My initial concern about autonomy in as an EFL educator :

Nadia Ahouari-Idri


A_Mira University, Bejaia, Algeria



‘An Algerian university teacher seeks out autonomy in her learners’



Photo to go here

The first steps towards learners’ autonomy started when our university (A_Mira University, Bejaia) piloted a new educational system in 2004. I was among the few teachers trying to understand and search what it might involve.
Through my


experience, readings, research about the system’s characteristics, I could understand that the system emphasizes the idea of continuous evaluation and tutoring, which are believed to lead towards the learners’ autonomy.
However, this remains a personal endeavour from my
part because our learners still feel unable to be autonomous. That is why, from
2004 until now, I have focussed on observing the ways these students learn, especially that they still attend university
classes and I still teach them in master degrees.


Additionally, since 2003, I have been teaching different university courses such as general linguistics, sociolinguistics, study skills, research methodology, didactics/TEFL and
evaluation in EFL. I have seen how our department struggles with managing two
systems simultaneously (the traditional one and the LMD system) and, as a teacher there, I have encountered many
difficulties when teaching within both systems. I have observed and witnessed
that the most problematic issue is the learners themselves. Learners in the
traditional system suffer from low motivation, rely 100% on the instructor; hardly ask questions and seldom answer the
teacher’s ones. These students tend to avoid communication and show
disappointment compared to LMD students. My observation shows that, though LMD learners are
taught more difficult content, the number of courses is higher and teachers
continuously assess them, LMD students always discuss, ask questions, give comments, etc.


Hence, the LMD system’s best outcome is the improvement in the students’ motivation, interest and partial autonomy. From my own work, I have come to see how the development of learners’
autonomy is closely connected to ongoing self-evaluation and discussion of
learning. Yet, although the students have continuous evaluation, no small-group
tutoring is available. Hence, we cannot relate this lack in the learners’
autonomy to the system. I would really like to work further on this issue
because this is fundamental in our setting.


My objective is to make my voice audible nationally and internationally because many of my colleagues and decision-makers do not highlight this issue as it should be.



You can contact Nadia at: n-idri@yahoo.co.uk


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