The Promotion of Learner Autonomy and Rigid Teaching: Exploring the Paradox

6 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2020

Date Written: September 12, 2019


The promotion of learner autonomy has become a major goal for many educators and policymakers around the world. According to Benson (2009), learner autonomy has become part of the current orthodoxy of language learning and teaching research and practice. As such, alongside with other soft skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, autonomy has become a top agenda item of many conferences and PD sessions. In addition, several Institutions have incorporated autonomy and independence into their vision and mission statements. However, the paradox here is that most of the current practices seem to be just doing the opposite! Research shows that rigid teaching is still a commonplace in many institutions.

The aim of this interactive talk is to highlight the paradox in what we preach and what we actually practice, while at the same time stressing the fact that the promotion of learner autonomy requires teachers accepting and taking a ‘different’ role in the learning process, a role which allows students taking a bigger role in and greater responsibility for their own learning. The talk will also discuss some of the major challenges that teachers might face when adopting Autonomy-Based Learning (ABL) in their classrooms and suggest practical ways for overcoming such challenges and creating suitable conditions for a successful promotion of autonomy in their learners.

Keywords: learning theories, learner autonomy, metacognitive knowledge, active learning, learning environment

Suggested Citation

Al-Saadi, Hashil, The Promotion of Learner Autonomy and Rigid Teaching: Exploring the Paradox (September 12, 2019). Sohar University Proceedings of 5th Teaching & Learning Conference, Available at SSRN: or

Hashil Al-Saadi (Contact Author)

Sultan Qaboos University


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