9. Contributions, recommendations and conclusions 333
9. Contributions, recommendations and conclusions 9.1. Introduction As pointed out in Chapter 1, this study is one of the first investigations into the long-term development of autonomy among students in a par- ticular social and institutional context. In exploring this long-term de- velopment issue, it has explicitly linked the idea of autonomy to the notions of agency and identity and has given primary attention to learner perspectives on relevant educational issues. With reference to these and other related points, the present chapter highlights the con- tributions and limitations of the study, suggests directions for further research, and provides recommendations for the promotion of auton- omy in foreign language education. 9.2. Contributions 9.2.1. An explanatory framework for the long-term development of autonomy Taking a long-term development view of autonomy, the current study was able to demonstrate (1) how the often-ignored “little events, ordi- nary things” (Oxford 2001: 86) affected students’ learning at different learning stages (these “little events, ordinary things” included students’ target language difficulty, their expectation of teacher care and guid- ance in their personal lives in addition to learning, external examina- tions, and “normal” routine teaching administration); (2) how the de- velopment of their autonomy was related to configurations of their formal, curriculum-based and informal, extracurricular learning expe- 334 riences and their own interpretations of their learning experiences; and, (3) how the context (especially the institutional culture and discourses) shaped their self-identity construction, and guided their establishment of personally relevant agendas and their exercise of personal agency selectively to...
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