Teacher-learner autonomy: Programme goals and student-teacher constructs

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Responding to needs for clarity of definition in the area of ‘teacher autonomy’, the first, relatively theoretical, part of this paper discusses different dimensions of this notion. It then argues for the goal within initial teacher education of enhancing ‘teacher-learner autonomy’, defined here as ‘the ability to develop appropriate skills, knowledge and attitudes for oneself as a teacher, in cooperation with others’. A brief description of one approach to working towards this goal within pre-service teacher education then follows, together with a summary of evaluations of the approach to date. The second part of the paper reports on a more innovative investigation (employing repertory-grid interviews) of students’ personal constructs in relation to particular elements of the course design. The findings are discussed in relation to the theory of teacher autonomy and the design of appropriate interventions. Finally, we highlight the potential wider value of repertory-grid and follow-up interviews for eliciting students’ personal learning theories with minimum interviewer bias.


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