Learner Autonomy in University English Classrooms: Teachers’ Perceptions and Practices

Chiew Yen Dwee, Elizabeth M. Anthony

Abstract


While much has been written on the concept and development of learner autonomy, limited studies have investigated the perceptions and classroom practices of teachers in fostering learner autonomy. This paper sets out to examine what teachers think about learner autonomy as well as the strategies they use to develop autonomous learners in a university setting using a qualitative approach. Five English teachers were selected using purposive sampling and a semi-structured interview was conducted with each of them to obtain in-depth data on their perceptions and teaching practices revolving around autonomous learning. The findings revealed that although university teachers possessed a fair understanding of what learner autonomy involves, there was a lack of focus in terms of developing learner autonomy in the classroom due to a number of challenges such as lack of teacher readiness, passive student attitude as well as the relevance and timing of English courses within the university curriculum.

 


Keywords


Learner autonomy, Teacher perception, Teaching practices, English classrooms

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References


Ahmad, N., Yaakub, R., Rahim, M. A., & Rohani, P. (2004). Towards Learner Autonomy in Teaching English in Malaysia. Retrieved from http://eprints.usm.my/135/1/Towards_Learner_Autonomy_In _Teaching_English_In_Malaysia.pdf

Bajrami, L. (2015). Teacher's New Role in Language Learning and in Promoting Learner Autonomy. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences,199, 423-427.

Benson, P. (2013). Teaching and researching: Autonomy in language learning. Routledge.

Borg, S., and S. Al-Busaidi. (2012). Teachers’ Beliefs and Practices Regarding Learner Autonomy. ELT Journal, 66 (3),283–292.

Coyne, I. T. (1997). Sampling in qualitative research. Purposeful and theoretical sampling; merging or clear boundaries? Journal of advanced nursing, 26(3), 623-630.

Dörnyei, Z., & Ushioda, E. (2013). Teaching and researching: Motivation. Routledge.

Elekaei, A., Faramarzi, S., & Tabrizi, H. H. (2016). Autonomy, critical thinking and listening comprehension ability of Iranian EFL learners. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, 5(2), 40-48.

Fassnacht, C. & Woods, D.K. (2006). Transana (Version 2.12). University of Wisconsin: Madison, WI, USA

Hasim, Z., & Zakaria, A. R. (2016). ESL Teachers’ knowledge on learner autonomy. In Knowledge, Service, Tourism & Hospitality: Proceedings of the Annual International Conference on Management and Technology in Knowledge, Service, Tourism & Hospitality 2015 (SERVE 2015). CRC Press.

Holec, H. (1981). Autonomy and foreign language learning. Oxford: Pergamon.

Hurd, S. (2005). Autonomy and the distance language learner. In: Holmberg, Boerje; Shelley,

Monica and White, Cynthia eds. Distance education and languages: evolution and change. New perspectives on language and education. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters, 1–19.

Ismail, N., Singh, D. S. R., & Abu, R. (2013). Fostering Learner Autonomy and Academic Writing Interest via the Use of Structured E-Forum Activities Among ESL Students. Edulearn13 Proceedings, 4622-4626.

Januin, J. (2007). Exploring readiness for language learning autonomy among distance learners in Sabah, Malaysia. Asian Journal of Distance Education,5(1), 16-26.

Koerber, A., & McMichael, L. (2008). Qualitative Sampling Methods A Primer for Technical Communicators. Journal of business and technical communication, 22(4), 454-473.

Little, D. (1991). Learner autonomy 1: Definitions, Issues and Problems. Dublin: Authentik.

Little, D. (2006). Learner autonomy: Drawing together the threads of self-assessment, goal-setting and reflection. European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML, Hrsg.), Training teachers to use the European Language Portfolio.

Little, D. (2007). Language learner autonomy: Some fundamental considerations revisited. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 1(1), 14-29.

Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025. (2013). Retrieved August 9, 2016 from http://www.moe.gov.my/userfiles/file/PPP/Preliminary-Blueprint-Eng.pdf

Wichayathian, N. & Reinders, R. (2015): A teacher's perspective on autonomy and self-access: from theory to perception to practice, Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 1-16 DOI: 10.1080/17501229.2015.1103245

Smith, R. (2008). Learner autonomy. ELT journal, 62(4), 395-397.

Thang, S. M. (2005). Investigating Malaysian distance learners’ perceptions of their English Proficiency Courses. Open Learning, 20(3), 243-256.

The New Straits Times. (2015, November 15). Poor English a Major Handicap. The New Straits Times. Retrieved from http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2015/11/15/poor-english-a-major-handicap-its-not-just-young-doctors-workers-in-various-sectors-too-have-a-weak/

Yunus, M. M., & Arshad, N. D. M. (2014). ESL Teachers’ Perceptions toward the Practices and Prospects of Autonomous Language Learning. Asian Social Science, 11(2), 41-51.

Ahmad, N., Yaakub, R., Rahim, M. A., & Rohani, P. (2004). Towards Learner Autonomy in Teaching English in Malaysia. Retrieved from http://eprints.usm.my/135/1/Towards_Learner_Autonomy_In _Teaching_English_In_Malaysia.pdf

Bajrami, L. (2015). Teacher's New Role in Language Learning and in Promoting Learner Autonomy. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences,199, 423-427.

Benson, P. (2013). Teaching and researching: Autonomy in language learning. Routledge.

Borg, S., and S. Al-Busaidi. (2012). Teachers’ Beliefs and Practices Regarding Learner Autonomy. ELT Journal, 66 (3),283–292.

Coyne, I. T. (1997). Sampling in qualitative research. Purposeful and theoretical sampling; merging or clear boundaries? Journal of advanced nursing, 26(3), 623-630.

Dörnyei, Z., & Ushioda, E. (2013). Teaching and researching: Motivation. Routledge.

Elekaei, A., Faramarzi, S., & Tabrizi, H. H. (2016). Autonomy, critical thinking and listening comprehension ability of Iranian EFL learners. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, 5(2), 40-48.

Fassnacht, C. & Woods, D.K. (2006). Transana (Version 2.12). University of Wisconsin: Madison, WI, USA

Hasim, Z., & Zakaria, A. R. (2016). ESL Teachers’ knowledge on learner autonomy. In Knowledge, Service, Tourism & Hospitality: Proceedings of the Annual International Conference on Management and Technology in Knowledge, Service, Tourism & Hospitality 2015 (SERVE 2015). CRC Press.

Holec, H. (1981). Autonomy and foreign language learning. Oxford: Pergamon.

Hurd, S. (2005). Autonomy and the distance language learner. In: Holmberg, Boerje; Shelley,

Monica and White, Cynthia eds. Distance education and languages: evolution and change. New perspectives on language and education. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters, 1–19.

Ismail, N., Singh, D. S. R., & Abu, R. (2013). Fostering Learner Autonomy and Academic Writing Interest via the Use of Structured E-Forum Activities Among ESL Students. Edulearn13 Proceedings, 4622-4626.

Januin, J. (2007). Exploring readiness for language learning autonomy among distance learners in Sabah, Malaysia. Asian Journal of Distance Education,5(1), 16-26.

Koerber, A., & McMichael, L. (2008). Qualitative Sampling Methods A Primer for Technical Communicators. Journal of business and technical communication, 22(4), 454-473.

Little, D. (1991). Learner autonomy 1: Definitions, Issues and Problems. Dublin: Authentik.

Little, D. (2006). Learner autonomy: Drawing together the threads of self-assessment, goal-setting and reflection. European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML, Hrsg.), Training teachers to use the European Language Portfolio.

Little, D. (2007). Language learner autonomy: Some fundamental considerations revisited. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 1(1), 14-29.

Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025. (2013). Retrieved August 9, 2016 from http://www.moe.gov.my/userfiles/file/PPP/Preliminary-Blueprint-Eng.pdf

Wichayathian, N. & Reinders, R. (2015): A teacher's perspective on autonomy and self-access: from theory to perception to practice, Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 1-16 DOI: 10.1080/17501229.2015.1103245

Smith, R. (2008). Learner autonomy. ELT journal, 62(4), 395-397.

Thang, S. M. (2005). Investigating Malaysian distance learners’ perceptions of their English Proficiency Courses. Open Learning, 20(3), 243-256.

The New Straits Times. (2015, November 15). Poor English a Major Handicap. The New Straits Times. Retrieved from http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2015/11/15/poor-english-a-major-handicap-its-not-just-young-doctors-workers-in-various-sectors-too-have-a-weak/

Yunus, M. M., & Arshad, N. D. M. (2014). ESL Teachers’ Perceptions toward the Practices and Prospects of Autonomous Language Learning. Asian Social Science, 11(2), 41-51.

Ahmad, N., Yaakub, R., Rahim, M. A., & Rohani, P. (2004). Towards Learner Autonomy in Teaching English in Malaysia. Retrieved from http://eprints.usm.my/135/1/Towards_Learner_Autonomy_In _Teaching_English_In_Malaysia.pdf

Bajrami, L. (2015). Teacher's New Role in Language Learning and in Promoting Learner Autonomy. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences,199, 423-427.

Benson, P. (2013). Teaching and researching: Autonomy in language learning. Routledge.

Borg, S., and S. Al-Busaidi. (2012). Teachers’ Beliefs and Practices Regarding Learner Autonomy. ELT Journal, 66 (3),283–292.

Coyne, I. T. (1997). Sampling in qualitative research. Purposeful and theoretical sampling; merging or clear boundaries? Journal of advanced nursing, 26(3), 623-630.

Dörnyei, Z., & Ushioda, E. (2013). Teaching and researching: Motivation. Routledge.

Elekaei, A., Faramarzi, S., & Tabrizi, H. H. (2016). Autonomy, critical thinking and listening comprehension ability of Iranian EFL learners. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, 5(2), 40-48.

Fassnacht, C. & Woods, D.K. (2006). Transana (Version 2.12). University of Wisconsin: Madison, WI, USA

Hasim, Z., & Zakaria, A. R. (2016). ESL Teachers’ knowledge on learner autonomy. In Knowledge, Service, Tourism & Hospitality: Proceedings of the Annual International Conference on Management and Technology in Knowledge, Service, Tourism & Hospitality 2015 (SERVE 2015). CRC Press.

Holec, H. (1981). Autonomy and foreign language learning. Oxford: Pergamon.

Hurd, S. (2005). Autonomy and the distance language learner. In: Holmberg, Boerje; Shelley,

Monica and White, Cynthia eds. Distance education and languages: evolution and change. New perspectives on language and education. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters, 1–19.

Ismail, N., Singh, D. S. R., & Abu, R. (2013). Fostering Learner Autonomy and Academic Writing Interest via the Use of Structured E-Forum Activities Among ESL Students. Edulearn13 Proceedings, 4622-4626.

Januin, J. (2007). Exploring readiness for language learning autonomy among distance learners in Sabah, Malaysia. Asian Journal of Distance Education,5(1), 16-26.

Koerber, A., & McMichael, L. (2008). Qualitative Sampling Methods A Primer for Technical Communicators. Journal of business and technical communication, 22(4), 454-473.

Little, D. (1991). Learner autonomy 1: Definitions, Issues and Problems. Dublin: Authentik.

Little, D. (2006). Learner autonomy: Drawing together the threads of self-assessment, goal-setting and reflection. European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML, Hrsg.), Training teachers to use the European Language Portfolio.

Little, D. (2007). Language learner autonomy: Some fundamental considerations revisited. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 1(1), 14-29.

Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025. (2013). Retrieved August 9, 2016 from http://www.moe.gov.my/userfiles/file/PPP/Preliminary-Blueprint-Eng.pdf

Wichayathian, N. & Reinders, R. (2015): A teacher's perspective on autonomy and self-access: from theory to perception to practice, Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 1-16 DOI: 10.1080/17501229.2015.1103245

Smith, R. (2008). Learner autonomy. ELT journal, 62(4), 395-397.

Thang, S. M. (2005). Investigating Malaysian distance learners’ perceptions of their English Proficiency Courses. Open Learning, 20(3), 243-256.

The New Straits Times. (2015, November 15). Poor English a Major Handicap. The New Straits Times. Retrieved from http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2015/11/15/poor-english-a-major-handicap-its-not-just-young-doctors-workers-in-various-sectors-too-have-a-weak/

Yunus, M. M., & Arshad, N. D. M. (2014). ESL Teachers’ Perceptions toward the Practices and Prospects of Autonomous Language Learning. Asian Social Science, 11(2), 41-51.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.6n.2p.19

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