Teaching and Researching Autonomy in Language Learning

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October 19, 2009 by Willy Cardoso

Teaching and Researching Autonomy in Language Learning

Phil Benson

(Pearson 2001)

autonomy_cover

I started this one yesterday, so I can’t really write a review on it. However, the 46 pages I read so far were so impactful that I can already recommend it. The chapter Autonomy beyond the field of education is of enourmous relevance, I found it really helpful for I indeed believe that once a teacher wants to acquire new concepts and principles, he/she should certainly check out what other schools have to say about it. Autonomy in education is much better understood when you also gain some insights into the same study in the fields of philosophy, psychology and politics. I feel that language teachers, especially English teachers, could make more use of what is available for them in the broader spectrum of Education, regardless of the subject area. Learners would benefit a lot if their teachers were for a moment less concerned with the latest approach to ELT, and more aware of what Rousseau, Dewey, Freire and Illich said about learning and teaching.

Suppose I had a magic wand that could produce only one change in our educational systems. What would that change be? I finally decided that my imaginary wand, with one sweep, would cause every teacher at every level to forget that he os she is a teacher. You would all develop a complete amnesia for the teaching skills you have painstakingly acquired over the years. You would find that you were absolutely unable to teach… Rogers (1983: 135-6)

Contents

SECTION 1: WHAT IS AUTONOMY
1. The History of Autonomy in Language Learning
2. Autonomy Beyond the Field of Language Education
3. Defining and Describing Autonomy
4.Control as a Natural Attribute of Learning
5. Levels of Control
6. Conclusion
SECTION 2: AUTONOMY IN PRACTICE
7. Fostering Autonomy
8. Resource-Based Learning
9. Technology-Based Approaches
10. Learner-Based approaches
11. Classroom-Based Approaches
12. Curriculum-Based Approaches
13. Teacher-Based Approaches
14. Conclusion
SECTION 3: RESEARCHING AUTONOMY
15. Research Methods and Key Areas of Research
16. Case Studies
17. Conclusion
SECTION 4: RESOURCES FOR TEACHING AND RESARCH
18. Resources for Research and Practice
References
Index

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