This refers to the learner’s ability to take charge of and direct their own language learning without relying on the teacher. It is believed that if a learner is autonomous, they take responsibility for their own learning and that this is a good thing, as it allows them to learn independently (and hence more deeply) and to go on learning. Many teaching approaches, materials and courses contain a focus on strategies that help to make the learner more autonomous e.g. how to work with a dictionary, developing proofreading skills, deciding what to learn next. Some learners appreciate the freedom and responsibility autonomy gives them, while others may prefer the teacher to remain in charge. Learner autonomy is also referred to as self-directed learning.
"He’s such an autonomous learner that he finds it hard to accept being told what and how to learn by a teacher in a classroom."
Benson, P. (2001). Teaching and Researching Autonomy in Language Learning. Harlow: Longman.
Benson, P. & Voller, P. (1996) Autonomy and Independence in Language Learning. Harlow: Longman.
Cohen, A. D. (1998). Strategies in Learning and Using a Second Language. Harlow: Longman.
Holliday, A. (2005) The Struggle to Teach English as an International Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kumaravadivelu, B. (2003). Beyond Methods: Macrostrategies for Language Teaching. New Haven, NH: Yale University Press.
Little, D., Ridley, J. & Ushioda, E. (Eds.). (2003). Learner Autonomy in Foreign Language Classrooms: Teacher, learner, curriculum and assessment. Dublin: Authentik.
Nunan, D. (1988). The Learner-centred Curriculum: A study in second language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Nunan, D. (1996). The Self-directed Teacher. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Scharle, A & Szabo, A. (2000) Learner Autonomy: A guide to developing learner responsibility Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Smith, R. (2008). Key concepts in ELT: learner autonomy. E LT Journal 62/4. Oxford University Press.