LEARNER AUTONOMY IN LANGUAGE LEARNING  

Get Complete Project Material File(s) Now! »

CHAPTER 6 LECTURERS’ PERCEPTIONS

Overview

This chapter reports findings from the pre-investigation into factors that might influence Thai lecturers’ integration of CALL software into English courses. These finding are divided into two sections. First, results from lecturers’ autonomy-related perceptions are presented. The second section reports findings about how these lecturers perceived the use of the CALL software in their teaching. More specifically, findings reported in this chapter address Research Question 1 (RQ1) and its sub-questions as follows:
RQ1. What factors influence Thai lecturers’ integration of CALL software into EFL courses?
1.1 What are the lecturers’ perceptions of their own responsibilities and their students’ responsibilities in English courses?
1.2 Are the lecturers confident of their students’ abilities to learn English autonomously?
1.3 How do lecturers view the development of autonomous learning in their students?
1.4 What do the lecturers perceive about using the CALL software in their teaching?
This investigation is important since it is well-established that teachers’ level of enthusiasm and their commitment to use of teaching strategies are two of the most important factors that affect students’ development of learning motivation (Dö rnyei, 2000). Before reporting the findings as mentioned above, the chapter starts by describing the demographic characteristics of lecturers participating in this study.

Profile of Lecturers
Lecturers Who Participated in Completing the Questionnaire

In total, 33 Thai lecturers of EFL across four public university groups (A, B, C, and D) participated in the study: 11 lecturers from Group A; 10 from Group B; four from Group C; and eight from Group D. Demographic data collected from the questionnaires include gender, age, educational qualifications, teaching experience and experiences of using CALL software. These data are tabulated with relevant statistics in Table 6.1 below.
As stated, a total of 33 lecturers of EFL across four university sites completed a questionnaire. Almost all of them were females, suggesting EFL teaching is a female-dominated profession. The dominance of female lecturers in this study was not expected to impact upon the interpretation of data since the gender of the participants (in addition to age, teaching experience, content areas, and educational levels) has been found not to be a significant factor that influences how teachers integrate and use technology (Gorder, 2008). These participants were of different ages, ranging from 20 to more than 50 years. Most of the lecturers were in the age range of 20 to 40 years (60.6%), which means that over half of them could be considered as young or middle-aged adults.
These lecturers had a wide range of English teaching experience, from the newly-trained (33.3%) to the highly experienced (39.4%). There was only one lecturer of 11–15 years’ teaching experience, suggesting a relative imbalance of teaching experience among the participants. Their teaching experience at the current university shared a similar trend—almost half of them (45.4%) had taught for less than five years, followed by the equivalent numbers of lecturers with 6–10 years and those with more than 20 years (18.2%). The majority received a master’s degree in teaching English as a foreign language or applied linguistics. There was a small number of the lecturers from each of the other four fields (i.e., English, translation, Education, and Linguistics); that is, no more than four lecturers in each of these fields.
Table 6.1 also indicates that about half of the participants (54.5%) had limited experience of using the current CALL software (1-4 semesters). Almost three-quarters reported on lack of experience in using any other language training software. However, among the CALL-experienced group, over half of the lecturers showed positive attitudes towards its use in EFL teaching and learning.

Selecting Lecturers for the Interviews

For the interviews, selected lecturers were invited to participate in an interview voluntarily and they were drawn from the participants in the questionnaire survey. I included them, using a stratified approach by group: five lecturers from each of the four groups, except for Group C where I had all four lecturers. This approach allowed me to gain a balance in their views about (1) their responsibilities in courses and (2) using CALL in teaching across the groups. I also considered the selection of these lecturers according to a range of their years of English teaching experiences, believing that it would be useful to have their varied perceptions. Besides, I considered that it was necessary for me to include lecturers who acted as the course coordinators in order to obtain useful data related to the management of CALL in the courses. The data about the lecturers recruited for the interviews across the four groups is presented in Table 6.2.
From Table 6.2, it can be seen that there are a total of 19 lecturers across four groups: five lecturers from each of the groups (Groups A, B, and D), except for Group C, where all four lecturers were involved. The majority of participants (57.9%) had no more than 10 years of English teaching experience, followed by the lecturers with no less than 16 years of the relevant experience (36.9%).

Findings Regarding Perceptions of Learner Autonomy

This section reports the findings derived from both questionnaire and interview data that measured Thai lecturers’ beliefs about learner autonomy through their perceptions of their own responsibilities and students’ responsibilities in English learning courses, together with confidence in their Thai students’ abilities to learn English autonomously.

Responsibilities in Teaching and Learning

As mentioned in the previous chapter (Chapter 5), questionnaires were distributed to EFL lecturers in four university groups. These lecturers were asked to rate the degree 132 of responsibility for 12 areas of course learning they perceived they had (teacher responsibility scale) and the degree of the same 12 responsible areas they perceived students had (student responsibility scale) using 5-point Likert-type scales. The rating was from 1 (Not at all) to 5 (Completely). The means were interpreted as follows:
4.51–5.00 = Very high; 3.51–4.50 = High; 2.51–3.50 = Moderate; 1.51–2.50 = Low; and 1.00–1.50 = Very low (Ketsing, 1995; Srisaad & Nilkaew, 1992). This scale rating provides a measure for interpreting the mean values obtained throughout the study. (For more information on this, see Chapter 5, Section: Analysis of Quantitative Data.) Results of the analysis are presented in Table 6.3, using descriptive statistics.
Several findings were observed from the questionnaire as follows:
It was evident that all 12 items in the lecturers’ own responsibility scale received mean scores higher than 4.00, suggesting that, on average, the lecturers viewed themselves as bearing high responsibility for their students’ learning in the courses. The standard deviations for all items are no more than .70, indicating that the variation of their perception is homogenous.
A closer examination of these 12 items in the teacher responsibility scale reveals that these lecturers saw themselves as having very high responsibilities (M > 4.50) for
(1) students’ progress in learning (Item 6); (2) stimulating students’ interest (Item 9);
(3) evaluating their progress (Item 10); and (4) evaluating the effectiveness of the course (Item 11).
Noticeably, these lecturers also perceived that it was their main responsibility to encourage autonomous practices in their students, which includes (1) making them work hard (Item 7) and (2) decisions made about their outside class activities (Item 12)—both items received high means (M = 4.45 and 4.36, respectively). These findings suggest that these lecturers were highly aware of their role to set up outside class learning for their students. This idea of encouraging outside class learning in students might also be associated with their attempt to make their students work hard on the target language.
Concerning the extent to which students were thought to be responsible for course learning, the lecturers perceived their students to be highly responsible for putting in effort to work hard (Item 7, M = 3.58). For the remaining ten areas, students were perceived to have some degree of responsibility (M = between 2.58 and 3.24), except for making decisions about what to learn (Item 2) which received the lowest responsibility score. These results confirmed that the lecturers perceived responsibility for learning in courses to be taken mainly by them, rather than handed over to their students.
It should be noted, however, that these lecturers did not totally disregard students taking charge of their own learning. Rather, they were moderately aware of students’ duties, as indicated by the overall means they rated for students’ responsibility (M = 2.99). This result suggests that the lecturers were willing to share some responsibility in the course with their students although lecturers might play a larger part (M = 4.39).
Taken as a whole, there were indications that the lecturers held authoritarian views and controlling roles, although they accepted that students were able to make some of the decisions in course learning.
In the interviews, the lecturers were asked, “What are your most important roles as a teacher?” There was a consistency in their responses that the important role they perceived themselves to play was to facilitate the work of their students and to enable them to obtain English knowledge by themselves with the fundamental goal in mind of improving their English skills. Lecturer-A2, for example, viewed her role as stimulating and encouraging students to “learn on their own because learning and practice in class aren’t sufficient for them to develop the English skills.” A similar view was reflected by Lecturer-A3 who had teaching experience of more than 20 years. She exemplified one of the autonomy-fostering language activities she had designed for her students23:
I need to force my students to search for more knowledge by themselves. In my listening class I have to think about how to make them learn and practise.
I’ve assigned them to look for authentic listening texts of their interest and to design exercises based on those texts for their classmates to read or work on.
From the above instance, it appears that Lecturer-A3 took her role as a manager of her students’ learning by organising an activity for them and by ‘forcing’ them to learn more autonomously, based on their choices out of their own ‘interest.’ In so doing, it may be assumed that her students could develop a greater sense of ownership of learning and metacognitive skills, especially when selecting texts most appropriate for them and their friends to learn from.
Other instances communicated this view:
To feed knowledge, give them suggestions, and stimulate them to learn outside class so that they can practise and develop English skills. (Lecturer-B1)
To help students to improve English skills so that they can communicate effectively, which means outside class learning is necessary. (Lecturer-B3)
To be a language guide for them, I mean, to help them to learn how to be responsible for their learning and to realise that learning is their responsibility. (Lecturer-A4)
We are like their coach, mentor, and facilitator who guide and support them when they need so that their English skills can be better. (Lecturer-C2)
Firstly, to be their model of speaking, secondly, to be a source of knowledge since students’ learning is started by us, and finally to be a person who scaffolds them so that they can apply knowledge to other contexts outside class. (Lecturer-D1)
To be their counselor and stimulator. Students need suggestions on learning and many of them lack activeness. So, I have to stimulate them. (Lecturer-D2)
The six instances above suggest that these lecturers had clear views about their own roles as teachers who attempted to support autonomy. Their views were indicated by the use of terms [in italics above] such as: coach, mentor, facilitator, guide, counselor, and stimulator, together with the use of phrases [in italics] that reflect equivalent functions, such as giving students suggestions, stimulating them to learn, helping them to be more responsible, and scaffolding them (McDevitt, 1997; Riley, 1997; Voller, 1997). For these lecturers, it was evident that encouraging students to do outside class activities was necessary so that the students could: “learn how to be responsible for their learning”; have “activeness” in learning; and “develop English skills.”

READ  Settings of Field-Practice Experience and Placements

Table of Contents
Abstract 
Acknowledgements 
List of Figures 
List of Tables 
List of Appendices 
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
Statement of the Problem
Significance of the Study
Research Questions
Overview of the Study
Definitions of Key Terms
Organisation of the Thesis
CHAPTER 2 THE CONTEXT OF THE STUDY
Overview
Historical Developments of English Teaching in Thailand
Educational Reforms in, and Policies on, the Use of Technologies
Rationales behind the National Reform
Re-thinking Education
Technologies in Education and Support
Thai Educational System
English Teaching in Tertiary Education
Challenges for English Language Education in Thailand
Examination-led Systems
Socio-cultural Perspectives
Learning and Teaching Situations
English Proficiency of Thai People
Economic Force and Competitiveness
Chapter Summary
CHAPTER 3 LEARNER AUTONOMY IN LANGUAGE LEARNING  
Overview
Learner Autonomy as a Multifaceted Construct
Definitions and Implications
Underlying Learner Attributes
Components and Domains of Control
Notions of Independence and Interdependence
Autonomy and Motivation
Self-determination Theory
Attribution Theory
Self-regulated Learning
Research into the Link between Autonomy and Motivational Factors
Autonomy and Metacognition
Roles of Autonomy-Supportive Teachers
Investigations into Learner Autonomy in Language Learning
Teachers’ Beliefs, Perceptions, and Expectations
Students’ Perceptions of their Roles
Fostering Autonomy through Socio-cultural Perspectives
Ways of Promoting Autonomy in Thai Students
Chapter Summary
CHAPTER 4 CALL AND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION 
Overview
Implementation of Innovation in Language Education
Defining Innovation and Its Purposes
Attributes of Innovation
Concept of Blended Learning
Features of Multimedia CALL Software
Research into Effects of Multimedia CALL
CALL Learning and Affective Factors
Autonomous Learning Behaviours and Strategies
Potential of Multimedia in Language Acquisition
Students’ Resistance to CALL Use
Chapter Summary
CHAPTER 5 METHODOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK  
Overview
Operationalised Definition of Learner Autonomy
Research Purposes and Questions
Research Approach and Design
Mixed Methods Approach
Research Paradigm and Design
Research Methods
Sampling and Participant Recruitment
Data Collection Methods
Overview of CALL Software Used in the Study
Data Collection and Research Procedures
Time Frame and Procedures of Collecting Data
Return Rates of Questionnaires
Considerations When Collecting Data in Thai Educational Settings
Data Management and Analysis
Analysis of Quantitative Data
Analysis of Qualitative Data
Reliability and Validity
Internal Consistency Reliability of the Scales
Trustworthiness of Qualitative Analysis
Ethical Considerations
Chapter Summary
CHAPTER 6 LECTURERS’ PERCEPTIONS 
Overview
Profile of Lecturers
Lecturers Who Participated in Completing the Questionnaire
Selecting Lecturers for the Interviews
Findings Regarding Perceptions of Learner Autonomy
Responsibilities in Teaching and Learning
Confidence in Students’ Decision-Making Abilities
Factors Influencing Lecturers’ Development of Learner Autonomy in Students
Findings Regarding the Use of CALL Software in Courses
Attitudes towards the Use of CALL Software
Reasons for Using CALL Software
Factors Influencing the Use of CALL Software
Experience of Using CALL software
Chapter Summary
CHAPTER 7 STUDENTS’ PERCEPTIONS‒QUANTITATIVE FINDINGS 
Overview
Overview of Students’ Learning in CALL Software-Use Courses
CALL Software Learning Integrated into Courses
Introducing CALL Software Learning
Profile of Students
Students Who Participated in Completing the Questionnaires
Findings Regarding the Development of Motivation
Development of Motivation
Development of Motivation by its Sub-constructs
Findings Regarding the Development of Using Learning Strategies
Development of Using Learning Strategies
Development of Using Learning Strategies by their Sub-constructs
Findings Regarding the Development of Views about Responsibility
Findings Regarding Factors Predicting Learning Outcomes
Chapter Summary
CHAPTER 8 STUDENTS’ PERCEPTIONS‒QUALITATIVE FINDINGS 
Overview
Selecting Students for the Interviews
Findings Regarding the Development of Motivation
CALL Feature-related Aspects
Autonomy
Course Relevance
Confidence/Competence/Self-efficacy
Language Learning
Scores as an Extrinsic Motivator
Learning Beliefs
Section Summary
Findings Regarding the Use of Learning Strategies
Using Metacognitive Strategies
Managing Study Time
Regulating Attention and Effort
Using Social Strategies
Section Summary
CHAPTER 9 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION 
Overview
Purpose and Methods
Summary of Key Findings of the Pre-investigation and Discussion
Findings of the Pre-investigation
Discussion about Factors Influencing Lecturers’ Use of CALL Software
Summary of Key Findings of the Main Investigation
Findings Regarding the Development of Students’ Motivation
Findings Regarding Students’ Use of Learning Strategies and Perceptions of
Responsibility
Findings Regarding Factors Predicting Students’ Learning Outcomes
Discussion about Development of Students’ Motivation
Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations
Value Given to Learning
Confidence and Beliefs
Discussion about Students’ Use of Learning Strategies and Responsibility
Metacognitive and Management Strategies
Use of Social Strategies
Factors Influencing Academic Performance
CHAPTER 10 CONCLUSIONS  
Overview
Contributions of the Study
Contributions to the Formulation of CALL Use
Implications for CALL-related Pedagogy
Limitations of the Study and Recommendations for Future Research
Limitations of the Study
Recommendations for Future Research
Concluding Statement
Contribution to my Professional Development
My View on the Future of Blended Learning
References
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
Computer-assisted Language Learning (CALL), Learner Autonomy, and Learning Achievement

Related Posts