Language Teacher Autonomy in Turkish EFL Context: Relations with Teachers’ Autonomy and Job Satisfaction Levels

Creative Commons License

Dincer A.

Journal on English Language Teaching, cilt.9, no.2, ss.11-25, 2019 (ESCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi)

  • Cilt numarası: 9 Konu: 2
  • Basım Tarihi: 2019
  • Dergi Adı: Journal on English Language Teaching
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.11-25


International reports suggest that teacher autonomy is diminishing across the world. With a centralized education system, Turkish teachers have the lowest level of professional independence in the education system and their students have the lowest level of English proficiency among many countries. Despite the important role that teachers play in their students' success, there is a scarcity of research on language teachers' autonomy and their job satisfaction in the field of foreign or second language (L2) instruction. Given that, this study aims to investigate the relationships between English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers' actual and desired levels of autonomy and their job satisfaction in Turkey. A total of 102 EFL teachers working in public schools completed teacher autonomy scales about their actual and desired control discipline, curriculum, classroom environment, assessment, pedagogy, and professional development. They also rated their job satisfaction and expressed their opinion regarding their autonomy and job satisfaction in teaching English. Findings showed that the teachers' actual autonomy levels were significantly lower than their desired levels across all possible areas of control. The highest discrepancy between actual and desired teacher autonomy was present in the areas of classroom environment and curriculum. Surprisingly, teacher autonomy levels were not significantly related to job satisfaction. Qualitative data partially supported the findings, showing that teachers want more control over curricula. In addition, external factors, such as curriculum, classroom environment, and salary, and internal factors, such as self-evaluation, the joy of teaching, and student motivation, were linked to the levels of teacher autonomy and job satisfaction. The study discusses implications for improving teacher autonomy and job satisfaction in EFLcontextsin Turkeyandacrosstheworldaswell.

Keywords: Teacher Autonomy, Job Satisfaction, EFL Teacher, Learner Autonomy