Developing a framework for promoting self-directed learning in first-year English for Education
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Breed (2016:1) raises the concern that the South African education system at large does not encourage activities that allow learners to develop SDL skills. More specifically, De Beer and Gravett (2016:46) sound the alarm that at higher education level, most first-year student teachers within the South African context, do not engage with SDL at all. This is disconcerting since students at tertiary level across the world are expected to be self-directed, taking responsibility for their own academic progress while focusing on active rather than passive learning (Nasri, 2017:1). The aim of this study was to develop a framework in order to encourage and support first-year English for Education students to engage with self-directed learning (SDL) more frequently and more effectively. The English for Education course at the North-West University requires students to be self-directed and critical thinkers. However, the high dropout rate (NWU, 2018) of the first-year English for Education students (more or less 25% per annum) suggests that students find it difficult to adapt in their first year of tertiary studies. Therefore, to develop this framework, it was necessary to gain insight into the students’ perceptions of and experiences with SDL. Set within a constructivist-interpretive paradigm, this study acknowledged the participants as co-constructors of knowledge, as their inputs were used for the development of the SDL framework. The findings illustrate that the first-year English for Education students do not receive sufficient support in terms of SDL, due to the gap between secondary- and tertiary education. The findings also indicate that the students require a framework that could serve as a guide to ease them into the process of engaging in SDL. Feedback, collaboration and technology, key themes that emerged from the study, were incorporated with the development of the framework.
- Education