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How to foster learner autonomy in English education - Rob Waring

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How to foster learner autonomy in English education in Japan
#041071 Sayaka Hozu
Summary
Each learner has different thoughts or feelings about their own English learning. Learner autonomy has attracted a lot of attention in language learning recently. If students are autonomous, they can be positive about their learning. Learner autonomy focuses on the learner's independent management and learning skills, that is, their own learning processes. In the thesis, I wanted to find the student's attitude or feelings about English learning and their classes at 2 schools to find some factors that can help teachers or students foster learner autonomy.
Learner autonomy:the ability to take charge of one's own learning. Learner autonomy is self-directed awareness of their role as learners, whatever the learning situation.
Research questions
1. How are the student's attitudes or feelings about English learning or lessons different in each school?
2. What kind of factors cause students to not become autonomous (homogeneous learners) to learn English?
3. How can teachers and learners foster learner autonomy? The experiment
Subject:68 university students and 113 senior high school students from 1st grade to 3rd grade.
Instrument:A questionnaire which was designed for university and senior high school students who are studying English. Result
From the questionnaire data, I found some factors which affected the subject's level of autonomy. Mainly, the attitudes of students and classmates were the main reason they did not become autonomous learners. Moreover, classes by teachers also affected the student's feeling. Learner autonomy is fostered by teachers and students or the environment around them.
University students tend to be more autonomous than senior high school students. Also, there are a few more students who are not autonomous in senior high school than university. When subjects feel negatively about learning English, teachers, classmates, and student's worrying is strongly affected it. Besides, students need to make decisions and control their own learning and teachers have to help each student with her goals and make students independent from teachers little by little. Table 1. The characteristics of Japanese learners
Heterogeneous learnerHomogeneous learner・questioning of teacher's authority
・active
・self-expression
・individualism・acceptance of teacher authority
・passive
・lack of self-expression
・groupism
Table 2. The number of the students who answered about learner types
University StudentsSenior high school
StudentsAverageStrongly Heterogeneous24(35%)27(24%)29.5%Heterogeneous13(19%)26(23%)21%Balanced28(41%)49(43%)42%Homogeneous2(3%)8(7%)5%Strongly Homogeneous1(1%)3(3%)2%
When subjects study English, over 90 % of students agreed that...
* English skills are tools for communication.
* focusing on the communicative use of English.
* Self-responsibility is important.
* They should be aware of collaborative needs.
In short, there were many students who think that English is for communication. Also, they focused on self-responsibility and collaboration in learning. These were student's feeling for their English learning, so teachers need to make their classes or ways of teaching include these factors. Learner autonomy helps learning, because learning something independently shows intrinsic motivation, so it is good for students and it is an effective style of learning. It is believed that autonomous students can take part in the lesson positively, and work on English learning actively. 
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