Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Autonomous Learner Characteristics
Autonomous Learner Characteristics INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background of the study Looking back in time, English language were used once during the Cambodian Republic Regime (1970 Ã¢â¬â 1975), but thereafter, English was completely banned during the Genocidal Regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge; in 1993, for the first National Election in Cambodia, English language emerged again in this country with the arrival of United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) (Narith, 2008). Since then the popularity of English language has gradually grown among Cambodian people. According to Crystal (1997) indicates that English language gains its popularity in the world due to political power, military power and economic power. In Cambodia, because of local and international business, international non-governmental organizations, job requirements, consumerism, computers and mass media, young people are encouraged to learn English as a foreign language (Narith, 2008). Further, Igawa (2008) studies about English language an d its education in Cambodia states that Ã¢â¬Å"communicative competence in English means a better job and a better pay for Cambodian peopleÃ¢â¬ . That is why English language is encouraged and promoted to learn. Concerning English language learning, Cambodian students culturally seem to be respectful, obedient, and passive towards their teachers. This happens because of the traditional classroom, which is commonly practiced and mainly focused on teacher-centered approach. This approach offers fewer opportunities to students to engage in their learning, because the teacher always plays a role as a knowledge transmitter to students. Moreover, there is little interaction among teachers and students. The teacher usually spends a great deal of time speaking and explaining in the class; while students are required to sit passively and listen to the teacher attentively (Wang, 2007). However, after the communicative language teaching has emerged in Cambodia over the last ten years, the ro le of teacher and student has been gradually changed in modern classroom. In other words, there is a shift from a teacher-centered approach to a learner-centered approach, which offers students more possibilities to actively engage in their learning process. Since this shift occurs, learners are viewed as the main source of information for learning process, which the practice of learner autonomy begins to grow in language learning and teaching (Benson, 2001). Holec (1981) was the first person who coined the term Ã¢â¬Å"learner autonomyÃ¢â¬ and defined it as Ã¢â¬Å"the ability to take charge of oneÃ¢â¬â¢s own learningÃ¢â¬ . Autonomous learning encourages a very active role of learners and focuses on greater studentsÃ¢â¬â¢ initiative rather teacher-centered direction. (Eyob, 2008). Tudor (1993) also states that learner-centeredness is not a method, nor may it be decreased to a set of rules. It is, however, an approach, which views students to have more active and participator y roles in the learning and teaching process than in traditional approaches. Additionally, this approach requires different classroom activities, the structures of which are decided by students themselves resulting in increases in studentsÃ¢â¬â¢ involvement and motivation. There is also a parallel change in the teacherÃ¢â¬â¢s role in learner-centered classrooms. The teacher is less likely to dominate classroom events in contrast to traditional classrooms where the learning environment is teacher-centered and teachers are considered as authorities.