Learning to teach and teaching to learn: A longitudinal study of student teacher’s autonomous development in the Chinese EFL context

Yim Ping Joanne CHUK

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The scene of educational research has witnessed a growing number of studies on teacher autonomy, suggesting varying definitions of the concept and yielding results mostly pointing to the advantages of teacher autonomy promotion. Many of these studies were reports researching into the development of teacher autonomy by engaging in-service teachers in action research. However, what is often neglected in these reports is that autonomy can never be the outcome of a single, short-term intervention in the learning process. The development of teacher autonomy is a long and complex process which involves teachers’ personal and professional lives. Little research has been conducted to understand how pre-service teachers develop their autonomy over time as a natural feature of their learning process. This study is an attempt to explore the major factors that affect the development of learner autonomy as well as teacher autonomy in four student-teachers’ 4-year journeys of learning and teaching English as a foreign language. Data collected from lesson observations, reflective journals, TP portfolios and semi-structured interviews were analyzed. The results suggest several implications for teacher educators promoting teacher autonomy in their student-teachers. First of all, as learner autonomy and teacher autonomy are interdependent, teacher education programs should incorporate practices that promote autonomy in the learners. Secondly, as contextual factors are important in facilitating the success of field experience, collaborative forms of instituteschool partnership should be established because it helps set a platform where various parties have clearly defined roles and responsibilities in structuring challenge and support to meet student-teachers’ needs. In conclusion, if teacher autonomy is seen as a desirable goal to be achieved, student teachers should be provided certain kinds of support in order to succeed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008


student teacher
longitudinal study
learning process
educational research
action research
foreign language


Chuk, J. Y. P. (2008, November). Learning to teach and teaching to learn: A longitudinal study of student teacher’s autonomous development in the Chinese EFL context. Paper presented at the Asia-Pacific Educational Research Association (APERA) Conference 2008: Educational Research for Innovation & Quality in Education: Policy & Pedagogical Engagements Across Contexts, National Institute of Education, Singapore.