Roles learners believe they have in the development of their language learning – autonomy included?

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Through data generated in an ethnographic research project, which studies language learners (future English teachers), it was possible to observe that learners voice the importance of being in control of their own learning. Nevertheless, in the academic context, it seems they have an imaginary territory, where they can or cannot exercise autonomy. In the classroom, they agree that the one who owns the knowledge (teacher) should be in charge of class management, which includes the determination of content, duration of the activities etc. From the learners’ perspective, besides being the one who <i>knows</i>the content, the teacher is the one that knows the best <i>way to learn too</i>. Outside the classroom, though, the situation changes: they feel freer to act according to their own learning beliefs and empowered to make their own decisions. All these data have been collected during a whole school year, at Catholic University of Pelotas – Brazil, when the researcher tried to construct an emic view with her participants using a range of research methods.


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