Engaging Adult Learners of English Using Collaboration and Negotiation

Larcy C. Abello

Abstract


This work stems from the author’s experience as a teacher-researcher handling Intensive English for Foreign Graduate Students from several Southeast Asian countries, in line with the program of the University of the Philippines at Los Baños to enrich their reading and vocabulary skills.

This reports the teaching-learning practices which help learners to cope with their reading and vocabulary difficulties. Survey and interview encourage adult learners to take active part in planning targets based on identified needs. For these adult learners of English to be responsive and receptive, a thorough needs analysis is required to adopt an appropriate teaching-learning design. Contrary to a common practice of using a predetermined content and conduct of lessons provided by commercially available texts, this particular procedure encourages a contextualized and integrated approach and focuses on scaffolding and empowering of learners through a more dynamic and looser organization of subject matter. Collaboration and negotiation empower learners, making learning fulfilling and liberating; thus, the teacher acts as an effective facilitator of a learning process and not a mere lecturer/proctor who delivers a predetermined learning package.

The experience highlights the need for teachers to become active, flexible, and engaged action researchers to upgrade the quality of teaching and learning. No educator should settle doing the same routine (lessons, activities, exercises, approaches) considering the ever-changing role of English language in the globalized world. In short, an action research keeps the teacher on track as s/he remains faithful to the ultimate aim of English language teaching: that is, to produce autonomous and empowered individuals who can communicate effectively, solve problems strategically, and think/analyze critically.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jet.v3i1.8351

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