Making the most of others: autonomous interdependence in adult beginner distance language learners

Furnborough, Concha (2012). Making the most of others: autonomous interdependence in adult beginner distance language learners. Distance Education, 33(1) pp. 99–116.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/01587919.2012.667962

Abstract

Autonomy in language learning does not simply equate with independence, as language learning is a social activity that requires interaction with others. This also applies just as much to distance language learners, who need to reconcile independent language learning and interdependence with others. This article draws on findings from 43 mid-course interviews with adult beginner distance learners of French, Spanish, and German, and focuses on ways in which they engage with tutors and with other students, and the extent to which these interactions enhance their learning. It shows that many students are prepared to seek clarification from their tutors, but not strategic advice in areas of learning that are likely to be most problematic. It also highlights how feelings about working with other students can enhance or restrict progress toward autonomous interdependence. Finally, it considers ways for facilitating greater learner control in these key aspects of their studies.

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