Are Turkish University Students Autonomous or Not?

Büşra Kırtık

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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