communication and the study of the structure of subjective experience. On the other hand, as Pishghadam et al (2011) succinctly put it, NLP is a set of general communication techniques and strategies for building rapport, personal change, and learning.
Other researchers also have defined NLP as they perceived it, Millroad (2004) for example, held that it is “An approach to language teaching which is claimed to help achieve excellence in learner performance” (p. 28) and Richards and Rodgers (2001) claimed it as a supplementary technique in teaching second language. Furthermore Connor (2001; p.1) explained that NLP studies brilliance and quality_ how outstanding individuals and organizations get their outstanding results.
Tosey & Mathison (2003) asserted that NLP is eclectic, drawing on models and strategies from a wide range of sources. Kudliskis and Burden (2009) considered NLP as a modeling process in which people try to learn and gain the art of “communication excellence. Millroad (2004; p. 30) look at the concept as “Establishing a rapport between teacher and learners(which is constructed upon teachers’ support, empathy and interaction with the learners), Modeling the learner, Creating a learner filter, Pacing with the learner, Leading the learner, Elicitation with the learner, Calibration of the learner, Reframing the approach, Collapsing an anchor.
2.4.3. NLP Fundamentals, Products & Essence
Smart (2006) believes that
the fundamentals of NLP are straightforward: 1. Know what you want (Outcome / Direction). 2. Get the attention of the unconscious mind (Rapport).3. Know whether you’re getting what you want (Sensory Acuity). 4. Adjust what you’re doing accordingly (Behavioral Flexibility) (p.6).
on the other hand, Bostic St.Clair & Grinder (2001) said “The development of NLP was influenced in particular by conversations with Gregory Bateson, who was Bandler and Grinder’s neighbour in Santa Cruz in the 1970’s” (p.118).
Dilts and DeLozier (2000) contended that “NLP can be seen as a technology, a methodology, and an epistemology. As a technology, NLP comprises a substantial collection of frameworks, tools and techniques, some specific to NLP and some borrowed or adapted from other fields”( p.849). Bandler & Grinder (1975) asserted that “While NLP appears to comprise a plethora of techniques, it was originally portrayed as a method, which the authors called `modeling'” (p.6).
According to Caine & Caine (1991), Understanding the functions of the brain and incorporating this in designing learning experiences can significantly improve the effectiveness of student learning. Rosenfeld & Rosenfeld (2008) also stated that teachers’ beliefs about themselves and their students have a profound effect on their teaching. Therefore, teachers’ mental progress can significantly influence their process of teaching and choosing various instructional practices.
Dilts (1998) said:
The primary approach of NLP has been to model effective behaviors and the cognitive processes behind them. The NLP modelling process involves finding out how the brain is operating by analyzing language patterns and non-verbal communication. The result of this analysis is then put into step-by-step strategies or programs that may be used to transfer the skill to other people and areas of application.
Tosey & Mathison (2003) considered a core model for NLP called Meta Model that is believed to reflect underlying cognitive processes based on language patterns. Einspruch & Forman (1985), on the other hand, emphasize on this model’s prominent role in eliciting individual’s distinct realities, believing that Meta Model is considered as a primary NLP tool. Vermersch (2004) also thinks that NLP modelling has directly influenced a contemporary European academic approach to the study of consciousness and human experience, known as `Psychophenomenology’.
Compiling their data on the issue, Tosey, Mathison & Michelli (2005) concluded that NLP believes that people act according to the way they perceive the world not according to the way the world really is. Or according to what Bandler & Grinder (1975) say “we create our maps of reality individually and do not behave to this world directly”.
Autonomy is not a solid concept that has only one face but a complex one that is multi-faces; Hill and Holmbeck (1986) declared that 2 conceptualizations of autonomy “detachment from parents” and “freedom from social (largely parental) influence” have dominated recent research. What about autonomy in classrooms and especially in EFL settings?
Little (1991) held that autonomy is not a synonym for self-instruction; it means, autonomy is not limited to learning without a teacher; it does not entail an abdication of responsibility on the part of the teacher; autonomy is not another teaching method; and it is not a single, easily described behavior.
For many years researchers and experts have been trying to prove that autonomy is important. Hill (1991, p. 43) cited Immanual Kant’s belief that “autonomy is the foundation of human dignity and the source of modality”. That’s why autonomy has been always regarded as an essential aim of education. Autonomy is a concept that like many other philosophers’ favorite words does not refer to the name of one single thing. Different people have different ideas about this concept all of which may, to some extent, be true. Accordingly, Hill (1991, p. 44) asserts that little progress can be made in debates about autonomy until these different ideas are sorted.
Arguing that ‘autonomy, in the perspective of complexity, encompasses properties and conditions for complex emergence, Paiva and Braga (2008) contended it is inextricably linked to its environment’. (cited in Paiva, 2011, p.63) Likewise, Masouleh & Jooneghani (2012) claim that its dynamic structure governs the nature of its interactions with the environment in which it is nested.
Grotevant and Cooper (1986) criticized the conceptualizations of autonomy as independence and stressed that autonomy is not a merely intra-psychic phenomenon that implies that individuals free themselves from the social environment. Other researchers also supported this point of view arguing that autonomy and dependence on others are not opposites (Ryan and Lynch, 1989).
There are also empirical reasons to reject autonomy’s conceptualization as detachment or independence, Blos (1979), for example, notes from psychoanalytic theory and asserts “it can be hypothesized that the development of autonomy is a step toward higher personality functioning and ego maturation”.
Autonomy is a concept that many scholars and researchers have tried to describe it fully but everyone has his/her own assumption about the concept and even the term itself. “Personal attributes” is what Knowles (1988) refers to when the subject is autonomy. Salahshour &Hajizadeh (2012) also suggests that Shifts from traditional teacher-centered approaches to more student-centered ones, have led students to express their conservative countries like Iran. Their research “Characteristics of effective EFL instructors” was to identify the main features which characterize an effective EFL instructor according to language students and the results contain significant information regarding the characteristics of a successful instructor in an EFL context. Researches of this essence are of great importance since the teachers’ approach to learning and teaching directly influences the autonomy.
2.3.2. Learners’ Autonomy vs. Teachers’ Autonomy
The concept of learner autonomy has in the last two decades has become the core of many research and papers since it is regarded influential as a goal in many parts of the world but what about autonomy of teachers? The researcher preferred to go through both concepts of learner and teacher autonomy in order to give
a better understanding of the whole concept of autonomy.
It is mentioned that because a shift in teacher roles is required in order to implement methods to promote autonomous development among students, teachers also need to focus on their own autonomy (Mackenzie and McCafferty ; 2002, p.9). The needs that arise from the learners directly influenced the language teaching methods during the past century. One of the most important issues regarding teaching is autonomy which has been a tempting title for many researchers during last decades. Barfield et al (2002) stated that although researchers have clearly defined many aspects of learner autonomy, teacher autonomy requires a more focused and contextually sensitive definition.
Learner autonomy and teacher autonomy are interdependent in accordance with Little (1991)’s belief. Stressing that Autonomy is not isolated individuality but it is the way a person relates to the other, Masouleh & Jooneghani (2012) asserted that Developing autonomy and humanity is not a natural process, but an interactive process between people under social and political power relationships. They say “Enhancing autonomy and humanity is part of social, cultural and political developments”.
Reviewing the literature on language teaching and learning, we face the fact that there is multiple basic idea of autonomy. This variation is due to the fact that both teachers and students view the processes in which they are mutually engaged from very different points of views. This difference in their views is likely to influence the ways in which they comprehend a notion such as autonomy. In teachers’ view, autonomy involved institutional and classroom learning arrangements in an established curricula. According to Benson (2008), learners’ view is tangential to this perspective and believes that autonomy is concerned with learning, in a much broader sense.
Soenens and Vansteenkiste (2005) in their paper “Antecedents and Outcomes of Self-Determination in 3 Life Domains: The Role of Parents’ and Teachers’ Autonomy Support” state “The tendency toward experiencing a sense of autonomy and self-regulation manifests itself in multiple life domains, such as school, vocational careers, and peer competence”.
Some research, such as Smith (2000), identified four aspects of teacher autonomy: a capacity for self-directed teaching, freedom from control over teaching, a capacity for self-directed teacher learning and a responsibility to take actions and bear consequences.
Barfield et al (2002) in a collaborative effort have made a useful statement on teacher autonomy about which Vye et al (2010) in their paper “Teaching autonomy: Exploring the paradox”, say:
It is based on the recognition that because teaching is contextually situated, teacher autonomy is a process of inquiry into how teachers can promote learner autonomy through understanding and dealing with a number of external constraints and transforming them into opportunities for change. This requires that teachers develop institutional knowledge and flexibility within their individual teaching situation through critical reflective inquiry, empowerment, and dialogue.
Action research according to Moore (2004) empowers EFL teachers to make informed decisions and foster autonomy in their practices. Cotterall and Crabbe (2002) also affirmed the effective role of action research in promoting teacher autonomy.
In order to facilitate learning process and also to improve learner autonomy, it is also important for the teachers themselves to become autonomous in their own teaching. Based on this fact, Smith (2000) argues that teacher autonomy and learner autonomy are therefore interlinked, suggesting that teachers whose pedagogical values are deeply entrenched in teacher transmission of knowledge have a negative impact on the learners’ progress towards autonomy.