Learner Autonomy in University English Classes

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Christopher Johnston, Jonathan Aliponga, Yasuko Koshiyama, Tina Ries, Thomas Rush, Kansai University of International Studies

It is widely accepted that learner autonomy plays an important role in the success of language acquisition. However, there has been an extensive discussion about whether or not learner autonomy is an exclusively Western cultural construct. Some researchers argue that the concept of learner autonomy is perceived differently in different cultures, and the influence of socio-cultural contexts cannot be ignored when trying to implement learner autonomy. Considering the importance of learner autonomy in language acquisition and how it varies according to the sociocultural context, in this exploratory study we looked into EFL students’ perceptions of learner autonomy in Japanese university English classes taught by native English-speaking (NES) and nonnative English-speaking (NNES) teachers, and the perceptions of NES and NNES teachers in terms of the implementation of learner autonomy in their English language classes.