Autonomous Learning and Teaching in Foreign Language Education



Shiraz Azad University


Over the past 25 years, autonomy has been a popular focus
for discussion and increasingly influential in foreign Language educa-
tion. Most research is concentrated on learner autonomy, while teacher
autonomy has been seriously neglected. Recently, however, researchers
and experts have realized that to enhance learner autonomy, we must
enhance teacher autonomy (e.g., Benson 2000; Little 1995; Little, Ridley
& Ushioda 2003; McGrath 2000; Thavenius 1999). Teacher autonomy is
now recognized as an important factor that affects the development of
learner autonomy in foreign language education. However, it is very dif-
ficult for teachers to develop autonomy in the classroom especially when
learners are used to traditional methods and techniques that teachers
play the main role. The concepts of teacher autonomy and learner au-
tonomy have been introduced and widely discussed as the learning re-
sponsibility of learners has been paid more attention to so as to improve
the learning autonomy in SLA. Therefore, a comprehensive discussion
of teacher autonomy and learner autonomy is of utmost importance to
foster a better understanding and application of learning autonomy. Au-
tonomy becomes a need for language learners and a must for language
teachers who play a key role in developing learners’ autonomy.