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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 2: Action research and teachers' professionalisation

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Section 2 : Action research and teachers ' professionalisation Action research: professional development through enquiry 1 . Introduction Enrica Flamini , University of Aarhus Manuel J imenez Raya, University of Granada In the past, people leamt a given job and performed it in the same way and in the same organization throughout their l ifetime . With the rapid pace of change in contemporary society, knowledge and technical skil l s quickly become outmoded unless they are updated regularly. In education, teachers also face the need to take responsibil ity for self-development. They need to leam multiple competen­ cies to meet the ever-changing demands and roles . Schools and teachers need to be fast leamers and introduce innovation to respond to the ever-increasing di­ verse body of students . In addition, research has shown that top-down profes­ sional development has been largely ineffective in bringing about substantial changes in c\assroom practice (Fullan, 1 982 ; Leithwood, Begley & Cousins, 1 994). S imultaneously, there have been repeated appeals for the need to recog­ nize the central role of the teacher in bringing about innovation in teaching (Ful­ lan, 1 993 ; Hargreaves, 1 994). Efforts to change practice for the better require merging diverse self- interests in support of common educational goals and val­ ues. Teacher education is not geared toward continuous leaming. There is a press ing need to change the s ituation . To this end, teacher education must take the initiative to produce teachers who are agents of educational change and im­ provement. Teacher education programmes...

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