3 December 2021 LAb

7th LAb session. Friday 3rd December 2021. Agency and learner autonomy 

Link to abstracts and recordings

Featured speakers:

  • Mayumi Kashiwa, Kanda University of International Studies, Japan: “SALC is mine!” : Supporting the development of learner agency and construction of language learning environments beyond the classroom (Abstract and recording)
  • Xuesong Andy Gao, The University of New South Wales, Australia: Language learner agency as a pedagogical focus (Abstract and recording)
  • Johnmarshall Reeve, Institute of Positive Psychology and Education at the Australian Catholic University, Australia: Encouraging Autonomy and Agency in a SALC: Three Suggestions (Abstract and recording)

In our 7th LAb session, we critically reflected on conceptualisations of autonomy and agency to examine the complexity of these terms and how they border, overlap or even exist separately from each other. We explored agency and autonomy from a theoretical perspective and also a practical one: How is agency enacted in practice in language learning in different contexts?

Theoretical conceptions of autonomy and agency have been interpreted in different ways. For some, they exist as “incommensurable terms” (Benson & Cooker, 2013, p. 184), while others view agency as a precondition for autonomy (Gao, 2013). From a self-determination theory perspective, autonomy is understood as a psychological need (Ryan & Deci, 2017) and Reeve (2022) argues for a reconceptualisation of ‘learner autonomy’ as three distinct but interconnected concepts – agentic action, autonomy, and environmental autonomy support. Clearly, this topic can benefit from further exploration which we began during the 7th LAb session.

As researchers, practitioners, and students of learner autonomy education, it is our responsibility to ensure that theoretical-conceptual notions of agency and autonomy align with our practices. We invited colleagues around the world to join us in exploring these important concepts in further depth from a variety of perspectives. In addition to three live featured presentations, short talks by other colleagues were either pre-recorded or presented live at the event. All live presentations were recorded and are freely available.

Event information:

  • Location: Online
  • Date: Friday 3rd December 2021 
  • Schedule for the live sessions: 9-11am and 3-4.40pm JST
  • Deadline for papers for Relay Journal: January 10th, 2022

Presenters were asked to consider some of the following questions: 

  • How are autonomy and agency connected in your view?
  • How have learner autonomy or agency been conceptualised over time? Has theoretical-conceptual thinking aligned with teacher/learner realities?
  • What concepts have been investigated within or alongside learner autonomy/agency?
  • What are some ways you or your colleagues have conceptualised these terms in your own localised contexts? How have your contexts influenced your understanding?
  • Through your research and/or practice, what have you noticed about how teachers/learners enact their autonomy or agency?
  • What individual, contextual or situated factors inhibit or encourage learner/teacher autonomy/agency?