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6 The house of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’: teachers, self-access and learner autonomy in Ethiopia and Afghanistan Andy Keedwell Introduction In many countries, self-access systems involving learners working more autonomously than in the classroom have become commonplace. However, there are also still contexts around the world where self-access and autonomy are very unfamiliar concepts. This chapter will examine two such contexts, Ethiopia and Afghanistan. It will suggest that in this type of context, there is a considerable risk of failure for implementation of self-access systems and that stakeholders’ conservative perceptions of teaching and learning represent a major potential obstacle to effective implementation, however plentiful self-access resources may be. The chapter will propose that these risks of failure can only be mitigated through systematic CPD and will examine in depth the rationale, design and impact of a CPD programme aiming to support all those involved with self-access systems. A growing body of research on self-access has accessed the views of users and, to a lesser extent, teachers, but much of this research has examined self-access operations in Europe or other well-developed educational environments such as Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. With the exception of a handful of studies (e.g. Jones, 1995; Joshi, 2011; Ahmadi, 2012), contexts where the idea of self-access is completely new have been far less investigated. There have also been few studies in which progress has been evaluated over time (on the model of Gardner and Miller, 2010) or in which stakeholders are asked to report retrospectively. Lastly, although an emphasis is placed in the literature on the need for training to accompany self-access development, there seem to be very few accounts of how this was actually done. Continuous professional development of this type was very new to participants in Ethiopia and Afghanistan, and it was perceived as being very innovative and leading to significant shifts in thinking and application. I hope that the focus on training design, the changing perceptions of stakeholders and the extent of impact of the CPD described will be useful to those considering introducing self-access in similar contexts.

The house of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ |


Innovations in the CPD of English language teachers  
Innovations in the CPD of English language teachers  

The publication, edited by David Hayes offers global perspectives on the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of English language teach...