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Learner and Teacher Autonomy in Higher Education: Perspectives from Modern Language Teaching

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Edited By Manuel Jiménez Raya, José Javier Martos Ramos and Maria Giovanna Tassinari

This volume seeks to foster the development of teacher and learner autonomy in language learning in higher education. It pools the insights and experiences of a group of international researchers who present their reflections and research on different aspects of autonomy and related issues. Although autonomy is acknowledged as one of the main goals of education, in higher education the need for accountability and standardisation of learning outcomes may constitute external limitations to its development. In order to overcome teaching traditions and mainstream academic culture, teachers may need to reorient themselves and face the challenge of a substantial change involving their own and their learners’ beliefs, their practice and their role in the institution.

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Interdependent Autonomy: Face-to-Face and Digital Media in Modern Language Learning (M. Carmen Fonseca-Mora, Mark Gant & Francisco Herrero Machancoses)

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M. Carmen Fonseca-Mora

(University of Huelva, Spain)

Mark Gant

(University of Chester, UK)

Francisco Herrero Machancoses

(University Jaume I, Spain)

Interdependent Autonomy: Face-to-Face and Digital Media in Modern Language Learning

1.    Introduction

Current digital media allow autonomous student work more than ever before, both inside and outside the modern languages classroom. In fact, Benson and Voller (1997: 6) stated that “[…] autonomy and independence have become linked to the growing role of technology in education […]” although this autonomy does not fully develop unless the student feels in control of her/his learning nor when learners do not feel that the actions they take result in successful learning experiences (Arnold & Fonseca-Mora, 2016). This is sometimes the case in the learning of a foreign language since this is a long-term process which also requires expert guidance. Experiences of online language learning also present a number of difficulties, amongst which those of keeping self-motivated and being a self-directed learner (Sun, 2014)1 are prominent. The importance of the need for a pedagogy of autonomy stems specifically from the idea of providing empowerment to enable finding of learning opportunities that promote learners’ reflectivity and self-regulation (Jiménez Raya, 2011).

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