Revisiting Saudi EFL learners’ autonomy: a quantitative study

Md Mahmudul Haque, Hasan M. Jaashan, Md Zobaer Hasan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine Saudi EFL learners’ autonomy beliefs, the relation between their autonomy beliefs and autonomy practices, and the major obstacles against their autonomy. Design/methodology/approach: In this quantitative study, a survey questionnaire was administered to 350 (N=350) students in the English Language Center of a public university in Saudi Arabia. The SPSS version 26 was used to conduct the statistical analysis of the data. Pearson’s correlation analysis and the Paired t-test were used after the normality test of the studied data, and the percentage analysis was used to gauge the major obstacles for Saudi EFL learners’ autonomy.In this quantitative study, a survey questionnaire was administered to 350 (N=350) students in the English Language Center of a public university in Saudi Arabia. The SPSS version 26 was used to conduct the statistical analysis of the data. Pearson’s correlation analysis and the Paired t-test were used after the normality test of the studied data, and the percentage analysis was used to gauge the major obstacles for Saudi EFL learners’ autonomy. Findings: The findings revealed that Saudi EFL learners are autonomous. A paired t-test showed that there was no significant difference between the autonomy beliefs and autonomy practices among the participants. In addition, Pearson’s correlation test detected a statistically significant positive relationship between Saudi EFL learners’ autonomy beliefs and autonomy practices. The study also identifies the following major obstacles against Saudi EFL learners’ autonomy: over reliance on their teachers and on their test results, lack of opportunity to express their opinions about learning and not discussing how they work out their learning tasks. Originality/value: Autonomy studies conducted in the Saudi EFL contexts have adopted only the dichotomous view of learner autonomy in which learners are categorized either autonomous or non-autonomous. No reported studies seem to explore the ‘Alternative view’ (Little, 2011) of learner autonomy, which challenges this dichotomous view and looks beyond the categories of autonomous and non-autonomous language learners. Similarly, it also appears that examining the relation of Saudi EFL learners’ autonomy beliefs and autonomy practices has been overlooked. Therefore, the current study aims to present an in-depth understanding of Saudi EFL learners’ autonomy with sound theoretical underpinning and methodological rigour. Adopting Little’s (2011) alternative view of learner autonomy as its theoretical framework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)845-858
Number of pages14
JournalInnovation in Language Learning and Teaching
Volume17
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Alternative view
  • autonomy beliefs
  • autonomy practices
  • learner autonomy
  • Saudi EFL learners

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