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Democracy, discourse and learner autonomy in the foreign language classroom  [PDF]
David Little
Utbildning & Demokrati : Tidsskrift f?r Didaktik och Utbildningspolitik , 2004,
Abstract: The first part of this article is concerned with learner autonomy in practice.It begins with a working definition of learner autonomy, goes on to describethe discursive practices of three language learning environments in which itsdevelopment is a central goal, and ends by proposing that autonomy inlanguage learning is underpinned by three general pedagogical principles:learner involvement, learner reflection, and appropriate target language use.The second part of the article considers John Dewey’s concept of democracyin education and its relation to learner autonomy, arguing that each conceptimplies the other and attributing their interdependence to the essentiallydialogic nature of communication and learning. The conclusion briefly re-states the importance of both concepts for education and society.
Major Hindrance to the Development of Autonomy among Grade Nine Students in Learning English: Baso General Secondary School in Debreberhan in Focus
T Ferede
Ethiopian Journal of Education and Sciences , 2011,
Abstract: In order to find out the major hindrances to the development of autonomy among Grade Nine students at Baso General Secondary School in learning English, necessary data were collected from one hundred-fifty students, three English teachers and ten students through questionnaire, semi-structured interview and focus group discussion respectively. Then, the data gathered in these ways were analyzed using percentage and mean values as well as qualitative descriptions. The findings of the study suggest that learner factors (lack of confidence to learn English without a teacher, learning this language only for external benefits of passing exams and getting jobs, and lack of interest and commitment to learn English); teacher variables (limited commitment to train students to be autonomous learners and failure to use English for communication outside the classroom), instructional factors(absence of opportunities for students to engage in activities that maximize the use of English outside the classroom and to participate in planning, monitoring and evaluating learning), and shortage of English textbooks as well as other useful resources were the major impediments to the development of autonomy among the target students. Finally, it was recommended that: 1)The Department of English in the target school should organize regular awareness-raising workshops for English language teachers, 2) Teachers of English need to train students on how to learn English independently ,counsel them to increase confidence and commitment to take charge of their own learning, provide them with opportunities that maximize the use of English outside the classroom, encourage students to participate in planning, monitoring and evaluating their learning, 3) The school administration and other bodies concerned should make concerted efforts to acquire enough English textbooks for Grade Nine, and to make other resources accessible to students so that they engage in continued self-initiated learning of English, and 4) Further empirical investigations need to be made to get more insight into the factors that negatively impact on the development of autonomy in language learning.
Practices and Prospects of Learner Autonomy: Teachers’ Perceptions  [cached]
AbdulRahman Al Asmari
English Language Teaching , 2013, DOI: 10.5539/elt.v6n3p1
Abstract: Language learning process works through the learners’ own reflection on how they learn and it makes learners active in the sense that they learn to analyze their learning strategies. So they start making decisions, e.g., whether to improve them or not, and in which way. Generally, this trait is missing in traditional language teaching process and students are not expected to reflect upon their own learning, analyzing and evaluating their learning experience. Retrospective tasks, such as interviews, group discussion and structured questionnaires encourage learners to reflect upon learning and these retrospective activities may help learners to take responsibility for their language learning processes as autonomous learners and thus making a motivated learner. The role of the teacher is central to the development of learner autonomy (Hurd, Beaven, & Ortega, 2001; Benson, 2009). A teacher is required to create a classroom learning environment that is supportive of learner autonomy. This may involve the teacher first addressing learners’ past learning experiences, then slowly raising their awareness to the benefits of increased independence in their learning. Dickinson (1993) adds that learner training should aim to help learners develop the ability to take more responsibility for their own learning. To do this, a survey was conducted at Taif University English Language Centre (KSA) to collect the opinion of teachers regarding the practices and prospects of learner autonomy in their classrooms. The sample consisted of 60 teachers from different countries teaching English to Arab students at University level. The study focused on the teachers’ notion of learner autonomy, its practices and prospects in Saudi Arabian context. Findings stress that it is important to provide learner training together with the studies and make it an integral part of the teaching process so as to help learners become autonomous.
Enhancing Learner Autonomy through Reciprocal Approach to Curriculum Development  [cached]
Mohammad Zohrabi
English Language Teaching , 2011, DOI: 10.5539/elt.v4n3p120
Abstract: This study reports on how a heterogeneous mixed-ability large class (63 students) turned into a cohesive and functioning class. To promote learner autonomy, students were made responsible to identify their own needs and objectives. The participants of this study consisted of undergraduate chemistry students who had taken the English for General Purposes (EGP) course at the University of Tabriz, Iran. A learning-centered approach was opted for to fulfill both course goals (i.e. reading skill) and different students’ needs, objectives, expectations, and preferences. The theoretical decisions about goals and needs were contextualized and taken to the next level, i.e. implementation stage. The students’ views, syllabus, and the institution’s goals were translated into practical and actual classroom activities and exercises. Useful textbooks, tasks, and projects were presented and practiced. The new syllabus acted as a mediator to raise the students’ awareness to language learning, their needs, lacks, and goals. The syllabus went beyond the planning stage and content specification to the level in which the students were made to use and produce language through communicative activities within meaningful context. There were some constraints and limitations which were obviated. The important benefits of this course were as follows: selection of effective materials and methods, learner autonomy, teacher self-development, and face-value of the course.
Learner Autonomy and the Chinese Context  [cached]
Haiyan Wang
Asian Social Science , 2009, DOI: 10.5539/ass.v4n7p114
Abstract: There is a move away from teacher-centered learning to student-centered learning or autonomy. Learner autonomy has become the new rational concept in educational field since 1980s and it is more challenging and of greater significance to cultivate learners’ ability to self-direct their learning and live independently and successfully later in society. However, autonomy in language teaching is sometimes presented as western concept unsuited to contexts such as those in China, which has different educational traditions. This paper mainly researches two questions: What’s learner autonomy indeed? And why is such concept presented that learner autonomy is unsuited to the Chinese context?
Reflections on the What of Learner Autonomy  [cached]
Masoud Zoghi,Hamid Nezhad Dehghan
International Journal of English Linguistics , 2012, DOI: 10.5539/ijel.v2n3p22
Abstract: The critical role of the learner in the language learning process has been stressed within recent approaches in the humanities and language studies. For this reason the term learner autonomy is now a very fashionable word in the fields of language learning and teaching. On a general note, there are two dominant approaches to knowledge and learning, each of which adopts a different stance on learner autonomy. These two opposing camps are usually referred to as positivism and constructivism. Although learner autonomy is welcomed by many educators, there is not a broad consensus of opinion on its definition. In this article attempts have been made to show that learner autonomy is a dual conceptualization which incorporates the notions of dependence and independence. The ideology driving the view of learner autonomy presented here has been that learner autonomy should be achieved through the tenets of the scaffolding theory proposed by Bruner (1988). Additionally, the authors will highlight the factors involved in building up autonomy in students. It is hoped that the way we go about dealing with this concept may shed some light on the labyrinth that we are all in, namely the field of ELT.
Learner autonomy in the light of Freire
Nicolaides, Christine Siqueira;Fernandes, Vera;
DELTA: Documenta??o de Estudos em Lingüística Teórica e Aplicada , 2008, DOI: 10.1590/S0102-44502008000300006
Abstract: concepts on autonomy in language learning usually converge to the responsibility over one's own learning. this paper aims to emphasize that learner autonomy is also a matter of getting involved with the social environment in which the learner is inserted in. this conception will be analyzed in the light of freire's critical pedagogy. otávio, considered a "rebel" by his own teachers, is brought up as a case study to illustrate kinds of transformation, which might happen under the influence of the environment and of the opportunities generated in it.
Promoting Learner Autonomy through Developing Process Syllabus—Syllabus Negotiation: the Basis of Learner Autonomy*
Zejun Ma,Peng Gao
Journal of Language Teaching and Research , 2010, DOI: 10.4304/jltr.1.6.901-908
Abstract: In the 21st century, the importance of helping students become more autonomous in their learning has become one of its most prominent themes. Autonomy is usually defined as the capability to take charge of, or responsible for, one’s own learning. Nowadays, autonomy is widely accepted as a desirable goal in education. With promoting learner autonomy as the ultimate goal of education comes the question of how to foster learner autonomy. In this essay, we are arguing for the provision of circumstances and contexts for language learners through developing process syllabuses in the language classroom to help them make decisions for their own learning through negotiations. This practice of negotiated syllabus emphasizes the value of collaborative learning, learner-centredness, learner autonomy and shared decision making. We practiced producing process syllabus in the Advanced Speaking and Listening Course between 2006 and 2008 and we found out that through negotiations of purposes, contents, ways of working and evaluation, students are going through the various stages of producing languages and by shifting the power into students’ hands, they become highly motivated and whole-heartedly involved and take on greater responsibility for their own learning.
Constructivism and Learner Autonomy in Foreign Language Teaching and Learning: To what Extent does Theory Inform Practice?
Ping Wang
Theory and Practice in Language Studies , 2011, DOI: 10.4304/tpls.1.3.273-277
Abstract: Teachers' definition of what knowledge is, how people acquire it, and how we determine whether knowledge has been acquired or not influence greatly how we understand the teacher’s role in the classroom and to what extent we promote learner autonomy in the classroom. Learner-centeredness is one of the most important principles of constructivist FLT. Thus, we could say to a great extent constructivism in education informs the promoting of learner autonomy in the language teaching and learning today.
Turkish EFL Learners’ Readiness for Learner Autonomy
?zgür Y?ld?r?m
Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies , 2008,
Abstract: The notion of ‘learner autonomy’ has become more and more crucial in the field oflanguage learning for the last three decades due to the development of learner centeredapproaches in education. Current literature on learner autonomy suggests that the perceptionand practice of autonomous learning change according to specific cultural and educationalcontexts. Therefore, in any given country, it is important to identify students’ readiness forlearner autonomy before designing or adapting activities to promote autonomous learning.This study is an attempt in that direction. Aiming at identifying university level Turkish EFLlearners’ readiness for learner autonomy, the study investigated 103 learners’ perceptions ofteacher and learner responsibilities, their opinions about their own abilities to actautonomously, and the frequency of actual autonomous language learning activities theyemploy. Results indicated that learners seem to be ready to take more responsibility in manyareas of the language learning process.
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