PROMOTING LEARNER AUTONOMY THROUGH GROUP PRESENTATIONS
The American University in Dubai (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)
Group presentations play a significant role in fostering learner autonomy. The purpose of this study is to examine how low-intermediate ESL learners develop collaborative autonomous learning abilities while preparing and delivering group presentations. The study also aims at discussing ESL students’ perceptions concerning the design and administration of quizzes in class. Learners were asked to form groups, write their own reading, vocabulary, or grammar quiz collaboratively, and prepare a group presentation to introduce the testing materials to their peers. The groups were surveyed before the presentations were announced and after the presentations were graded. Data analysis was performed by using quantitative research and case study techniques to provide accurate information that could lead to identifying emerging tendencies. Results confirmed previous research on the role of group presentations, and brought new data as to how students collaborate when they have to write and discuss a quiz. The group presentation topic was found to enhance students’ critical thinking skills, affected quiz taking perceptions, provided peer feedback, and improved students’ motivation and interaction by writing a quiz collaboratively for an authentic audience. At the same time, data showed that some students were inclined to use previous quizzes and the material published online to write their own quizzes, which generated less accuracy in editing the quizzes and deciding what content to include. All in all, the majority of the students developed their autonomous learning skills and a positive experience preparing and delivering the group presentations.