An investigation into non-english major students’ perceptions on learner autonomy and their attitudes toward teacher’s roles in autonomous learning

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CAN THO UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF EDUCATION ENGLISH EDUCATION DEPARTMENT AN INVESTIGATION INTO NON-ENGLISH MAJOR STUDENTS’ PERCEPTIONS ON LEARNER AUTONOMY AND THEIR ATTITUDES TOWARD TEACHER’S ROLES IN AUTONOMOUS LEARNING B.A. Thesis Fields of study: English Language Teaching Supervisors: Duong Thi Phi Oanh , M.A Researcher:Nguyen Phuong Bao Tran Student Code: 7062930 B.Ed. class NN0652A1 Course 32 CanTho, May 2010 CONTENTS Contents ...........................................................................................................................i Acknowledgements.........................................................................................................iii Abstract .........................................................................................................................iv List of Tables of Figures ................................................................................................. v Chapter 1 Introduction ..........................................................................................................1 1.1 Rationale...................................................................................................... 1 1.2 Research aims.............................................................................................. 2 1.3 Hypothesis................................................................................................... 2 1.4 Organization of the thesis............................................................................ 3 Chapter 2 Literature Review ........................................................................................ 4 2.1 Definitions of learner autonomy ................................................................. 4 2.1.1 Holec’s notion of learner autonomy ................................................. 4 2.1.2 Little, Dickinson, Carver’s opinions on learner autonomy .............. 5 2.1.3 Wenden’s concepts of learner autonomy.......................................... 6 2.1.4 Benson, Voller and Crab’ definitions of learner autonomy.............. 6 2.1.5 Overview of learner autonomy ......................................................... 7 2.2 Characteristics of learner autonomy............................................................ 7 2.2.1 Determining objectives ..................................................................... 8 2.2.2 Formulating and following up the learning purposes....................... 8 2.2.3 Selecting and implementing learning strategies ............................... 9 2.2.4 Monitoring and evaluating the learning strategies ........................... 9 2.2.5 Self-monitoring................................................................................. 9 2.3 Benefits of autonomous learning .............................................................. 10 2.3.1 Supplying more opportunities of interdependent learning ............. 10 2.3.2 Reflecting the theory of student-centered education ...................... 11 2.3.3 Developing a harmonious relationship ........................................... 11 2.3.4 Enhancing non-intellectual students’ learning motivation ............. 12 2.4 Teacher’s roles........................................................................................... 12 2.4.1. A trainer ......................................................................................... 12 2.4.2 An instructor and facilitator............................................................ 12 2.4.3 A manager of language classroom’s activities ............................... 13 2.4.4 A resource person ........................................................................... 13 2.4.5 A counselor ..................................................................................... 13 Chapter 3 Research Methodology .............................................................................. 14 3.1 Research question...................................................................................... 14 3.2 Research design......................................................................................... 15 3.3 Participants ................................................................................................ 15 3.4 Instruments ................................................................................................ 15 3.4.1 The first part of the Questionnaire on students’ perceptions on learner autonomy ....................................................................... 15 3.4.2 The second part of the Questionnaire on students’ attitudes toward their teacher’s roles in autonomous learning ................................ 16 3.5 Procedure of collecting data...................................................................... 17 3.5.1 Piloting the questionnaire ............................................................... 17 3.5.2 Administering the questionnaire..................................................... 17 i Chapter 4 Results ......................................................................................................... 19 4.1 Result of students’ perceptions on learner autonomy............................... 19 4.1.1 The overall mean score ................................................................... 19 4.1.2 Differences in the perceptions on five aspects of learner autonomy 20 4.2 Result of students’ attitudes toward teacher’s roles in autonomous learning autonomy .............................................................................................. 22 4.2.1 The overall mean score ................................................................... 22 4.1.1 Differences in the attitudes toward five roles of teacher ................ 23 Chapter 5 Discussions, Limitations, and Suggestions for Further Research ........ 26 5.1 Discussions................................................................................................ 26 5.1.1 Reviewing the theoretical framework of learner autonomy ........... 26 5.1.2 Discussion the results of the research on students’ perceptions on learner autonomy and their attitudes toward their teacher’s roles in autonomous learning .................................................................................................... 27 5.1.3 Conclusion ...................................................................................... 28 5.1.3 The implications for English teachers ............................................ 28 5.1 Limitations................................................................................................. 29 5.1 Suggestions for further research............................................................... 29 Reference: ...............................................................................................................................31 Appendices .............................................................................................................................33 Appendix 1 The questionnaire (An English version) ...................................... 33 Appendix 2 The questionnaire (A Vietnamese version).................................. 36 ii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Accomplishment of the research is not only my own attempt but also a great contribution from other individuals. Thanks to them, I am able to go over obstacles which I have faced during the process of thesis. Hereby, I would like to thank all of them for their help to my research. First, I would like to express the deepest gratitude to my supervisor Mrs. Duong Thi Phi Oanh, for her valuable insights, comments, and suggestions. Without her guidance, my thesis would hardly have been completed. I am solely responsible for any remaining errors in the thesis. Second, many special thanks are sincerely sent to the four teachers: Ms. Tran Mai Hien, Ms. Hong Thi Thanh Truc and Mr. Phan Viet Thang, as well as students of the classes that I handed out the questionnaire. Their generous willingness in participating in the study was the invaluable help for me. Third, I am very grateful to Ms Nguyen Thi Van Su who spent her precious time giving helpful and useful advice and suggested me many interesting materials related to the research. Finally, I want to thank many others for being always by my side and giving me timely support. Many thanks are also owed to my family for giving me the best conditions to study and complete the thesis. iii ABSTRACT This study stems in part from a desire to find out perceptions of non-English students at Cantho University (CTU) on learner autonomy and their attitudes toward teacher’s roles in autonomous learning. This research begins by defining learner autonomy, presenting its benefits, stating characteristics of autonomous learners and teacher’s roles in autonomous learning. This study included 111 non-English major students at CTU and used the Questionnaire on students’ perceptions on learner autonomy and their attitudes toward teacher’s roles in autonomous learning as the research instrument. The results indicate that the students’ perceptions on learner autonomy are average (M= 2.96) and their attitudes toward teacher’s roles in autonomous learning is quite positive (M= 3.3). The research ends by discussing results of the investigations and admitting limitations of the research as well as suggesting activities for further research. iv LISTS OF TABLES AND FIGURES Table/Figure Page Table 3.1: The questionnaire’s items in the five aspects of learner autonomy.............. 16 Table 3.2: The questionnaire’s items in the five roles of teacher in autonomous learning........................................................................................................................... 16 Table 4.1: Descriptive Statistics of Students’ perceptions on learner autonomy .......... 19 Table 4.2: Descriptive statistics of students’ perceptions on five aspects of learner autonomy ....................................................................................................... 20 Table 4.3: Descriptive Statistics of Students’ attitudes toward their teacher’s roles in autonomous learning ...................................................................................................... 22 Table 4.4: Descriptive Statistics of Students’ attitudes toward five roles of teacher in autonomous .................................................................................................................... 23 Figure 4.1: Mean of students’ perceptions on learner autonomy .................................. 20 Figure 4.2: Means of students’ perceptions on five aspects of learner autonomy......... 21 Figure 4.3: Mean of students’ attitudes toward teacher’s roles in autonomous learning ....... 23 Figure 4.4: Means of students’ attitudes toward five roles of teacher in autonomous learning……………………………………………………………………………….24 v CHAPTER 1- INTRODUCTION CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The chapter presents (1) the rationale of this research; (2) the overall research aims (3) the hypothesis and (4) the organization of the thesis. 1.1 Rationale For over forty years, the term “learner autonomy” has been taking lots of interests of researchers and educators in an educational theme for its vital role in successful learning. In this part, (1) learner autonomy in context of second and foreign language education in general and (2) in the context of teaching and learning foreign language at Cantho University (CTU) in particular are presented. 1.1.1 Learner autonomy in the context of second and foreign language education In attempts to replace teacher-centered classrooms typified by learnercentered ones, a major concern benefit of learner autonomy has been well-established in the literature of researches for the past forty years (Holec, 1981, 1988; Dickinson, 1987, 1992; Wenden and Rubin, 1987, Little, 1991; Wenden, 1991; Esch, 1994; Dam, 1995). These researchers supposed developing learner autonomy means encouraging learners’ communicative competence in the target of language. Therefore, helping students become more autonomous has been a new focused trend and target in the field of foreign language learning and teaching. Autonomy provides learners with opportunities to take responsibility for their own learning process and develop independent learning. In other words, that learners become autonomous make them learn language effective. (as Little, 2000, cited in Trinh, 2005) Realizing the importance of learner autonomy in the foreign language education in general, and in teaching and learning English language in particular, educators and researchers have studied on it in Asian contexts. It has been obvious that learners have not been supplied sufficient opportunities to be autonomous in the educational systems (Trinh, 2005). From the studies, students in the educational systems in Asian contexts should be provided with more opportunities to promote 1 . CHAPTER 1- INTRODUCTION their autonomous learning, motivation and interests in English language learning. Additionally, Chan’s research indicated that to enhance students’ motivation and interests, investigations into learners’ perceptions and attitudes toward learner autonomy as well as their teacher’s roles in autonomous learning are essential. From the investigations, the results could show a clear understanding of their awareness of autonomous learning and readiness for learner autonomy. 1.1.2 Learner autonomy in the context of teaching and learning English in Vietnam in general and at CTU in particular Through the Decree signed in 1995 by the Prime Minister, from 1993, foreign languages, especially English, have been increasingly selected, and order of a foreign language is required of all students. Moreover, to graduate from a university program, college and university students have to finish the foreign language courses as one of the requirements. Since the Decree was implemented, the assessment of the Vietnam’s educational system has been strongly examination-focused. Also, paper tests or examinations in English, are largely grammar-based, test the students’ knowledge of grammatical structures and vocabulary (Trinh, 2005). Following incorrect learning ways, it is recognized that students at CTU have inclined to learn for preparing their exams and getting certificates instead of studying for the knowledge, communicating and life-long learning. Besides, they are used to studying English by memorizing and learning by heart teacher’s models from their high schools, thus ability to learn English independently and actively is seemly lacked (Trinh, 2005). From implications of Trinh’s study, it is believed that if students at CTU are promoted learner autonomy, they will have responsibility for their own language learning and become truly effective language learners and language users (as Little, 2000, cited in Trinh, 2005). 1.2 Research aims Students’ perceptions on learner autonomy were presented as the essential and crucial element in the English language’s target. Additionally, helping students become more autonomous in language learning is a necessary and imperative problem in the context of English education at CTU. Therefore, investigating into students’ 2 . CHAPTER 1- INTRODUCTION perceptions on learner autonomy and their attitudes toward teacher’s roles in autonomous learning is crucial. Accordingly, this research aims at finding out what students’ perceptions on learner autonomy are and whether their attitudes toward teacher’s roles in autonomous learning are positive. 1.3 Hypothesis I hypothesized that non-English major students at CTU have perceptions on learner autonomy in their language learning, however, their perspectives are rather low. Besides, I supposed that the students have positive attitudes toward the teacher’s roles in autonomous learning. 1.4 Organization of the thesis The study reported in this thesis includes five chapters: Introduction, Literature review, Research methodology, Results, Discussions, Limitations, and Suggestions for further research. The next chapter- Chapter 2, the literature on learner autonomy, its benefits and characteristics as well as teacher’s roles in autonomous learning will be introduced. In chapter 3, the research methodology of the study included the research question, the research design, the participants, the materials, the research instruments and the procedure of the study will be presented. The chapter 4 will report the results of the investigations into non-English major students’ perceptions on learner autonomy and their attitudes toward teacher’s roles in autonomous learning. In the chapter 5, the implications of the research findings will be discussed, and the limitations of the research will be reflected as well as further research activities will be suggested finally. 3 . CHAPTER 2- LITERATURE REVIEW CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW For over thirty years, learner autonomy has been a central theme in the context of foreign language education (Breeze, 2002), hence, its issues are noted by many researchers and educators. These issues are concerned to notions of learner and teacher autonomy, conditions and characteristics of autonomy or learning strategies. In this chapter, a review of learner autonomy’s definitions will be presented first. Second, characteristics of autonomous learner will be clarified. Third, benefits of learner autonomy will be shown. Finally, roles of teacher in autonomous learning will be stated. 2.1 Definitions of learner autonomy Many different researchers, theorists and educators - Holec, Little, Benson, Voller, Dam, Wenden, Dickinson and Carver and etc, have various views and opinions on learner autonomy. In this part of the chapter, (1) Holec’s notion and (2) Little, Dickinson and Carver’s opinions; (3) Weden’s concepts, (4) Benson, Voller and Crab’ definitions and (5) an overview of learner autonomy will be concisely summarized. 2.1.1 Holec’s notion of learner autonomy Holec, a pioneer in the autonomy field, regards learner autonomy as “the ability to take charge of one’s own learning” (1981, as cited in Little, 1996, p. 2). According to him, learner autonomy in foreign language learning is considered as an attitude not a methodology. As one of the earliest advocators of learner autonomy, this author supposes the learners have to hold and take responsibility for their own decisions on aspects of language learning. These aspects are concerned to: • Determining the objectives; • Defining the contents and progressions; • Selecting methods and techniques to be used; • Monitoring the procedure of acquisition 4 CHAPTER 2- LITERATURE REVIEW • And evaluating what has been acquired (Holec, 1981, as cited in Little, 1996, p. 2). Besides, Holec considers the learner as the central in autonomous learning. In other words, the learners are said to be autonomous if they can determine the purpose of their learning; define what and how they need to learn so as to get success in the learning process. Moreover, the autonomous learners are able to decide and select appropriate methods and techniques in learning by themselves. Especially, they have a capacity to control the procedures of acquisition and to self-assess what they achieve in studying. 2.1.2 Little, Dickinson, Carver’s opinions on learner autonomy Little (1996) defines learner autonomy as “learners’ ability and willingness to make choice independently” (as cited in Naizhao & Yanling, 2004, p. 5). In the ability of selecting learning strategies, the learners need to have knowledge about language skills as well as appropriate learning methods. This notion implies that the learners are always ready to make choice of knowledge and skills suitable with their current language level to be acquired. In the willingness to make choice independently, they have opportunities to select and implement appropriate learning strategies which allow them to learn actively and independently. Besides, Little sees autonomy as “a capacity for detachment, critical reflection, decision-making and independent action” (Little, 1998, p. 1). As believed by Little, the origin of learner autonomy is “learner’s acceptance of responsibility for his or her own learning” (Little & Dam, 1998, p. 1). To contribute to define the term “learner autonomy” of Holec and Little, Dickinson and Carver (1980) conceptualize learner autonomy as learners’ development of self-confidence and awareness of their own learning progress (as cited in Usuki, 2000, p.4). Besides, Dickinson (2000) cited that learner autonomy is connected taking responsibility for learners’ own learning and having an active and independent involvement with the target language. In taking responsibility for language learning, the learners are concerned making the necessary decisions about their own learning. These decisions are related to the language lessons’ objectives ways of reaching the objectives; materials - sources of input; and activities. According to Dickinson, autonomy is not guaranteed to success in language learning because the 5 CHAPTER 2- LITERATURE REVIEW learners can make wrong decisions and do many things but useless. For example, they study and memorize words in a dictionary. Also, he supposes learner autonomy need to have sufficient knowledge about their own learning, hence, training the learner to know how to study independently and actively is a goal of language education. In the active and independent involvement with the language learning target, Dickinson declared that autonomous learners have to identify and follow up their own learning objectives, select and evaluate their learning methods and self-monitoring. In other words, the learners undertake their language learning independently, develop their self-confidence in all learning aspects and awareness in learning process as well as self-monitor actively. 2.1.3 Wenden’s concepts of learner autonomy Wenden (1998) stated that autonomous learners are those who know and have effective learning ways, methods and strategies. To the author, in learner autonomy, the learners are successful and intelligent ones who have learned how to learn. This suggests that they acquire and use the strategies and the knowledge about the ways of learning confidently, flexibly, appropriately and independently of the teacher. Moreover, Wenden defined “learning strategies are mental steps or operations that learners use to learn a new language and to regulate their efforts to do so”. He implied when autonomous learners are confident and believe in their learning strategies as well as know how to use these strategies effectively, they will have the ability of selfdirecting and managing of their own learning (as cited in Usuki, 2000, p. 4). 2.1.4 Benson, Voller and Crabbe’ definitions of learner autonomy Additionally, Benson and Voller (1997) supposed the term “learner autonomy” which has come to be used at least in five ways: • Situations in which the learners entirely study on their own, • A set of skills which can be learned • Self-directed learning, • Inborn capacity which is suppressed by institutional education, • The exercise of the learner’s responsibility for their own learning • The right of the learners to determine the direction of their own learning (as cited in Naizhao & Yanling, 2004, p. 6). 6 CHAPTER 2- LITERATURE REVIEW First, in different situations, the autonomous learners can completely study by themselves. Second, they have various skills that help them learn on their own ways and apply self-learning. Third, they have duties on practicing for their learning and the right to make decision on their studying in their inborn ability. Furthermore, Crabbe suggested learners in learner autonomy must have a positive attitude to learning and the development of capacity to reflect on the content and process of learning. It means they have responsibilities for their own work about what, how, when they learn. They know how to learn from their successes and failures (Crabbe, 1993, as cited in Rao ,Z. 2006, p. 114). 2.1.5 Overview of learner autonomy In the conclusions drawn from the aforementioned authors, learners only have a sense of learner autonomy, if they are responsible for their own learning and know what, why, and how they need to learn as well as have the ability to make decisions on what they will do for their learning progress. In other words, autonomous learners are able to establish reachable targets, design their learning plans, get learning strategies effectively, accept unfamiliar and unexpected situations and assess their learning progress. Besides, in learner autonomy, learners are required to have responsibility for their language learning and roles in their learning process. Accordingly, in English foreign language, learner autonomy should involve learners in five aspects: • Taking charge of their own language learning • Setting realistic learning goals and plans • Using and developing learning strategies effectively in different educational situations. • Creating and making good use of study contexts. • Evaluating and assessing their learning process. 2.2 Characteristics of learner autonomy. Dickinson (1993), one of experts studying learner autonomy, has provided an obvious profile of autonomous language learners. He cited autonomous learners are those who need to have five skills and abilities in their language learning: (1) 7 CHAPTER 2- LITERATURE REVIEW determining teacher’s and lessons’ objectives; (2) formulating and following up their learning target; (3) selecting and implementing suitable learning strategies; (4) monitoring and evaluating the learning strategies; (5) and self-monitoring their own language learning. 2.2.1 Determining objectives In the first characteristic of the autonomous learners of Dickinson (1993), it is declared that learners who can be aware of teacher’s and lesson’s objectives and can understand what they will be taught or will learn, will be autonomous learners. Awareness of the teacher’s aims means the autonomous learners have ability to understand the purpose of pedagogical choices. They can know the goals of the lesson in general, and recognize the objectives of a particular exercise. For example, after finishing exercises or doing classroom’s activities, they can realize what they have learnt such as guessing new words from the context, reading for gist or detail ideas, producing and practising particular grammar structures. Furthermore, they have to be active in reviewing the lesson beforehand. For instance, they prepare what they will learn in class by reading and searching materials about the lesson. Besides, in classroom, the autonomous learners always listen and take notes what teacher says to introduce the lesson and activities. Therefore, the first evidence to prove a learner who is an autonomous learner is awareness of the objectives and contents of lessons and activities in a language class. 2.2.2 Formulating and following up the learning purposes The second characteristic of autonomous learners is about abilities to formulate their own learning objectives, indicate and follow up their learning purposes. Because of being independent, autonomous learner can select and create their own learning aims and plans in addition to teacher’s. These aims and plans will be developed out of the lesson contents discussed in class. For example, they will expand their vocabulary in a particular area which is related to the topic of the lesson in class. Additionally, when the autonomous learners are able to make and design their own language learning objectives, they can be conscious of difficulties in their language learning process. Hence, they try to find out solutions and techniques to overcome their 8 CHAPTER 2- LITERATURE REVIEW obstacles. For instance, they recognize troubles in pronouncing a particular English sound-/z/, so they want to practice so as to pronounce it correctly (Dickinson, 1993). 2.2.3 Selecting and implementing learning strategies The third characteristic of autonomous learners relates to selecting and implementing proper learning strategies. Learning strategies are techniques or methods which are used by learners to understand, to memorize and recall or pronounce perfectively a piece of language. Dickinson (1993) divided learning strategies into cognitive and metacognitive strategies. Cognitive strategies concern learning language directly. They involve in specific, mindful ways of approaching learning tasks. The other category, metacognitive strategies mention that learners must choose appropriate cognitive strategies for their learning task, so these strategies are at a higher level learning technique to apply in the studying process. In other words, learners can apply learning strategies in two manners directly and indirectly. For example, in direct ways, they select the way to understand grammar structures, to recall and memorize vocabulary, or even to pronounce English sounds accurately. In indirect ways, autonomous learners can preview what they will learn before class, be aware of the aim for a particular activity and assess their learning plan. Therefore, one of the crucial elements to define autonomous learners is that they are able to select and carry out appropriate cognitive and metacognitive learning strategies. 2.2.4 Monitoring and evaluating the learning strategies Besides, the autonomous learners have to monitor and evaluate their own use of learning strategies (Dickinson, 1993). This means they are able to choose suitable techniques for a particular learning task as well as to know what techniques will be useful for them. For the selections of learning strategies, there are various among different learners, so it leads to happen the degree of success of the learning strategies. One strategy may be successful for a learner but may not be effective to others. Hence, an autonomous learner must have the capability to select and implement the most effective learning technique for themselves. 2.2.5 Self-monitoring The last feature of the autonomous learners is self-monitoring, regularly checking their own learning. This characteristic infers they need to have the 9 CHAPTER 2- LITERATURE REVIEW willingness to monitor their own learning. For example, they are able to assess and examine how well they achieve in their learning process. Among autonomous learners’ characteristics, self-monitoring is regarded as the initial and essential feature of learner autonomy. Readiness to monitor their own learning means the learners are ready to learn a language actively and independently as well as to become autonomous (Dickinson, 1993) All in all, to explore students’ perceptions on learner autonomy, learners will be asked about their ability to take charge of their own learning and to have the responsibility for all the decisions concerning five aspects such as 9 Determining the objectives of teacher and lessons 9 Formulating the learning objectives and indicating as well as following up the learning purpose. 9 Selecting and implementing suitable learning strategies 9 Monitoring and evaluating the learning strategies 9 Self- monitoring what has been achieved. 2.3 Benefits of autonomous learning According to Ruby and May (2008), there are four main benefits of autonomous learning. These advantages include (1) supplying more opportunities of interdependent learning, (2) reflecting the theory of student-centered education, (3) developing a harmonious relationship and (4) enhancing non-intellectual students’ learning motivation. 2.3.1 Supplying more opportunities of interdependent learning First, autonomy provides learners with more opportunities for learning language independently. When students become autonomous, they also have an ability to decide and select effective learning resources, methods and strategies by themselves. It also provides students with more chances to discover new knowledge and acquire it selectively. Unlike passive learning styles, autonomous learning can help students have responsibility for their own learning and capacity to think and learn that does not need extra helps and forces from teachers. Moreover, Ruby and May 10 CHAPTER 2- LITERATURE REVIEW supposed that autonomous learners will have more chances to encourage their learning motivation and perform their learning capacity in class so they can learn more effectively. As autonomous learners, they can overcome their learning problems and find out successful learning strategies and methods so they are able to understand, remember and acquire the new knowledge of lessons. Besides, Ruby and May also showed that autonomous learning help learners discover principles that are appropriate to their needs and interests, although teacher may have difficulties in recognizing learners’ requirements. Thus, autonomous learners can get more opportunities to work independently and easy to make learning process. 2.3.2 Reflecting the theory of student-centered education The second advantage is “reflecting the theory of student-centered education” (Ruby and May, 2008, p. 6). If students are not able to discover new knowledge by themselves, teacher will spend much time on presenting it in class. Therefore, the classroom becomes teacher-centered one which students just listen and learn passively. This can cause students’ dependence on teachers to find out new knowledge and contents of lessons will be taught by teachers in class. Consequently, autonomous learning can enhance the theories of learner-centered education and please the learners’ needs and developments. 2.3.3 Developing a harmonious relationship The third benefit of autonomous learning mentioned by Ruby and May is developing a harmonious relationship. In autonomous learning’s environment, teacher and their students can improve sentimental values between teacher and learner relationship. Teachers are not only trainers, educators but also the students’ friends, counselors, advisers, so they can help their students learn, practise and discover new knowledge effectively. Moreover, autonomous learners can contribute and construct new information in communication with their teacher. Accordingly, autonomous learning can foster and construct the stable, friendly and valuable teacher-student relationship. In other words, it can improve the equal and harmonious relationship between teachers and students. 11 CHAPTER 2- LITERATURE REVIEW 2.3.4 Enhancing non-intellectual students’ learning motivation The last strength of learner autonomy focuses on enhancing non-intellectual students’ learning motivation. Autonomous learners are more responsible for their learning, can improve the ability of self-study in discovery and understanding the new knowledge. Hence, learner autonomy probably fosters the non-intellectual students’ learning motivation. 2.4 Teachers’ roles Although learner autonomy concedes the capacity of responsibility for learners’ learning and focuses on their vital roles, it does not mean they do not need helps, instructions and presence of teacher in language classroom. Therefore, roles of teachers in autonomous learning cannot be precisely denied. According to Dickinson (2000), teacher plays an essential and notable role in autonomous learning; he or she is regarded as (1) a trainer, (2) an instructor and facilitator, (3) a manager of language classroom’s activities, (4) a resource person, and (5) a counselor. 2.4.1 A trainer As the trainer, the teacher needs to have responsibility for training learners to become gradually more active, reflective and critical thinkers. Also, he or she has to train them to think, act and learn independently. 2.4.2 An instructor and facilitator The teacher has duty to create autonomous learning’s environments by constructing a favorable learning surrounding, adopting a learning-centered classroom in which autonomous learners can learn how to learn. Furthermore, the teacher needs to provide a supportive background that brings learners a comfortable and convenient atmosphere to study. To create a supportive environment, the teacher has to appeal to learners’ interests and adopt their needs to a relevant curriculum. Besides, he or she has to encourage their motivation, self-confidence, curiosity and desire to learn. Furthermore, reflective teaching methods which can give learners opportunities to practise their independence and to develop their learning techniques must be used. 12 CHAPTER 2- LITERATURE REVIEW 2.4.3 A manager of language classroom’s activities With the roles of a manager of language classroom’s activities, the teacher needs to develop successful assessment procedures, to diagnose learners’ problems in their learning and to find out how to evaluate or judge their achievement effectively. Also, the teacher must be a good model their autonomous learner. These characteristics concentrate on awareness of self evaluation, belief, attitudes, and skills on autonomy. Furthermore, he or she is able to manage the class where autonomous learners can make their own decisions on using various strategies and materials. 2.4.4 A resource The teacher helps learners be aware of a wide range of alternative strategies and learning styles with the role of a resource in learner autonomy. Besides, the resource person can analyze and evaluate which textbooks are appropriate to the students’ needs then make these learning materials more interesting and motivating. Moreover, he or she needs to discover ways, activities and means to use the textbooks and materials and create helpful, exciting and suitable tasks for the learners’ requirements. 2.4.5 A counselor As the counselor, the teacher has to be a guide, a referee and a tutor who can balance between help and independence in training learners. He or she will let the learners have freedom to decide what they need to learn and which alternatives they can adopt or reject. Additionally, the teacher can be an advisor because he or she can give their learners useful advice and should tell them helpful guidance. In autonomous learning, teacher and learners will be associates in the learning process. Teacher has the integral responsibility for supplying an appropriate environment that helps students learn how to learn independently and effectively. Besides, learners have more responsibility to establish their own learning plans and to choose the suitable techniques for their learning process; however, they need teacher’s guidance, feedback and advice. Hence, the teacher needs to realize that his/her main duty is no longer to transmit knowledge, but more as the trainer, instructor, facilitator, manager and resource person as well as counselor. 13 CHAPTER 3-METHODOLOGY CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY In the previous chapter, I reviewed the relevant literature to the learner autonomy. From the literature review, we could learn that the characteristics of autonomous learners are manifested by five aspects (i.e., determining the objectives of the teacher and the lesson; formulating and indicating the learning objectives; selecting and implementing suitable learning strategies; monitoring and evaluating the learning strategies; and self-monitoring) as well as the teacher’s role in autonomous learning. To investigate students’ perceptions on learner autonomy and their attitude toward the teacher’ role in autonomous learning, I conduct this study. In this chapter, the research methodology of the study, including: (1) the research questions, (2) the research design, (3) the participants, (4) the research instruments, and (6) the procedure of collecting data, are described. 3.1 Research questions: As presented in the chapter 1, this study aims to answer two following questions: 1. What are non-English major students’ perceptions on learner autonomy in their language learning? 2. Do they have positive attitudes toward their teacher’s roles in autonomous learning? 3.2 Research design: To conduct this study, the descriptive approach was followed. According to Seliger and Shohamy (1989), the descriptive approach is used in order to describe phenomena that occur naturally, and no treatment is involved in descriptive approach. In the present study, non-English major students’ perceptions on learner autonomy and their attitudes toward teacher’s roles in autonomous learning are investigated. Following the descriptive approach, I attempted to describe (1) the non-English major students’ perception on learner autonomy and (2) their attitudes toward teacher’s roles in autonomous learning. 14
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