28Connecting Informal and Formal Language Learning



This chapter has two main aims. The first is to review the key concepts in informal and autonomous learning. The second aim is to explain how second‐language (L2) and foreign‐language teachers can help their learners to benefit from the insights gained by autonomous learners. Autonomous and informal learners often dedicate significant time to their L2 learning and thus they have many insights to share that L2 learners could benefit from hearing just as L2 learners would benefit from seeing successful models of autonomous informal language learners.

Key concepts related to informal and autonomous language learning

Considerable debate exists around the definition of autonomy in the language‐learning classroom (Teng 2018). One somewhat widely used description has defined autonomous learning as “the ability to take charge of one's own learning” which entails “determining the objectives, defining the contents and progressions, selecting methods and techniques, monitoring the procedure of acquisitions, and evaluating what has been acquired” (Holec 1981, p. 3). Pawlak et al. (2017) point out that our language‐learning autonomy is apparent in our goal‐setting, resource and strategy use, time management, self‐assessment, as well as cognizance of our needs, goals and inclinations. Ability, desire, and freedom have also been identified as essential components of learner autonomy. Ability is thought ...

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