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Volume 6 Number 3, Autumn 2009, Pages 1-401   

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Relationship Between Learner Autonomy and English Language Proficiency of Japanese Learners

    Shien Sakai and Akiko Takagi

This study explores the relationship between learner autonomy and English language proficiency of Japanese university students from 16 universities. Questionnaires were administered to 721 students to clarify the perception they hold of their learning and learner autonomy. The students were divided into three levels of English proficiency, based on their score in a vocabulary test. The authors compared the subjects' differences in perceptions of learner autonomy among the three groups. The questionnaire was analyzed using factor analysis, and nine factors emerged. For future analysis, ANOVA and multiple comparisons, using Tukey HSD, were employed on three levels for those factors. Results show that there were differences in the degree of autonomy among the groups and revealed that good performers show attributes of "independent users", the middle group stayed at the range of "independent learners", and the poor performers were struggling at the "dependent learners" level. Based on these findings, the authors have summarized the characteristics present in the three levels of Japanese university students. This paper will present these findings and discuss the pedagogical implications of this study and how learner autonomy can be nurtured in each group.

Keywords: Learner autonomy, English as a foreign language, Questionnaire