Pedagogical innovation embedded in learning paths has been Nicole Poteaux’s common theme. Having completed postsecondary studies in applied English linguistics and teaching, she went on to study education after spending a lengthy period teaching English to adults using the latest technology at the time (for example, language laboratories and the first videos). Her habilitation thesis, the synthesis of her work, is entitled “L’innovation pédagogique entre recherche et terrain [pedagogical innovation between research and field]”. At the Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Sciences de l’Éducation et de la Communication (LISEC), her research topics have been in the area of open learning systems, around the issue of developing learner autonomy: self-directed learning, meta-cognition activities, self-assessment, changes in the role of educators and learners, and the use of networks and multimedia. Observing and analyzing those systems has led to more general postsecondary teaching issues. Nicole Poteaux is currently Professor Emeritus of Education at the University of Strasbourg.
Developing autonomy in learners of foreign languages and cultures
In this lecture, we will examine the issue of developing learner autonomy in the field of foreign languages, specifically at the postsecondary level. The concepts of self-directed learning and self-assessment will be discussed. The premise of self-directed learning is that students are largely the agents of their own learning, that they can develop their ability to generate knowledge about knowledge and knowledge acquisition, and to know themselves as individuals to act effectively. We will then look at technical and pedagogical systems and equipment that foster the development of language learner autonomy, with special attention to the positions and roles of educators. Examples will be presented from the experiences of the University of Strasbourg’s Centres de Ressources de Langues over the last 20 years. Lastly, we will question the prospects of the evolution of language teaching and learning in the current social and political environment in Europe.