Whose responsibility is it to see that an individual's spelling improves? Many people would say it is the teacher’s, but is it really possible to take responsibility for another person’s learning? We can do our very best to make the reasons clear, the subject engaging and the progress achievable, but the learner must take the ultimate responsibility for learning.
Remember, you can lead a horse to water, tell it how refreshing the water is, tell a story about how the water got there, and play horsey games in the water ... but you can’t make it drink. If learners want to improve their spelling they will have to recognise that they are the agents of change.
To help learners to take responsibility for their own learning, we can try the following:
• make it clear that we expect them to do so;
• discuss the issues of motivation and self-study with them;
• teach them spelling strategies that they can use;
• provide opportunities for them to read more;
• give them some choice in what and how they learn;
• let them discover patterns rather than telling them;
• make practice activities engaging and relevant;
• show that we value the work they have done;
• help them see their own progress - rather than compare it to the performance of others;
• tell them that we can’t and won’t try to force them to learn.
Learner autonomy is a complex issue and we may not succeed easily in getting some learners to take responsibility, but it’s certainly worth a try.
Lots of activities and techniques for doing the above in my book, Teaching Spelling to English Language Learners.
Anyway that's what I think. Do you agree?