Monday, 18 May 2009

Reflecting on my personal learning environment...
Hi everybody!
Today I'm going to discuss a very important topic, i.e. my personal learning environment. Since we're at the end of our English course, and of our academic career in general I think it's really useful to reflect upon the ways we have to maintain our language. Unfortunately, learning a foreign language is a complex matter because it requires time and effort every day otherwise you lose and forget it. This is the reason why tracing a mind map pointing out 'informal' ways of learning is fundamental to become aware of how we can avoid forgetting our English. Thinking of my personal learning environment, I listed all the means I usually adopt to improve my English. Then I divided them into different groups according to some criteria. The result was a mind map made up of four categories of learning activities: formal education, leisure activities, information retrieving, and interactive learning. In the first group I put academic lessons and lectures, grammars, books and dictionaries – especially monolingual dictionaries – my teachers suggested to use during my university career or that I chose to use to study for my exams; in the second group I put all the ways I have to practice my English outside University and that I enjoy very much, such as listening to music, reading books for personal interest, listening to the radio, watching movies. In the group concerning the ways I use to retrieve information I put again listening to the radio and books, and added the Internet through websites and weblogs, and reading magazines and journals. Finally, by 'interactive learning' I mean all those activities where I learn and improve English by interacting and communicating with other people, be they my peers and colleagues, or my teachers. As you can see, some activities can be put in more than one groups. It depends on how I consider them. For example, listening to the radio can be considered both as a leisure activity when I listen to it without particular purposes, just to practice, and as a way to retrieve information when I listen to news or some specific programs with a particular purpose. I would like to explain why I put the Internet in the group of 'information retrieving' rather than among leisure activities. I hate using the computer and the Internet even if I know that nowadays they're very important means of communication. However, I try to use it only if necessary. What is certain is that I don't consider using the Internet a leisure activity, I prefer other ways of relaxing much more... I really hope to go on improving my English, and that this map can help me do it!
For now that's all

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