Carson, L. (2007), Relatedness and learner autonomy: a case study of an adult refugee learning English, Reflections on English Language Teaching, 6, 2, 2007, 21 - 38
Reflections on English Language Teaching 6 2
Ireland has only recently become a country of immigration and asylum. Provision
of English language training is a priority both for refugees and for the host community.
There has been very little research in Ireland on language provision for refugees. Wider
studies of learning suggest that outcomes are enhanced by a classroom environment
which fosters autonomous and self-determined behaviour. This paper presents the
case of one individual from Moldova and examines his experience as a language
learner particularly in terms of “relatedness”. The case study analyses his profile as
an adult who struggled with his roles as refugee and student, but who continued to
apply himself to the task of learning English and demonstrated increased motivation
and progress. Data was collected by multiple techniques, including participant
observation, audio interviews with students and teachers, closed- and open-format
attitudinal questionnaires, and archival data from school records. The findings of the
study suggest that the patterns of goal-setting observed contribute to some increased
intrinsic motivation, and the development of internalized extrinsic motivation
congruent with learner needs.
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