Independent and creative learner in the ESP classroom
Valūnaitė Oleškevičienė, Giedrė
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One of the aims of university education is to prepare an independent researcher who is able to process and manage information flow and think critically. The task of making an oral presentation is very effective in developing indispensable professional skills and English for Specific Purposes (ESP) skills. In addition, it allows an ESP teacher to combine autonomous learning with social interaction in the classroom. The object of the research is focused on the ESP teaching/learning. This object has been chosen due to its importance and relevance in the overall academic setting as well as for the formation of individual professional skills of students. The main question raised in the research is how presentation preparation task and its outcomes add up to the improvement of professional skills. Thus the research was carried out aiming to reveal that preparation for a presentation stimulates learner independence (autonomy), the follow-up tasks (prepared by students) and discussion enhance social interaction and students gain valuable research skills. As a research tool a questionnaire was designed to obtain both quantitative and qualitative data. The main questions addressed were: (1) how does preparation for a presentation stimulate learner independence (autonomy)? (2) how do the follow-up tasks and discussion enhance social interaction? and (3) what skills do students gain while implementing the task? The research proved that preparation for a presentation and the subsequent performance supplemented by language use tasks designed by students themselves (i) catalyse learner independence (autonomy), (ii) assist the learner and his group mates in acquiring indispensable scientific research skills and ESP skills, and (iii) develop critical thinking.
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