Tag Archives: learner autonomy

Using Reciprocal Peer Coteaching to developing learner autonomy: an action research project with a beginners’ Chinese class

Weiming Liu & Ann Devitt


Peer teaching has been used as a mechanism for promoting learner autonomy within a range of language learning contexts. This paper explores how absolute beginners in a Chinese class can engage in reciprocal peer coteaching from the start of their language learning experience and how this contributes to aspects central to the development of learner autonomy as well as to improving their linguistic competence in Chinese. Reciprocal peer coteaching entails students collaborating in teaching teams to teach their peers, with all students taking a turn acting as peer teacher and peer learner, during a short beginners course in Chinese. The study was conducted as an action research project in three cycles with data derived from students’ reflective language learning journals. The findings suggested that the cooperative and challenging activity of reciprocal peer coteaching served to build individual responsibility and motivation for learning while at the same time developing group solidarity in the classes, both of which served to promote the autonomy of learners within the class group.

Keywords: Motivation, Chinese Language, Learner Autonomy, Reciprocal peer coteaching

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The creation of an active learning context for a Chinese class

Mr Weiming Liu & Dr Ann Devitt


Research suggests that coteaching contains two dimensions. The first dimension shows that two or more people teach together to meet students’ needs. This dimension demonstrates a process of transmission of knowledge from coteachers to students and points out coteachers’ joint responsibility for students’ learning. The second dimension indicates that coteachers share valuable ideas with each other and help each other to deliver successful coteaching sessions. This dimension emphasises the importance of coteachers’ collaboration during their preparation for coteaching and their implementation of coteaching. A beginners’ Chinese course was organised at a School of Education in an Irish University. The current qualitative research study focused on the coteaching sessions which accounted for about 20% of the Chinese classroom activities. Students were divided into groups and required to conduct coteaching in turn in the form of revision. Coteachers shared leadership and responsibilities within coteaching groups. Included in the data sources in the current study were students’ weekly reflective journals and final group reports. This study explores the impact of coteaching on the process of students’ language learning, in particular whether coteaching can encourage students to take responsibility for their learning and the learning of others, and if it can help to increase their level of subject knowledge.

Keywords: Coteaching, Chinese Language, Learner Autonomy, the ZPD

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