Edited by Richard Smith and Tim Giesler
[AILA Applied Linguistics Series 20] 2023
► pp. 180–198
This chapter analyses how the concept of learner autonomy was incorporated into the national college English curricula in China between 1978 and 2007. Adopting Quentin Skinner’s intentionalist approach, it examines this concept in relation to linguistic convention and practical context in China, discussing its meaning in the Chinese context and the intentionality of promoting this concept for curriculum innovation. The findings reveal that learner autonomy was taken to refer mainly to students’ ability to learn on their own outside the classroom. The importation of this concept has pushed teachers and policy makers to attend to students’ individual needs, but it has also manipulated dominant academic and pedagogical discourse in China in a way that steered curriculum innovation away from its original aim.