What is Independent Language Learning?

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Students teach themselves, and ask a teacher if they need help. This gives students more choice about what, when and how fast to study. It also prepares students to learn after university.

Independent Language Learning aims to give learners more control over what, how and when they learn languages. Learners decide on their aims, make plans of what to learn, develop their own methods of learning (learning strategies), assess their own learning, and plan what to learn next. Click here for a Needs Analysis / Planning / Studying / Assessment Form that you can print out and fill in.They can choose whether to use a teacher to help them in this process.

Level: In a class the teacher usually decides what to teach based on the average level of the students. But this may not be the right level for most of the students. For advanced students it will be too easy. For lower level students it will be too hard. In independent language learning the learner decides what level to work at.
Topic: The topic of the lesson is also usually based on the needs of the average students in the class, but other students may know the material already if they are higher level, or not have the basic knowledge needed to understand the lesson if they are lower level. In independent learning, learners can choose what they want to study, and can change it any time they like.
Time: The time of a lesson is usually fixed by the school or the university, and very rarely by the students. In independent learning the learner chooses when he or she wants to learn. Using the Internet, learning can be done at any time.
Pace: In classroom lessons, the pace of the the lesson goes either at the pace of the slowest student, which is boring for the others, or at a pace somewhere in the middle, which is too fast for some students and too slow for others. In independent learning the learners can go at any pace they like.
Life: Independent learning at university is preparation for learning after university, when learners may not have teachers or courses to help them. For example, if someone wants to invest in shares, they will need to find out what they need to learn (Needs Analysis), plan what to learn (Planning), study the stock market and the causes of rises and falls in share prices (Studying), then practice by buying and selling shares, then review their performance and their profit or loss, and finally decide what to learn next to improve their performance (Further Planning).

The Role of the Teacher

The role of the teacher in independent language learning is a bit different from classroom teaching. Put very simply, in independent language learning the teacher teaches the learners to be independent and teach themselves, for example how to plan, study and assess themselves.


Click here for a detailed explanation of the design of this site, including a section on the role of the teacher.


Last updated on: Friday, March 23, 2012