Authentic Texts as a Basis for Autonomous Learning

Meister T (2012)
In: Learner Autonomy in the English Classroom: Empirical Studies and Ideas for Teachers. Lennon P (Ed);Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang: 273-297.

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Lennon, Paul
Abstract
Communicative and cooperative approaches to language teaching have long since been accepted as state of the art. Within these approaches learner-centered class-rooms have replaced traditional teacher-centered settings and learner autonomy has gained importance. Autonomous learning in turn demands the use of teaching ma-terials appropriate to the learner-centered classroom. Authentic texts suggest them-selves since they provide students with real-world information that can capture the students’ interest, stimulate motivation, and enhance levels of involvement in learn-ing activities. But there is a trap. Without thorough understanding of authentic texts students will not be able to form their opinions based on information, but will be-come dependent on guesswork, second hand residual knowledge, and even stereo-types. When reading unfamiliar and complex authentic texts students are always tempted to rely on their background knowledge rather than their reading comprehen-sion. The present study is concerned with the question of how much information students actually retrieve from complex and unfamiliar authentic texts. The research was conducted in the eleventh grade of a German comprehensive school. The ad-vanced learners in this group were asked to read a complex authentic text on a topic they had only limited and general background knowledge about. Qualitative and quantitative understanding was surveyed. The focus was put on the condensation of the text’s most important points, the identification of the important actors, and the reconstruction of their relations. Results showed that although a considerable num-ber of students were able to identify the most important actors and the text’s topic, there was great variation in how much information the students could retrieve from the text. Some summaries and parts of the questionnaires suggested that some of the learners had not understood or misunderstood the text. This leads to a discussion of various reading strategies that can help the students to become more competent readers.
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Meister T. Authentic Texts as a Basis for Autonomous Learning. In: Lennon P, ed. Learner Autonomy in the English Classroom: Empirical Studies and Ideas for Teachers. Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang; 2012: 273-297.
Meister, T. (2012). Authentic Texts as a Basis for Autonomous Learning. In P. Lennon (Ed.), Learner Autonomy in the English Classroom: Empirical Studies and Ideas for Teachers (pp. 273-297). Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang.
Meister, T. (2012). “Authentic Texts as a Basis for Autonomous Learning” in Learner Autonomy in the English Classroom: Empirical Studies and Ideas for Teachers, ed. P. Lennon (Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang), 273-297.
Meister, T., 2012. Authentic Texts as a Basis for Autonomous Learning. In P. Lennon, ed. Learner Autonomy in the English Classroom: Empirical Studies and Ideas for Teachers. Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang, pp. 273-297.
T. Meister, “Authentic Texts as a Basis for Autonomous Learning”, Learner Autonomy in the English Classroom: Empirical Studies and Ideas for Teachers, P. Lennon, ed., Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang, 2012, pp.273-297.
Meister, T.: Authentic Texts as a Basis for Autonomous Learning. In: Lennon, P. (ed.) Learner Autonomy in the English Classroom: Empirical Studies and Ideas for Teachers. p. 273-297. Peter Lang, Frankfurt a.M. (2012).
Meister, Till. “Authentic Texts as a Basis for Autonomous Learning”. Learner Autonomy in the English Classroom: Empirical Studies and Ideas for Teachers. Ed. Paul Lennon. Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang, 2012. 273-297.
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