Global Language and World Culture
Autonomous Learning

Autonomous Learning

Autonomous Learning
Autonomous Learning

Autonomous Learning. Successful language learning entails learner motivation, cooperation and empathy. This approach places emphasis on learner development.

If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid with regard to external things. Don’t wish to be thought to know anything; and even if you appear to be somebody important to others, distrust yourself. For, it is difficult to both keep your faculty of choice in a state conformable to nature, and at the same time acquire external things. But while you are careful about the one, you must of necessity neglect the other.

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.
Albert Einstein (Autonomous Learning)

There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.
Miyamoto Musashi  The Book of Five Rings

Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.
T.H. White, The Once and Future King

Knowledge is not free. You have to pay attention.
R. Feynman

It is not so very important for a person to learn facts. For that he does not really need a college. He can learn them from books. The value of an education [at an institution] is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks.
Albert Einstein

When the student is ready the teacher appears. When the student is truly ready, the teacher disappears.
Lao Tzu

Education means development of the mind so that it will work for you and not against you. All education is self-acquired because no one can educate another.
Napoleon Hill

Not ignorance, but ignorance of ignorance, is the death of knowledge.
Alfred North Whitehead

Day by day, what you think and what you do is who you become.

The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.
Leonardo da Vinci

You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.
Galileo Galilei

Your knowledge is far more important than your degree.
Paul Dirac

My education was neglected, yet I was passionately fond of reading.
Mary Shelley

The whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don’t know how to be submissive, and so on, because they’re dysfunctional to the institutions.
Noam Chomsky

The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. No big laboratory is needed in which to think. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind.
Nikola Tesla

Learning never exhausts the mind.
Leonardo da Vinci

Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.
Malcolm S. Forbes

It is well to read everything of something, and something of everything.
Lord Henry P. Brougham

Education must not only be the stupid learning of facts through rote methods, but also the training of mind to think starting from every kind of event. So take your opportunities to improve your knowledge of the world practicing some good eclectic strategies.
Carl William Brown

Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.
Oscar Wilde

Ignorance, the root and stem of all evil.

Education… has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading, an easy prey to sensations and cheap appeals.
G. M. Trevelyan

Nothing is more securely lodged than the ignorance of the experts.
Friedrich August von Hayek

After all manner of professors have done their best for us, the place we are to get knowledge is in books. The true university of these days is a collection of books.
Thomas Carlyle

I’ve never let my school interfere with my education.
Mark Twain

The best effect of any book, is that it excites the reader to self-activity.
Thomas Carlyle

The whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don’t know how to be submissive, and so on – because they’re dysfunctional to the institutions.
Noam Chomsky

School can provide you an education and university can give you a culture, but self-knowledge and self-learning can help you to make a fortune.
Carl William Brown

Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.
Robert Frost

There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.
Jiddu Krishnamurti

I have come to discover through earnest personal experience and dedicated learning that ultimately the greatest help is self-help; that there is no other help but self-help – doing one’s best, dedicating oneself wholeheartedly to a given task, which happens to have no end but is an on-going process.
Bruce Lee

Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.
Isaac Asimov (1920-1992, Russian-born American author)

Everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching.
Oscar Wilde

He was really brilliant, clever and had a lot of imagination too, but unfortunately he was a donkey and thinking of being a horse wasn’t enough.
Carl William Brown

God made the Idiot for practice, and then He made the School Board.
Mark Twain

In England … education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and would probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.
Oscar Wilde

The best education consists in immunizing people against systematic attempts at education.
Paul Kark Feyerabend

The first thing a student should understand to have success is that of becoming a self-taught man.
Carl William Brown

Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.
Robert Frost

The more I read the more I figured out that only one conclusion is possible: languages cannot be taught, they can only be learned. Everything turns around the learner and his/her passion.
Carl William Brown

Art is not to be taught in Academies. It is what one looks at, not what one listens to, that makes the artist. The real schools should be the streets.
Oscar Wilde

The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.
John Maynard Keynes

A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.
Bruce Lee

Education: the inculcation of the incomprehensible into the indifferent by the incompetent.
John Maynard Keynes

The psychic task which a person can and must set for himself is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity.
Erich Fromm

There is no such thing as ”the Queen’s English.” The property has gone into the hands of a joint stock company and we own the bulk of the shares!
Mark Twain

Children have a natural antipathy to books- handicraft should be the basis of education. Boys and girls should be taught to use their hands to make something, and they would be less apt to destroy and be mischievous.
Oscar Wilde

The best education consists in immunizing people against systematic attempts at education.
Paul Kark Feyerabend

Finally, Julio mentions the importance of making the language part of your life. Just as a boy learning how to play soccer would go out in the streets to play with his buddies, language learning shouldn’t be confined to your bedroom or classroom. Go out and have fun with it!
Julio César

Genius lasts longer than Beauty. That accounts for the fact that we all take such pains to over-educate ourselves.
Oscar Wilde

As Mark Twain once remarked, “The Best Education Happens outside the Classroom” which means that self learning that takes place outside the formal channels can be both informative as well as educational. To explain, self-learning ensures that learners learn outside the formal systems thereby giving them more flexibility and freedom to explore new avenues of learning.

Further, the fact that self learning is technologically enabled means that educational methods that are not usually the methods in classroom-based teaching can be made available to the learners thereby enhancing the value of such learning.

Successful language learning entails learner motivation, cooperation and empathy. Naturally, this approach places emphasis on learner development. There are a number of stages in the learner development process. The uppermost stages include raising language awareness (how learners can contribute to their own learning), changing learning strategies (self-monitoring, responding to peers, etc.), and, finally, assuming responsibility for their own learning. The last stage implies transferring some traditional teacher’s roles to learners which allows them to become more independent. (Kavaliauskiene, 2002)

It is advisable, however, instead of prompting the right answer to give learners some tips that might help them produce the correct answer. Usually someone in class does.

At lower levels, students might lack self-confidence to use English. If learners feel like using their first language, do not discourage them. Let students become familiar with activity and feel comfortable and secure.


This activity can be used for peer-checking of progress tests administered by teachers. Having administered a few versions (to avoid cheating) of progress tests, ask students to exchange their worksheets, correct their peer’s work and allow them to grade it. Learners enjoy playing teachers!

Next, let students discuss their performance by working in pairs or small groups. The teacher’s role is to monitor pairs’ work and give advice if necessary.

Useful Tip

Avoid ‘denouncing’ students for making mistakes. The damage to a student’s reputation might be irreparable. Individual counseling is preferable.

Student-produced Tests LEVEL: elementary & above

OBJECTIVES: peer-assessment, self-assessment, producing materials, reflection on usage, interaction, recycling grammar/vocabulary

TARGET LANGUAGE: vocabulary, grammar, word-building, matching words& definitions

MATERIALS: handouts, worksheets, transparencies from

web-based, authentic or textbook materials


PROCEDURE: work in pairs / small groups / whole class discussion

TIME LIMIT: flexible

The choice of materials that students can use for producing tests for their peers depends on their level. Higher level students are apt to create a variety of exercises (word-building, gap-filling, language in use, matching words and definitions) and use authentic materials. Lower level students prefer to produce grammar exercises similar to ones in their textbooks.

For students, making their own tests is an extremely motivating activity, which also has an element of self-study and self-assessment. Learners are bound to reflect on the items they have chosen for testing

In class, learners hand out worksheets to their peers, set a time limit and provide assistance if needed. The outcome is discussed either between groups or in the whole class.

The teacher’s role is to monitor learners’ activities in pairs or small groups unobtrusively. Intervention is unnecessary unless learners need assistance.

Useful Tip

It is advisable to check and correct mistakes on the learners’ worksheets before they are handed out to their peers.

Tests might be presented on transparencies and implemented as a whole class activity (provided an overhead projector is available in the classroom).


Kavaliauskiene, G. Three Activities to Promote Learner’s Autonomy. The Internet TESL Journal. Vol. VIII, No. 7, July 2002.

Further pragmatic resources for language and cultural learning: Learner autonomy is the idea of learners developing skills for learning outside of the classroom, or without constant instruction. Encouraging learner autonomy involves playing an active role in their learning, making decisions about their learning, and reflecting and evaluating their learning. The Cambridge Life Competencies Framework includes Learning to Learn, which deals with the skills necessary to become a more autonomous learner of English, as well as study skills more generally. Techniques for encouraging learner autonomy include note-taking and vocabulary, flashcards, spaced repetition and example sentences, and social media settings, graded readers and switching off subtitles.

About this topic you can also read:

Quotes on Education

Education first of all

Why is education so important

University education

World education news