The Role of Iranian EFL Teacher Autonomy and Reflectivity in Teacher Self-directed Learning: A Systematic Literature Review

Document Type : Original Article


1 SDL, Education, NWU, Potchefstroom, South Africa

2 North-West University Potchefstroom Campus South Africa


Globally various barriers hinder English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners from developing English communicative competence. Concern in this regard is also raised in the context of Iran. Two themes that strongly emerge from the vast number of publications on the causes of poor EFL learning outcomes in Iran include the need for teacher reflectivity and teacher autonomy. Scholarly publications outside the context of EFL underline these two constructs as necessary components of teacher self-directed learning as a prerequisite for the transformation of education. The frequent focus on these two elements in the literature in the context of EFL in Iran has motivated a systematic literature review to determine how these publications point towards a possible relationship between these two elements, with a specific focus on the role such a relationship could play in self-directed learning by EFL teachers in order to change poor learning outcomes. Using commonly agreed criteria for inclusion into the data set, the two researchers perused an initial 1006 publications identified through a systematic review of the literature, after which 43 publications were selected for analysis. The 6 themes that emerged from the analysis strongly point to a relationship between EFL teacher autonomy, teacher reflectivity and teacher self-directed learning. Role players in EFL, not only in Iran but also globally, should pay heed to the voices raised in the literature concerning the consequences of under-valuing these constructs in EFL teacher preparation courses if the aim is to secure sustainable transformation of EFL practice.