Danica Stanimir Pirsl, Solzica Popovska, Nadezda Stojkovic

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Many students have trouble making a transition to the more independent learning required at the university level of studies as compared to their previous study levels and habits. University study requires students to take responsibility for their own learning, to be more self-directed, to make decisions about what they will focus on and how much time they will spend on learning both inside and outside the classroom. How does this fact relate to ESP? First, students are highly motivated to learn their future expertise language. From the first year on they have to write seminar papers, thus writing skills come to the fore. They are asked to give oral presentations so they need their professional language. Now, they pay more attention to their mistakes, they are anxious to improve their performance. At their second year of studies they are preparing to go abroad, usually the States. Naturally, they need conversational experience and insist on learning it. And we as teachers must follow the ESP scheme of fulfilling the students' needs and prepare them for the harsh reality of the labor market so they can competently join their respective discourse communities. This transition may be especially difficult for students who may be used to more support and direction and even ‘parent-like’ relationships with their teachers at university. It will be useful for them to know precisely how they are responsible for their learning in their new setting. This will require them to understand that they need to play a more active role in their own learning and will require greater self-motivation and organization and greater self-awareness (metacognition) of their learning needs and behaviors. Therefore, it is important that this pivotal concept of independent learning is explained to students on the onset of their studies, so that they know what is required of them within their new study context and disciplines taught.

Key words: critical thinking, independent learning, university setting, ESP, students

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