An investigation of EFL female teachers’ and students’ beliefs about learner autonomy in Saudi secondary schools

Alhejaily, N 2020, An investigation of EFL female teachers’ and students’ beliefs about learner autonomy in Saudi secondary schools , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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The development of Learner autonomy (LA) is a key area of research within second language learning and teaching (Benson, 2001, 2008, 2010; Dam et al., 1995; Holec, 1981). The literature pertaining to LA is diverse; however, Benson’s (1996) technical, psychological and political orientations are distinctive in providing different interpretations of LA. A significant body of research has examined LA in the university context (e.g. Al Asmari, 2013; Alzubi, Singh, & Pandian, 2017; Halabi, 2018; Javid, 2018; Tamer, 2013), but there is very little work in secondary schools, especially that studying both teachers’ and students’ beliefs about LA in the same context. This study investigates the beliefs expressed by EFL female teachers and students about LA in the Saudi secondary schools context at a key time when new educational policies toward LA are being implemented. It also considers what characterises the differences between the two sets of beliefs. To that end, a mixed methods approach was adopted. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with 8 EFL teachers and 8 students and from this data, a context-specific questionnaire was designed. It was administrated to 329 EFL teachers and 329 students in 2 Saudi cities. Follow-up interviews with 3 EFL teachers and 3 students further explored the findings of the initial interviews and the questionnaire. The combined findings indicate that teachers’ and students’ beliefs in the Saudi context are more complex and contradictory than previous literature might suggest. Although teachers appear to hold a more technical perspective that is connected to LA training, students seem to express more of a psychological perspective, where LA is seen as a capacity within every learner. Additionally, results reveal each group see the development of LA happening through different means. Teachers tend to view new policy initiatives like the Tatweer project and new Saudi vision 2030 as affordances of academic and psychological support, whereas students additionally see these as providing social support such as increasing their sense of responsibility towards society. The implications for practice and policy are discussed in the final chapter.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Etherington, MS (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Funders: Saudi Cultural Bureau- University of Tabuk
Depositing User: Nouf Alhejaily
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2020 13:35
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 21:45

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