Learner-Centered Pedagogy: A Double-Edged Sword?

Mostafa Nazari, Department of Foreign Languages, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran

Nazari, M. (2019). Learner-centered pedagogy: A double-edged sword?. Relay Journal, 2(2), 359-373. https://doi.org/10.37237/relay/020210

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Managing state school lessons and private language school classes has been a persistent concern for Iranian learners. This study reports on implementing learner-centered pedagogy as a potential resource to deal with managing this dilemma. Data from the learners’ diaries and teacher reflective journals were generated to explore their perceptions about this innovation. The findings indicated that the learners referred to the positive impacts of the course on meeting their ongoing needs and wants, especially assisting them with managing both state school lessons and those of the language class. The learners also raised a number of challenges, particularly problems with curriculum coverage. Additionally, the teacher experienced restructurings in his perceptions about LCP in that he developed more adaptability to LCP, mediated by classroom occurrences and his personal-experiential enhanced awareness. The study suggests that innovative pedagogies can be leveraged to deal with contextual problems effectively, yet they should be anchored in the exigencies of the teaching context in order to safeguard the advantages against the possible discrepancies.

Keywords: learner-centered pedagogy, perceptions, learner autonomy, EFL context


In learner-centered pedagogy (LCP), the possibility of educational improvement will be most likely when the educational system regards learners’ active role and needs as a primary concern (Doyle, 2008). The crux of LCP is transformation of stakeholders’ roles, which can reverberate through the instructional decisions made in the course of instruction. Contrary to teacher-fronted views, in LCP learners can take an active-responsible role in the learning process and develop a can-do attitude toward learning by transforming their roles from passive recipients to communicators-negotiators (Nunan, 2015). Particularly, for language learning to be seen as a communicative interaction, it is important that all the participants be involved in the learning process, especially by foregrounding the significance of learners’ needs, experiences, and interests (Nunan, 2015) in the backbone of syllabus design. Along with the transformation of learners’ role, teachers also need to adopt facilitation, counselling, and negotiation roles in the teaching process (Nunan, 2015; Tudor, 1993).

Relatively antithetical to the conceptualizations of learner role existing several decades ago – passive knowledge receivers, the important participative role of learners in the process of language learning gradually gained prominence. Nunan (1995, p. 55) described the central role of learners as, “In the final analysis…it is the learner who must remain at the centre of the processes, for no matter how much energy and effort we expend, it is the learner who has to do the learning.” Research has also indicated that pedagogies grounded in LCP promote class participation and higher order abilities in learners, enhance motivation and better learner behavior in the class (DiClementi & Handelsman, 2009), establish better rapport in teacher-learner relationship (Richmond, Slattery, Morgan, Mitchell, & Becknell, 2016), and increase learner gains and satisfaction with the pedagogy (Ongeri, 2009), among others. Inherent in the benefits associated with LCP seems to be the idea of socially constructing knowledge and the importance of meaning negotiation among the participants rather than someone else doing the thinking and acting on one’s part.

Such constructivist perspective has clear implications for developing a competency in the learners toward taking control over their own learning and develop autonomy. The idea that learners could/should be responsible for their own learning necessitates enabling them to take such a role via the multifarious artefacts made available to the learners. Indeed, since “constructivism gives a more central stage to the learner by focusing less on the knowledge to be transmitted, and more on the process of constructing, reorganising and sharing that knowledge” (Reinders, 2010, p. 40), LCP has always been in the foreground of the pedagogies that aim to equip the learners with abilities to develop a competency to regulate their own learning.


In the context of Iran, many students attend private language schools in summer as state schools are closed and they have more time to learn languages. However, when the state school year starts, there are learners for whom attending language classes is difficult as they grapple with finding adequate time to manage both state school lessons and language school classes. State school teachers usually set plenty of homework across various subjects that culminates in dilemmas for the students in regard to handling both school assignments and language classes. In order to deal with this problem, some language schools, including the one this study has been conducted in, decrease the number of class sessions per week and extend the length of the educational semester to create a balance between school requirements and those of language classes. However, on the one hand students lament that attending language classes may jeopardize their state school effectiveness, and on the other hand they do not want to lag in behind learning English and want to improve themselves.

In a similar vein, policy-makers of language centers have the persistent concern that as soon as the school year starts, a number of learners may not attend the classes, and they seek solutions to help learners continue in the learning process. One possible way to cope with this problem could be to allow learners to have a voice in how language classes are to be run. Such a situation in which learners can act participatively is likely to assure them of the importance of their views, given that for successful learning to happen learners are the stakeholders who play the dominant role (Nunan, 2015). This study was motivated by the practitioner-researcher’s awareness of the learners’ concerns over the described contextual problem and his personal philosophies (Golombek, 1998) about the potential of LCP to deal with the problem. Therefore, the contextual problem surrounding the learners’ double misgivings about managing school assignments and those of language class necessitated action taking. The question specifically addressed in the study was: What is the potential of a learner-centered pedagogy in dealing with the contextual problem of creating a balance between state and language school requirements (and its associated influences) from the learners’ and the teacher’s perspective?

Participants and the teaching context

The participants of the present study were the practitioner-researcher and 30 female EFL learners (their age ranging from 13 to 16 years) attending English class twice a week. The learners were of an intermediate proficiency level (three different classes). The context of the present study was a city in the northwest of Iran. The language school offers general English classes at various levels from elementary to advanced. The materials used in the school are those designed in inner circle countries and the school required the teachers to teach three main textbooks, accompanied by two workbooks. Although the administrators did not impose rigid regulations on teachers to adhere to a certain methodology, they required exhaustive coverage of the curriculum by the teachers, particularly for examination purposes. Decisions regarding material selection, class setting time, and policy-related issues were usually done top-down in the language school. This was another reason for implementing LCP – though being well-established in the literature of language learning – as an educational innovation to deal with the contextual problem to see whether changing the direction brings about any effective outcomes. The state school year in Iran starts from September, prior to which schools are closed and students pass their summer vacation, thus having more time to spend on language learning. In summer, the courses are followed extensively (three 1.5-hour sessions per week and shorter semester duration), but during the state school year, the period during which this study was conducted, the classes are held twice a week, each session lasting 75 minutes.

Description of the innovation

This study aimed to explore the learners’ perceptions of LCP over a three-month period. The data reported in this study includes learner diaries and teacher reflective journals. In the present study, the principles of learner-centered pedagogy as delineated by Nunan (2015) were implemented. The principles broadly include i) providing opportunities for learners to reflect on their learning process, ii) giving learners opportunities to contribute to content, learning procedures, and assessment, and iii) incorporating learner training into the curriculum. Nunan (2015, pp. 25-26) describes the principles as follows, respectively: i) in experiential learning, the learners’ immediate experiences form the point of departure for the learning process. They act and then reflect on their learning, and through the act of reflecting, their learning is transformed; ii) the teacher can plan in advance opportunities to make choices and decisions, or they can arise spontaneously in the course of a lesson. The choices and decisions can be made at different levels not just what and how to learn, but also what to work with; iii) there are two ways of interpreting the concept of learner-centeredness. On the one hand, the concept relates to the involvement of learners in making decisions and choices about content and procedures. On the other hand, it relates to learners taking an active role through doing.


In line with the principles encapsulated above, the practitioner-researcher designed interventions that were geared to the purpose of the study. It should be mentioned that while the interventions were pre-designed by the practitioner-researcher, they changed over the course due to the nature of the conceptual underpinnings of the study.

Diary writing. In order to explore the learners’ views of class activities and take appropriate actions, the learners were asked to write one diary entry per week. The learners were required to write about the classes critically to explore the feedback they would provide on activities and how to run the subsequent sessions (Gunn, 2005). The learners were also asked to provide their responses to questions about the positive and negative aspects of the class and their prospective views on class activities.

Phone calls. Since most of Iranian learners do not have exposure to English outside the class, especially the learners in this study, the practitioner-researcher managed to tackle this problem by calling the learners twice per week both to take speaking beyond the classroom and to ask for their complementary comments on class activities. A frequently asked question in the phone calls was whether they had problems in any skill or sub-skill and in the problematic cases relevant strategies were provided.

EOT. Another intervention of this study, which was always queried in the phone calls, was introducing English Only Time (EOT). Following Nunan (2015), the practitioner-researcher suggested one hour per day in which a systematic plan regarding how to approach each (sub)skill was introduced to the learners. The EOT aimed to help the learners create a balance between their school-related subjects and everyday studying of English for the language school in a systematic manner.

The learners were involved in syllabus, methodology, and assessment decision-making during the course (Nunan, 2015; Tudor, 1993). Regarding syllabus, the learners’ preferences for materials assigned by policy-makers determined the content of the lessons. That is, the selection of textbook (there were five textbooks) to cover on what day, as well as sequencing the activities, were negotiated and implemented mostly based on the learners’ preferences. Also, learner-collected extracurricular materials were also covered as this was requested by the learners. Moreover, at the end of each class, the learners determined the activities to be covered in the next session. Regarding methodology, the learners gradually taught grammar and vocabulary sections of the materials – as the learners showed interest in doing so – followed by the practitioner-researcher providing related complementary points (the role as a knower, as put by Tudor, 1993). Assessment of the learners’ progress was mainly done based on what days the learners had fewer school assignments. Over the course, the learners informed the practitioner-researcher about the days they had more time to spend on language class and based on this, written or oral assessment was done.

Before the start of the course, the practitioner-researcher wrote down some concerns about implementing LCP due to its innovativeness, as presented below. He relied on journal writing technique to document the reflections on the ongoing practices (Richards & Farrell, 2005) during the course. In this regard, he adhered to the questions put forward by Richards and Lockhart (1994) to reflect on practices weekly. Various questions guided the journal writing which mainly revolved around class activities as well as the learners’ feedback provided in their diaries and during the class. After the course, the practitioner-researcher reflected on the before-the-course concerns and the whole process. The reflections were recorded digitally.

Data analysis

To analyze the diaries and journal entries, the guidelines suggested by Cohen, Manion, and Morrison (2007) for content analyzing qualitative data were followed. The researcher also conducted a code-recode strategy (Ary, Jacobs, Sorensen, & Walker, 2014) in which the data were initially analyzed to search for the emerging codes, followed by further comparison-refinement of the codes, and then the related themes were identified.


Learner perceptions

In order to explore the learners’ perceptions of the pedagogy over the course, their diaries were obtained and analyzed. It must be mentioned that considering the bulk of diaries collected, diaries that had solely described classroom occurrences were excluded and the ones which provided critical ideas were analyzed. Collectively, the analysis of the diaries indicated that the learners referred to both positive and challenging aspects as presented in Table 1.


Table 1.

Categories of the Learners’ Perceptions of the Pedagogy over the Course

Positive aspects Challenges
Phone calls (learner and parent satisfaction)

School assignment (aiding with creating balance between the assignments)

Heeding learner voice (learners as negotiators and participators)

Curriculum (multiplicity of the voices)


Discussions (lack of coherence in the mode of running the discussions)




Table 1 indicates that the learners experienced both positive and negative effects during the course. This finding is not per se novel as it is likely to be at the heart of any innovation. However, the kind of positive effects indicates the interconnection among the interventions implemented in the course, mediated by the theoretical perspective supporting the pedagogy. The learners made frequent reference to their own and their parents’ satisfaction with the phone calls as they assumed that this could render the educational context successful in moving toward closing the gap between English speaking in the class and outside the class as well as their learning condition, replicating a more real-life experience for the learners:

I am very happy with my teacher calling me. I wait for my teacher’s call and when the phone rings I step toward it voraciously to talk in English and about my ideas of the class, my progress, my problems, etc. I know that I should practice in order not to be let down in front of my teacher when we talk. My father is also very happy with the calls and he appreciates my teacher for it. To be honest, he wanted to send me to another language school, despite my want, but now he is convinced that this school is good.

An interesting theme of the diaries pertained to a mixture of EOT and considering learners’ voice in terms of assisting them with creating a balance between school assignments and those of the language class. That is, the learners stated that as they had been actively engaged in decision-making during the course, they were freer in designing and ordering the activities, choosing to be assessed when they were not busy with school exams and quizzes, and being involved in teaching, which contributed to having more time to spend on school lessons. The utility of this agenda, reportedly, was augmented by the EOT introduced to the learners in that their functioning improved by following a systematic plan of how to study:

The class is so good and enjoyable because in this semester, despite I have school too, I can do my English homework too and it’s an important point because I didn’t agree with coming to English class and I thought it can be dangerous for my school lessons.

It is interesting that we do everything and decide on different things and I see that we still have time for studying physics, math, and chemistry. I was first afraid of school lessons and not being able to meet language teacher’s requirements – you know I did not want to disrespect him, to be honest – but I think that the problem has been not having order in studying because in my EOT I read, listen to music, and write my diaries, etc.

Along with the positive points, the learners pointed to the challenges of the course. The major concern of the learners was related to textbook coverage. The leaners lamented that although it had been productive to move the instruction forward on the basis of learners’ voices, the class had become too learner-centered in that the teacher paid excessive attention to learners’ wants, bringing about problems with regard to covering the due curriculum. The major source of the learners’ reasoning was related to not being able to finish the textbooks for the final exam. Furthermore, the learners stated that there had been agitations regarding the mode of running the discussions in that while some of the learners agreed with group discussions, others favored a whole-class mode. These two dilemmatic situations seem to highlight that the teacher had dominantly relied on learners’ decisions, which had turned into a conundrum for him in the long run in terms of striking a balance among the activities:

It is good that our teacher pays attention to our opinions but we should pay more attention to our main book because I don’t want to cover many lessons in two sessions before the final exam.

Today we had a discussion in group mode. This kind of discussion is not my favorite as I think that it is better to hear everybody’s ideas. I know that the teacher did it because of my classmates’ want, but he should also decide based on his own understanding.

Teacher perceptions

Due to the innovative nature of the pedagogy, the practitioner-researcher wrote down a number of concerns regarding its application before the course started. These concerns consisted of:

  • Personal-epistemological concerns: a) the learners might feel that I am incompetent to make pedagogical decisions if I attempt to teach mainly based on their preferences and b) the course does not bring about changes in my beliefs about LCP in practice;
  • Pedagogical concerns: a) the new pedagogy is not different from my current methodology and b) LCP puts too much burden on my shoulders to do as it is innovative;
  • Curricular concerns: I will not be able to cover the curriculum completely, issues.

After the course, the practitioner-researcher reflected on the same concerns. Below are vignettes taken from his journal.

Personal-epistemological concerns

While, before the course, the practitioner-researcher was worried about the learners’ interpretations of his ability to make the decisions, LCP was a non-jeopardizing experience:

My concern was unnecessary. In the first session I explained that I understand their problems and we can help each other to make learning a fun activity and that because of their school assignments I try to base the decisions on their preferences.

An amalgamation of positive conceptual beliefs and perceptions of practicality over the course impacted the interpretations of LCP:

I had read about learner-centered methodology and its advantages but deep in my heart I always doubted its effectiveness in practice, especially in my teaching context in which learners like to be ordered. In the past, I doubted how a learner can think critically and decide on material selection. But now I feel that learners can be active decision-makers and they know well how language learning works.

Pedagogical concerns

Apperception of higher learning and better classroom atmosphere impacted the endorsement of LCP more than the previous pedagogical cognitions:

Before the course, I doubted giving permission to learners to decide on class activities. Now I think that it is important whether they learn successfully when I decide on everything; the learners’ feedback showed that if I change the method of teaching, the class becomes more enjoyable and higher learning can happen. My previous methodology was good but this one is better.

Learners’ participation in activities mitigated the practitioner-researcher’s concerns about the possible higher workload arising from implementing LCP which could have, perceptually, come up due to its innovativeness:

It made my duty easier and myself more cooperative. It is enjoyable when a learner comes to the board and explains something to the class. Sometimes after the learners came to the board and explained a part, especially grammar, they just needed a short explanation. They learned the grammatical parts much better than in the past when I myself explained the point.

Curricular concerns

The practitioner-researcher experienced conflicts between the practical flow of the class and the demands of the curriculum, leading to acknowledging learners’ preferences more than following the curriculum:

In my opinion, the number of textbooks is too high. The learners asked for activities other than those of the textbooks. But fortunately we finished the book which was important for the final exam. I couldn’t cover all of the textbooks, but I am satisfied that learners found the class interesting because we did many useful activities, despite lack of curriculum coverage.

During-course changes and challenges

Over the course, both positive changes in the learners’ performance emanating from the interventions and their satisfaction with the process and challenges were reported in the practitioner-researcher’s journal.

Positive changes

The positive changes consisted of personal and pedagogical aspects. As for personal aspects, dispositional cognitions toward the pedagogy mitigated intolerance of misconceptions, making the practitioner more amenable to critical comments. For example:

One of the learners commented that I had been picky. After reading her diary, I had mixed feelings and to be honest I first reacted negatively, but I did not want to act hastily because I was aware that when I ask for their opinions, misconceptions may come up. I called her trying to ask what she meant. I realized that she meant I had been strict.

Regarding the instructional positive changes, the learners’ involvement in teaching the lessons, especially grammar, and the interventions of the study seem to have positively impacted the practitioner’s adherence to LCP and further follow-up. For example:

The learners are gradually providing better feedback on class activities. I feel satisfied with the learners’ critical comments. Today, some of them said that they had been waiting for calling eagerly and that their parents had been looking forward to seeing their daughter speaking in English.

It is really exciting to see that the learners are enjoying the class and are improving which give me increased motivation to follow the course strongly. I also see that some of them appreciate my accepting their ideas freely and being open to their criticisms. Their writing has especially become better, but there are some learners who still need more attention.


At the beginning and over the course the practitioner-researcher faced challenges which were mainly results of the innovativeness of the pedagogy and his own perceptions in regard to basing the decision-making mainly on the learners’ preferences. This was most evident when departures from the pre-planned lesson took place frequently. In addition, these departures gradually led to lagging behind in covering the curriculum. In the beginning week(s), the practitioner-researcher reported that he was uncertain about the effectiveness of the pedagogy in dealing with the problem which gave rise to the conduction of the study and he expected the learners to accept the pedagogy openly, yet they were either confused by his asking for their opinions or reacted to it negatively:

This semester is going to be different because of the purpose I have in mind. Will it be successful?

This week, when I asked the learners about the content of the next session, one of them said that the class was being highly learner-centered. I was really surprised.

Over the course, although the practitioner-researcher, as reported, had told the learners to write critically about the class, the learners at times only described the sequence of activities and the level of criticality was low. Digressing from the lesson plan was another challenge. Below are samples of the departures:

We watched a movie because the learners had said it increases their knowledge of vocabulary. For the next session, I told them I would ask the vocabulary items. Some learners showed signs of disagreement which amazed me as they themselves had agreed to do so.

In one of the classes, we were supposed to cover the textbook. But, because of throwing a discussion, as requested, we could not cover the textbook which was a departure from what the learners had previously suggested to do in that session.

Discussion and Conclusions

The data reported in this study indicate that the course did not jeopardize the learners’ school effectiveness. This finding may suggest that LCP has the potential to deal with the contextual-educational problem of balancing state and language school requirements, including its interventions. The rigor of LCP seems to lie in its chameleon-like nature in that it is amenable to implementing a pedagogy that underscores the dynamicity of instructional activities, rather than fixed activities that allow little room for pedagogical modifications, particularly those driven by learners’ needs and wants. Tudor (1993, pp. 23-24) enumerates a number of ideas central to LCP, which could be read between the lines of the learners’ diaries in this study, likely to be the major reason why the course has been able to deal with the leaners’ concern, including:

Learning is more effective if methodology and study mode are geared around student preferences; students get more out of learning activities if they have a say in deciding their content and in organizing the activities; learning will, in a general sense, benefit if students feel involved in shaping their study programme.

Wadsworth (1998) maintained that teachers could benefit from higher consciousness through problematizing the existing practices. In a similar vein, the practitioner-researcher of this study had developed assumptions about the effectiveness of learner-centered pedagogy mingled with practicing a pedagogy that could deal with the contextual problem – the learners’ concerns. Therefore, the dual problematization of personal beliefs and practices may have affected his initial conceptions and sustaining the adoption of the pedagogy over the course. The second reason which may have made the course largely learner-centered can be the consequential awareness developed by the practitioner over the course. Golombek (1998) adds a dimension to the idea of personal practical knowledge, i.e., consequentiality. Much in the same way as “teachers become aware of the consequences of their actions through stories they hear or tell” (p. 449), the practitioner-researcher’s own reflections as well as the learners’ diaries provided stories about classroom processes. Although the initial stories echoed doubts and confusions, the practitioner-researcher gradually became more adaptable to the pedagogy as a function of its effectiveness, being in line with similar results reported by Kayaoglu (2015), which may have compensated for the initial downsides. Another built-in impetus for conceiving of the pedagogy as effective, as perceived by the practitioner-researcher, could have been the innovative nature of the course.

Van den Branden (2010) observes that innovations should circulate in a process of initial innovational knowledge to opinion formation, to decision-making (adoption or rejection), and to implementation. Similar to this four-pronged process in which it is the practitioner “who decides what innovations will find their way into the second/foreign language classroom” (p. 663), the practitioner-researcher of this study had formed attitudes about the LCP, faced initial challenges in the implementation phase, and subsequently continued the practice due to the multifarious positive impacts experienced by both participants. Additionally, Van den Branden states that “in the eyes of teachers, innovation will only be worthwhile if it yields better learning results for their students, and more comfortable, efficient or pleasant classroom practice for themselves” (p. 663). Analyzing the findings attests to the positive influence of the pedagogy on, among others, the practitioner’s increased personal patience and lower workload, this latter case being in contrast with Tudor’s (1993) contention in LCP. Therefore, innovative pedagogies can motivate the practitioners to continue enthusiastically and when the teacher is disposed to practice them, the possibility of endorsement gets amplified.

Despite the positive effects of the course, the problem of not covering the whole curriculum was probably the drawback of the course from a policy-related perspective. Since the practitioner-researcher of this study based the instructional decisions on the learners’ diverse preferences, which were not necessarily material-based, whole curriculum coverage was problematic. In this regard, the results of this study are in line with those reported by Ellis and Loughland (2016) and Ongeri (2009). The high number of textbooks, five, would have thwarted regarding the learners’ preferences, which may imply that implementing LCP is in relative incongruity with curricular demands, yet one that apparently gives more voice to learner voices. A related question in this regard would be: How could LCP be implemented in contexts where curricular constraints dominate? However, a remarkable theme emerging in the learners’ diaries was underscoring a negotiated syllabus as essential to effective instruction/learning. This finding was remarkable in the sense that as within the context of the study, and probably many EFL contexts, teachers make most of the decisions, learners “may find it strange that they are being asked to make choices and decisions” (Nunan, 2015, p. 27) – what Tudor (1993, p. 28) refers to as the danger of “abdication of responsibility”. It is by now clear that leaving more room for learner voices is theoretically and educationally more sound, as they find the class as a product of joint decisions motivated by mutual understanding.

Frequent reference to the discussion issue along with the learners’ advice to the teacher regarding overreliance on learners’ voices in decision-making seems to imply that the teacher has conceptualized LCP as total reliance on learners’ wants. LCP does not mean ignoring the self and total prioritization of others, as Tudor (1993, p. 30) argued, “the teacher need never feel obliged to go further in involving learners in decision-making than his or her professional judgement says is appropriate.” Indeed, the approach the teacher has adopted poses cardinal questions about various aspects of teacher reflection-for-action, curricular requirements, and lesson planning in which case it appears that lesson planning has been a post hoc undertaking rather than an agenda informing impending occurrences. This situation may have brought about difficulties in classroom management of the teacher too, which could be an agenda for future research. What seems to matter, however, is that innovations inject new blood into educational systems, being worth trialing, notwithstanding the ups and downs.

About the author

Mostafa Nazari is a lecturer at Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran. His area of interest is second language teacher education and he has published on this area in Australian Journal of Teacher Education, International Journal of Listening, English Teaching & Learning, etc.


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2 thoughts on “Learner-Centered Pedagogy: A Double-Edged Sword?”

  1. The topic of learner-centered pedagogy is an important one and the article raises several key issues for teachers adopting this approach.
    One of these is the very real challenge of facilitating productive and meaningful group discussions. The author mentions a perceived “overreliance on learners’ voices in decision-making” as it relates to the management of group and class discussions.

    Reading this, I was reminded of just how challenging it can be to manage group work activities in large classes. I think readers could benefit from a brief discussion of some of the pedagogical implications of this study. Should teachers adopting more learner-centered pedagogies consider scaffolding them in some way? How might they do this?
    A recent article published in this journal (coauthored by me) discusses specific ways teachers can gradually transition over time from highly structured group work activities to more collaborative formations in which students take over responsibility for their own learning. You can find the article here

    Here is the reference to it:
    Myskow, G., Bennett, P. A., Yoshimura, H., Gruendel, K., Marutani, T., Hano, K., & Li, T. (2018). Fostering collaborative autonomy: The roles of cooperative and collaborative learning. Relay Journal, 1(2) 360-381.

    You may also find the concept of collaborative autonomy in Murphey and Jacobs (2000) of use:


    Murphey, T., & Jacobs, G.M. (2000). Encouraging critical collaborative Autonomy. JALT
    Journal, 22, 220-244.

    One other minor point I noticed is that in some parts of the manuscript the author appears to weave into it the voices of research participants (students/professors). Please check to make sure all of the sourcing is clear. For example, is the following the voice of the researcher or a student?

    “In one of the classes, we were supposed to cover the textbook. But, because of throwing a discussion, as requested, we could not cover the textbook which was a departure from what the learners had previously suggested to do in that session.”

    An important topic and some interesting insights!

    1. Thank you for reading the paper and providing your comments. Thank you for mentioning the challenging nature of running group work activities in large classes, yet as I have mentioned in the Participants section, there were 30 learners in the present study in three classes (approximately 10 learners per class) and thus this number is not considered that “large”. I appreciate your comment, though.

      Additionally, I do agree with you about discussing the implications of running group work activities. However, by doing so I think that readers will lose the opportunity to read your insightful paper. As thus, it seems that it may be better to refer the readers to the works cited.

      Regarding the final comment (especially the excerpt), two points need to be mentioned. First, this excerpt is under the sub-heading “teacher perceptions” and thus it is related to the practitioner-researcher (me). Indeed, the reason for presenting learner-related data first was to dispel the possible associated doubts. Second, this excerpt is preceded by another excerpt, which clearly indicates the voice of the teacher, not to mention the description of the excerpts which is about the practitioner-researcher. I would be thankful if you point out other ambiguities so that I can correct the possible problems.

      Thank you for reading the paper.

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