AUTONOMY IN THE TRANSITION FROM FOREIGN LANGUAGE LEARNING TO FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHING Phan Vu Binh Minh - Dip12A27
Ho Chi Minh City Open University
The below critique gives some comments on the journal of Benson & Huang (2008): “autonomy in the transition from foreign language learning and foreign language teaching”. Three major phases in the journal, teacher roles in autonomous learning project, teacher autonomy as a professional attribute and teacher autonomy as professional freedom are summed up and given comments. Next, the problem – there are not many English as foreign language (EFL) lecturers have teacher autonomy – is analyzed. Three main objective reasons are discussed in the reflection are the lecturers are not well-supported to experiment variable teaching approaches; they are bound with the framework of their universities or colleges; and they do not have many chances to study higher. Finally, some suggestions are also mentioned in the discussion.
Key – words: teacher autonomy, professional development, professional freedom.
As far back as thirty years ago, whenever people heard the word “autonomy”, they would immediately think of learner autonomy. However, since ten years ago, educators have thought of the autonomy of not only the learners but also teachers. Mentioning about it, we cannot deny the success of Phil Benson, one of the greatest authors about autonomy, in synthesizing and clarifying the term teacher autonomy. He has a lot of books and journals about this matter, e.g.: Learner Autonomy, Teacher Autonomy: Future Directions (2000), Teaching and Researching Autonomy in Language Learning (2001), Practical English Language Teaching (2003), etc. (Autonomy and Language learning : mainting control, 2008). One of the best journals of him is “autonomy in the transition from foreign language learning to foreign language teaching”. In the research, Benson discusses the history of the concept teacher autonomy in foreign language education and its relationship to learner autonomy. Then he mentions three phases in the evolution of the idea of teacher autonomy in the field of foreign language education. In the journal, he is really excellent in clarifying the teacher roles in developing learner autonomy, teacher autonomy as a professional attribute and teacher autonomy as a professional freedom. Accordingly, in this reflection, the third matter is going to be discussed within Vietnamese setting.
Many people have known a lot about learner autonomy. It is describe as “the situation in which the learner is totally responsible for all of the decisions concerned with his learning and the implementation of those decision” by Dickinson (1987, as cited in Benson, 2006, cited in Nguyen, 2012). However, not many people have the general ideas of teacher autonomy. That’s why in Benson and Huang’s writing, they have broken the matter into pieces to help readers have an overview about it. According to them, there are many authors have identified teacher autonomy. However, all of them have shared the same view that teacher autonomy is the teachers’ control over their working environments and, in the context of teacher education programs, teacher’s control over their own professional growth (Powell & McGowan, 1996, cited in Benson & Huang, 2008, p.422). Accordingly, in foreign language education, they assert that teacher autonomy has largely been viewed as a professional attribute, which should be developed through teacher education processes and self-directed professional development (Benson & Huang, 2008).
Teacher roles in autonomous learning projects
At first, I would like to make clear about what is autonomous learning project, which is not defined in this journal and may confuse readers. Actually, autonomous learning project is the project aiming to promote autonomy in the students by...
Cited: in Benson, P., & Huang, J. (2008). Autonomy in the transition from foreign language learning to foreign language teaching. D.E.L.T.A , 421-439.)
British Council (2010). Dạy lớp đông học sinh . Retrieved March 14th, 2013, from Teaching English in Vietnam: http://www.teachingenglish.edu.vn/vi-VN/Kinh-nghiem-giang-day/Trung-hoc/Day-lop-dong-hoc-sinh.html
Chuk, J. &. (n.d.). Promoting autonomy by employing pedagogical strategies in the language classroom . Retrieved February 28, 2013, from The autonomy project site: http://www.learner-autonomy.org/Home.html
Ho Chi Minh City Open University (2012). thông báo kết quả tuyển sinh cao học năm 2012. Retrieved March 3rd, 2013 from HCMC Open University: http://www.ou.edu.vn/Pages/Thong-Bao-Ket-Qua-Tuyen-Sinh-Cao-Hoc-2012-.aspx
Language Centre of HKUST (2003)
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