What makes a responsible learner? Do they always do their homework and follow the teacher's instructions? Are they good team workers? Or do they volunteer to clean the blackboard? Are they diligent and obedient? They may not always be like that.
We do not think of responsible learners as role models (or teacher's pets), but as learners who accept the idea that their own efforts are crucial to progress in learning, and behave accordingly. So, when doing their homework or answering a question in class, they are not aspiring to please the teacher, or to get a good mark. They are simply making an effort in order to learn something.
Responsible learners do not have to be especially keen on team work, but they are willing to cooperate with the teacher and others in the learning group for everyone's benefit. Cooperation does not mean that they always obediently follow instructions: they may ask about the purpose of the activity first, or they may even offer suggestions on how to improve an activity.
Finally, responsible students may not always do their homework, but whenever they fail to do it, they are conscious of missing an opportunity to expand their knowledge of the foreign language. This is because they consciously control their own progress, and make an effort to use all opportunities to their benefit, including classroom activities and homework.
The saying goes: you can bring a horse to the water, but you cannot make him drink. Teachers can provide all the necessary circumstances and input, but learning will only happen if learners are willing to contribute. And, in order for learners to be actively involved in the learning process, they first need to realise that success in learning depends as much on the student as on the teacher.
1. Write a summary of the text in English, including the most important points, using your own words whenever possible (maximum 50 words).
2. Find words or phrases in the text that correspond in meaning to the words and definitions given here.
- a) offer to do something: volunteer
- b) aiming, hoping: aspiring
- c) enthusiastic about: keen on
- d) widen, extend: expand
3. Complete the second sentence of each pair so that it has the same meaning as the first one.
- a) Do responsible learners volunteer to clean the blackboard? Are they diligent and obedient?
- The writer asks if / whether responsible learners volunteer to clean the blackboard and if / whether they are diligent and obedient.
- b) They may not always be like that.
- c) You can bring a horse to the water
- A horse can be brought to the water.
- d) Learning will only happen if learners are willing to contribute.
4. Answer the following questions in your own words.
- a) Give three characteristics of responsible learners.
- They consider that their own work is very important for the process of learning a language /if they want to learn a language / to learn a language, they are cooperative in class /they are willing to cooperate in class, they control their own progress, they try to use every opportunity to learn.
- b) What are the two main elements necessary for learning to happen?
5. What activities did you enjoy most in your English classes? And which ones did you like least? (Approximately 120 words)
The thing I enjoyed most in my English classes was listening to songs and trying to understand the words. I like music very much, and it is always interesting to know what a song is about. Also, I think this helps you to learn, because you listen to songs lots of times and, if you understand the words, in the end you remember them. Apart from this, I liked it when we had conversation lessons with a young teacher who came from the USA. She told us a lot of things about where she came from, and this was very interesting. The activity I liked least was doing grammar exercises. This was boring, because you had to repeat things which didn’t really have much meaning.