Exploring the influence of perceived classroom environment on learner autonomy in a Chinese EFL learning context

Shiyu YANG, Liyan LIU*, Neil HUNT

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Developing learner autonomy has been a critical task in English teaching that requires a clear understanding of the feature of classroom environment. This study aims to examine how senior high school students perceive classroom environment and learner autonomy, and how classroom environment exerts its influence on learner autonomy in Chinese EFL learning context. Participants (N = 565) from 15 classes located in northeast of China were selected to fill in an adapted version of What is Happening in This Class (WIHIC) and English Autonomous Learning Ability scale. Interview was conducted to confirm and illustrate the quantitative findings. The results revealed that senior high students had favorable perceptions of English classroom environment and learner autonomy. Grade differences existed in their perceptions. Moreover, we found that 53.7% of the variance in learner autonomy was accounted for by students’ perceptions of English classroom environment, which indicated that English classroom environment had significantly positive effects on learner autonomy. Specifically, task orientation, student involvement, teacher support and finding references were strong predictors to learner autonomy. The possible reasons for the findings were discussed and recommendations for future research were given.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1063473
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Early online date29 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Social Foundation of China: The career trajectory of female primary school teachers and its influencing factors (Grant number: BHA180155).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Yang, Liu and Hunt.


  • Chinese context
  • EFL
  • English classroom environment
  • high school students
  • learner autonomy


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