Independence, Interaction, Interdependence and Interrelation: Learner Autonomy in a Web-based Less Commonly Taught Language Classroom
Author(s)Marina V. Kostina
Language. Linguistic theory. Comparative grammar
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AbstractIn the United States, teaching less commonly taught languages has been a very challenging task due to low student enrollment and the high costs of hiring permanent teaching faculty. Therefore, webbased distance learning (DL) is beginning to attract serious attention from the less commonly taught languages profession (Fleming, Hiple and Du, 2002). However, DL classes are often associated with student isolation, where learners are deprived of non-verbal clues, vocal expression, and eye contact that are crucial for foreign language learning (White, 2005). Thus, working in a more isolated context requires higher learner autonomy (White, 2005). This article provides a review of literature on autonomy that exists in the foreign language field, and describes four aspects of autonomy that need to be considered by language teachers while developing their web-based courses. It also offers some practical suggestions for the less commonly taught language instructors that foster autonomy and decrease isolation online.