THESIS: LANGUAGE TEACHERS’ BELIEFS OF EFL
LEARNER AUTONOMY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF
Antonia Bacab Caamal
Estefania Yeladaqui Morfin
The present study aims to describe language teachers’ beliefs of EFL
learner autonomy at the University of Quintana Roo by exploring what
autonomy means to teachers, to what extent teachers believe
autonomy promotes EFL learning and how feasible and desirable is to
promote autonomy. It attempts to do so through a quantitative
research design using an adapted questionnaire to the 18 language
teachers from the English major academy at the University of
Quintana Roo. It is important to mention that there is no intention of
explaining or understanding the findings regarding teachers’ beliefs as
it is only a descriptive study.
Since 1971, the concept of autonomy became a principal matter for
research when the council of Europe established a modern languages
project which one of its outcomes was the formation of the Centre de
Reserches et d’Applications en Languages (CRAPEL) at the
University of Nancy, France. The importance of this topic remains in
the fact that it is a fundamental key in the development of learner
autonomy. Talking about foreign language learning, Littlewood (1996)
claims that the main objective of education should be guiding learners
to develop autonomy, as well as being competent when using the
language in real life situations in which autonomy is necessary.
This study came up from our experience as learners of a foreign
language due to the fact that we have realized that during our
process of learning autonomy was leaving aside because we
believe that autonomy is important in the language learning
process. Nevertheless, we are not able to be completely
autonomous since we believe that teachers did not promote culture
of autonomy in our courses. Therefore, we would like to know what
teachers in our major believe about autonomy so that we could
understand why there was a lack of autonomy through our learning
This study intends to describe the language teachers’ beliefs on
learner autonomy in English Foreign Language at the University of
Quintana Roo. It focuses on the beliefs language teachers have
about the meaning of autonomy, the way it promotes EFL learning
and the feasibility and desirability of promoting it.
• What does learner autonomy mean to language teachers at
• To what extent, according to the teachers’ beliefs, does the
learner autonomy contribute to EFL learning?
• How desirable and feasible do teachers believe is to promote
• Do teachers believe they promote learner autonomy?
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The importance of this study remains in the benefits that it will give
to the language teachers of the University of Quintana Roo and as
a result to the EFL students because knowing teachers’ beliefs of
learning autonomy we could help them to be aware in order to
them modify their teaching practice so that students will be
autonomous or more autonomous.
This study is based on the normative approach addressed by
Horwitz in 1989 when she did a study about language learning
beliefs of foreign language college students (Rojas, 2008).
Her results help to understand better the language learning
process. The normative approach was chosen because within
it beliefs are seen as preconceived ideas, myths, or fallacies
and it is thought that they are good pointers of future students’
actions as autonomous language learners.
This study will be carried out through a quantitative approach;
specifically, by using a survey design. Creswell (2008) defined
“survey research designs as procedures used in quantitative
research in which a survey is directed to a sample or to the
complete population of people in order to describe attitudes,
beliefs, behaviors, opinions, or characteristics of the
population.” to be more specific it is a cross-sectional survey
design in which the researcher collects data at one point in
time, in that case, the data of this research will be gathered by
using pencil-and-paper questionnaires.
The questionnaire which uses the Likert-scale (a five-point scale
from strongly agree to strongly disagree) will be administered to
English language teachers of the English Language Major
Academy at the University of Quintana Roo. The approximation of
English teachers who will be surveyed is 18 teachers.
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