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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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Section 1: Teacher beliefs: changing teachers ' beliefs is prerequisite to changing teaching

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Section 1 : Teacher beliefs : changing teachers ' beliefs is prerequisite to changing teaching Teacher beliefs and their impact on teaching practice : a literature review 1. Introduction Lies Sercu, Kathol ieke Universiteit Leuven Ol iver St. lohn, Univers ity of Gävle This is a book on teachers as agents of change. In this chapter, we focus on teachers ' bel iefs and argue that changes in teaching practice depend on the extent to which teachers are willing to change their bel iefs about what constitutes good teaching and manage to achieve such change. To that end, we report on the re­ sults of research into teacher bel iefs, in foreign language education and in other subjects. We start with a definition of the concept as wei l as its main characteris­ tics. Whi le bel iefs have been described as the most valuable psychological con­ struct to teacher education (Pintrich, 1 990) and "the c1earest indication of a teacher ' s professional growth" (Kagan, 1 992: 85), they are also one of the most difficult to define. In section 3 , we focus on the sources of teachers ' bel iefs. We point out that teachers have been social ized in a particular educational system - historically located and culturally conceived - and that thi s socialization process continues to determine in part what they perceive as good teaching. Experience of what works wei l in teaching as weil as factors such as pedagogical principles, institutional practices or the influence of...

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