Just as I promised I am here to tell you about the second part of the Montessori and Learner Autonomy course I'm doing in Berlin. Click here if you'd like to read my first post about the course.
To start with, I am still very fond of Berlin 😍 I could live there, no doubt. Also my German is coming along nicely because I can understand more and more, and I'm now EVEN MORE motivated to continue learning 😁
The second part of the course was all about learner autonomy. I love this topic but I sometimes still feel all over the place when it comes to organising autonomous work for my students.
Three days ago the sentence I've just written would have made me laugh - "organising autonomous work". How can you "organise" someone else's "autonomous work"?! Well turns out that not only you can but you SHOULD! Here's why:
"Learner autonomy doesn't entail an abdication of initiative and control on the part of the teacher: she remains responsible for ensuring that learning happens. Developing learner autonomy is the teacher's responsibility."
(Little 1991; Dam 2003)
Both the teacher and the learner have their specific tasks and responsibilities when it comes to autonomous learning. Here are two graphics that I've worked on with my friends from the course (yes, I consider them friends already 😊):
I learnt how important it is for students to always ask themselves three questions:
WHAT am I learning?
The learner is required to define his or her own learning objectives.
HOW am I learning?
The learner has to be aware of their own learning processes.
WHY am I learning?
"The why" HAS TO come from the student!
And the teacher is there to help them answer those questions BY HAVING REAL CONVERSATIONS.
Can I tell you honestly that I've understood everything? No. But I can definitely tell you that I want to understand everything there is to understand about learner autonomy!!! This is why this book is already on my Amazon wish list:
There's a chapter in it on assessment and official grades, as well. So you can be sure I'm going to buy it seeing as I can't escape the Polish reality of the end-of-the-year grades 😅
What I really love about this course is that we get so many practical ideas that we can implement in our classrooms literally the next day! 😍 So a really cool project is coming my students' way. And maybe, fingers crossed, we'll even get to work on it with our old friends form Italy and new friends from Germany 😁 Trust me, I'll keep you posted!
The thing I loved the most about the second part of the course was the concept of logbooks. If you had ever worked with me you'd know that ... (I'm sorry but can we take a moment to appreciate the fact that I've just used a mixed conditional sentence in my writing 😀) ... that I'm crazy about my students taking good care of their notebooks. My kids don't have course books so their notebook is their only source of information on what they've done. Having learnt (OMG! a perfect gerund! I'm on fire!!) about logbooks I now know how to take my obsession to the next level 😜 Take a look at some of the logbooks I got to marvel at:
I am now in a process of redefining my relationship with grammar. Don't get me wrong, I am still a devotee and will forever worship at the altar of Lady Grammar, however, I have some thinking to do about how I organise the learning process of my students. Me, grammar, Montessori principles, and learner autonomy principles are embarking on a journey of rediscovery 😅 Stay tuned to see how it all turns out!