Fostering Learner Autonomy in Japanese Language Classes
Learner autonomy is a highly-targeted objective in today’s educational process. The reality of the Romanian education system is, however, rather different, as many university students are highly dependent on the input coming from the teacher. This is even more obvious in the case of Asian languages, since here the students often face learning content and strategies that they did not encounter when learning European languages. The relation of dependence on the teacher is generally stronger than in the case of other languages. The teachers themselves have been mainly exposed to rather traditional ways of teaching and learning, being influenced by the Asian strict hierarchical system, and thus less open to accepting the challenges of a student-centered approach.
In the present paper we tackle the issue of the development of learner autonomy reflected in a series of Japanese classes held at “Dimitrie Cantemir” Christian University in Bucharest. After examining several theories regarding the concept, we present some concrete examples of activities carried out during Japanese practical courses. Our findings reveal the influence of learner autonomy on the learning process and the importance of the teacher role during said process. Furthermore, we also address the importance of the particular cultural context in which the learning process takes place, since all the actants involved in this process are culturally-loaded individuals.
KeywordsLearner autonomy Japanese language Teacher role Culture-dependency
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