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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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3. Mapping pedagogy for autonomy


3. Mapping pedagogy for autonomy

A vision of education as empowerment and transformation necessarily interrogates the role of contexts, learners and teachers in shaping the ends and means of pedagogy. Mapping pedagogy for autonomy is the metaphor we use to emphasize that role by bringing forward elements that may foster or constrain learner and teacher development. This will provide the background for defining a set of pedagogical principles in chapter 4.

3.1 Putting the context on the map

Analysing the context in which a pedagogy for autonomy may develop requires levels of analysis ranging from the social and ideological to the psychological, and this becomes even more complex when looking at different European institutions where the importance which might be placed on these different levels of analysis is difficult to predict. What is needed is a conceptual framework which enables teachers and teacher educators to make comparative analyses and provides guidance for them in understanding and developing their own context-specific work.

One way of conceptualising such a framework is to draw a distinction between the conditions which may allow pedagogy for autonomy to develop (or indeed constrain it) and the forces which may drive (or constrain) this development. In other words, it is useful to distinguish between the local, national and international setting or context in which language learning and teaching operates, and the drivers or constraints which either propel or restrict the development of learner autonomy. By locating themselves in this...

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