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MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING HUE UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES LE THANH NGUYET ANH SUMMARY OF THE THESIS EFL TEACHERS’ AND STUDENTS’ PERCEPTIONS AND PRACTICES REGARDING LEARNER AUTONOMY: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY AT A VIETNAMESE UNIVERSITY IN THE MEKONG DELTA DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY THESIS IN THEORY AND METHODOLOGY OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING HUE, 2019 This study was completed at: University of Foreign Languages – Hue University Supervisor 1: Dr Trương Bạch Lê Supervisor 2: Assoc Prof Đỗ Minh Hùng, PhD Reviewer 1: Assoc Prof Tôn Nữ Mỹ Nhật, PhD Reviewer 2: Assoc Prof Lê Phạm Hoài Hương, PhD Reviewer 3: Dr Nguyễn Gia Việt This dortoral dissertation will be defended in the Thesis Examination Council of Hue University at 04 Lê Lợi Street, Hue City at …….a.m/p.m on ……./……/……… This dissertation can be found in the National Library and library of University of Foreign Languages – Hue University Chapter One INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background of the research Learner autonomy (LA) is originated from European education (Benson, 2006) and whether it is suitable for Asian learning style (Pennycook, 1997) is both Western educators’ and Asian educators’ concern Therefore, this is a challenge to the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) as well as educators For Mekong Delta, the Decision No.1033/QĐ-TTg, 30 June 2011 issued by the Prime Minister on developing education, training, and vocational training in Mekong Delta in the period 2011 – 2015 brought hopes for a breakthrough in enhancing the labors’ education and quality (Vietnamese Prime Minister, 2011) However, after five years this Decision was conducted, the quality of education and training in Mekong Delta was still lower than other regions in Vietnam (Đỗ Nam, Tân Thành, & Phùng Dũng, 2017), and this area has been a “depression” in Vietnamese education, especially in teaching and learning English Although there has been a lot of research about LA conducted around the world in many ways and a variety of studies of EFL teachers’ perceptions and practices towards learner autonomy in Western nations, Asian ones, and Vietnam such as Borg and Al-Busaidi (2012b), and Dogan and Mirici (2017) as well as EFL students’ perceptions and practices regarding LA in Asian contexts generally and in Vietnam particularly (i.e Chan, Spratt, & Humphreys, 2002; Đặng Tấn Tín, 2012), their results have yet to be comprehensively generalised and final conclusions have yet to be made Up to now, there have been one thesis of LA (Trịnh Quốc Lập, 2005) and an article about this field (Nguyễn Văn Lợi, 2016) conducted in Cần Thơ University, in Mekong Delta, Vietnam The research was conducted at the Faculty of Foreign Language Education at a university in the Mekong Delta, South of Vietnam Most of the students who were attended English majors at Foreign Language Education Faculty at the University obtained their weak background in English, especially the freshmen Up to the time this study starting to be conducted in 2014, there had not yet been any research related to LA for both teachers and students carried out in this faculty, although Dong Thap University (DTU) had run for nearly 15 years Hence, the present study made an attempt to clarify this as well as to provide more insights about LA in the views of Vietnamese-speaking EFL teachers and students 1.2 Aims of the research First, this study aims to understand how Vietnamese EFL teachers perceive LA and express it in their teaching practice Second, it explores students’ understanding of LA and the ways they learn English autonomously Lastly, it investigates the relationship between the EFL teachers’ and the EFL students’ perceptions and practices of LA 1.3 Research questions What are EFL teachers’ perceptions and practices of LA? What are EFL students’ perceptions and practices of LA? What are the relationships between EFL teachers’ and EFL students’ perceptions and practices of LA? 1.4 Research significance First, the present study provides necessary insights into models of LA from local EFL teachers and EFL students’ perspectives in learning environments in a rural area in Mekong Delta, South of Vietnam Second, understanding teachers’ and students’ practices of LA in EFL learning environment contributes to a LA profile for the local context in Vietnam Third, the current study contributes more knowledge to LA field which is provided in Chapter Two 1.5 Organization of the thesis Chapter One is introduction Chapter Two is literature review Methodology is in Chapter Three Chapter Four is findings and discussion Chapter Five is conclusion and implications Chapter Two LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 Learner autonomy 2.1.1 Definition of learner autonomy LA was primitively defined as the “ability to take charge of one’s own learning” by Holec (1981, p.3) and up to now this definition has been cited in LA literature most 2.1.2 Roles of learner autonomy In the last three decades LA is still an interesting topic and has an extremely powerful effect on language teaching and learning (Benson, 2006; Blidi, 2017) One more major reason for continuing exploring and developing LA at tertiary education is for the purpose of life-long learning for both teachers and students 2.1.2.1 Learner autonomy in Asian EFL higher education Recently, a large number of studies about the benefits of LA and the importance of fostering LA in foreign/second language education in Asian context have been conducted This shows the positive role of LA in this field in Asian university settings Cakici’s findings (2017) showed that LA was highly valued by participants, and they were willing to take more responsibilities for and make decisions about their own language learning 2.1.2.2 Learner autonomy in Vietnamese EFL higher education Trịnh Quốc Lập (2005, p.17) indicates that one of the goals of English Language Teachers training programs in Vietnamese universities is LA development Đặng Tấn Tín (2012, pp.2627) shows that LA “directly contributes to both processes and outcomes of learning activities”, helps “students to face the challenge of technical difficulties”, and “is especially important for knowledge construction and sustainable learning in today’s globalized world” 2.2 Learner autonomy in foreign language education 2.2.1 Learner autonomy as ability Holec (1981, p.3) defines LA as “ability to take charge of one’s own learning Thus, LA is the ability to proceed to learning independently and consciously Dickinson (1994) makes these LA cognitive abilities of language learners clearer through being able to recognize the objectives of what they learn in the classroom, plan their own learning goals, choose a suitable type of learning strategies, and manage and evaluate their implementation of learning strategies 2.2.2 Learner autonomy as responsibility All of the above definitions of LA imply that language learners should take responsibility for their learning Holec (1981, p.3) also mentions that LA is that “to take charge of one’s learning is to have, and to hold, the responsibility for all the decisions concerning all aspects of this learning” Taking LA as responsibility also means developing a set of behaviors and skills which Benson and Voller (1997, p.2) classify into five main components: to “study entirely on their own”; form “a set of skills which can be learned and applied in self-directed learning”; activate their “inborn capacity which is suppressed by institutional education”; implement their “responsibility for their own learning”; and “determine the direction of their learning” 2.2.3 Learner autonomy as cognitive processes Wenden (1991, p.15) believes that autonomous learners are the ones who “have acquired the learning strategies, the knowledge about learning, and the attitudes that enable them to use these skills and knowledge confidently, flexibly, appropriately and independently of a teacher” She argues that to develop LA, knowledge about learning strategies (cognition, selfmanagement), knowledge about language learning (metacognition), and knowledge about learner attitudes are essential Harris (2003, p.4) states that “metacognition is concerned with guiding the learning process itself and so includes strategies for planning, monitoring and evaluating both language use and language learning; key elements in developing autonomy” 2.2.4 Learner autonomy in lifelong learning Thomson (1996, p.78) indicates that language learning is “a life-long endeavor” Borg and Al-Busaidi (2012b, p.3) hold that LA “prepares individuals for lifelong learning” LA is learners’ lifelong learning process after they graduate from university According to Blidi (2017), the development of lifelong learning is deemed to strongly impact on policies of education and trends in teaching and learning in Europe as well as in the globe because it is considered as the solution to connect education products and the important and essential things of social economy 2.2.5 Learner autonomy as cultural challenge LA has been considered as a concept affecting language teaching and learning in different settings, and culture has become an important factor in relation to its suitability and effectiveness LA has been considered as a cultural characteristic in Western countries versus Asia countries Ho and Crookall (1995) show that Asian learners, consisting of Vietnamese learners, have the same strong beliefs of social relations and relational hierarchy in the classrooms Đặng Tấn Tín (2010) states that influenced by the Asian culture, the common philosophy of Vietnamese education practice is more absorbing and memorizing and less experimenting and creating knowledge In Mekong Delta, LA seems to be one of the big challenges Hồ Sỹ Anh (2018) indicates that only 12% of Mekong Delta people graduated from high school to university in 2014, which was the lowest rate in comparison with other regions in Vietnam 2.2.6 Learner autonomy in this study Based on above analyzed definitions of LA and sociocultural conditions in Mekong Delta in the South of Vietnam, in the current study, LA is redefined as language learners’ cognition, ability to take responsibility for their own learning by setting learning goals, planning, practising, monitoring and assessing their autonomous learning processes through teachers’ guide and orientation, as well as their lifelong learning 2.3 Aspects of learner autonomy 2.3.1 Technical aspect of learner autonomy According to Benson (1997, p.19), technical aspect of LA is clearly shown as “the act of learning a language outside the framework of an educational institution and without the intervention of a teacher” He emphasizes the physical situation for autonomous learners to take and develop their responsibility for their own learning He uses positivism for this aspect because he believes that “knowledge is a more or less accurate reflection of objective reality” (Benson, 1997, p.20) 2.3.2 Psychological aspect of learner autonomy Psychological aspect relates to learners’ attitudes and awareness ability when they have their responsibility for their own study Benson (1997, p.19) defines psychological aspect of LA as “a capacity – a construct of attitudes and abilities – which allows learners to take more responsibility for their own learning” The psychological perspective starts to be clearer as Little (2003) connects Holec’s definition (1981) and his in order to concretize that autonomous students have full perceptions regarding and understand their courses’ goals, approve their responsibility, actively plan study and conduct their learning activities, and usually assess their learning effects 2.3.3 Political aspect of learner autonomy Political aspect of LA is based on critical theory and focuses on learners’ “control over the processes and content of learning” (Benson, 1997, p.19) This version of LA is the approaches that permit learners to manage both their own learning and the institutional settings It seems to be learners’ rights in learning Also, critical theory emphasizes the social contexts and the form of LA as access, control, power, and ideology (Pennycook, 1997) which are looked for in particular locations, circumstances, groups, institutions, and socioeconomic positions 2.3.4 Sociocultural aspect of learner autonomy Basing on Benson’s three aspects of LA (1997), Oxford (2003) introduces one more aspect of LA into her framework that is sociocultural perspective This perspective emphasizes social interaction in shaping learners’ cognition and language development Oxford (2003) bases herself on Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory (1978) to form this aspect of learner autonomy through environmental stimulation and social interactions with learning environments where people’s cognition has developed 2.4 Perceptions and practices 2.4.1 Perceptions McShane and Von Glinow (2010, p.68) defines “perception is the process of receiving information about and making sense of the world around us” People have intention of bringing meaning and significance, judgments and analyses, values, objectives to their actions The concept of language teachers’ perception is defined by Borg (2006) as teachers’ cognition of what they consider, are familiar with, and believe Basing on Borg and AlBusaidi’s questionnaire (2012b), Benson’s views (2011), and Little’s views (1991, 1999), Xhaferri, Waldispuhl, Xhaferri, and Eriksson-Hotz (2015, p.13) list ten concepts which are used as a framework to explore beliefs about LA, namely technical views, psychological views, social views, political views on LA, the role of the teacher in LA, the relevance of LA to diverse cultural contexts, age and LA, language proficiency and LA, the implication of LA for teaching methodology, and the relationship of LA to effective language learning Learners’ perceptions of LA are an important issue for both educators and learners themselves investigated by a number of language researchers White (1995, p.209) states that only when learners have developed their “understanding of the nature of language learning, and of his/her role in that process”, can they gain ability to practice LA 2.4.2 Practices Dewey (1904) states that practice work is “an instrument in making real and vital theoretical instruction; the knowledge of subject-matter and of principles of education” Teachers’ practices of LA relate to the ways they instruct their students doing LA activities Brown (1994, p 124) claims that instructing students how to study is an important duty for teachers Additionally, ten strategies are identified and mentioned in Benson’s study (2016) to help teachers foster their students’ LA Regarding students’ practices of LA, Holec (1981, p.3) clarifies students’ LA ability and responsibility for their learning through five vital actions to practice LA, namely “determining objectives, defining content and progressions, selecting methods and techniques to be used, monitoring procedure of acquisition, and evaluating what has happened” Littlewood (1999) gives a model of three features: language acquisition, learning approach, and personal development, and develops definition of learner autonomy in two levels of proactive autonomy and reactive autonomy 2.4.3 Relationship between perception and practice of learner autonomy Discussing the interaction between perception and practice, Bodenhausen and Hugenberg (2009, p.14) indicate that “perception is linked to action in some fairly obvious ways” They illustrate the connection of input, perception, cognition, and action in a diagram: Target perception cognition action Figure 2.1: The interaction of perception, cognition, and action (Bodenhausen & Hugenberg, 2009, p.15) The figure 2.1 shows that one’s perception through his or her cognition guides his or her action and the action, then, impacts on perception Teachers’ perceptions are a crucial part in teaching practice because they straightly influence teachers’ selection of objectives and activities Buchmann (1986) shows that objectives of education may shape teachers’ beliefs regarding what is suitable for teaching and teachers’ conceptions about their professional role Conceptions of their role, in turn, shape their teaching practice According to Horwitz (1987), learners’ beliefs can affect their attempts in learning new languages and decide what they Moreover, Riley (1996, p.128) shows that learners’ beliefs strongly influence their language learning process more than their teachers’ stimulation on them because “it is their beliefs that hold sway over their motivation, attitudes, and learning procedures” 2.5 Assessing as learning in learner autonomy 2.5.1 Assessment as learning as an indispensable segment of LA According to Earl and Katz (2006, p.41), assessment as learning (AaL) is “an active process of cognitive restructuring that occurs when individuals interact with new ideas” In this process, students are “the critical connectors between assessment and learning” Similarly, Berry (2008, p.47) states that this approach offers students’ learning responsibility, urges students to learn in depth, and focuses on “assessment as a process of metacognition for students” 2.5.2 Teachers’ role In assessment as learning, teachers play the crucial role, including “designing instruction and assessment that allow all students to think about, and monitor, their own learning” (Earl & Katz, 2006, p.42) Likewise, Berry (2008) states that teachers’ role in AaL is to plan their teaching with the opportunities, which helps students self-assess and peer-assess their learning Furthermore, teachers should observe and assess learners’ practices of LA, and then they may have a teaching plan to support their students to develop autonomy Besides, teachers have to self-assess their instruction of LA activities 2.5.3 Learners’ role To become the active, involved and critical assessors in assessment as learning, students are like ones with personally analyzing, evaluating, and critically considering what they implement in learning Then, they can adjust, adapt, or change their present study goals, and plan their new learning objectives Therefore, students are the connectors between teaching and learning (Berry, 2008) Furthermore, Gardner (1999) considers self-assessment as an important element to look back and decide learners’ level of knowledge and skills 2.6 Previous studies on EFL teachers’ and students’ perceptions and practices of LA In the Western, Dogan and Mirici’s study’s results (2017) showed that there was a missing link between teachers’ perceptions and practices of LA Teachers felt it hard to involve students in making decisions on their own language learning Besides, Balcikanli (2010) indicated that the student teachers possessed a clear understanding of LA However, it was difficult to involve themselves in making decisions on some aspects such as choosing time and place of a class, or in selecting materials in learning because they were not allowed In Asia, Borg and Al-Busaidi (2012b) showed that the teachers had positive perceptions towards the notion of LA and its advantages for language students However, the participants shared difficulties which they met were fixed curriculum, students’ weak LA experience, students’ demotivation, students’ trust in their teachers, students’ learning English out of classes, students’ aim in passing exams, etc In Iran, Azizi’s findings (2014) showed that students believed in some LA activities they and their teachers shared duty together Yet, some other students perceived that they had to take certainly responsibility for conducting them In some others, students thought that their teachers took responsibility, especially the activities related to methodological aspects, study planning, activity control In Southeast Asia, Keuk and Heng (2016) showed that the Cambodian EFL teachers admitted that it was hard for EFL teachers to apply the current curriculum, learning resources, desirable level of LA in practice, and they did not have enough necessary knowledge and skills to conduct studies of LA In addition, Tapinta (2016) revealed that Thai EFL teachers had a strong belief in developing LA They also recognized the role of them as facilitators in students’ learning process Furthermore, in Vietnam, Nguyễn Thanh Nga’s results (2014) indicated that overall teachers did not have full understandings of the concept and did not enhance LA due to many factors such as difficult conditions of their teaching settings, and the strict courses Especially, they did not know how to foster LA In addition, Đặng Tấn Tín (2012) indicated that the participants had positive perceptions of initiating learning opportunities as well as of the vital role of technology to help their learning However, he stated that “the relationship between perception and performance of LA is not strong [ ] Learners cannot always what they want to for their learning even though they understand that it is necessary and useful to so” (Đặng Tấn Tín, 2012, p.184) 2.7 Summary This chapter presents an overview of definitions, aspects, perceptions, and practices, self-assessment of LA in literature in previous studies Chapter Three METHODOLOGY 3.1 Research approach: Mixed methods research It is a large number of complexities surrounding learner autonomy that appeals a multiple research approach rather than a single one in order to raise the degree of confidence in responding the three research questions in this study Thus, the present research employed a mixed methods research, typified by a process of combining and analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data (Creswell, 2014; Johnson, Onwuegbuzie, & Turner, 2007) to gain “greater depth of understanding and corroboration of findings” (Johnson et al, 2007, p.124) In this research, exploratory study of mixed methods design was opted because the aim of this research kind was to find “what is happening; to seek new insights; to ask questions and to assess phenomena in a new light” (Robson, 2002, p.59) 3.2 Research participants 3.2.1 Teacher participants A total of 20 Vietnamese-speaking EFL teachers in the Foreign Language Education Faculty, (DTU in the Mekong Delta), voluntarily took part in the interview It should be noted that by the time the current study was conducted, none of them had attended any workshops or training programs exclusively on EFL students’ LA 3.2.2 Student participants There were 285 current English majors in Foreign Language Education Faculty at the university, volunteering to complete the questionnaire Of 285 participants, 60 voluntary students responded to interview questions It should be noted that none of them have yet to attend any training programs exclusively on EFL students’ LA 3.3 Data collection methods 3.3.1 Interviews 3.3.1.1 In-depth interviews Using in-depth interview, the researcher can explore “as much depth as possible the respondent’s experiences, views, or feelings” and obtain “the richness of insight” (Richards, 2009, p.185) Similarly, Saunders et al (2009, p.321) talk about the advantages of in-depth interview as investigating the general field in depth and the participants given a chance “to talk freely about events, behaviors, and beliefs in relation to the topic area” 3.3.1.2 Group interview Group interview has a lot of benefits which have been researched by many researchers on the world (Bogdan & Biklen, 1992; Watts & Ebbutt, 1987) First, using group interview helps researchers develop and obtain a wider set of answers from interviewees through their own stories than in individual ones Next, it brings to researchers diverse thoughts or ideas And then, it saves time because the interviewer can interview a group of people at the same time Psychologically, when interviewed in groups, students will not be asked alone and can be stimulated to remind them of more ideas relating to the topic while they are listening to their friends’ story 3.6 Research reliability and validity Table 3.5: Summary of Cronbach’s Alpha Coefficients Scales Cronbach's Alpha Number of Items Ability and cognition 700 Responsibility 885 Roles of LA 852 Setting goal 855 Planning study 728 LA activities outside the classroom 899 25 Time and life management 752 Materials and resources 819 Self-assessment 830 Metacognition 892 17 Perceptions of LA Practices of LA Total 86 3.7 Ethical considerations The EFL teachers and students took part in this research voluntarily, and they had their own freedom to withdraw from the research whenever they wanted Besides, all students’ names, who answered the questionnaire, would be protected Similarly, in the interview, the teachers’ and the students’ stories about LA were kept in secret and just used exclusively for the study purposes 3.8 Summary This chapter just presented the research design with a mixed methods approach with an exploratory study with in-depth interview, group interview, and questionnaire The participants’ information, and two phases of the research were mentioned Chapter Four FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION 4.1 Teachers’ perceptions and practices of learner autonomy 4.1.1 Teachers’ perceptions of the concept of learner autonomy Twenty EFL teachers who were interviewed about their understanding of EFL students’ LA shared a number of ideas in three domains of LA: ability, responsibility, and cognition First, one-fifth of teachers stated that EFL students had to have their ability of autonomous learning in diverse ways For instance, T1 mentioned that EFL students had to “adjust their learning actively”, and master “the ways to learn autonomously, and self-research” In addition, T17 seemed to understand the concept of LA deeply since she mentioned two LA terminologies, 11 namely “proactive autonomy” and “reactive autonomy” Second, thirteen participants emphasized students’ “responsibility” for their own learning For example, T2 perceived they had to “know what they need, what they to obtain their learning goals If EFL students set up their clear learning goals, they will actively arrange their time, choose a place like the library to learn autonomously, buy books [ ] In general, they try to what they can to gain their good learning results” Third, three informants focused on EFL students’ LA as “cognition”, and “self-consciousness” outside the classroom More specifically, T8 indicated that “EFL students with a good LA ability not need to go to classes as one period in class is fifty minutes and students practice English very little Instead, they can actively listen to more English at home, practice speaking to their friends, and writing as well” In conclusion, all participants stated their positive perceptions towards the concept of learner autonomy 4.1.2 Teachers’ perceptions of the role of learner autonomy All of the participants appreciated the extreme importance of the EFL students’ LA in learning a foreign language in the integrated time and technology era these days and in their job in the future as “lifelong learning” of LA First, six of twenty teachers perceived that LA helped students learn better in classes and get good learning results For instance, T1 believed that “after class the students need to self-research and self-discover knowledge to seek new things from what they have learnt in class” Next, T2 talked about the limited time in class in the credit-education system and emphasized that if EFL students wanted to master the language skills, they had to allocate their time to practice inside or outside classes to use English fluently T8 considered LA played an important role for the EFL students at DTU because their background in English was lower than others in other universities in Vietnam in general and in Mekong Delta in particular Second, one-fourth of teachers expressed one more function of LA: “It also helps EFL students with lifelong learning spirit”, and learning is the people’s lifelong activity T10 said that EFL students had to learn more autonomously to make progress and their necessary skills such as critical thinking, communication, etc in the 21 st century should be built Finally, twelve teachers mentioned the benefits of LA in students’ future jobs For instance, T3 believed that if they had good LA ability, “after graduating from DTU, they are more confident and have LA experience” 4.1.3 Teachers’ practices of learner autonomy When asked to talk about the ways to instruct their students to LA activities, a number of the teachers reported that they used the same methods For example, at the beginning of a course, they designed their detail teaching plans with LA which occupied twenty percent of the total grade for the subjects they taught In addition, they gave homework, exercises or assignments, or questions to students to at home Then, they checked whether the students did their duties Besides, some of the teachers had their own special ways to hold and instruct their students to carry out LA, and they are as follows 12 4.1.3.1 Teachers’ stories of organizing learner autonomy activities T10 – using project-based learning and no homework For Speaking classes, T10 told students that to speak well they needed to listen very much However, in reality, their listening skills were weak, so they had to spend at least one hour or as much as possible on listening, and learning vocabulary so that those helped them be able to express their ideas Besides, they spent time on reading newspapers, books increasing their social knowledge which helped them have ideas to talk Specially, she held project-based learning for them in American Culture and British Culture They were divided into groups and almost learning method was LA With teacher’s instruction, students explored the problem as they did small research on any topics After that they reported their result of that research in groups She could see LA occupied students’ time in those two subjects T13 – using English clubs and the Internet For Speaking classes, T13 held English clubs for them to practice together She told them when they had a chance to meet a foreigner, they should talk to him or her so as to practice listening and speaking In Writing classes, she organized some groups on Facebook for them to post and peer-review their papers She held another group for those who liked to compose or create new things For British Literature classes, she gave some links with stories or poems and from two to five questions for them to read and answer at home to check their understanding, and then they wrote a short report to share their ideas after they read in classes In Listening classes, she also introduced some websites of short English news such as BBC, VOA, and links of movies to them Additionally, she sent a long list of English songs to them to fill in the blanks and sing to practice both listening and speaking because she thought that singing is a high level of speaking For Reading classes, she introduced some short stories collections, websites of short stories or fables to them so that they could have more vocabulary and train their reading habit because they could read in Vietnamese and were not familiar with reading in English 4.1.3.2 Teachers’ achievements of organization and instruction of students’ LA activities In this theme, there are two main types of ideas from participants More specifically, threequarters of the interviewed teachers reported that when students practiced LA outside the classes such as peer-correction, preparing old and new lessons at home, doing homework or assignments, they saved time to explain lectures or correct students’ homework, and students learned faster and better in classes Besides, through LA activities, teachers could understand students more and design other ones in the following semester The rest stated that basing on the Internet and technology, the teachers and their students had e-communicative environment Students used technology well and joined English clubs 4.1.3.3 Teachers’ difficulties of organization and instruction of students’ LA activities Three-quarters of teachers stated that they met difficulties because some students were lazy, passive, unconscious of the importance of LA They did not have enough time to give feedback to students’ LA activities in the classroom They could neither manage nor measure 13 their students’ LA at home Some students felt too much pressure when going to classes because they were asked to work perfectly The large-size classes also affected their instructions of LA activities A quarter admitted that the teachers did not understand students’ needs to design suitable LA activities Moreover, the students were inpatient, and had no free time to learn autonomously due to their second foreign language and Informatics classes, and extra-activities as well 4.1.3.4 Teachers’ assessment of their students’ LA ability One-fourth of teachers stated that in general, the EFL students’ LA ability was from good to very good Additionally, six teachers claimed that their EFL students’ LA ability was average Also, three teachers mentioned that from 60% to 70% of EFL students had low LA ability Furthermore, three teachers said that it was hard if they assessed them in total, so they separated them into newcomers and the old ones Accordingly, the newcomers’ LA ability had lower than the old ones’ 4.1.3.5 Teachers’ self-assessment about their organization and instruction of students’ LA activities Most of the interviewed teachers self-assess their organization and instruction of students’ LA activities very good (3/20) and good (10/20) Meanwhile, four teachers evaluated their organization and instruction of students’ LA activities just over average And, the rest said that they always took responsibility for teaching 4.2 Students’ perceptions and practices of learner autonomy 4.2.1 Students’ perceptions of the concept of learner autonomy In the interview, 60 participants showed their LA perceptions in three main concepts as “ability”, “responsibility”, and “cognition” First, for them, LA means “ability” to analyze their needs, set up objectives and design clear study plans for gaining high results (3 students), to arrange time to self-study (3 students), to control and divide time to learn each skill of English equally (2 students), to balance time to study inside and outside classes, and join other daily activities (2 students), or learn to know scientific learning methods (1 student) Second, it involves their “responsibility” to autonomously prepare and search learning materials/resources before or after classes for better class-participations and understandings, especially English language skills and culture (3 students), to watch English movies or music to develop new words (2 students), to practice English with foreigners in case they come across them (3 students), to make groups for self-study (2 students), to actively participate in school extracurriculum activities (2 students), even to consult upper-class students for learning experiences (1 student), and make reflections on what has been done for reinforcements (1 student) Third, it also includes their “cognition” towards English learning More specifically, students should have passion and enthusiasm in learning autonomously (1 student), be able to control themselves in all aspects of learning achievements instead of relying totally on instructors (1 student), carry out autonomous learning without waiting for their teachers’ instructions (1student) 14 Quantitative data in this section provide more information about students’ perceptions of LA Ability and cognition Students’ responses to four items and 86.6% of the EFL students have positive perceptions of ability and cognition in autonomous learning For example, the statement of having a clear idea of learning content has the highest mean score of 4.12 from students’ answers For the statement of preparing lessons before going to school, the mean score is 4.02 for students’ responses which is the lowest Besides, the two others obtain the same mean score of 4.06 The percentage of students who answered negatively in this part was rather low, 5.1 % Responsibility Nearly 90% of students have positive perceptions of their responsibility in learning language The mean scores of six items are from 4.11 to 4.28 More specifically, both statements about looking for English materials as well as usually and actively practicing English skills gain the mean score of 4.28 The statement about setting learning short-term goals has the lowest mean score of 4.11 The others have their mean scores from 4.12 to 4.16 Meanwhile, only 4.3% of students have negative perceptions of this theme 4.2.2 Students’ perceptions of the role of learner autonomy When asked about the importance of LA to EFL students during university life and later, all 60 informants (100%) agreed that it was significantly important Their typical accounts are “I think autonomy is prerequisite to determine a student’s learning quality Through it, students can find more knowledge resources than learning in the classroom” (S16), “Learner autonomy occupies 90% learning results of students as well as makes a chance for them to get a job If we have learner autonomy ability, we will have benefits at work in the future” (S34), “Up to 80% of English-major students’ success will be determined by their learner autonomy ability, and even when at work in the future” (S59), “If they [Englishmajor students] not learn autonomously, not self-research, and not self-find materials on the Internet, they cannot gain their learning objectives established at the beginning of the course” (S15) The findings of the questionnaire showed that 90.9% of them agreed with the importance of LA in their learning language For instance, the highest mean score is 4.36 for the statement of lifelong learning of LA The statement of LA making students promote has the lowest mean score of 4.13 The three others have their mean scores which are rather high from 4.23 to 4.34 However, 3.1% of students responded negatively in this theme 4.2.3 Students’ practices of learner autonomy Most of the students had the same ways to learn English outside the classes and looking for materials, etc However, some of them possessed their own learning styles in learning language autonomously 4.2.3.1 Students’ special LA stories For S11, she is a sample of doing homework more than other LA activities She practiced listening to PET, KET, videos, music much, and watching movies in English She rarely 15 practiced writing skills, but often did TOEFL reading tests For Speaking, she imitated English songs and found some topics to practice Furthermore, she did homework given by her teachers and other exercises found by herself She just set up general goals such as getting A marks or winning a scholarship Her long-term goals were to graduate from university in time with a good Bachelor Certificate and to get a job Additionally, she could balance her time for her daily activities and her study; however, she thought she arranged her time for learning autonomously and other activities unreasonably because she still stayed up late to learn her lessons She found materials recommended by her teachers such as englishtips.org, Cambridge website, Oxford website Normally, after school, she revised her lessons again and when she had tests she would review them again Meanwhile, S16 is a typical example for practicing Speaking more He had a study plan at the middle of the first semester He practiced Speaking by means of ELSA Speaker and EnglishEnglish dictionaries He listened to them and repeated Besides, he watched Mr Dan’s videos and listened to English songs but did not understand them completely When coming across new words, he looked up them in the dictionary as well as their synonyms, antonyms, and usages He said that he was finding the most effective way to learn grammar since he found that learning grammar by heart was not effective Therefore, he had to find some tips to memorize it more deeply Besides, the time he learned autonomously was not fixed because of his timetable in classes, daily activities, university or class activities, so he practiced LA about thirty minutes in the morning, and thirty minutes in the afternoon For S36, he seems to be a student using many types of learning resources He explored various resources for learning: read BBC news, listen to tapes in textbooks or IELTS books of Cambridge from volume one to volume nine, use Cambly software to practice speaking three times a week, and go to the library to read topics, write them, and submit them on Making Mate web to be corrected On the contrary, S17 was very conscious of her child-like learning style in that she watched English videos and repeated, and listened to English stories to relax And this is how S22 learned English vocabulary: he wrote one word he did not know, and then omitted vowels; then wrote many words and did the same After ten minutes, he remembered vowels and filled them again This made him impressive and easy to learn vocabulary But S23 shared a different way to learn English vocabulary: she wrote new words on small pieces of paper and stuck them on the wall so that she could see them to memorize 4.2.3.2 Students’ achievements of practicing LA activities All 60 students responded that they achieved a lot First, they got new knowledge, websites, and materials (13 students) because they learned what they liked first, and they understood what they liked faster (6 students) Second, they could memorize lessons more clearly, deeply, and longer, and what they found when they learned autonomously belonged to theirs (9 students) Third, they felt learn autonomously at home more comfortably and effectively than in class (8 students) Next, learning English autonomously made them feel good and inspired (7 students) Besides, they saw that they actively used their time (8 students), and 16 increased self-consciousness (2 students) They could find which fields they were weak to improve (5 students), ask their friends (3 students), and summarize their lessons (1 student) Also, they gained autonomous learning experience (4 students), more effective learning methods (2 students) and problem-solving skills (4 students) 4.2.3.3 Students’ difficulties of practicing LA activities Many of the students found that it was hard for them to self-assess their LA assignments or to ask whom for help For instance, S27 said that after writing papers/essays, she needed someone to correct them to help her know where she was wrong, but she had no one For S31, she could not learn in groups for four skills of English because she and her friends had different timetables, while S39 revealed that although she liked to read bilingual stories such as Harry Potter any time during the day and understand them, she could not answer the questions that followed Interestingly, S58 confessed that since there was no one controling her, she easily neglected her learning duty or plans Or they were easily attracted by other inducements (17 students) such as chatting, going out with friends, surfing webs, Facebook, Zalo and so on Next, some students considered that their alone learning was not effective, especially in speaking skill (8 students) and their living environment was noisy (3 students) They did not have enough techniques to search materials in the library (1 student) Or when they wanted to share or ask something with their friends, they were not available online (1 student) This part presents data from questionnaire of students’ practices of LA 4.2.3.4 Setting goals The results show the mean scores of items are from 3.22 to 3.38 The highest mean score is activity 17 of 3.38; meanwhile the lowest is the activity 20 of 3.22 There were 44% of students having positive practices of setting up their learning goals On the other hand, 19.1% of them did not show their positive practices in this part 4.2.3.5 Study plan The results in “planning study” cluster with four items with their mean scores are from 3.05 (activity 24) to 3.28 (activity 25) The overall practices of this theme show that 37.8% of students often plan their learning and 23.4% rarely conducted these activities It cannot deny that more than 60% of the students have not concerned to make their own study plan 4.2.3.6 Learner autonomy activities In this part, the highest mean score is 4.09 of listening to English songs The mean scores of activities 27, 28, 31, 32, 38, 44 and 49 are rather low, under (neutral) Even mean score of item 31 is the lowest, under Overall, only 39.1% of students have positive practices of LA activities The percentage of students answering negatively is 27.2% In other words, a few students conducted activities 27, 28, 31, 32, 38, 44 and 49 Additionally, more than 60% of the students have not carried out LA activities yet 17 4.2.3.7 Time management There are 40.9% of students having positive practices of this part and 22.1% of them not Additionally, the mean scores of three items are from 3.16 to 3.31 This means that over 50% of the students cannot manage their time and their life well 4.2.3.8 Learning resources There are 45.6% of informants responding positively However, 18.8% of them answer negatively this part The mean scores of nine items are from 3.02 to 3.65 The highest mean score of 3.65 is of activity 58 The lowest one of 3.02 is of activity 62 Over 50% of the students have not explored learning resources well, especially from the library and from their teachers 4.2.3.9 Metacognition in learning language The mean scores of 17 items are from 2.82 to 3.88 The highest one of 3.88 is item 72; meanwhile, the lowest one of 2.82 is item 77 The others are from 2.85 to 3.81, and items 75 and 77 have the mean scores under In addition, there were 47.9% of students answering they were active in these activities, and 18.2 % of them were not In short, more than 50% of the students have not organized those metacognitive activities In addition, a number of students have not arranged to practice English frequently and taken important notes in learning English 4.2.3.10 Students’ self-assessment of learner autonomy In the interview, participants self-assessed their practices of LA in different levels Most of the interviewed students evaluated their LA poor (13/60) or around average (40/60), while the rest (7/60) self-assessed their LA good Quantitative data show information about students’ self-assessment of their practices on LA Of 285 students, 43.1% stated that they evaluated their LA activities positively and 16.1% did not The highest mean score of 3.71 is of item 67 The lowest one of 3.15 is of item 68 The rest are from 3.26 to 3.34 Clearly, the degree of students’ self-assessment of their LA activities is not high Specially, over 55% of students have not paid attention to this theme 4.3 Relationships between teachers’ and students’ perceptions and practices 4.3.1 Relationship between teachers’ perceptions and practices There was a certain relationship between teachers’ perceptions and practices EFL teachers at DTU had insights into the concepts, aspects, and levels of LA and its crucial role in learning a foreign language at tertiary education However, many teachers admitted that they did not have sufficient measures to check their students’ LA activities outside classes Additionally, some teachers perceived the concept of autonomous students in different ways For instance, T1 considered LA as self-study and self-research; T9 said that students had to know LA method However, teachers did not instruct their students how to learn English autonomously, how to set goals, and how to make study plans Furthermore, some teachers’ experience of LA directed their informed and stated beliefs T4 revealed that he always learned autonomously when he was young; therefore, he always asked his students to autonomous learning in any subjects he taught Similarly, T10 instructed her students how to learn English major autonomously 18 4.3.2 Relationship between students’ perceptions and practices The relationship between students’ perceptions and their practice of LA was clear This study indicated that students had positive perceptions of LA and its role However, there still exists quite a noted mismatch between what students perceived and what they actually obtained from LA developments Most of them did not know how to set up their specific learning goals at the beginning in the first year or they only established general goals; they easily felt bored when learning alone Specially, when they surfed the Internet, they were easily attracted by social websites In addition, most of them have not known what websites on the Internet having reliability to study 4.3.3 Relationship between teachers’ and students’ perceptions Both teachers and students, most of them, had high perceptions of four dimensions of LA as ability, cognition, responsibility, and lifelong learning as in 4.1.1 and 4.2.1 Specially, both focused on learners’ LA ability outside the classroom Additionally, most of the teachers and students believed in the important role of LA in learning language in higher education and students’ life after students graduate from university (see 4.1.2 and 4.2.2) These showed that the relationship between teachers’ perceptions and students’ perceptions was very strong However, what teachers thought about students’ LA ability was higher than students’ thought Meanwhile, students did not have these thoughts This showed that teachers emphasized on students’ metacognition in learning while students only gained cognition of LA Besides, 5.1% of students did not have full understanding of ability and cognition of LA; 4.3% of them did not know their responsibility for autonomous learning; and 3.1% of them did not admit the vital role of LA in learning in university environment 4.3.4 Relationship between teachers’ and students’ practices The relationship between teachers’ practices and students’ practices of LA was clear The data mentioned in 4.1.3 and 4.2.3 indicated that all teachers held many LA activities for their students, and students joined these though some students were lazy and passive, did not homework, or did not submit their assignments on time In addition, the data from questionnaire showed that the percentage of students who never or rarely set learning goals was 19.1% Besides, 23.4% of students never or rarely planned their study; 27.2% of them did not participate in LA activities; 22.1% of them could not manage their time in learning and their life; 18.8% of them could not find learning resources; 18.2% of them never or rarely took part in metacognition activities in learning language; and 16.1% of them did not self-assess their LA activities This showed that some students’ LA activities were weak, and the relationship between teachers’ practices and students’ practices of LA was not strong enough 4.4 Discussion 4.4.1 Teachers’ perceptions and practices of learner autonomy 4.4.1.1 Teachers’ perceptions of learner autonomy The results of this theme confirmed that the teachers interviewed had positive conceptualizations of LA as ability, responsibility, self-consciousness and activeness 19 (cognition), and lifelong learning in EFL learning All of the teachers agreed with the key role of LA for students at higher education and after graduating from the university (i.e life-long learning) These results echo those in the previous researches (i.e Borg & Al-Busaidi, 2012b; Nguyễn Văn Lợi, 2016) Yet, the results of this research seem to conflict with prior studies (i.e Nguyễn Thanh Nga, 2014; Wang & Wang, 2016) because those researchers found that the EFL teachers had their weak perceptions of the concept of LA Besides, most of the teachers did not mention the influence of the socio-cultural factor on LA in this university in Mekong Delta context Additionally, teachers seem not to recognize their roles in students’ autonomous learning Besides, the teachers did not talk about AaL as well as the students’ role in LA learning process 4.4.1.2 Teachers’ practices of learner autonomy There were some active signs in their teaching practices of LA For example, they organized groupwork/ pairwork or collaborative learning for their students This is the classroom feature commonly found in Vietnam setting and particularly in DTU Groupwork involves the students in taking responsibilities, making plans and choosing means/tools to fulfill shared assignments/goals Thus, a series of relevant groupwork if properly administered is definitely leading students to the LA target (Harmer, 2007) However, the teachers did not listen to the students’ needs so that they could consult each student how to learn English autonomously at home as every of the students could possess his or her own learning style Importantly, they did not play their roles as facilitators, helpers, coordinators, counsellors, consultants, managers, and advisors well It is understandable when the teachers did not have any cognition of their role in EFL teaching in the new era and were not trained about LA as mentioned above 4.4.2 Students’ perceptions and practices of learner autonomy 4.4.2.1 Students’ perceptions of learner autonomy Most of the students had the insights of LA as ability, responsibility, and cognition in language learning (at the baseline and higher dimensions of LA) Furthermore, all of them were aware of the vital role of LA for students in higher education and after they graduated from university (i.e life-long learning) Their perceptions of these four dimensions of LA were interrelated like their teachers’ case These findings echo those in the previous studies (i.e Azizi, 2014; Đặng Tấn Tín, 2012) However, the students did not gain metacognition much What they shared indicated that they did not obtain knowledge of language learning, learner attitudes, and learning strategies (Wenden, 1991) All the students did not show their perspective of LA in culture; why they learned English unwell; they did not share how the socio-cultural aspect in their hometown affected their autonomous learning; they did not share their understanding of assessment as well as its role in LA learning This is quite understandable because these things were not taught to the students before 20 4.4.2.2 Students’ practices of learner autonomy Students were all moving on the right tracks of LA development, despite not at the same pace and level This is quite understandable because LA ability is made up of multiple dimensions and no two students are exactly the same in terms of personal traits, learning styles and characteristics Additionally, in the case of the students at DTU, the data showed they still possessed reactive autonomy like ones somewhere in East Asia (Littlewood, 1999) This echoes Lê Xuân Quỳnh’s study’s findings (2013) Most of the students came from the rural areas in Mekong Delta, the South of Vietnam; therefore, they brought their culture to the university Based on Scharle and Szabó’s a three-stage model (2000, p.1) of the growth of autonomy as “raising awareness”, “changing attitudes”, and “transferring roles”, it cannot be denied that EFL students’ LA activities at DTU just got levels of awareness and involvement of LA A few students got level “transferring roles” like modifying and adapting the goals and content of the learning program Most of them did not gain the highest level of LA, transferring roles 4.4.3 Relationships between teachers’ and students’ perceptions and practices 4.4.3.1 Relationship between teachers’ perceptions and practices There is the clear alignment between their perceptions and their teaching practices The teachers had insights of the concept of LA However, there is a missing link between their positive perceptions of students’ LA ability and their organizing LA activities in teaching English They did not deem their roles as helper, consultor, and adviser in their students’ autonomous learning process in promoting students’ LA ability in new autonomous learning contexts in the 21st century (Riley, 1997, as cited in Benson & Huang, 2008, p.426) because they did not understand their role in teaching practices of LA fully In this case, Bodenhausen and Hugenberg (2009) is right when they state that one’s perception guides his/her actions This showed that the teachers did a partial LA in teaching practice in compared with what they thought about LA Besides, a few teachers gained LA ability when they were young, and then their LA experience deviated their announced cognition as mentioned in 4.3.1 This is quite right with Bodenhausen and Hugenberg’s view (2009) in the opposite direction that one’s actions will affect again his or her perceptions (see figure 2.1) 4.4.3.2 Relationship between students’ perceptions and practices Generally, there is a certain alignment between students’ perceptions and practices toward LA They had full understanding of LA as well as knew what they should to learn English well at university The findings showed that not all of EFL students were able to understand what LA was as well as how important it was at university, and there was a distance between EFL students’ perceptions and practices of LA happening However, there were a few students who had their own LA experience as S27 and S29 What they reported showed that they knew the ways to organize their learning Their effective learning showed that when students had metacognition skills, they were able to gain the good results in their learning language (Rolheiser et al, 2000) 21 4.4.3.3 Relationship between teachers’ and students’ perceptions There was a certain, strong relationship between teachers’ and students’ perceptions of LA when both of them showed their full understanding of four dimensions of LA This seems to be good and important for teachers because people’s perceptions determine their performances Similarly, when students understood their autonomous learning clearly, they could promote their strengths and enhance their weaknesses (Van Lier,1996, as cited in Jacobs and Farrel, 2001, p.5) Additionally, when students explored and realized the characters of autonomous learning and their role in learning process, they could obtain the ability to carry out LA (White,1995) 4.4.3.4 Relationship between teachers’ and students’ practices The data of this study showed that the relationship between teachers’ and students’ practices of LA was not strong Some LA activities which teachers held for students were not suitable for students as well as did not attract students since teachers did not understand students’ needs (T2) Besides, some activities which students wanted were that teachers instructed them in the LA methods This mismatch happened because as mentioned above teachers did not understand their role in students’ autonomous learning 4.4.3.5 The influential factors in relationship between teachers’ and students’ perceptions and practices of learner autonomy Effects of psychology and cognition It seemed that the informants just understood what LA was, and did not apply LA activities effectively What the EFL students thinking about LA has not become their own intrinsic motivation in learning English They seemed not to volunteer and be flexible in their own learning This also revealed that despite teachers’ significant efforts there was a gap between what teachers expected/desired from students and what teachers actually observed in their students This problem was reported in previous studies (i.e Dogan & Mirici, 2017; Nguyễn Văn Lợi, 2016) Understandably, there is much for teachers to for LA development, basically because LA is multi-dimensional and cannot be present in all students after limited time Effects of learning environment EFL students at DTU face a large number of obstacles such as lack of LA skills, learning conditions, and living conditions More specifically, they were not fostered LA ability through self-access learning centres, computer-assisted language learning, distance learning, etc (Gardner & Miller, 1999, 2011; Benson, 2006; Morrison, 2008) because DTU did not equip self-access learning centres, computer-assisted language learning, or digital library for students to learn autonomously Besides, the majority of the students came from the poor, rural areas in Mekong Delta; thus, they did not have a computer or a laptop to serve their learning At their boarding houses or at dormitory, there was weak Wifi, and this made them meet some difficulties in accessing the Internet to search learning resources 22 Effects of sociocultural challenge First of all, the biggest gap between teachers’ and students’ practices on LA activities was that they did not understand each other Teachers did not investigate students’ needs at the beginning of each course Teachers expected that students gained their metacognition in learning English Meanwhile, most of the students were confused at the beginning when they attended university Second, LA activities which both teachers and students reported lacked the vital factors of negotiation with and support from teachers outside the classes, peer support and Collaborative Learner Autonomy Third, another problem in conducting LA activities was large-size classes of mixed learning styles Most teachers taught many large-size classes each semester; thus, it was really hard for the teachers to assess their students’ LA activities outside as well as give feedback about their homework/assignments inside the classroom Finally, cultural and local factors also influence on teachers’ and students’ perceptions and practices of LA The students did not care to improve themselves much in learning English; their family did not investigate their studying appropriately (Đỗ Nam et al, 2017) 4.5 Summary The current study provided evidence about the EFL teachers’ and students’ perceptions and practices of LA principles in the Mekong Delta context Chapter Five CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS 5.1 Summary The study was motivated by a concern that students in Mekong Delta gained weak background of learning English An exploratory mixed methods study was conducted to investigate both EFL teachers’ and EFL students’ perceptions and practices of LA at a university in Mekong Delta Participants consisted of 20 EFL teachers and 285 EFL students at DTU Data were collected from questionnaire survey, in-depth interview, and group interview Further analyses indicated that teachers and students had insights of LA, but their practices of LA were lower than their perceptions Local cultural factors impacted their perceptions and practices of LA There were the interrelated relationships between the EFL teachers’ and students’ perceptions and practices of LA 5.2 Contributions of the study 5.2.1 Theoretical contributions The present researcher synthesized a framework of LA in previous studies and developed two more dimensions of LA as lifelong learning and cultural challenge in this study The present study revealed that one of the major perceptions of LA was lifelong learning Additionally, this is the study to have teachers’ self-assessment of their teaching practice of LA Therefore, the findings from the teachers’ self-assessment about their organizing and instructing LA activities for their students deem source of information for further research in this field 5.2.2 Methodological contributions Some differences in a set of statements in questionnaire and in-depth interview were used In questionnaire, the current study has some clusters differing from previous studies, especially 23 perception of the role of LA at higher education, time and life management, and metacognition in learning language Furthermore, clusters such as setting goals, planning study, selfassessment were designed more in-depth than the others 5.2.3 Pedagogical contributions and implications for the future of TESOL in Vietnam This study supplies information for administrators or teachers to design syllabuses It provides scientific evidence that LA training course should be designed and integrated into EFL training learning program in Vietnamese tertiary educational setting The topic “the development of autonomous skill in learning English at higher education” should be reported to the first-year students at the beginning of the academic year A handbook of learning English major autonomously should be published and delivered to all students from freshmen to seniors 5.2.4 Learner autonomy in local context This study was carried out at a rural university in Mekong Delta where most of EFL students were not as strong as their peers in other urban universities in terms of English proficiency, learning facilities and English language exposure Exploring both EFL teachers’ and EFL students’ perceptions and practices of LA in this region helps the researchers, policy makers, and administrators have more information in this field in local context so that they will have suitable measures to develop Mekong Delta students’ LA ability 5.3 Limitations Validity of what teachers and students actually did in and out the classroom of LA activities had yet to be realized Besides, observation method was not used in this study to provide more evidence of EFL students’ practices on LA Additionally, this study was not experimented to foster LA ability for EFL students 5.4 Further research The current study is taken as the first step to explore the LA theme at this university The next moves should be necessary for researchers to carry out LA research to foster LA ability for primary students, secondary students, and high school students to establish their solid LA base in EFL autonomous learning and to help them learn English better in higher education 5.5 Conclusion Although the teachers and students gained their positive understanding of LA and LA role, both had their limit in implementation in LA activities because of their mismatch between their perceptions and practices, and cultural characteristics in Mekong Delta The following suggests some solutions in order to fill this gap at DTU Teachers have to understand learners’ perceptions of LA to be able to promote LA in many aspects It is advisable that at the very first semester of the training course, EFL students should be made fully aware of LA by instructors Secondly, these guidances should be regularly repeated throughout the training course to reinforce LA ability Third, instructors should always get prepared to willingly provide further guidelines, assistances and encouragements in case students get astray, feel demotivated and search for help/feedback on their ways because LA is a long-term process 24 PUBLICATIONS INTEGRATED IN THE THESIS Lê Thanh Nguyệt Anh (2018) EFL teachers’ perceptions and practices regarding learner autonomy at Dong Thap University, Vietnam Hue University Journal of Social Science and Humanities, 127(6B), 5-13 Lê Thanh Nguyệt Anh (2018) EFL students’ voices on learner autonomy at a university in the Mekong Delta VNU Journal of Foreign Studies, 34(2), 26-38 Lê Thanh Nguyệt Anh (2018) An overview of EFL autonomous learning in the 21 st century in Vietnam: International integration and challenge Proceedings of the sixth international OpenTESOL conference on language learning and teaching transformation in the post-method era ... 127(6B), 5-13 Lê Thanh Nguyệt Anh (2018) EFL students’ voices on learner autonomy at a university in the Mekong Delta VNU Journal of Foreign Studies, 34(2), 26-38 Lê Thanh Nguyệt Anh (2018) An overview... benefits which have been researched by many researchers on the world (Bogdan & Biklen, 1992; Watts & Ebbutt, 1987) First, using group interview helps researchers develop and obtain a wider set of... she easily neglected her learning duty or plans Or they were easily attracted by other inducements (17 students) such as chatting, going out with friends, surfing webs, Facebook, Zalo and so on
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