At JALT 2004 I attended the Learning Development Forum, and spent most of the time talking to Yoko Morimoto of Meiji University who had done some research into group dynamics. I didn’t understand a lot of what she said but it sounded interesting. A couple of days later, Dornyei and Murphey’s book “Group Dynamics in the Language Classroom” arrived in my mailbox. Very interesting and timely. Here’s a quote from the chapter on the Teacher as Group Leader: the authors briefly describe Lewin’s outline of 3 distinctive leadership style – autocratic, democratic and laissez-faire.
Nevertheless, Shaw’s (1981) claim that it is much easier to be a good autocratic leader than to be a good democratic leader is noteworthy.
I also briefly attended Curtis Kelly’s presentation on “a specialized pedagogy for adults” called andragogy. I immediately recognized many of the concepts, and it seems there is a lot of overlap with autonomy in language learning. The idea was first developed by Malcolm Knowles in the 1970s.