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Enhancing language learner and teacher autonomy in countries of the Global South via contextually appropriate practitioner research


Research focus:

  • How can teachers in difficult circumstances (large-class, low-resource public education contexts) in countries of the Global South be supported to develop appropriate methodologies?
  • How can learner autonomy be engaged and developed in such circumstances?


We are developing and evaluating ways to help teachers research and thereby enhance their own practice in collaboration with learners, in public education contexts in Latin America, Africa and South Asia.

Key findings:

Teaching and learning in low-resource contexts can be feasibly and sustainably enhanced via:

  • Exploratory Action Research
  • children and teachers collaborating as co-researchers
  • teacher association research;
  • and – overall – an enhancement approach building on identification and sharing of existing successful practice.

To find out more:

Teacher-research for Difficult Circumstances Impact Initiative

Pinter, A., R. Mathew and R. Smith (2016) Children and teachers as co-researchers in Indian primary English classrooms. (ELT Research papers 16.03). London: The British Council.

Smith, R., K. Kuchah, & M. Lamb (2018) Learner autonomy in developing countries. In A. Chik, A., N. Aoki, and R. Smith (eds). Autonomy in Language Learning and Teaching: New Research Agendas. London: Palgrave Pivot.