The Language Centre of the University of Parma is responsible for the organization and administration of foreign language tests to a large number of university students. In order to reduce the high rate of test failures, the Language Centre has recently devised a pilot programme as an alternative to more established modes of language learning, teaching and testing. The project diverges from other academic experiences since it is aimed at respecting students’ learning models and choices. Thanks to the implementation of effective quality management and the introduction of an autonomy-inspired language learning environment, students can select their own learning path according to their initial level of competence, choosing from different courses available and different types of final tests, as well as developing a personalized self-study learning programme under the supervision of the language advisors. Moving from the different variations of the concept of “autonomous or independent learning” (Holec 1981; Dickinson 1987; Little 1991; Esch 1997; Nunan 1997; Littlewood 1999; Mansfield 2002; Benson 2011), this article presents a proposal aimed at assuring students the right of choice based on their degree of (in)dependence on teachers and advisors. The fundamental guiding principles are modelled on the integration of Holec’s (2009) co-directed and selfdirected paradigms, as well as on Murray’s (2009) learning structure, that focus on students’ engagement and management. Results from the academic year 2010–2011 relating to the trial of the programme show an 8% increase in test success, while surveys among students have confirmed that learners feel more confident, and are more motivated to engage with the final exam if their learning model is respected.

Designing tailor-made academic paths for university language students / Beseghi, Micol; Bertolotti, Greta. - In: LANGUAGE LEARNING IN HIGHER EDUCATION. - ISSN 2191-6128. - 2:2(2013), pp. 319-337. [10.1515/cercles-2012-0017]

Designing tailor-made academic paths for university language students

Beseghi, Micol
;
Bertolotti, Greta
2013

Abstract

The Language Centre of the University of Parma is responsible for the organization and administration of foreign language tests to a large number of university students. In order to reduce the high rate of test failures, the Language Centre has recently devised a pilot programme as an alternative to more established modes of language learning, teaching and testing. The project diverges from other academic experiences since it is aimed at respecting students’ learning models and choices. Thanks to the implementation of effective quality management and the introduction of an autonomy-inspired language learning environment, students can select their own learning path according to their initial level of competence, choosing from different courses available and different types of final tests, as well as developing a personalized self-study learning programme under the supervision of the language advisors. Moving from the different variations of the concept of “autonomous or independent learning” (Holec 1981; Dickinson 1987; Little 1991; Esch 1997; Nunan 1997; Littlewood 1999; Mansfield 2002; Benson 2011), this article presents a proposal aimed at assuring students the right of choice based on their degree of (in)dependence on teachers and advisors. The fundamental guiding principles are modelled on the integration of Holec’s (2009) co-directed and selfdirected paradigms, as well as on Murray’s (2009) learning structure, that focus on students’ engagement and management. Results from the academic year 2010–2011 relating to the trial of the programme show an 8% increase in test success, while surveys among students have confirmed that learners feel more confident, and are more motivated to engage with the final exam if their learning model is respected.
Designing tailor-made academic paths for university language students / Beseghi, Micol; Bertolotti, Greta. - In: LANGUAGE LEARNING IN HIGHER EDUCATION. - ISSN 2191-6128. - 2:2(2013), pp. 319-337. [10.1515/cercles-2012-0017]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11381/2871651
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