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Title: Students’ and teachers’ perceptions of autonomous learning : a case study of a vocational institution in Hong Kong
Author: Wong, Wai Mei
ISNI:       0000 0004 2714 1110
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2010
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The research was undertaken at a time when the New Senior Secondary educational reform was underway in Hong Kong with the implementation of the new academic structure together with the introduction of the Qualifications Framework (QF). In line with such development, the Vocational Training Bureau and so the case institute, as one of the members, aim to produce autonomous learners who value and also be able to take up lifelong learning. One of the pillars of the QF is concerned with students’ autonomy. But the guidelines, written in terms of learning outcomes, are so vaguely defined that teachers do not know what they should do in order to facilitate the achievement of these outcomes in relation to the development of autonomy. The aim of this research is to explore how students and teachers perceive autonomous learning and relate their own perceptions to their practice at a vocational institute in Hong Kong. A group of 20 students and 4 teachers from the Business Administration Discipline were invited to participate in the study to minimise the influence of the subject area on the perceptions of the participants which was intended to make comparison and contrast of the findings more accurate. The qualitative research approach adopted was informed by the interpretive paradigm. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with both the student and the teacher groups, which were subsequently analysed using inductive methods. The findings indicated that all the students and teachers perceived autonomous learning as classroom processes leading to different outcomes. However, these processes were of different nature depending on individual students and teachers. The variations in the processes were, in turn, shaped by their different epistemological positions. The students and the teachers also placed different value upon autonomous learning, recognising different value of the construct of autonomy. The students’ and the teachers’ perceptions were found to be closely related to their educational engagement and pedagogical practice respectively. The researcher came to a conclusion that the autonomous learning processes construed by individual students and teachers could be interpreted as one-way, two-way or a loop. The different nature of the autonomous learning processes and their associated outcomes provided a basis for curriculum designers and syllabus writers to evaluate the QF-related guidelines on autonomous learning and hence helped teachers and students to interpret them in terms of what they could do in the classroom and how they could engage their tasks to produce more desirable outcomes. The study also suggested that students who were more ready for autonomous learning showed hesitation and reservation about a critical type of autonomy, suggesting a ‘cultural resistance’ to autonomous learning in the wider context of Hong Kong which embodies the Chinese culture.
Supervisor: Cooper, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available