the traditional education system was suppressing rather than encouraging students' creativity and autonomy, pushing them into non-existing frameworks of 'an average student' who was supposed just to passively listen to whatever the teacher has to say. Without a doubt, learner's autonomy must be initiated and encouraged by teachers.
    It will be very interesting to learn about how your students respond to the project, I am sure it will be beneficial for them, and they will like it.
    Have a great weekend,

  3. Hello Julio.
    I was also very surprised this week when many of the participants mentioned the difficulty to accesss technology in their places of work. I think we are very lucky to have the resources to introduce technology in our classes smoothly, so it's our duty to do it, for the benefit of our students and their English learning.
    The topic about autonomy is also really interesting becasue we sometimes pretend our students to be autonomous and our pedagogical model goes exactly in the opposite direction, so, we have to re-think our paradigms and learn a lot about this.
    I hope you get great results in the implementation of your project.

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  5. Hello Julio!

    I am glad you are taking these learning opportunities! I think this course keeps motivating us since we are being exposed to innovative readings which are food for thought.
    I like your project! Keep in touch!

    Best regards,

  6. Hello Julio,

    In fact this situation of a One-computer classroom is very common in many,many schools.I believe teachers work miracles when thy plan activities which are student- centered and allow them to use the only computer in the classroom.
    As far as I am concerned, I can see myself trying to make this changes as the course moves on. It is really inspiring. I think students notice that.


  7. Hello, Juilo!

    I also have the same awakening when it comes to learner autonomy. I thought that it was a concrete concept that was built once and for all. But surely not. It requires practice with the time. And it could be a thing that you keep working on. If I told this fact to my students, they first felt disappointed because they might thought that it requries never-ending efforts. Yeah, in some parts it's very true but if they establish their self-eteem and self-determination on learning, they could put a big stride in their learning regardless of the subjects they have to master.
    We are now almost there! Everyone who enjoy this prgram, put ypur chin up and go forward until the last day of this program!!

    Hopefully expecting off-line meeting
    somewhere in the world,
    Michelle Hyesun LEE

  8. Thank you Girls for stopping by and leaving your nice comments. I appreciate your kind words.