ISSN: 0799-1487

Enhancing Learner Autonomy in Foreign Language Instruction through Contextualized Activities

Yolanda Palmer-Clarke

This article explores and discusses how the use of contextualized experiences and activities enhanced communicative competence among a group of students learning Spanish as a foreign language. Research data, collected among 18 grade 10 students in a rural co-educational Jamaican high school using contextualized activities, are used to deliberate the impact these activities have on learner communicative competence and autonomy. Grounded in the notion that communicative competence leads to autonomy in student learning, a programme using contextualized activities was planned and implemented. Data were captured through multiple methods (observation, focus group discussions, interviews, questionnaires, and written and oral classroom activities). The findings point to improved communicative competence which enabled autonomy as students became more confident and willing to use the target language – Spanish – in everyday classroom speech and, to a lesser extent, outside of the classroom.
Keywords: Learner autonomy; Communicative competence; Communicative language Teaching; Contextualized activities; Foreign language pedagogies; Jamaica
Section: Articles