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Mapping Autonomy in Language Education

A Framework for Learner and Teacher Development


Manuel Jiménez Raya, Terry Lamb and Flávia Vieira

This book proposes a comprehensible, context-sensitive and flexible framework for the development of pedagogy for autonomy in language education. The «framework» metaphor highlights the effort to identify structuring elements in the authors’ stance towards pedagogy for autonomy, which fall into three domains -the context, the learner, and the teacher. In each domain, the authors raise ethical, conceptual and practical issues that are crucial to their perspective and offer a basis for reflection on learner and teacher development towards learner and teacher autonomy. The book proposes a common definition for learner and teacher autonomy within a vision of education as transformation and empowerment. Pedagogy for autonomy is operationalized through a set of ten general principles.

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1. Introduction


1. Introduction

(…) human life will never be understood unless its highest aspirations are taken into account. Growth, self-actualization, the striving toward health, the quest for identity and autonomy, the yearning for excellence (and other ways of phrasing the striving upward) must now be accepted beyond question as a widespread and perhaps universal human tendency. (Maslow, 1970: xii–xiii)

The above ideas, expressed almost forty years ago, are just as relevant today. UNESCO’s Declaration for Education 2030, which resulted from the World Education Forum 2015 in Incheon, clearly appeals to high human aspirations by endorsing a strategic vision that calls for inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all. This Declaration “is inspired by a humanistic vision of education and development based on human rights and dignity; social justice; inclusion; protection; cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity; and shared responsibility and accountability” (p. 7). Education is understood as a human right and a basis
for guaranteeing peace, tolerance, human fulfilment, sustainable development, full employment, and the eradication of poverty. This is certainly an ambitious and essential vision, requiring that “teachers and educators are empowered, adequately recruited, well-trained, professionally qualified, motivated and supported within well-resourced, efficient and effectively governed systems” (p. 8).

In this book, our focus on pedagogy for autonomy in language education is also motivated by high aspirations, namely the enhancement of more democratic teaching and learning practices within a vision of (language) education in schools as a space for enacting (inter)...

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