The need for self-assessment in language learning

David Gardner in his article Self-assessment for autonomous language learners:

It should be clear that self-assessment is not about leaving students to fend for themselves. It is about teachers creating opportunities for students to make responsible choices which individualise assessments to their own needs.

There is a lot packed into that statement. I know instructors who believe that having students become more autonomous means leaving them alone, allowing them to work things out no their own. This should never be the case. Students are responsible for setting goals and objectives, but only in consultation with their peers and teacher. Students don’t always know that they need, that is why we are there as teachers to nudge them and gently guide them. Giving students choices and allowing them to find the best route is a simple way to be less intrusive while still being supportive. This allows them to make ‘responsible choices’ that help motivate them intrinsincly. Once a student becomes self-motivated, it doesn’t take much for them to grow. We plant the seed, they water and nurture it until it grows.

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