Five Japanese women: Developing independence through self-directed homework

Teruko Nakajima

The purpose of this paper is to report on the results of a project that explored the effectiveness of self-directed homework as a way in which to foster autonomous learners. I privately tutored five adult women for two years to investigate their emotional development and material selection. The setting was outside of the classroom situation where students studied alone without direct help from the teacher. Students constructed their own studies, choosing material and evaluating their own work. This constructivist approach underlines the importance of the learner’s role in controlling, reflecting and acquiring knowledge (Candy, 1991). The results revealed a three-stage developmental process: initial dependency, less dependency, and finally independence from the teacher as they were able to select their homework and evaluate their learning.