Practices and Prospects of Learner Autonomy: Teachers’ Perceptions

AbdulRahman Al Asmari

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.


Full Text: PDF DOI: 10.5539/elt.v6n3p1

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

English Language Teaching       ISSN 1916-4742 (Print)   ISSN  1916-4750 (Online)

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