Promoting learner autonomy in an Iranian EFL high school context: Teachers’ practices and constraints in focus

2015 IJRSLL – Volume 4 Issue 3


Nasri, Najmeh*
University of Isfahan, Iran (

Eslami Rasekh, Abbas
University of Isfahan, Iran (

Vahid Dastjerdy, Hossein
University of Isfahan, Iran (

Amirian, Zahra
University of Isfahan, Iran (


The present study aims to investigate teachers’ practices for promoting learner autonomy in an Iranian EFL high school context. For this purpose, the practices of 42 teachers, both males and females, were observed. The notes taken from observations were further analyzed qualitatively and the strategies implemented for promoting the autonomy of learners were coded and classified. This led to the emergence of four strategies, namely; focus on the learners’ independence from the teacher, giving choice to the students, providing opportunities for the learners to learn from each other, providing opportunities for self/peer evaluation, and setting out of class activities. Moreover, in order to delve into the problems which constraint promoting Learner autonomy in high schools, 19 teachers as well as 17 students were interviewed. While the teachers referred to predetermined materials, schedule, and tests, lack of facilities, university entrance exam, students’ desire to depend on teachers, and learners’ low level of English proficiency as the major impediments of promoting learner autonomy, the students referred to lack of time, students’ proficiency level, teachers’ lack of training, and students’ schooling background. The results provide insights for language teachers, teacher educators, and syllabus designers.

Keywords: learner autonomy; teachers’ practice; constraints; observation; interview



*Corresponding Author