With Ernesto Macaro we feel that learner independence should draw its rationale from the importance of addressing individual learners’ needs (see 1997, p. 168). Elsewhere we draw attention to the fact that mfl learners have differing learning styles (see Pachler and Field 1997, ch. 2); catering for these differing learning styles is a considerable challenge for mfl teachers. Learners tend to display ‘personal variables such as intentions, attributes, expectancies and beliefs about [their] own competence and learning abilities’ (Little 1991, p. 13). From this follows not only that there should be variety in teaching material and activities but also opportunity for learners to contribute to the teaching and learning process. In addition, there should be scope for learners to use language individually and creatively (see also Kahl and Unruh 1993, p. 11).