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Group work for autonomy in China: From the perspective of teacher practice and cognition


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While collaborative group work is recognized as an effective means to foster autonomy in the classroom (Little, 1996; Benson, 2011), few studies have been found in using group work to create more space for student autonomy in the Chinese secondary education context. Moreover, according to Borg and Al-Busaidi (2012, p. 283) language teachers’ perspectives on what autonomy means have not been awarded much attention.
This presentation explores the language teachers’ practice and cognition about developing student autonomy through group work in the context of curriculum reform in a private Chinese secondary school. Three questions are addressed: 1) to what extent and in what way are the teachers using group work in their class? 2) how do the teachers interpret their practice of using group work to enhance student autonomy? 3) how can the teachers’ practice and their interpretation be explained? Data collection methods consisted of video-recorded lesson observations, and audio-recorded post-lesson discussions and interviews with 9 English Department teachers. The collected data were stored, transcribed and coded in NVivo 10, and subjected to a process of grounded analysis (Charmaz, 2006).
Findings showed that group work was used in all observed lessons in ways such as brainstorming, group discussion and/or presenting, peer-checking or group project. However, the teachers’ reflections about their own practice revealed considerable differences in their understanding of the notions of autonomy and collaboration, and in the level of their trust in students’ ability to develop autonomy through group work.

Item Type: Paper presented at a conference, workshop, or other event which was not published in the proceedings
Uncontrolled Keywords: groupwork, learner auytonomy, China, language teacher cognition
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1028 Education Research
Divisions: Schools > Centre for Languages
Depositing User: Wang Yi
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2017 06:15
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 04:41

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