Examining Learner Autonomy Dimensions: Students’ Perceptions of Their Responsibility and Ability

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Craig Gamble, Kwansei Gakuin University; Jonathan Aliponga, Yasuko Koshiyama, Kansai University of International Studies; Keiko Yoshida, Konan University; Shirley Ando, Otemae University; Michael Wilkins, Ritsumeikan University


This paper was written to clarify misconceptions that East Asian students are somehow less autonomous than learners from other cultural backgrounds. Specifically, based on motivational levels, it examines Japanese university students’ perceptions of their responsibility and ability of autonomous English learning and what they can do inside and outside the classroom. Three hundred and ninety-nine students from seven universities in Japan answered a 22-item questionnaire adapted from a recent study on learner autonomy. The results show that students, regardless of motivational level, have the same perceptions of responsibility to carry out the autonomous learning tasks. However, with regard to ability, highly motivated students tend to perceive themselves as being capable of being more involved in their own learning than unmotivated students. Nevertheless, they often do not act on these feelings due to a perception that it is the teacher’s responsibility or from a lack of confidence. Pedagogical implications are considered and suggestions on further studies are encouraged.