Learners talking: From problem to solution

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To understand the relationship between teacher and learner autonomy, we propose that three areas of enquiry should be undertaken. The first is to understand better the kind of goals and constraints with which learners operate in particular teaching-learning contexts and the consequent strategic behaviour they adopt. The second is to evaluate the apparent effectiveness of the learner’s goals and strategic behaviour in those contexts. The third is to re-examine the role of the teacher in managing the learning opportunities for the learner in the light of the information gathered. The outcome of these three areas of enquiry should be an understanding that provides a better empirical basis for clarifying and potentially changing teacher and learner roles in context. This chapter draws on learner interview data relating to the first of these areas and shows how it might be used by teachers to better understand the constraints on autonomy.


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