Friday, April 25, 2008

Open Forum: Teacher education for learner autonomy: What can and should be done

In this session, Leni Dam began by picking up some of the issues highlighted in her talk at the pre-conference event. Lienhard Legenhausen chaired the session and Frank Lacey, Andy Barfield and Anja Burkert were members of the panel. In small groups we brainstormed ideas for improving teacher training so that teachers are open to promoting autonomy in their classrooms.

Here are the points that we noted down on the flip charts (but didn’t have the chance to discuss):

1. Providing opportunities for teachers to actually experience learning in an autonomy-oriented environment [learning a new language / loop input training].

2. Create a paradigm shift by informing, giving examples, experiences of benefits of learner autonomy. Address and recognize external constraints. Define “capacity” of learner autonomy-oriented teachers.

3. Ongoing autonomous teacher-training using a self-assessment (questionnaire) approach.

4. The role of the teacher outside class time. Diaries, e-discussion, blogs etc. between teachers and students.

5. The principles of learner autonomy applied in any form of teacher education in order to be sustainable (goal setting / partnership between teachers, ;earners, parents and others / reflectivity / caring pedagogy / self-peer assessment / minimum resources available.

6. Try it out in class, but gradually and with (more) expert guidance.

7. Video classes before, during and after to record / monitor classroom interaction and behaviour.

8. Find sources for project sponsorship to create materials / pay for training and an appropriate environment.

9. Self-access centres for teacher education with a suitable infrastructure.

10. Teachers sharing problems and successes with colleagues.

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