Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Teacher education for learner autonomy, presented by Leni Dam


The teacher education worm is a very well-travelled worm and I suspect that this is not yet the end of its journey. Leni began her presentation by showing us the path it took. For practical reasons, she divided the concept of teacher education for learner autonomy into two groups, inital teacher education (ITT) and in-service teacher training (INSET).

The beginning of the journey
- Leni Dam, Denmark - keeper of the worm

Initial teacher training (ITT)
- Anja Burkert, Graz, Austria – a ‘student’
- June Miliander, Karlstad, Sweden – a ‘trainer’
- Jose Luis Vera, La Laguna, Tenerife – a ’trainer’

In-service teacher training (INSET)
- Leni Dam, Karlslunde, Denmark – a ‘trainer’
- Frank Lacey, Greve, Denmark – a ‘student’

When sending the worm out into the world, Leni’s starting point was this quote (even though her own learning had not been geared to the principles of learner autonomy).

" …teachers will hardly be prepared or able to administer autonomous learning
processes in their students if their own learning is not geared to the same principles."
Edelhoff (1984).

During the presentation, Leni drew on the stories told by the other contributors in order to raise issues for teacher education. I have a copy of Leni’s Powerpoint slides which are nicely annotated and this will provide a much better summary of the presentation than this blog (I will ask Leni’s permission to make them available to you via the LASIG website).

I think the key messages that came out of the presentation were (1) promoting autonomy in the language classroom works and (2) teacher education workshops and initial training should mirror what happens in the language classroom. For example, the aims and expectations should be made clear by the teacher initially, the starting point should be what participants bring with them to the learning environment (identity, experience, knowledge and expectations), and activities should resemble those undertaken in an autonomous language classroom.

Leni ended her presentation by mentioning the importance of supporting self-esteem of practicing teachers as well as teacher students so that the are able to face change – including changing themselves.

You can read articles by Leni Dam and Frank Lacey in issue 42 of Independence. Articles by Anja Burkert and June Miliander are in issue 43 and Jose Luis Vera’s article will appear in issue 44 this summer. http://www.learnerautonomy.org/publications.html

Reference



Edelhoff, C. (1984). Purposes and needs for teacher training” in van Ek and J. Trim (eds.) Across the threshold: readings from the modern languages projects of the Council of Europe. Oxford: Pergamon.

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