Analysis on the importance of autonomous learning ability in university English


校园英语·中旬 2017年13期


【Abstract】With the tight cooperation between country and country, a common language is becoming more and more importance. Due to historical factor, English is the most popular language in the world, so it is important for people to master English well. In 1980s, the term of autonomous learning has been proposed by Henry Holec. In university, students have more time belong to themselves. In other word, autonomous learning is more important than class learning, which is different from the situation in senior high school.

【Key words】Autonomous Learning; Importance English

1. Theoretical basis

Since 1950s, language become an independent profession. Language is not just a simple process. Many other professional knowledge participates in learning, such as psychology, logic and so on. Henry Holec (1981) was the first person who introduced the term of autonomous learning into English learning. In Holecs book, Autonomy and Foreign Language Learning, he analyzed practice, term and meanings of autonomous learning. He defined autonomous as a kind of ability of taking responsibility for learners themselves. The term of autonomous learning has been defined by other scholars. For example, Numan (1995) considered autonomous learning as an ability of setting targets and learning independently.

2. Importance of autonomous learning ability

Different from other English-speaking countries, most of people around Chinese students in university speak Chinese. In other word, Chinese students in universities dont have the environment of learning second language, so they have to learn English by themselves. In addition, teachers in universities only play the roles of guiders. They dont focus on the education of students all the time. Practice is one important stage of English learning in universities. It is impossible for English teachers to communicate with each student, because the energy and time of an English teacher is limited.

English is mainly made up by three components:words, grammar and pronounce. Each component has large content, especially English words. New English words occur all the time. Memory curve reveals that a person must repeat one thing several times one day, if he or she want to remember the thing. Without autonomous learning ability, a student in universities cant repeat English every day by himself or herself. As a result, he or she may waste a lot time in learning English and get nothing.

As a saying goes, you may lose one thing easily, if you get the thing easily. A student listens to his or her teacher all the time and forget to repeat the knowledge after classes, he or she may forget the knowledge sooner or later. However, the knowledge got by himself or herself can root in his or her mind deeply. Such a phenomenon has been proved by scientists. A touch process can make cynapse stronger, which means that people cant forget one thing easily.endprint

3. Cultivating autonomous learning ability

Autonomous learning ability plays an important role in university English learning, students in universities must pay attention to it and learn how to cultivate autonomous learning ability. In the following paragraphs, the author introduces several methods of cultivating autonomous learning ability.

At first, students in university must set clear targets before they carry out plans of autonomous learning. The targets could not be fuzzy, such as reading a book, going to English corner and so on. Instead, they must set some precise targets, such as reading a book in two weeks, going to English corner every day and so on. In addition, the targets must be ambitious and inspired, because it is useless to fight for a small target. An ambitious target can push you to work and learn harder all the time.

Second, students must have good learning strategies. Good learning strategies can help students save time and energy. According to Andersons cognitive frameset, learning strategies can be divided into three groups:metacognitive strategies, cognitive strategies and social affective strategies. Before carrying out learning strategies, students must know their ability and current situation of their English levels.

Third, although the method is named as autonomous learning, teachers should participate in the process and make important effect in students English learning. Project-based learning is applied by more and more teachers, because the method not only makes students learn by themselves, but also promotes them to cooperate with others and innovate new elements. Teaching project is the combination of a series of real tasks and missions. In the project, students can learn English and experience English.


Autonomous learning ability is very important. Students can remember English for a long time and learn more deeply. In addition, such a kind of ability can make students adjust to new environment quickly and efficiently. Autonomous learning ability must be cultivated, but students in universities must apply scientific methods. Teachers cant be excluded from the process. They should assistant students to make more achievement.