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Learning Independence

Last Thursday new timetables were given to learners in preparation for changes this week.

As class timetables develop and change it is clearly important to enable low level language learners in the beginners’ group to manage those changes if they are to become independent learners.  Independence has been described as providing learners with the strategies to become independent since low level language learners often benefit from steps to independence.  Motivation is also important in the process. Evidence shows that teaching directed at what learners find relevant and useful motivates learners and addressing an immediate need even more so.

With that in mind to enable accurate and independent reading of the timetable standard question and answer techniques were used to check understanding of language and layout.  Common sources of misunderstanding including substituting Tuesday for Thursday were ironed out through peer support focusing on the sounds ‘Tu’ and ‘Th’.

Beyond that some learners also need to consider the knock on factors that affect travel such as train and bus journeys. As a result it can be effective to break down learning into steps. Alan Olieff, Learning Support, worked with two learners who have had problems with travelling including one who had accidentally taken a Victoria bound train all the way to London instead of getting off at Worthing not realising he could get off the train at any point to return to Worthing. Both were supported to access train timetables online to enable journey planning.  As a result one of the learners has decided to allow himself 15 minutes to get to class from Worthing station and check if it allows him enough time. Reviewing is clearly an important part of the process.


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