Developing autonomy through portfolios and networks in CLIL lectures

John Lindsay Adamson

Abstract


This study has explored the use of portfolios and of awareness-raising of literacy networks in a CLIL lecture preparation class for first-year undergraduates in a Japanese university.  It is argued that CLIL-related literature has a paucity of practical studies investigating these two elements essential to autonomy-building, particularly for students who have been previously mostly exposed to teacher-centered modes of instruction. Questionnaires asking students their perceptions of portfolio use and self-study were gathered over three years and were coupled with a one year small-scale data set of student-drawn ‘literacy maps’ exploring who and what materials students had consulted to produce a final lecture-related report. Findings revealed increased awareness of the importance of portfolio and self-study and even their cross-fertilization over to other classes across the language and content curricula; however, some reticence was evident regarding self-scoring in self-study mode, showing that the transition from traditional teacher-centredness at high school had not yet been overcome. Also, of importance was the initially extensive use of self-access center advisors which, when withdrawn, may have negatively impacted students’ literacy networks. Implications to be drawn from this study lie primarily in the expanded use of portfolios and increased awareness-raising of student networks as important means towards the development of autonomous study skills and literacy. Questions do, however, remain as to the extent that this approach actually mirrors English-medium instruction in content classes at the university.


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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5294/4018

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