Journal of Foreign Language Education and Technology

Are Turkish University Students Autonomous or Not?

Abstract

The present study tried to determine Turkish learners’ attitudes, and the
Turkish education system’s approach towards learner autonomy with regard to three
main points: 1) whether Turkish university students are aware of learner autonomy
or not 2) whether Turkish university students have the characteristics of autonomous
learners (whether they are autonomous learners or not), and 3) if the Turkish
education system is suitable for fostering learner autonomy or not from the
viewpoint of the participants. Participants were 50 second grade learners in the
English Language Teaching Departments of Hacettepe University (N=10), Mehmet
Akif Ersoy University (N=10), and Uludag University (N=30) who had already taken
courses about learner autonomy. The data were collected by means of a
questionnaire which had two Likert-scale sections and an open-ended questions
section. The first Likert-scale section contained 15 characteristics of autonomous
learners each of which was rated by the participants in a scale from strongly disagree
to agree, from 1 to 5. In the second Likert-scale section, the participants were asked to
rate the Turkish education system’s five basic elements such as school curriculums,
course materials, approaches used by the teachers in classrooms, learning activities,
and classroom settings. Additionally, learners’ opinions about their awareness and
understanding of learner autonomy were gathered by five open ended questions.
The results proposed that the participants were aware of learner autonomy, and had
the characteristics of autonomous learners. On the other hand, results showed that
the Turkish education system was not suitable for autonomous learners and did not
foster learner autonomy. The findings suggested that the Turkish education system
should be designed again in such a way to support the autonomous learners and to
foster learner autonomy in all sections of the education.

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