The role of learner autonomy in the shifting landscape of language education: Implications for teachers
Trinity College Dublin has been a home of research into and pedagogical practice of second language learner autonomy for the past three decades. During this period, the field of second/foreign language education saw monumental changes in the social context in which language learners engage in their business. The accelerated global migration, the international student mobility, the rise of low cost airlines, the penetration of internet, and the development of mobile technology have all contributed to create new conditions for language teaching. In the case of Japanese language education, the growing popularity of Japanese pop culture, which became more accessible than in the past thanks to the internet and the mobile technology, has also dramatically changed learner population. As a result, the boundary of first/second/foreign/heritage language has been blurred. An increasing number of people are learning languages “beyond the classroom”. Their needs, wishes, and competence are as diverse as ever. Traditional language teaching methodologies do not simply work. The concept of learner autonomy has a lot to offer to cope with this new situation in which language teachers find themselves. In this presentation, I shall discuss how letting learners take control of their own learning can be a feasible alternative.
Naoko Aoki is professor of Graduate School of Letters, Osaka University, where she teaches Japanese as a second language pedagogy. She earned a PhD from Trinity College Dublin. Her publications include Mapping the Terrain of Learner Autonomy published by Tampere University Press in 2009, co-edited with Felicity Kjisik, Peter Voller and Yoshiyuki Nakata, and Autonomy in Language Learning and Teaching: New Research Agendas published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2017, co-edited with Alice Chik and Richard Smith, as well as “A community of practice as a space for collaborative student teacher autonomy” in O’Rourke, B. & Carson, L. (Eds.), Language Learner Autonomy: Policy, Curriculum, Classroom (pp. 63-78), published by Peter Lang in 2010.