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From reflection to autonomy: English curriculum reform in China


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Developing autonomy means supporting learners’ control over their learning, and likewise teachers’ control over their teaching. Throughout the process, reflection is a key. This presentation examines the reflective practice of a group of Chinese EFL secondary teachers about cultivating learner autonomy in the context of an innovative school project. Two questions are addressed: In what ways was learner/teacher control supported in the context? And what reflections did the teachers demonstrate regarding their autonomy-oriented practice?
The participants comprised the school principal, the executive director, and all nine teachers in the English Department. Taking an interpretive naturalistic paradigm, this case study deployed a multi-method approach to data collection, conducted over an academic semester of five months. Data gathered included twenty two classroom observations, fourteen post-lesson discussion sessions, eleven interviews, and numerous field and reflective notes, school documents and classroom materials. The collected data were subjected to a process of grounded analysis, through which important themes were identified by open and axial coding, constant comparison and contrast and iterative checking.
Major findings were summarised into two points. On the part of students, while opportunities to take control were allowed in such activities as pre-lesson presentations, collaborative group work, and peer teaching, few opportunities were observed for students to reflect on their learning and rationalise their participation in these activities. On the part of the teachers, whereas reflective sessions were running weekly in the form of collective post-lesson discussions, the range of topics covered in the discussions was too wide to permit focussed reflection. The study implies that teachers need to develop students’ awareness of and ability for reflective learning, and that school managers should guide and support teachers to conduct more purposeful LA-oriented reflective teaching.

Item Type: Paper presented at a conference, workshop, or other event which was not published in the proceedings
Uncontrolled Keywords: reflective practice, learners, China, learner autonomy
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2361 Curriculum
Divisions: Schools > Centre for Languages
Depositing User: Wang Yi
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2016 00:23
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 04:22

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