When we reflect on our job, we always do it putting all the weight on the teachers’ side: What we must do to motivate students, how we must organise our lessons in order to get the best of them, how to teach certain skills, how to use ICT… but we usually neglect the learners’ side.
We must be really aware of our own process as teachers, of course: We must prepare ourselves to become better teachers in order to help our students, and we must learn new approaches and tools that will make our performance more efficient.
But we must also look carefully at the students’ side. Students have their learning process, which goes forth as it gathers knowledge and method on the way. Learners improve their learning skills as they grow. We teachers help them look at their weaknesses and strengths, at their needs. We help them analyse their goals as learners: What they want or need to achieve, and what they need to reach those goals…
Do we really guide them in their own learning process? As mentioned above, we do help them as we go hand in hand, and we show them the tools they need… but most of the times, we solve their problems, we make them practise… but what is also extremely relevant is to teach them how to walk the path of their learning process on their own. They need a sherpa to climb that hill, but when they are on their own, they also need a pair of good
We must teach them to see those weaknesses by themselves, and to find solutions by themselves… what is that? They should be able to find their own way in order to improve their skills… writing, reading, listening, speaking… and how? Students must learn how to access resources where drills and activities can be used in their learning. They must find those resources which also help them see whether they are achieving the stated goals of the practice successfully or not… accessible rubrics for different tools, activities and students’ autonomous production would definitely prove really helpful when it comes to seeing how you are progressing on your own.
Tough job, challenging goal, but really rewarding… teaching students to lead their own learning path… alone again, naturally.