special issue on autonomy and technology
A special issue was published of Language Learning & Technology on the relationship between technology and learner autonomy, edited by Cynthia White and myself. The issue is freely available here.
Reinders, H. and White, C. 2011. Editors of the special issue on ‘Learner Autonomy and New Learning Environments’ of Language Learning & Technology, 15(3).
Researching autonomy – a list of instruments
I have started compiling a list of instruments used to measure different aspects of learner autonomy. You can see the inventory here. If you know of any other instruments (maybe one you developed yourself?), please do contact me.
The role of textbooks on student autonomy, and the role of teacher education books on teacher autonomy
student autonomy: In recent years there has been a lot of attention given to the role of the learner in the learning process. The development of learner autonomy is widely seen as beneficial in preparing students for lifelong learning. At the same time, it is recognised that most learners need explicit instruction in skills for independent learning before they are able to manage their own learning. Classrooms provide a natural opportunity to develop these skills in learners. Most classrooms use textbooks as their primary source for language and learning information. So it is important to ask to what extent they prepare learners for their future learning. In this study we investigate a range of textbooks commonly used in English classes around the world to determine the 1) range and 2) frequency of advice given to learners about the language learning process. We use an evaluative framework to identify advice pertaining to the different aspects of the independent learning process.
teacher autonomy: In recent years there has been an increased appreciation of the interrelationship between learner autonomy and teacher autonomy. One obvious impact on learners’ autonomy is their teachers’ understanding of the concept and their ability to implement it in the classroom. Especially for beginning teachers, knowledge of learner autonomy is likely to be shaped in large part by the professional training they received and the amount of attention given to the topic during their course. It is therefore important to ask to what extent teacher training courses prepare teachers for fostering autonomy. This study attempts to answer that question by critically investigating a range of popular teacher training course materials widely used in professional programmes worldwide. We apply an evaluative framework to identify 1) what information teachers are given about learner autonomy, and 2) the extent to which the materials cover the teaching of different skills for independent learning. We hope that the results will help course developers and teacher educators be more comprehensive in the skills they cover in their courses.
Both of the studies are conducted together with Cem Balcikanli from Gazi University in Turkey.
New Journal for Research in Autonomy – Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching
Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching is published by Taylor & Francis and focuses heavily on learner-centred approaches to teaching and research. We encourage everyone working in the broader area of autonomy to consider this journal for their publications. For more information see the Second Language Acquisition page.
Phil Benson and I edited a book called ‘Beyond the Language Classroom’ – you can find more about it here.
Terry Lamb and I edited a book titled Supporting Independent Learning: Issues and Interventions which was recently published worldwide by Peter Lang in Frankfurt. More information here.
A second book, called Learner and Teacher Autonomy: Realities and Responses, was published by Benjamins and Aila Review.
Articles on autonomy, self-access and language advising
You can download my thesis using the menu above.
Other articles are available from the ‘about me’ and ‘publications’ page.