Self-directed learning through the eyes of teacher educators
Keywords:autonomy, empowerment, facilitator, student centered, self-directed learning
In Malaysia, as in other countries, higher education is expected to focus on active learning rather than a passive learning approach. This requires higher education educators to adopt different roles and responsibilities. As a result, the teacher-centered approach which has always been the primary approach in universities has begun to be criticized. This debate has paved the way for the widespread growth of alternative approaches to teaching and learning. Embracing the idea of self-directed learning (SDL) often appears as a complex educational concept merely because it has been inadequately defined; nevertheless, SDL continues to fascinate educationalists. This study aimed to investigate: (i) how teacher educators view their role as adult educators in the context of SDL; and (ii) how teacher educators empower their students to take responsibility for their learning. To answer these research questions, 30 Malaysian teacher educators, who voluntarily offered to be involved in this study, were interviewed to obtain their views and pedagogical practices in SDL. This study adopted the Charmaz constructivist grounded theory to guide the data collection procedures and the approaches to analyzing the interview data. The findings from this study indicated that not all research participants have accepted their role as facilitators of learning as they were reluctant to abandon the authority position. Interestingly, even though the majority of the research participants remain firmly attached to their traditional roles as knowledge experts, they do not view themselves as the absolute authority as they adopt a mix of conventional and active pedagogical approaches. This study concluded that future research should investigate the reason behind Malaysia teacher educators' hesitation in abandoning the role of authority figures.
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This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/