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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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2. Pedagogy for autonomy: underlying assumptions and general language teaching principles


2. Pedagogy for autonomy: underlying assumptions and general language teaching principles

In this section we focus on basic assumptions underlying pedagogy for autonomy and on the general language teaching principles that it should integrate. Before moving on, we would like to start with our definition of both learner and teacher autonomy, which will be further explained in chapter 3. We define both as…

The competence to develop as a self-determined, socially responsible and critically aware participant in (and beyond) educational environments, within a vision of education as (inter)personal empowerment and social transformation.

This broad definition highlights general aspects of autonomy and the vision of education it entails. By having a common definition for learner and teacher autonomy, we want to stress their similar nature as well as their interdependence in school contexts. By adopting a subject-free definition, we wish to broaden its scope and underline its cross-disciplinary potential.

The assumptions behind our definition are briefly sketched in Figure 1 (see section 3.2.1 for a more detailed explanation as regards learner autonomy and 3.3.1 as regards teacher autonomy):

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