Learner autonomy in the LOTE classroom: a case study of teacher and student beliefs about roles and responsibilities

Masters Thesis

Kehrwald, Jane. 2005. Learner autonomy in the LOTE classroom: a case study of teacher and student beliefs about roles and responsibilities. Masters Thesis Master of Applied Lingusitics (Honours). University of Southern Queensland.

Learner autonomy in the LOTE classroom: a case study of teacher and student beliefs about roles and responsibilities

TypeMasters Thesis
AuthorKehrwald, Jane
SupervisorMangubhai, Francis
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameMaster of Applied Lingusitics (Honours)
Number of Pages123

Learner autonomy in language learning has been described as the ability to take charge of one's own learning by determining the objectives, defining the contents and progressions, selecting methods and techniques to be used, monitoring the procedure of acquisition and evaluating what has been acquired (Holec, 1979). Few would doubt that learner autonomy in language learning is a positive thing and can lead to learners who are more proficient in the target language. These sentiments are echoed in many language programs, which have as their explicitly stated goal the development of autonomous, self-directed learners. This project is a pilot study with the aim of investigating one such program: the Languages Other Than English (LOTE) (Indonesian) program at a regional public high school.
Taking a collective case study approach this investigation sought to determine two LOTE (Indonesian) learners' and their teacher's beliefs about roles and responsibilities in the language learning process and how these beliefs are translated into their teaching and learning behaviour. Prior to any interventions aimed at facilitating the transfer of responsibility for the management of the learning process from the teacher to the learner, it is essential to access learners' and teachers' beliefs and attitudes as these have a profound impact on their learning and teaching behaviour and erroneous beliefs may lead to less effective approaches to learning, ultimately impacting on learners' success in language learning (Horwitz, 1987).
The data, collected through structured interviews and classroom observations, suggest that the subjects simultaneously exhibit characteristics consistent with and in contradiction to the profiles of autonomous learners and of a teacher who engages in pedagogy aimed at the development of autonomous learners. The two LOTE learners' beliefs, and their learning behaviour, suggest that they defer responsibility to the teacher for the technical aspects of their learning, such as identifying learning objectives and topics, selecting learning activities and resources. On the other hand, through their expressed beliefs, and from the observed lessons, it appears that the two learners accept some level responsibility for reflecting and evaluating their learning and fully accept responsibility for maintaining their interest and motivations in learning the LOTE. While the LOTE learners defer responsibility for the technical aspects of their learning to their LOTE teacher, the LOTE teacher herself defers responsibility to the LOTE syllabus. However, the LOTE teacher was observed working with learners, helping them to evaluate and reflect upon their learning and maintaining their interest and motivation in learning the LOTE. Recommendations for pedagogy to promote the development of learner autonomy and further research are presented.

Keywordslearners; autonomy; learner autonomy; LOTE; languages other than English; classroom; teachers; students; responsibility; responsibilities
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390108. LOTE, ESL and TESOL curriculum and pedagogy
470306. English as a second language
470399. Language studies not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsFaculty of Education
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Learner autonomy in the LOTE classroom: a case study of learner beliefs
Kehrwald, Jane. 2006. "Learner autonomy in the LOTE classroom: a case study of learner beliefs." Orr, Debbie, Nouwens, Fons, Macpherson, Colin, Harreveld, R. E. (Bobby) and Danaher, Patrick Alan (ed.) 4th International Lifelong Learning Conference: Lifelong Learning: Partners, Pathways and Pedagogies. Yeppoon, Australia 13 - 16 Jun 2006 Rockhampton, Australia.