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Learner autonomy: The complexity of control‐shift


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It is generally held that constructing learner autonomy (LA) requires a pedagogical shift of control from teachers to students. It is also understood that the development of learner autonomy relates largely to teacher autonomy (TA), which requires school managers to relinquish some degree of control to teachers. However, from a socio‐political perspective, the construct of autonomy is a right also
extended to educational managers (MA). Thus, a problem arises: how can the three levels of controlshifts
co‐exist and survive in harmony, and ideally, thrive each in its own way? Based on a recent case study, this paper aims to explore the complexity of the dynamic interaction between these three types of autonomy within an educational hierarchy.
The study was conducted in a private Chinese secondary school which was promoting whole‐person development through a comprehensive innovation project involving all its academic staff members.
The participants comprised nine English teachers, the principal, and the school’s executive director.
Data collection was conducted through interviews, classroom observations followed by post‐lesson discussions, and the researcher’s field notes. Specifically, three questions were addressed in this paper focusing on managers’ perceptions of LA, a classroom instruction model intended to cultivate LA, and an in‐house professional development scheme to facilitate TA, all of which impacted on teachers’
professional decision‐making. The findings display a complex picture of these issues, and imply the importance of a genuine shared understanding of the nature of autonomy and the need to carefully ensure the optimal balance among the three types of autonomy in the design and implementation of
curriculum innovations.

Item Type: Paper presented at a conference, workshop, or other event which was not published in the proceedings
Uncontrolled Keywords: Learner Autonomy, Teacher Autonomy, Management Autonomy, Control Shift, Curricular Reform, Teacher Cognition
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Divisions: Schools > Centre for Languages
Depositing User: Wang Yi
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2018 23:25
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 04:49

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