Exploring the Understanding and Practices of Learner Autonomy by Students and EFL Teachers at Boys’ Secondary Schools in Oman

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Assisting learners to become autonomous has become a globally desirable goal for any educational reform. Learner autonomy enables learners to attain long-term success in addition to sustaining the process of learning and teaching. It was first defined by Holec (1981) as the learners’ ability to take charge of his own learning. In the Omani context, limited attention has been paid to this concept and its efficiency, and to its invaluable contributions to language learning and teaching. The current study is an attempt to explore the understanding and practices of learner autonomy by students and EFL teachers at boys’ secondary schools in Oman. To investigate relevant beliefs, challenges, and perceptions, a mixed methods strategy through using questionnaires, focus group interviews, and face-to-face interviews, was adopted. The study revealed that reading books, using mobile phones, and the spoken practice of English language were the most important independent strategies which promote learner autonomy. Demotivation and unawareness of the importance of learner autonomy were found to be the major challenges that teachers encounter in their teaching process. Finally, the present study showed diverse interesting results regarding the students’ perceptions of LA.
EFL teachers, secondary schools, learner autonomy, language learning and teaching, English language, Oman