EFL instructors' perception and practices on learner autonomy in some Turkish universities

Gizem Doğan, İsmail Hakkı Mirici


Learner autonomy has become a central ability to develop in learners for a fruitful language learning/teaching process in EFL classes. Particularly, in this world of knowledge, teaching learners how to access resources and how to use them for their learning needs has become increasingly important. Teachers’ perception on learner autonomy is crucial because their beliefs about independent learning either intentionally or unintentionally impede the development of learner autonomy. The aim of this study is to investigate EFL Instructors’ perceptions and practices on learner autonomy at the schools of foreign languages in nine geographically diverse public Turkish universities. The study was conducted with 96 EFL instructors, and the data were collected through a questionnaire and interviews. The findings of this study revealed that the instructors had highly positive views on different aspects of learner autonomy. It was also found out that they did not perceive it as much feasible as they perceived it desirable. 


Learner autonomy, teacher perception, English as a Foreign Language (EFL), self-directed learning, aspects of learner autonomy

Full Text:



Al Asmari, A. (2013). Practices and prospects of learner autonomy: Teachers’ perceptions. English Language Teaching, 6(3), 1-10.

Allwright, D. (1984). The importance of interaction in classroom language learning. Applied Linguistics, 5, 156-171.

Balçıkanlı, C. (2010). Learner autonomy in language learning: Student teachers’ beliefs. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 35(1), 90-103.

Barillaro, F. (2011). Teacher perspectives of learner autonomy in language learning. Unpublished Master Dissertation. Sheffield Hallam University.

Benson, P. (2001). Teaching and researching autonomy in language learning. London: Longman.

Benson, P. (2010). Teacher education and teacher autonomy: Creating spaces for experimentation in secondary school English language teaching. Language Teaching Research, 14(3), 259-275.

Borg, S. (2009). Introducing language teacher cognition. Retrieved on November 15, 2014 from: http://www.education.leeds.ac.uk/research/files/145.pdf

Borg, S., & Al-Busaidi, S. (2012). Learner autonomy: English language teachers’ beliefs and practices. ELT Research Paper 12-07. London: British Council.

Camilleri, G. (Ed.). (1999). Learner autonomy – The teachers’ views. Strasbourg: Council of Europe.

Candy, P.C. (1991). Self-direction for lifelong learning. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Chan, V. (2003). Autonomous language learning: the teachers' perspective. Teaching in Higher Education, 8(1), 33-48.

Chwo, G. S-M. (2011). Cultivating learner autonomy in an EFL college level literature circle reading class via the author plus eLearning program. The International Journal of Learning, 18(2), 331-355.

Cotterall, S. (1995). Readiness for autonomy: Investigating learner beliefs. System, 23(2), 195-206.

Cotterall, S. (2000). Promoting learner autonomy through the curriculum: Principles for designing language courses. ELT Journal, 54(2), 109-117.

Dam, L. (1995). Learner autonomy 3: From theory to classroom practice. Dublin: Authentik.

Erten, İ. H. & Burden, R. L. (2014). The relationship between academic self-concept, attributions, and L2 achievement. System, 42, 391-401.

Fleming, D., & Walter, P. (2004). Linking teacher professionalism and learner autonomy through experiential learning and task design. TESL Canada Journal, 4, 58-72.

Furnborough, C. (2012). Making the most of others: autonomous interdependence in adult beginner distance language learners. Distance Education, 33(1), 99-116.

Heron, A. (2003). A study of agency: Multiple constructions of choice and decisimaking in an inquiry-based summer school programme for struggling readers. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 46, 568-579.

Ho, J. and Crookall, D. (1995). Breaking with Chinese cultural traditions: Learner autonomy in English language teaching. System, 23(2), 235-244.

Holec, H. (1981). Autonomy in foreign language learning. Oxford: Pergamon. (First published 1979, Strasbourg: Council of Europe.)

Inozu, J. (2011). Developing learner autonomy in the language class in Turkey: Voices from the classroom. Asia Pacific Educational Review, 12(4), 523 541.

Kagan, D. M. (1992). Implications of research on teacher belief. Educational Psychologist, 27, 65-90.

Khajavi, Y. & Abbasian, R. (2013). Improving EFL Students' Self-regulation in Reading English Using a Cognitive Tool, The Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, 9(1), 206-222.

Kohonen, V. (2012). Developing autonomy through ELP-oriented pedagogy: Exploring the interplay of the shallow and deep structures in a major change within language education. In B. Kühn and M. L. Pérez Cavana (Eds.), Perspectives from the European Language Portfolio: Learner autonomy and self-assessment (pp. 22-42). New York, NY: Routledge.

Kristmanson, P., Lafargue, C., and Culligan, K. (2013). Experiences with autonomy: Learners’ voices on language learning. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 69(4), 462-486.

Lamb, T. E. (2011). Fragile identities: Exploring learner identity, learner autonomy and motivation through young learners’ voices. The Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics, Special Issue, 14(2), 68-85.

Little, D. (1991). Learner autonomy. 1: Definitions, issues and problems. Dublin: Authentik.

Little, D. (1995). Learning as dialogue: The dependence of learner autonomy on teacher autonomy. System, 23(2), 175-182.

Little, D. (2004, March). Learner autonomy, teacher autonomy and the European Language Portfolio._Paper presented in UNTELE, Universite de Compiegne, Compiegne, France.

Little, D. (2012). The European Language Portfolio: History, key concerns, future prospects. In B. Kühn and M. L. Pérez Cavana (Eds.), Perspectives from the European Language Portfolio: Learner autonomy and self-assessment (pp. 22-42). New York, NY: Routledge.

Littlewood, W. (1997). Self-access: Why do we want it and what can it do? In P. Benson and P. Voller (Eds.), Autonomy and independence in language learning (pp. 79-92). London: Longman.

Littlewood, W. (1999). Defining and developing autonomy in East Asian contexts. Applied Linguistics, 20(1), 71-94.

Masouleh, N. S., & Jooneghani, R. B. (2012). Autonomous learning: A teacher-less learning!. Procedia Social and Behavioural Sciences, 55, 835-842.

Mirici, İ. H., Galleano, R. & Torres, K. (2013). Immigrant parent vs immigrant children: Attitudes toward language learning in the US. Novitas-ROYAL (Research on Youth and Language), 7(2), 137-146.

Newby, P. (2010). Research methods for education. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

Nunan, D. (1997). Designing and adapting materials to encourage learner autonomy. In P. Benson and P. Voller (Eds.), Autonomy and independence in language learning (pp.192-203). London: Longman.

O’Donnell, S. L, Chang, K. B. & Miller, K. S. (2013). Relations among Autonomy, Attribution Style, and Happiness in College Students. College Student Journal, 47(1), 228-234.

Palfreyman, D. (2003). Introduction: Culture and learner autonomy. In D. Palfreymanand R. C. Smith (Eds.), Learner autonomy across cultures: Language education perspectives (pp. 1-19), Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Porto, M. (2007). Learning diaries in the English as a foreign language classroom: A tool for accessing learners’ perceptions of lessons and developing learner autonomy and reflection. Foreign Language Annals, 40(4), 672-696.

Scharle, Á. and Szabó, A. (2000). Learner autonomy: A guide to developing learner responsibility. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Shahsavari, S. (2014). Efficiency, feasibility and desirability of learner autonomybased on learners’ and teachers’ point of views. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 4(2), 271-280.

Spratt, M., Humphreys, G. and Chan, V. (2002). Autonomy and motivation: Which comes first? Language Teaching Research, 6(3), 245-256.

Thanasoulas, D. (2000). ‘What is learner autonomy and how can it be fostered?’ The Internet TESL Journal, 6(11), 10.12.2014 retrieved from http://iteslj.org/Articles/Thanasoulas-Autonomy.html

Tinsley, H. E. A. & Weiss, D. J. (2000). Interrater reliability and agreement. In H. E. A. Tinsley & S. D. Brown, Eds., Handbook of Applied Multivariate Statisticsand Mathematical Modeling, pp. 95-124. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Udosen, A. E. (2014). Learner autonomy and curriculum delivery in higher education: The case of university of Uyo, Nigeria. International Education Studies, 7(3), 40-50.

Vieira, F. (Ed.). (2009). Struggling for autonomy in language education; Reflecting, acting, and being. Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany: Peter Lang.

Wenden, A. (1991). Learner strategies for learner autonomy: Planning and implementing learner training for language learners. UK: Prentice Hall International.

White, C. (2003). Language learning in distance education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Willis, J. (2011). Affiliation, autonomy and assessment for learning. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 18(4), 399-415.

Yıldırım, Ö. (2012). A Study on a Group of Indian English as a Second Language Learners’ Perceptions of Autonomous Learning. Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, 3(2), 18-29.

Zou, X. (2011). What happens in different contexts and how to do learner autonomy better? Teacher Development: An International Journal of Teachers’ Professional Development, 15(4), 421-433.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies
ISSN 1305-578X (Online)
Copyright © Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies