In September, we hosted the local IATEFL LASIG conference focused on The Teacher’s Role in Development of Learner Autonomy. The two-day programme offered a great number of interesting speeches, practical workshops and inspiring discussions. The evening session with a quick-fire presentation was held in a unique functionalist Market building at Zelný trh.
The conference explored the specific and everchanging position of the teacher within the context of autonomous learning. The target audience of this conference are teachers and teacher trainers at primary, secondary as well as tertiary levels.
Presentations from the conference
Leni Dam began developing language learner autonomy in her own English classes at secondary level in a Danish comprehensive school as far back as in 1973. The experiences gained from her own teaching as well as from her work as an in-service teacher trainer and advisory consultant have resulted in numerous articles and books. Language Learner Autonomy: Theory, Practice and Research (David Little, Leni Dam and Lienhard Legenhausen) was published in 2017. Linked to the development of language learner autonomy, her interests include differentiation, inclusion, and teachers and learners as researchers. Although she retired officially in 2007, she is still active running courses, giving talks and publishing.
David Little retired in 2008 as Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics at Trinity College Dublin. His principal research interests are the theory and practice of learner autonomy in language education, the exploitation of linguistic diversity in schools and classrooms, and the application of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages to the design of L2 curricula, teaching and assessment. Language Learner Autonomy: Theory, Practice and Research (David Little, Leni Dam and Lienhard Legenhausen) was published in 2017. David Little is currently collaborating with Déirdre Kirwan to document the way in which Scoil Bhríde (Cailíní), a girls’ primary school in Blanchardstown, Dublin, has successfully responded to the challenge posed by extreme linguistic diversity among its pupils.
Libor Štěpánek is Assistant Professor in English and Director of the Masaryk University Language Centre, Brno, Czech Republic. His broad international teaching experience and teacher training activities include EAP soft skills such as intercultural communication, critical thinking and videoconferencing. However, his main academic interest lies in creativity, an area that goes hand in hand with the basic principles of autonomy. Libor´s creative approach to teaching, teacher training and even management encourages autonomy at all levels and in all areas of work, teaching and learning.
He is also an editor, author and co-author of a number of materials, online courses and publications, such as British Council´s A creative approach to language teaching. A way to recognise, encourage and appreciate students‘ contributions to language classes, IGI Global´s Video Summaries of Academic Texts or Grada´s bilingual Academic English – Akademická angličtina Průvodce anglickým jazykem pro studenty, akademiky a vědce.
Maria Giovanna Tassinari is Director of the Centre for Independent Language Learning at the Language Centre of the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. In this function, she gives seminars and workshops for learners and teachers on learner and teacher autonomy, language learning strategies and language advising. Her PhD Autonomous language learning: Components, competences, and strategies was awarded with the Bremer Forschungspreis of AKS (the Association of Language Centres in Germany and German speaking countries). She ist committee member of LASIG (Learner Autonomy Special Interest Group of IATEFL) and editorial consultants of several academic reviews. Her research interests are learner autonomy, language advising, and affect in language learning. She is co-editor of several books and author of articles and chapters in German, English and French.