Improving Students’ Learner Autonomy in Japanese Educational Settings
Chiba University of Commerce;
Yoichi Kiyota, Meisei University;
Akiko Takagi, Osaka Kyoiku University;
Natsue Nakayama, Maebashi Kyoai Gakuen College
The symposium was presented by four speakers. First, Prof. Sakai overviewed the research on the relationship between learner autonomy and English language proficiency of Japanese university students conducted by him and Prof. Takagi. Following him, Prof. Kiyota spoke on how to motivate students to study English. Then, Prof. Takagi talked about teacher autonomy for teachers which should be autonomous when they help their students improve autonomy. Finally, Prof. Nakayama discussed how the mentoring program worked in order to enhance teacher autonomy by looking into the case of Arizona State. Then implications towards Japanese education system through the mentoring program were made.
1. Relationship between
learner autonomy and
English language proficiency of Japanese learners
Shien Sakai, Chiba University of Commerce
The present study
relationship between learner autonomy and English language proficiency
Japanese students from various
Specifically, the following objectives was addressed: If 721
from 16 universities are divided into three levels according to their
a vocabulary test, what differences in perceptions regarding
autonomy do students have among these three groups?
After conducting factor analysis several times, the students’ features of three groups were obtained. The top students are autonomous learners. The intermediate students are not independent users of English outside the classroom, but can be seen as learners in their classrooms. The poor performers remain dependent learners under teachers’ direction.
Under each nation’s educational system, learner autonomy has developed in its own way. However, in the end, various developments will converge on Holec’s definition (1981), for there are many autonomous learners who have been educated in the Japanese educational setting.
2. English Learning Motivation of Japanese University Learners for Developmental Education Related to Self-esteem
Yoichi Kiyota, Meisei University
In Japan, students who
cannot keep up
with English lessons in their universities have become a problem. A lot
universities have started to work on English developmental education in
to improve their English ability. However, considering their long-term
unsuccessful experiences in English learning, attention should be paid
problems of learning motivation and attitudes at the same time as
proficiency. If the learners have been influenced negatively in their
self-esteem through long-term English learning at school, it is
design teaching lessons in relation to the learners’ general
As a result of the investigations, correlation was recognized between English learning motivation factors and self-esteem factors. This suggests that it is necessary to enhance learners’ self-esteem in conducting English developmental education and not merely improve their basic knowledge and skills.
3. How to develop teacher autonomy in EFL context
Akiko Takagi, Osaka Kyoiku University
Clearly, teachers play an important role in promoting learner autonomy, and teacher autonomy seems to be precondition for fostering learner autonomy. However, there is little empirical research on teacher autonomy in EFL context. In order to find out some implication for future study regarding development of teacher autonomy in pre-service and in-service teacher training, I conducted intensive literature review on the definition of teacher autonomy as well as links between teacher and learner autonomy. Defining teacher autonomy is an easy task, but we have to keep in mind that there are at least six dimensions on teacher autonomy as Smith (2003) points out. Especially, fostering capacity for self-directed professional development has a strong impact on developing students’ learner autonomy and negotiation, critical reflective inquiry, dialogue, and empowerment will be key terms in development of teacher autonomy in teacher education.
4. A Study on Mentoring System at Northern Arizona University and its Implications to Japanese Teacher Education
Natsue Nakayama, Maebashi Kyoai Gakuen College
There are some researchers
the teachers’ role is important in promoting students’ autonomy.
However, if a
teacher did not have a concept of autonomy or has never received such
we could easily imagine it would be very difficult for the teacher to
learners to become autonomous. Then, what would be necessary to promote
One answer will be training
meta-cognitive strategy of the teachers. Good mentors would help them
abilities more smoothly. However, in Japan, we do not have the concept
to train mentors.
This March, we visited Northern Arizona University (NAU) to observe the role of mentor in teacher induction program (TIP). Through the visit we found that (1) TIP includes many aspects to enhance meta-cognitive strategies of the beginning teachers, and (2) the mentor plays an important role in enhancing them. Therefore, the purpose of this presentation is to (1) report about this mentoring system in NAU and (2) to make some implications towards the Japanese teacher education system.