Date of Completion


Embargo Period



self-regulation, English Language Learners

Major Advisor

Robin Grenier

Associate Advisor

Marijke Kehrhahn

Associate Advisor

Alexandra Bell

Field of Study

Adult Learning


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Although students in Intensive English Programs (IEPs) acknowledge the importance of acquiring academic English skills, their primary concern is obtaining an acceptable Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score. In order to continue improving their English skills beyond the last English class, learners need to have the capability of self-regulating their own learning. The problem for IEP teachers is fostering self-regulation in students who tend to be exam-oriented learners.

The conceptual framework for this qualitative study was constructed by examining and synthesizing research from the fields of adult education and educational psychology. This framework informed the interview protocol, observation, and document review guides to answer the research question: How do teachers in an IEP promote the development of self-regulation in university English language learners?

Data from six participants teaching at an IEP were inductively analyzed to reveal three main themes: (a) teachers encouraged learners to interact with others in English both inside and outside the classroom; (b) teachers elicited and incorporated learners’ interests and goals when designing course activities or selecting content; and (c) teachers moved from a teacher-centered to a learner-centered classroom by affording learners more control over tasks and content and by providing autonomous support structures. Recommendations addressed course design, the use of support structures to help learners plan, monitor, and evaluate their learning, and the adjustment of teacher involvement in the creation of support structures to encourage feelings of autonomy in learners.