Understanding and Characterising a Context-based EFL Learner Autonomy in Algerian Higher Education


The study explores beliefs and practices that Algerian EFL students attribute to autonomous learning. Moreover, it attempts to identify then investigates the underlying factors behind those beliefs and practices. These factors are traced in the literature to be “institutional, societal, cultural and economic” (Begum and Chowdhury, 2016; Kemala, 2017; Palfreyman and Smith, 2003; Jiang, 2008). The research furthermore aims to construct a contextualised understanding of learner autonomy based on the above-mentioned factors. The significance of this study is derived from investigating a contradictory situation in Algeria. After implementing a new higher education system LMD (Licence-Masters-Doctorate) that in its essence is built upon the idea of autonomy of learners and institutions, claims of having dependent EFL students with low or non-autonomous attitudes started to rise (Ghout-khenoune, 2016). This research challenges those claims and favours the idea that different existing varieties of learner autonomy reflect contexts where they are used and often “missed by educators especially those looking with western eyes” (Smith, Kuchah & Lamb, 2018, p.18).

The research employs a comparative case study design that entails surveys and interviews. Data will be collected from two different universities in Algeria, (Ahmed Zabana and Mohamed Ben Ahmed). The study will employ questionnaires that will target all first year EFL master's students (around 160) at both universities where the research will be conducted. Moreover, 6 volunteer students from each university will be interviewed. The research follows a bottom-up approach which will allow new culturally contextualised ideas and understandings of learner autonomy to emerge.

Author Information
Abdelkader Chetouane, Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom

Paper Information
Conference: ECLL2019
Stream: Psychology of the learner

This paper is part of the ECLL2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon