February 23, 2005

Bloggers blogging how tech is changing teaching

After reading this post, I left a comment, which I'll expand on here.

I'm in EFL, but am also coming to a similar conclusion, perhaps for different reasons. Hence the interest in autonomous language learning (i.e. learning how to learn, or the ability to self-direct one's own learning). At dinner the other day, I blurted out that I didn't know why kids went to school anyway: everything's on the Internet. This relates also to the idea of teachers no longer being the gatekeepers, or the sole keepers of the keys of knowledge (certainly knowledge as information).



The main reason I'm coming to this point of view is that most of our students have low motivation to learn English. They've studied English for 6 years prior to entering university, but they haven't learned it: they can't use it. In addition to that, while most of them have a vague sense that "English will be useful for my future", they don't have a clear idea of what that means, nor is that a very strong motivator; it's too vague and too far off. And what does it mean? I doubt that more than a handful out of the 120 of our freshmen will get a job where they actually need to use English, and probably about the same number will travel abroad and need to use English. Probably what they mean by "useful in my future" is that they know more and more Japanese companies are tightening the screws on promotion and using English-language proficiency tests like TOEIC as a means of sorting the wheat from the chaff.

2 comments:

Bruce Miller said...

I'm just a word hobbyist here, who came across your interesting page.

You use the word "autonomic", but I think typically that word is reserved for things that are self-directing because they are mindlessly on auto-pilot, say like your heart or breathing.

Since you are a self-teacher or self-learner, how about the elegant "autodidact" or "automath"?

EFL Geek said...

Great post. I wrote about this over on my blog as well. You can see it here