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Palgrave Macmillan

Social Dimensions of Autonomy in Language Learning

ISBN 9781137290229
Publication Date May 2014
Formats Hardcover Paperback Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Learner autonomy in language learning, initially associated with independence, is now viewed as a capacity that can be developed in social contexts involving learner interdependence and collaboration. In this volume researchers, most of whom are also language teachers, from Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, and North and South America, explore the social aspects of learner autonomy in various language learning contexts. Bringing together theory, research and practice, the studies draw on socially oriented theoretical perspectives – such as social constructivism, sociocultural theory, situated learning, ecology and complexity – and primarily employ case study and ethnographic methodologies. This research suggests that the social dimensions of learner autonomy encompass under-investigated emotional, spatial and political dimensions. In addition to theoretical issues, the authors discuss implications for practice, making this book of interest to teachers, researchers, and other language professionals working in classrooms, distance education, self-access centres, as well as virtual and social learning spaces.

Garold Murray is Associate professor in the Language Education Center at Okayama University, Japan. He has published widely on the subject of autonomy in language learning and is currently pursuing research interests in social learning spaces, the semiotics of place, and imagination in language learning.

1. Introduction: Exploring the Social Dimensions of Autonomy in Language Learning; Garold Murray
2. Developing Autonomous Language Learners in HE: A Social Constructivist Perspective; Christine O'Leary
3. Learner Autonomy and the Theory of Sociality; Tim Lewis
4. Self-regulation and Autonomous Dependency Among Japanese Learners of English; Tomoko Yashima
5. The Semiotics of Place: Autonomy and Space; Garold Murray, Naomi Fujishima and Mariko Uzuka
6. 'Facebook me' within a Global Community of Learners of English: Technologizing Learner Autonomy; Alice Chik and Stephan Breidbach
7. Autonomy, Social Interaction and Community: A Distant Language Learning Perspective; Linda Murphy
8. Meeting the Autonomy Challenge in an Advanced Spanish Listening ClasS; Diego Mideros and Beverly-Anne Carter
9. Autonomy, Complexity and Networks of Learning; Liliane Sade
10. The Ecology of Learner Autonomy; David Palfreyman
11. Social Class and Autonomy: Four Case Studies in a Mexican SAC; Desirée Castillo Zaragoza
12. Local Engagements Enhancing Practitioner Action and Knowledge for Learner Development and Autonomy within a Collaborative Teachers' Network; Andy Barfield
Conclusion: Autonomy in Language Learning as a Social Construct; Garold Murray

Andy Barfield, Chuo University, Japan
Stephan Breidbach, Humboldt-Universität, Berlin
Beverly-Anne Carter, University of the West Indies St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago
E. Desirée Castillo Zaragoza, Universidad de Sonora, Mexico
Alice Chik, City University of Hong Kong, China

Naomi Fujishima, Okayama University, Japan
Tim Lewis, Open University, UK
Diego Mideros Camargo, University of the West Indies St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago
Linda Murphy, Open University, UK
Christine O'Leary, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
David M. Palfreyman, Zayed University, UAE
Liliane Assis Sade, Federal University of São João del-Rei, Brazil
Mariko Uzuka, Okayama University, Japan
Tomoko Yashima, Kansai University, Japan


"The book is conistently insightful and the wide range of topics and perspectives on these topics makes it a sophisticated reading 'adventure' for all those who are willing to immerse themselves in the field of autonomy." - Independence
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