Foreign language learners cannot acquire a language successfully unless they are able to attain a certain level of autonomy in learning. Learning to learn autonomously is, therefore, a skill that all language teachers must develop in their students, because learners do not come to class with an innate knowledge of how to learn autonomously. Research has shown that teachers who are themselves autonomous are more autonomy supportive than those who feel constrained and controlled in their teaching environment. It is understood that tertiary level teachers enjoy more autonomy than teachers of other levels of education, and they are more likely to put the responsibility of learning on their students, because university education requires students to work on their own. Keeping this in mind, this study investigated tertiary level language teachers’ perception of the concept of autonomy, and sought to find out whether their classroom practices were autonomy supportive. Another aim of the study was to see what kind of strategies, if any, teachers were using to foster learner autonomy. This was a qualitative research and the sample was restricted to six language teachers who teach foundation level language courses at three private universities in Dhaka. Semi-structured interviews and open- ended questionnaires were used as tools to gain insights into teacher beliefs and practices. The findings of the research have implications for teacher training programmes which focus on the importance of autonomy, both for teachers and for learners.
Mehnaz Tazeen Choudhury, Central Women's University, Bangladesh
Stream: Professional development
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