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Challenges in Teacher Development: Learner Autonomy and Intercultural Competence

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Edited By Manuel Jiménez Raya and Lies Sercu

No one graduating from school can any longer have the illusion to have completed her or his learning career, nor to live in a monocultural society. Quite on the contrary, learning will be the major business of the professional future of anyone who now leaves school. Moreover, the multicultural nature of current societies constitutes an additional major dimension of any person’s life and requires growth in intercultural competence along the lifespan. This is a book, in which various pathways toward the development of teacher competencies in promoting learner autonomy and intercultural competence are discussed. It focuses on the potential of action research, self-reflection, constructive learning and self-report activities for teacher development, offering a number of more theoretically oriented chapters on teacher beliefs, intercultural competence, learner autonomy, action research and eLearning. It also documents a number of case studies in which teacher educators have tried to support teachers in exploring and, possibly, developing their own attitudes and beliefs regarding learner autonomy and intercultural competence, and regarding ways to promote learner autonomy and foster intercultural competence amongst their students and in themselves as professionals in teaching.

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Lies Sercu and Manuel Jimenez Raya: Introduction

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Introduction Lies Sercu, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Manuel Jimenez Raya, University of Granada There is no doubt that our world has become more complex and international than ever before. The adequate preparation of young people for such complexity and globalisation requires more than passing on an agreed body of knowledge. Teachers can never teach "all there is to know" , s ince new knowledge is created daily. Foreign language teachers also cannot foresee the many intercultural si­ tuations in which their l earners may find themselves in the course of their l ives. Therefore, what people need in order to be able to maintain their ground in a rapidly changing world are ski l l s that al low them to independently address new questions and new situations, integrate already acquired and new information, develop ing new. They need to be able to improve the ir foreign language ski l l s autonomously and acquire a certain level of proficiency with re lative ease, read and understand texts with new knowledge and new vocabulary in a foreign lan­ guage, and handle intercultural contact situations, where people meet others who have different cultural backgrounds and different ways of understanding particu­ lar concepts or ways of behaving. Foreign language teachers can also not foresee the many intercultural s itua­ tions in which the ir learners may find themselves in the course of their l ives . Therefore, what people need in order to be able to maintain the ir ground in a rapidly chan ging...

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