УДК 372.881.1


Ивановская Ирина Петровна1, Нефёдов Олег Владимирович2
1Филиал ФГБОУ ВПО «Российский экономический университет им. Г.В. Плеханова» в г. Пятигорске Ставропольского края, кандидат филологических наук, доцент кафедры теории и истории государства и права
2Филиал ФГБОУ ВПО «Российский экономический университет им. Г.В. Плеханова» в г. Пятигорске Ставропольского края, кандидат педагогических наук, доцент кафедры теории и истории государства и права

В статье рассматриваются основные аспекты автономии студента. Приведены точки зрения отечественной, американской и британской методических школ. Авторы статьи убеждены, что элементы автономии следует внедрять в практику обучения иностранным языкам постепенно.

Ключевые слова: автономия обучающегося, роль преподавателя/обучающегося, самостоятельное обучение


Ivanovskaya Irina Petrovna1, Nefyodov Oleg Vladimirovich2
1Plekhanov Russian University of Economics (Pyatigorsk branch), candidate of philological sciences, associate professor at the Department of theory and history of state and law
2Plekhanov Russian University of Economics (Pyatigorsk branch), candidate of pedagogical sciences, associate professor at the Department of theory and history of state and law

The article discusses the main aspects of student autonomy. Points of view of Russian, American and British teaching schools are considered. The authors believe that the elements of autonomy should be introduced into the practice of teaching foreign languages gradually.

Keywords: independent learning, learner autonomy, teacher’s/learner’s role


Библиографическая ссылка на статью:
Ивановская И.П., Нефёдов О.В. The principle of consideration of student autonomy in learning foreign languages // Современные научные исследования и инновации. 2016. № 12 [Электронный ресурс]. URL: http://web.snauka.ru/issues/2016/12/74882 (дата обращения: 04.06.2017).

At each level of education students plan their educational trajectory, due to the motive, directing students’ activities to achieve their goals, including education and professional training abroad at higher education institutions. The concept of learner autonomy plays an important role in the process of teaching/learning. In order to help students achieve their goals, it is necessary to increase the level of their academic autonomy.

The content of the concepts «learner autonomy», «autonomous learner» is revealed in many psychological and pedagogical studies. Autonomous personality is understood as the subject of activity that can be purposive in charge of the implementation of decisions taken on their own, having “internal reserves” that determine their own development and is considered in the following aspects: self-determination and self-regulation of student’s personality, realized in the form of conscious choice of mode of action, taking into account both internal aspirations and external conditions; self-actualization, involving the presence of a conscious responsibility for their actions, behavior, understanding the importance of the individual’s personality and their constant pursuit of proper personal development; self-control, which consists in self-reliance, independence and activity of students in achieving their goals, in recognition of the need for personal growth [1].

There are well-known theories of learner’s autonomy in foreign science. So, David Nunan, considering the course of study in terms of autonomy and student-centered approach, offers nine steps promoting students from dependence to autonomy. According to the author, the development of autonomy is facilitated by: 1) more understandable for students learning objectives that are realized through active involvement of students in the learning process, avoiding mere informing; 2) giving students the opportunity to set their own goals and to change the content of the course of study; 3) encourage the use of a foreign language outside of the classroom; 4) increased understanding of the educational process; 5) formation of students’ own learning styles and strategies; 6) encouraging independent choice in decision-making; 7) giving students the opportunity to modify and adapt classroom lessons according to their preferences; 8) giving students the opportunity to perform in the role of  a teacher, 9) as well as a researcher [2].

Subsequently H. Reinders develops autonomy theory, based on the results of previous studies [3]. First of all, H. Reinders considers it necessary to determine the needs of students in the study of a foreign language [4], examine the strengths and weaknesses of the study group and each student individually, to promote the desire of students to share their results. Regarding the statement of the purposes the author agrees with the conviction of D. Nunan that students who have reached the level at which they can define their own goals and create their own learning opportunities, become autonomous [5], at the same time attention should be drawn to the fact that a teacher cannot always ignore the curriculum, so he/she should encourage perception of the course of study as one of the elements in the achievement of their goals.

In the American school of education autonomy is interpreted as an “idea that opposes a narrow framework of classroom learning, productive for the development of personal qualities such as creative fiction, will and initiative [6]. In the aspect of behavior autonomy is based on co-operation of students’ work, learning with the help of seniors – peer teaching.

In the British school of education implementation of the idea of learner autonomy implies a transfer of methodological knowledge to a learner. A key principle is teaching students methods of arrangement independent work on language material, formation of methodological competence of a learner – to teach others performing a function of a coach. New textbooks appear – teach-yourself books, to learn not only foreign languages but also methods of management of independent work – «Learning to learn» which is interpreted as training of learners – trainers of other learners. A student is an agent of learning activities, along with the teacher, a new pedagogical approach is being developed – «Learner centered approach» or an «Approach with a learner’s leading role» [7].

In the process of acquiring knowledge two basic lines can be singled out – one of which is active (i.e. I’m responsible for my success or failure, a teacher just guides me, assists me as may be necessary) or passive (i.e. I must be taught, and a teacher is responsible for all my failures). Sometimes expectations and demands imposed on one of the participants of learning process are unilateral and unjustified because learning activity is a cooperation of a teacher and a student and both parties are responsible for the outcome. There are two extremes in shifting the responsibility for success or failure of educational activity on one side of the learning process.

It’s very difficult to master a foreign language independently, without a teacher’s assistance in a group or individually. Hence the impression that teacher’s role in a foreign language acquisition is decisive. This is just partly true. Learning a language as a medium of communication seems unattainable if there is no contact with a real or classroom partner. However, students explicitly or unconsciously expect a teacher to be not a partner or model of a native speaker but a narrator, mediator and guide; a teacher must be an «ideal mechanism», implementing a process of learning, who shares his/her power, knowledge, skills and that’s why he/she shall…, must…, is responsible…etc. Teacher’s functions also include an increase and maintenance of motivation to language learning [8].

Rational approach to learning involves the creation of all necessary conditions for improving students’ educational autonomy. We agree with the position of  D.Little, who highlights that “the decisive factor [in fostering the growth of learner autonomy] will always be the nature of the pedagogical dialogue” [9]. Manifestation of students’ autonomy in the learning process should be promoted by modern learning tools, developed in the context of a rational approach and based on social interaction between teacher and learner. Therefore, in determining methods and means of education it is important to take into account the particular student’s age, type of student’s intelligence, his/her cognitive style [10].

At student’s age value-oriented activities become more active, serving as a unity of views, attitudes, approval of the objectives of activities. Student, as a subject of educational activity, is not just building an overall picture of the world, but is developing his/her own attitude to everything that can be known and seen. Therefore, in their mental performance combine activity of analyzing thought, inclination to reasoning and particular emotionality. At this age, there is an improvement of communicativeness, large differentiation of emotional reactions and expressions of emotional states, increase of self-control and self-regulation [11].

An important aspect of autonomy is an opportunity to experiment with the language material, to go beyond the learning environment, including the acquired knowledge in realities of everyday life [12]. At the organization of independent work outside of the classroom it’s necessary to avoid the same type of training exercises that do not provide feedback. For the development of the autonomy reflection is critical. An effective tool for this process can be language portfolio that performs a supervisory function as well as self-monitoring function. Language portfolio is an alternative means of assessing the acquired knowledge, skills and abilities. Its use in the learning process gives students confidence and stimulate motivation for further study.

However, the introduction of the system of gradual transition to the autonomy does not guarantee full shift of the emphasis from a teacher to a student. Awareness of the student that he/she is appreciated as a person and a sense of support, active involvement of a student in the learning process, undoubtedly contributes to the development of autonomous thinking, which in turn contributes their participation in planning practical implementation of objectives and evaluation of results of their learning [13].

Therefore, we believe that methodological solutions – organization of educational material, methods, techniques, ways and means should be based on a basic level of education, refracted through the prism of the individual student and his/her future professional interests, through internal and external context.

It should be noted that autonomous effectiveness is guaranteed not only by a learner but also by educational system, its theoretical, methodological, reference and information foundations, its availability for students, potential for self-rating and autonomy.

In other words, an educational institution creates favorable conditions for self-directed learning of a student and pedagogical communication of a teacher with a learner. The idea of student autonomy will not develop without conscious and sustainable teacher autonomy. Teacher as an independent and responsible person, as a medium of knowledge, methods, information, ways of organizing activities, is a model, an example to which the students will be guided, especially at the initial stage of learning a foreign language [14].

Speaking about learner autonomy, we do not mean that a student must be left alone with the challenge of learning a language. But the final result (after which the acquisition of language still continues) is the absence of necessity for our mediation. Good result is when a learner is capable, ready to raise his / her level independently. The goal is not to increase learners’ activity but to build up their self-determination, it’s a matter of inner attitude, area of responsibility which – ideally – must gradually and continually develop up to self-sufficiency.

  1. Леонтьев, Д.А. Самоактуализация как движущая сила личностного развития: историко-критический анализ. Современная психология мотивации. М.: Смысл, 2002. C. 13-46.
  2. Nunan, D. Nine steps to learner autonomy. URL: http://www.su.se/polopoly_fs/1.84007.1333707257!/menu/standard/file/2003_11_Nunan_eng.pdf (дата обращения: 16.12.2016).
  3. Reinders, H. Towards Classroom Pedagogy for Learner Autonomy: A Framework of Independent Language Learning Skills //Australian Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 35: Issue 5, 2010. URL: ttp://ro.ecu.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1454&context=ajte (дата обращения: 16.12.2016).
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  6. Goodland, S. and B. Hirst, Peer Tutoring: A Guide to learning by teaching. 1989, London: Kogan Page Limited, P.156.
  7. Ellis G., Sinclair B. Learning to learn English. A course in learner training. Cambridge University Press. 1989. P. 38.
  8. Маркосян А.С. Автономия учащегося как залог успешности при овладении иностранным языком. URL: http: // scientific-notes.ru/pdf/st22.pdf (дата обращения: 19.10.2016).
  9. Little, D. Learning as dialogue: the dependence of learner autonomy on teacher autonomy. System 23.2 (1995), P. 175.
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