One way I foster independent learning in my students is by ending our reading lesson with 20 minutes of individual or pair reading time. The students use this time to re-read the material that they have already practiced in verbal activities and choral reading. This is their chance to read the material again on their own or with a partner.
Since our classroom is quite crowded and doesn't have a lot of room to move around, we move over to a nearby assembly room to spread out and read. Sometimes I give students the option to read with a partner or alone. Sometimes I will give instructions to mix people up such as "read with someone from a different country" or "read with someone from the same country". Sometimes I will strategically pair students, either a higher student who can coach a lower student, or students at similar levels that will read well together. Sometimes I'll have students spread out and read silently to themselves. I always circulate around the room and listen for a few minutes to as many of the individuals or pairs as I can during 20 minutes. It gives me a great chance to see what students are capable of on their own, and to coach them individually.
Regular individual reading time has helped my students practice and develop independent learning skills. Adult students who haven't had any previous education in their native language are "learning how to learn" in addition to learning language. Fostering independent learning is a key component of "learning how to learn". How do you help your students develop independent learning skills?