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Individualization and autonomy in language learning
In their Introduction, the editors, Arthur Brookes and Peter Grundy, refer to the often unfulfilled promise of individualised teaching programmes, as learners lose enthusiasm once they realise how much self-directed learning and assessment are required; indeed, the collection as a whole invites scepticism regarding the efficacy of fully self-directed learning, with many contributors either explicitly or implicitly acknowledging the need for learner training of one kind or another as an accompaniment to self-directed learning. The collection begins with an overview of The ethnography of autonomy (Riley) and consideration of needs for, and options within, learner training (Allwright, Dickinson). Needs for awareness of the potential ethnocentricity of individualisation, alongside more practical needs, are considered by several contributors (Pugsley, Bloor and Bloor, Houghton et al. and Furneaux et al.), while the compilation ends with considerations of the place of individualisation and autonomy in ‘bread-and butter’ areas of EAP including assessment (Blue, Lynch), self-access (St John), academic writing (Dudley-Evans) and spoken intelligibility (Hewings).
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