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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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5. Teacher education for autonomy – An experience-oriented approach


5. Teacher education for autonomy – An experience-oriented approach

The promotion of pedagogy for autonomy in language education requires pre- and in-service teacher education programmes to provide (prospective) teachers with opportunities to experience autonomy both as learners of teaching and as teachers of learning. Even though accounts of autonomy-oriented programmes and projects are presented in the literature (see reviews undertaken by Benson, 2011; Jiménez Raya & Vieira, 2008; Manzano Vázquez, 2016), there is no evidence to suggest that autonomy has become a priority in language teacher education. Moreover, popular language teacher training coursebooks appear to contain little or no information about it (Reinders & Balcikanli, 2011).

Teacher education for autonomy has implications for teacher development strategies, and the purpose of this chapter is to offer some ideas on what can be done. Although there are plenty of strategies that can be used, we will focus on case pedagogy as an experience-oriented approach that can empower teachers to understand and explore pedagogy for autonomy as they become enquiry-oriented professionals.

5.1 Reflective teacher education for autonomy

Despite current developments in the teacher education field, teacher education strategies often rely on a theory-to-practice rationale that reflects, to a large extent, the prevalence of a positivistic epistemology characterised as ‘instrumental rationalism’, according to which teachers are seen more as technicians than as critical intellectuals, curriculum developers, and agents of change (Kincheloe, 2003). In order to be empowering, teacher education must challenge this tradition, inspiring and...

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