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A Study on a Group of Indian English as a Second Language Learners’ Perceptions of Autonomous Learning

Keywords: Learner autonomy , ESL , readiness

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Abstract:

Learner autonomy has been one of the most popular terms in the language learning field lately. Researchers have been conducting studies to see different aspects of learner autonomy and to bring different suggestions to teachers to promote autonomous learning in their classrooms. Students of a particular cultural background would not show the same level of readiness for learner autonomy as the students of another culture. Cultural and educational settings of the instruction affect how the teachers and students perceive the concept of learner autonomy, and these differences in perception obviously affect how the ways to promote learner autonomy work. As the perception and realization of learner autonomy changes depending on the cultural background, it is important to see the autonomy-related perspectives of different learners and teachers around the world. Thus, aiming to contribute the relevant literature from this standpoint, the main aim of this study was to explore four Indian English as a second language (ESL) learners’ perceptions related to teacher and learner responsibilities in the language learning process and to get an idea of how ESL students in the Indian educational context perceive the concepts related to learner independence. Three interview sessions were conducted with the participants in order to reach the aim of the study. The data were analyzed according to three main categories: (a) aspects of language learning for which the participants saw the teacher as the most responsible figure in the classroom; (b) aspects of learning for which the participants considered students to be more responsible; (c) aspects that both the teacher and the students share equal responsibility. It was hoped that the results of the study would provide guidance to teachers and researchers, especially the ones working with multicultural student groups, to understand the effects of culture on the interpretation of concepts related to learner autonomy.

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