Placing the learner at the centre of the teaching process, self-assessment has emerged as a useful tool that enables students to become more aware of their own learning progress. A significant number of teaching methodologies advise that the most effective path to language proficiency is learner autonomy. Autonomy can be described, in part, as placing the main responsibility for development in the hands of the learner, while the teacher acts as a facilitator and counsellor in the process.
Being able to assess your own learning, identifying milestones and modifying your path to language acquisition is a demanding skillset to master, even for experienced learners. Developing consciousness of your own learning processes can begin by identifying a few key aspects that describe basic language functions you are comfortable performing often, with ease and independently.
These language functions can be identified as ‘can do’ statements. These statements, written in simple language, iterate the functions a learner has been exposed to during a lesson or another key stage in the course of an academic year. As an example, ‘I can count to 10’ is a simple descriptive statement that helps the learner assess what they have learned, think about their learning and achievement and in due course, make decisions on how to proceed.
Even very young learners can begin using such metalanguage to assess their progress and aim for better results. Thinking about your learning path is part of the process and one of the most effective techniques employed by successful language learners.
by George Theodoropoulos, Production Editor, hyphen SA