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Students’ and Teachers’ Beliefs about Learner Autonomy at SEEU Tetovo, Macedonia and PH Zug, Switzerland: A Comparative Study

Chapter in book
Authors Brikena Xhaferri
Michelle Waldispühl
Gëzim Xhaferri
Brigit Eriksson – Hotz
Published in Promoting Learner Autonomy in Higher Education / eds. Brikena Xhaferri; Michelle Waldispühl; Brigit Eriksson- Hotz
Pages 9–38
ISBN 978-608-4503-98-9
Publisher South East European University
Place of publication Tetovo
Publication year 2015
Published at
Pages 9–38
Language en
Keywords Learner Autonomy, Higher Education, teacher beliefs, students beliefs, intercultural studies
Subject categories Didactics, Languages and Literature

Abstract

In this paper, we present the results of a questionnaire survey on beliefs about Learner Autonomy (LA) and practices in language learning and teaching conducted among students and teachers at SEEU Tetovo and PH Zug. In Tetovo, 75 students enrolled in the BA studies, and 9 language teachers participated in the questionnaire survey. In Zug, there were 64 students enrolled in the second year of BA studies, and 3 language teachers included in the study. The questionnaires are adapted versions of Borg & Al-Busaidi (2012) questionnaire who investigated English teachers’ beliefs and practices of Learner Autonomy at the university language centre in Oman. While comparing teachers’ beliefs on LA, the results show that the psychological concept of LA, such as monitoring and reflecting on one’s learning, is perceived to be the most important one as well as the concept of the relationship of LA to the effectiveness in language learning is dominant. Regarding the students’ beliefs, both groups of learners, in Zug and Tetovo, believe that LA is not learning without a teacher nevertheless, significant difference is found in student responses regarding the learner-centred environment and in the actual perception of how much autonomy the students are given at their respective university. One of the main conclusion concerning practices of LA is that at both universities there is potential in taking students’ educational background into account. Teachers in Zug can generally act on the assumption that students bring a fair amount of autonomy and should therefore minimize compulsory classroom attendance, give the students more options in how, where, and when to achieve the course’s goals, choose topics, amount of homework, pace and material and provide them, the students, with more opportunities for self-organized-learning. Teachers in Tetovo, on the other hand, should take more responsibility to encourage students to work more autonomously, guide them how to plan their learning, and give them more opportunities for creative work.

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