The subjective theories of student teachers: Implications for teacher education and research on learner autonomy
This article aims to explore to what extent the analysis of subjective theories of student teachers about learner autonomy and their experience as learners and student teachers can help us to re-examine professional scientific theories of learner autonomy and approaches to teacher education. Emphasis is placed on empirical data collected from semi-structured interviews conducted with two groups of student teachers, with special attention to the analysis and interpretation of the verbal data. The study is based on the assumption that the validity of learner autonomy depends on our ability to ground it in empirical research. Thus, qualitative and interpretative research can contribute to protect the concept from narrow interpretations deprived of validity and relevance to language education. Subjective theories are discussed as a means of conceptualising how student teachers view learner autonomy and how these subjective views can be integrated into pre-service teacher training programs. This article suggests that more qualitative and interpretative research should be done in order to foster learner autonomy in the language classroom.