Autonomy having been advocated as an educational outcome in Asian as well as international educational policies, teacher education programmes are now expected to prepare student teachers for teacher autonomy. Although many studies have been conducted to investigate the development of teacher autonomy by engaging in-service language teachers in action research, there is a dearth of research exploring issues of autonomy in pre-service language teacher education. This paper reports on a longitudinal study which aimed at understanding how four Hong Kong student- teachers developed their teacher autonomy across contexts. Data collected from multiple sources were examined using narrative analysis and the analysis of narratives. The findings of this study show that although the development of the student-teachers' teacher autonomy seemed to be highly context-specific and there was uneven and combined development in different domains of autonomy, certain shared patterns can be identified. This study provides evidence that while pro-autonomy teacher educators, supporting teachers on teaching practice and significant others were positive sources of other control in the changing teaching contexts, there were also autonomy-thwarting environments where the student teachers' natural tendency to self-directedness was constrained. Student teachers' autonomous development can be theorised as the dynamic interaction between self control on the part of the developing student teacher and other control in the changing contexts over time. To promote autonomy in student-teachers, I suggest that teacher education programmes provide them with an appropriate mix of challenge and support and vision for change at their own pace to help them succeed as autonomous teachers.
|Publication status||Published - 2010|