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Abstract

Learner agency refers to the feeling of ownership and sense of control that students have over their learning. Agentive learners are motivated not only to learn but also to take responsibility for managing the learning process. Learner agency emerges, grows, and is expressed through meaningful interactions within a community of stakeholders which includes policymakers, school leaders, teacher educators, teachers, and parents. Collaboration and a sense of shared purpose help to provide the context for developing agency. This is the essential framework which will help learners to grow in confidence, meet with success, and become lifelong learners. All learners have the potential to develop their agency further, and all teaching can be designed with learner agency in mind. Learning becomes more effective and efficient when teaching practices support learners to become active agents in their learning. Beyond the classroom, learners can use their agency in positive ways to shape both their personal and their professional lives. As members of local and global communities, they will possess the skills to connect, adapt, and flourish in a dynamic and fast- changing world. Our key messages in this paper are that: • learners with a sense of their own agency are more likely to be engaged and invested in their language learning • teachers play an essential role in facilitating the development of learner agency by providing opportunities for students to exercise and enhance their agency • agency does not reside solely in the learner but is negotiated and supported by all stakeholders in an ecology • students who develop agency are prepared not only for success as language learners but also for the challenges and opportunities in life beyond the classroom, in the present and the future.
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To cite this paper:
Larsen-Freeman, D., Driver, P., Gao, X., & Mercer, S. (2021). Learner Agency: Maximizing
Learner Potential [PDF]. www.oup.com/elt/expert
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