Learner Autonomy

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2.2. Conditions for Learner Autonomy
It should be reiterated that autonomy is not an article of faith, a product ready made for use or merely a personal quality or trait. Rather, it should be clarified that autonomous learning is achieved when certain conditions obtain: cognitive and metacognitive strategies on the part of the learner, motivation, attitudes, and knowledge about language learning, i.e., a kind of metalanguage. To acknowledge, however, that learners have to follow certain paths to attain autonomy is tantamount to asserting that there has to be a teacher on whom it will be incumbent to show the way. In other words, autonomous learning is by no means "teacherless learning." As Sheerin points out, 'teachers have a crucial role
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A central research project on learning strategies is the one surveyed in O'Malley and Chamot. According to them, learning strategies are the special thoughts or behaviors that individuals use to help them comprehend, learn, or retain new information', furthermore, a definition in keeping with the one provided in Wenden: “Learning strategies are mental steps or operations that learners use to learn a new language and to regulate their efforts to do so”. Skehan indicates that to a greater or lesser degree, the strategies and learning styles that someone adopts may partly reflect personal preference rather than innate endowment. Some core strategies will be discussed below:
Cognitive Strategies. According to O'Malley and Chamot, cognitive strategies operate directly on incoming information, manipulating it in ways that enhance learning. Learners may use any or all of the following cognitive strategies:
• repetition, when imitating others' speech;
• resourcing, i.e., having recourse to dictionaries and other materials;
• translation, that is, using their mother tongue as a basis for understanding and/or producing the target language;
• note-taking;
• deduction, i.e., conscious application of L2 rules;
• contextualisation, when embedding a word or phrase in a meaningful
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Planning, however, may also go on while a task is being performed. This is called planning-in-action. Here, learners may change their objectives and reconsider the ways in which they will go about achieving them. At the monitoring stage, language learners act as participant observers or overseers of their language learning, asking themselves, "How am I doing? Am I having difficulties with this task?", and so on. Finally, when learners evaluate, they do so in terms of the outcome of their attempt to use a certain strategy. According to Wenden, evaluating involves three steps: 1) learners examine the outcome of their attempts to learn; 2) they access the criteria they will use to judge it; and 3) they apply

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