Developing learner autonomy
Anna Ágnes Szeghy
Learner autonomy, taking responsibility for one’s own learning, has become one of the focal points of learner-centered research in second language acquisition. This session explores learner autonomy from theory and practice from the teachers’ points of view. First, I will briefly review the literature on learner autonomy, then I will report the findings of my research project that aimed to examine what teachers at OLIve believe about learner autonomy: how they define it and what practices they employ in the classroom to promote autonomous learning. Finally, I will discuss some of the principles we need to consider when designing courses to promote autonomy, and I will share some practical ideas that I gained from the literature, from the interviews I conducted with teachers and from my own experience.
Erica Masserano & OLIve alumni
This presentation joins creative work and discussions by OLIve alumni and facilitators to co-produce an account of what creativity is to them, what barriers they have encountered in their origin and current countries, and the relationship with creativity they experience as a result. The reading will feature pieces by OLIve graduates that revolves around creativity as experienced and deconstructed through life writing. These pieces are often inflected by race, gender, orientation and class and the discrimination they may cause in term of access and representation, but also celebrate creativity as something embedded in our lives. They highlight the psychosocial meaning of creativity and allow the OLIve graduates’ voices to be heard in the conversation about refugee education as experts in their own experience. Erica Masserano has facilitated the group since 2019 and will present her notes taken in conversation with the group and with OLIve creative skills facilitators who have a displaced background, offering a discussion of theoretical underpinnings in creative modes of knowledge production and best practice when facilitating creative skills spaces.
Core Writing Skills in the Liberal Arts Context: Defining a genre and scaffolding its acquisition for OLIve-AY students
E. Cameron Wilson
In this talk I discuss my research on midterm and final essays in the Bard College Berlin core curriculum and ways of scaffolding the relevant writing skills for students from refugee backgrounds. Interviews with faculty of the first-year core curriculum at Bard have yielded insight into the genre of the liberal-arts university essay and how it differs from either a research paper or the traditional ‘five-paragraph essay’. I will describe the perspectives of these faculty members on the purpose and evaluation of these essays, as well as their experiences of writing from with students from ‘non-Western’ educational backgrounds. I will also share some of the successes and failures of the hybrid Medieval Literature/Academic Writing class that I developed this past semester and how the results of this experiment could inform OLIve-AY’s EAP curriculum going forward.