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Self-Access Learning and Advising: Promoting Language Learner Autonomy Beyond the Classroom

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Abstract

This chapter examines self-access learning and advising, which are two interconnected areas of innovation taking place in language education in Japan. After a brief summary of some key points related to learner autonomy and learning beyond the classroom, the author gives a general overview of self-access and advising. This includes a discussion of how and why self-access and advising are being introduced in Japan, and how self-access in Japan is operationalised. The chapter also explores how colleagues in Japan are innovating in seven areas of self-access: staff development, attracting student users, developing social learning communities, advocating voluntary participation, language policy, space design, and self-access materials. The ‘lessons learned’ sections indicate where future directions for the field lie. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-12567-7_10

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... Most of the research emphasize the prominent roles of ALL in enhancing the quality of language learning (e.g., Dema & Sinwongsuwat, 2020;Cira & López, 2020;Nugroho & Atmojo, 2020), encouraging learners to grab learning opportunities autonomous language learning enables the learners to develop effective strategies for individual learning, change and improve those strategies over time as the language learning progress (Alonazi, 2017;Benson & Voller, 2014a). Other studies highlight how autonomy in language learning plays a key role in EFL contexts where language learning mainly takes place in the classroom and learners do not have sufficient opportunities to practice the target language outside their classroom (Lengkanawati, 2017;Mynard, 2019). Moreover, autonomy in language learning is also believed to improve learners self-reliance which will in turn give positive implications to the learners in everyday life (Barnard, 2016). ...
... Despite the importance of autonomous language learning in encouraging the language learners to be responsible and independent throughout their learning, the whole processes may not be effective without teachers' roles and strategies (Benson & Voller, 2014a;Nguyen & Gu, 2013). This denotes the significant roles of teachers in promoting autonomous language learning (Mynard, 2019), especially in identifying how and to what extent autonomy helps their learners to become better language learners and finding strategies to provide such appropriate learning activities which enable the students to develop and enforce their learning to achieve autonomous learners. ...
... Besides, being a facilitator, teachers need to hand over psycho-social supports by transforming themselves to be supportive, help their learners to conquer challenges, and boost their awareness of the significance of independent learning (Benson & Voller, 2014b;Palfreyman & Benson, 2019;Yu, 2020). Teachers as a counselor focuses on their roles in providing students a one-to-one interaction to assist their students to be more self-directed which will later help their students realize that they can be independent learners (Mynard, 2019). When teachers play the role as counselor, they need to offer advice toward their students' learning and help them achieve an efficient learning (Benson & Voller, 2014a, 2014b. ...
Article
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Evidence suggests that autonomous language learning has been one of the primary areas of interest in the field of English Language Teaching due to its fundamental roles in empowering students in taking the responsibility for their learning both in and out of the classroom. This study set out to investigate the structural relationships among the dimensions of English student teacher perception towards their roles and strategies in promoting autonomous language learning and professional autonomy. A total of 357 student teachers of English from Indonesia participated in this study. Eligibility criteria required the participants to have taken courses on English Language Teaching Methodology to ensure their understanding about the concepts of autonomous language learning and their future roles and strategies in fostering and promoting autonomous language learning. Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) with MPlus 7.2 was used to test the models proposed in this study. The findings showed that the dimensions of student teacher roles and strategies in promoting autonomous language learning and professional autonomy were weakly to moderately related to one another, suggesting how teacher education institutions need to provide sufficient trainings on the concept and practice of autonomous language learning. Several noteworthy findings are summarized and discussed thoroughly in the discussion section.
... The purpose of this chapter is to explore ways in which we might reimagine the self-access learning centre (SALC) from a selfdetermination theory (SDT) perspective. Traditionally, a SALC is conceptualised as a physical space that supports language learning and the development of language learner autonomy (Mynard, 2019b). A SALC is a room or purpose-built facility containing different kinds of language learning resources and areas in which to study and practise languages. ...
... A SALC is a room or purpose-built facility containing different kinds of language learning resources and areas in which to study and practise languages. Ideally, a SALC will also have support systems for language learners including, for example, a professional advising service; access to communities, events and opportunities to use the target language; language support from teachers or peer tutors; and a curriculum for developing self-directed learning skills (Mynard, 2019b). ...
... Recent interpretations of self-access have emphasised the social side of language learning (Murray, 2011(Murray, , 2013. The current self-access phase increasingly focuses on understanding the emotional side of learning (Hobbs & Dofs, 2018) and on learners' psychological needs (Hobbs & Dofs, 2018;Mynard, 2019b;Mynard & Shelton-Strong, 2020). A modern SALC may now be conceptualised as a learner-defined space (Murray et al., 2014(Murray et al., , 2018 that supports individual language needs as well as social, affective and psychological needs. ...
Chapter
The purpose of this chapter is to explore ways in which we might reimagine the self-access learning centre (SALC) from a self- determination theory (SDT) perspective. in Chapter 12, Mynard presents a reimagining of the self-access learning centre (SALC) as a space not only to learn and practise languages but also to thrive. A SALC is a physical learning space that typically provides access to resources and study spaces and provides opportunities to practise the TL. The author makes a case for taking an SDT approach to framing learner support in a SALC and provides a theoretical framework that can be applied to practice.
... Then, we reviewed the data and translated it into English, as necessary, to provide a basic description of the GC. In addition, the data were coded into apriori themes that correspond to Mynard's (2019) taxonomy (14 characteristics; Table 3) and Lavolette's (2018) 11 language center mandates ( Table 4). The goal of the coding process was not to categorize all of the data but to find evidence for and against the hypothesis that the GC has each characteristic or fulfills each mandate. ...
... The characteristics of social-supportive SALCs (Mynard, 2019) are listed below, with explanations of whether the GC has them. ...
... The characteristics of the GC according to Mynard's (2019) typology are summarized in Table 3. A social-supportive SALC would have all of the characteristics shown. ...
Article
Language spaces worldwide have much in common. However, we believe that there is a meaningful difference between spaces that are considered “language centers” in the US (USLCs) and “self-access language centers” (SALCs) in Japan. These differences provide an opportunity for practitioners and scholars involved in language spaces to learn from each other. In the current article, we investigated the Global Commons at Kyoto Sangyo University for the characteristics of both USLCs and SALCs by collecting information about it from publicly available sources and from interviews with staff. We show that it can be considered an administrative SALC (Mynard, 2019) and show how it fulfills some of the USLC mandates (Lavolette, 2018) but not others. We discuss the implications of these characterizations, including how the Global Commons could be more useful to its stakeholders. Based on this case study, scholars of both SALCs and LCs can gain new ideas for services and roles that will benefit their stakeholders and facilitate change.
... Computer-assisted language learning (CALL) literature requires further studies to shed light on the conditions and circumstances that control students' technology-based out-of-class language learning (OCLL) in different regional contexts, especially Asian countries (Steel & Levy, 2013;Thomas, 2017). A review of the literature on technologybased language learning indicated that Asian countries have the largest number of studies related to MALL (mobile-assisted language learning) inside the classrooms, (Elaish et al., 2017), but there is no sufficient record of Asian students' independent use of technology beyond the classrooms (Mynard, 2019;Thomas, 2017). One of these technologically advanced Asian countries in which research mainly focuses on language learning inside rather than outside the classroom is Japan (Mynard, 2019). ...
... A review of the literature on technologybased language learning indicated that Asian countries have the largest number of studies related to MALL (mobile-assisted language learning) inside the classrooms, (Elaish et al., 2017), but there is no sufficient record of Asian students' independent use of technology beyond the classrooms (Mynard, 2019;Thomas, 2017). One of these technologically advanced Asian countries in which research mainly focuses on language learning inside rather than outside the classroom is Japan (Mynard, 2019). Researchers emphasize the need for understanding more about how Japanese language learners engage with technology-based language learning activities beyond the borders of the actual classroom (Mynard, 2019;Thomas, 2017). ...
... One of these technologically advanced Asian countries in which research mainly focuses on language learning inside rather than outside the classroom is Japan (Mynard, 2019). Researchers emphasize the need for understanding more about how Japanese language learners engage with technology-based language learning activities beyond the borders of the actual classroom (Mynard, 2019;Thomas, 2017). Consequently, the present study attempts to address the existing gap, and provide a holistic understanding of how Japanese EFL (English as a foreign language) learners of the 'net generation' (Oblinger & Oblinger, 2005) experience and engage with technology, a) in their everyday life in the first language (i.e. ...
Article
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Despite the intentional formal learning in the classrooms, research shows that much of language learning happens in the absence of conventional classrooms with the learners' independent use of technologies. However, since how students use technologies beyond the classroom is neither easily observable nor assessable, this issue has received little attention. Consequently, this case study tried to gain a holistic understanding of how Japanese undergraduate EFL students engage with ICT beyond the classroom in their everyday life in the first language (i.e. Japanese), in the target language (i.e. English), and for learning the target language. The data was collected through an online questionnaire that gained information about the students' use of ICT in everyday life in Japanese and English, their use of discipline-specific technology for language learning, their attitudes toward the use of technology, their challenges with technology, and their future needs. Findings indicated that the students tend to use emerging communication technologies frequently in everyday life in Japanese and that this usage mainly includes peer-to-peer technologies rather than collaborative ones. Moreover, very little use of ICT in the target language is shown. In terms of discipline-specific technologies, some barriers are found that prevent students from using them. The students' main challenge with the use of technology for language learning is the lack of knowledge about the available technology, and they emphasized their need for expert support. The detailed patterns of the students' use of ICT in L1 and L2 can be a guideline for the proper implementation of ICT into L2 education.
... Broadly speaking, there are three types of self-access centers in Japan (Mynard, 2019). Type 1, or a 'Social-Supportive SALC' is a dedicated centre, often purpose built, housing facilities and spaces especially designed for developing language learner autonomy. ...
... Often Type 2 facilities lack institutional recognition or funding and are run on a casual or voluntary basis, by enthusiastic teachers and students. Although such centres are often very limited in scale and scope, they can be very effective at promoting learner autonomy, and can be centres for innovation (Mynard, 2019). ...
... For example, methodological and experimental work still needs to be done in relation to language policy guidelines (Imamura, 2018;Thornton, 2018). Requiring learners to use only the target language in a given space does seem like an overly controlling position to take in a space that encourages the development of learner autonomy (Mynard, 2019). On the other hand, creating certain conditions for target language use may be appreciated by learners in a country where there really are so few opportunities for actual language practice. ...
Article
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This paper gives an overview of some perspectives on self-access learning in Japan. Although there seems to be a sudden interest in self-access learning in this part of the world, the author explores some of the reasons that Japan has tended to lag behind other countries. Nevertheless, education in Japan has recently seen some changes which have had an impact on the field. As a result, colleagues in Japan have made some valuable recent contributions, particularly in the areas of advising, advisor education, and social learning opportunities which will be explored in this paper. Mélanges Crapel: Revue en didactique des langues et sociolinguistique, 40(1), 14-27.
... The modules consist of paper-based module packs with several units, designed to help learners develop their awareness of skills and strategies for understanding, directing, and regulating their own learning. These include goal-setting, resource and strategy awareness and management, creating and following learning plans, working with learner advisors and other students, and evaluating their progress in English proficiency (see Mynard, 2019). Throughout the units, learners are prompted to reflect on their work and the progress towards their learning goals. ...
... Every week, they are required to report on their activities through written reports. Learning advisors provide written feedback and the learner replies to the advisor each week which creates an ongoing reflective and supportive dialogue (Mynard, 2019). Learning advisors are also available for face-to-face advising throughout the process. ...
Article
To assist second language learners in becoming effective, aware, and reflective participants in higher education, support can be provided by integrating structured awareness raising approaches in the language curriculum. Drawing on self-regulation principles, such a structured awareness raising curriculum is most notably sustained by reflective one-to-one dialogue, also known as advising in language learning (ALL). While previous studies have shown that students who received this kind of support in face-to-face settings were able to successfully develop effective learning strategies, little research has demonstrated to what extent students can develop these strategies, supported by ALL, when learning online. This study shows how four groups of second language majors (n = 252) demonstrate knowledge and control of learning and learning strategies when discussing their planning and progress with peers online. This study draws on Google Classroom data (posts and comments: n = 957) collected over two semesters. Using digital conversation analysis and social network analysis, students were found to demonstrate (1) awareness of approaches to learning, (2) awareness of facilities, roles, and resources, and (3) awareness of self when collaborating with peers. This study shows how ALL can support students in effectively applying different learning strategies when engaged in computer-supported collaborative work.
... This reflection can then lead to an awareness of how these processes and feelings can be more consciously self-regulated, which in turn can prompt more autonomous action as they continue to develop in their role as an active agent in the learning process (Kato & Mynard, 2016;Mozzon-McPherson, 2018). Developing and exercising language learner autonomy is increasingly recognized as necessary for effective language learning to take place both within and beyond language classroom environments (Benson, 2011;Everhard, Mynard, & Smith, 2011;Mynard, 2019b;Shelton-Strong, 2018;Tassinari, 2016). ...
... This university specializes in foreign language education and learning, and serves approximately 4,000 undergraduate students. The SALC is a socially supportive, purpose-built space with an institutional mission to promote learner autonomy (Mynard, 2019b). In this SALC, there are a range of facilities, services and support systems made available to students (Asta & Mynard, 2018;Mynard & Shelton-Strong, forthcoming), including the opportunity to reserve time and to participate voluntarily in one-to-one advising sessions with a qualified learning advisor. ...
Article
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In this article self-determination theory (SDT) is used as a framework to explore ways in which ‘advising in language learning’ (advising) can be understood to support language learners’ basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness. These are defined in SDT as nutrients essential for integration, growth, healthy development and well-being (Ryan & Deci, 2017). SDT posits that social learning contexts in which learners’ basic psychological needs are supported facilitate and sustain autonomous functioning, more effective learning and performance, strengthen adaptability, promote awareness, and foster greater wellness (Reeve, 2016; Ryan & Deci, 2017; Vansteenkiste et al., 2019). While a growing body of research provides insight into ways advising promotes and is supportive of autonomous language learning and transformation (Kato & Mynard, 2016; Mynard, forthcoming), more specific studies are believed to be needed to develop a deeper understanding of the potential of its supportive role in this area. To address this gap, this study investigates how learners’ perceptions of their experiences in advising can be understood from an SDT perspective. Findings from a qualitative analysis of a self-reporting questionnaire suggests that participation in advising has potential to provide support for the satisfaction of language learners’ basic psychological needs. Drawing on the theoretical underpinnings of SDT to interpret this evidence within the context of one-to-one advising, the author argues that advising in language learning can play an important role in providing an autonomy-supportive climate which can foster satisfaction of learners’ needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness.
... Over the last four decades, a great deal of research has been conducted on language learner autonomy, its development, and the role of the self-access language centre in the learning process (e.g., Holec, 1983;Dickinson,1997;Gardner and Miller,1999;Pemberton et al. 2009;Little, 2015;Reinders 2012;Hobbs and Dofs, 2012;Mynard, 2019). Language learner autonomy appears to be a multi-faceted concept and includes inter alia or 'the ability to take charge of one's own learning' (e.g., Holec 1981). ...
Thesis
The aim of this study is to understand how a quality management system together with the principles of ISO 9001:2015 can serve as tools to plan, monitor and impact on the development of autonomy and language competence of language learners through the services offered in a to evaluate Self-Learning Language Centre (SALC). The study itself takes place in a tertiary Mexican context. The idea of implementing a quality management system is based on the principle that a well-organized institution should be able to minimize the impact of product defects (educational services) and continuously improve product performance (service). For the purposes of this study, the product performance evaluation focuses on two of the main services offered by the self-access language centre in this study; namely the language advice and the language learning workshops. The main study addresses the perceptions that student users, language learning advisors and other stakeholders have of the SALC and any issues they face. It relates these to the quality management principles and the management processes present in the SALC and the impact on the development of learner autonomy and language competence. Based on the findings, an Operational Process Model (OPM) will be designed with the aim of adapting the original model to the given needs of a self-learning centre and harmonizing the processes to increase learner autonomy and language proficiency with various services provided at a SALC. This OPM is then intended to serve as a flexible management and assessment tool for SALC managers and administrators in different contexts, giving them an overview of the SALC processes from input (what was planned) to output (what was achieved). This means that the goal of the model is to give users a clearer idea of what to do, how to do it, how to evaluate it, and how to improve it. This new OPM is based on a synthesis of key study results supported by ISO requirements (ISO 9001:2015).<br/
... Therefore, they can learn effectively and efficiently. In addition, learner autonomy prepares learners for lifelong learning (Mynard, 2019). In this case, autonomous learners have autonomy skills to help them fulfil the demand of education 4.0 after graduating from university. ...
Book
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We are very happy to publish this issue of the International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research. The International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research is a peer-reviewed open-access journal committed to publishing high-quality articles in the field of education. Submissions may include full-length articles, case studies and innovative solutions to problems faced by students, educators and directors of educational organisations. To learn more about this journal, please visit the website http://www.ijlter.org. We are grateful to the editor-in-chief, members of the Editorial Board and the reviewers for accepting only high quality articles in this issue. We seize this opportunity to thank them for their great collaboration. The Editorial Board is composed of renowned people from across the world. Each paper is reviewed by at least two blind reviewers. We will endeavour to ensure the reputation and quality of this journal with this issue.
... Within the field of SALL, support has been provided through the provision of a self-access learning center (SALC), which is typically a physical space which contains learning resources; learning spaces; support for learning such as opportunities to practice the target language; and advice on the language learning process from teachers, learning advisors and/or peer advisors. The field of SALL has existed for more than five decades and has passed through several phases in line with the development of the field of second language acquisition more generally (Mynard, 2019b(Mynard, , 2022. With each decade, the focus and understanding of the role of SALL has shifted in order to incorporate different ideas into an increasingly complex ecosystem (Mynard, 2019a(Mynard, , 2022. ...
Article
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The field of self-access language learning (SALL), which is an established way of supporting language learners outside the classroom through the provision of resources and spaces, spans more than five decades and is currently in a phase that Mynard (2019a) refers to as the 'basic psychological needs and wellbeing' phase. This is a turning point in SALL wherein the focus has shifted towards the need for (more explicitly) facilitating an autonomy-supportive environment outside the classroom. This focus supports language learners' needs for autonomy, relatedness and competence, and as such, aims to provide the conditions needed to foster language learning in an environment in which they can thrive and grow in psychologically healthy ways (Ryan & Deci, 2020). In this theoretical article, the authors make a case for using self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 1985; Ryan & Deci, 2017) as an overarching framework for future developments in the field of SALL. The article gives an overview of four key SALL support systems, showing how they can fulfil students' basic psychological needs. These four key support systems are: advising in language learning; structured awareness raising; conversation lounges; and interest-based, student-led learning communities.
... Advising in Language Learning (advising) is a vibrant and rapidly developing discipline, providing interpersonal support for language learners beyond the classroom environment, often as an optional service for learners within university self-access centres (Mozzon-McPherson, 2019;Mynard, 2019). The primary aim of advising is to facilitate selfawareness in language learning and an experience of autonomy while learning both within the classroom and beyond the classroom, in various learning environments and/or in real-life contexts (Kato & Mynard, 2016;Shelton-Strong, 2020). ...
Chapter
Self-determination theory (SDT; Ryan & Deci, 2017) and its central supporting theory of basic psychological needs (BPNT) provide a useful and relevant theoretical background to explore and reflect on the practice of Advising in Language Learning. In this chapter we examine how the advising process, based on promoting reflection and transformation in learning behaviour through dialogue, is supportive of the three basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness. The authors draw on SDT’s theoretical underpinnings and relevant examples of advising practice to illustrate ways in which advising can be understood as an autonomy-supportive endeavour, in which learning advisors are responsive to learners’ perspectives, and play an important role in facilitating a need-supportive learning climate. Drawing on the literature of SDT and advising, and our experience as advisors, we will illustrate how conditions supportive of learners’ autonomy, competence and relatedness can be facilitated within advising encounters, highlighting key techniques used in practice. This theoretical rationale will lead to a taxonomy of practical, autonomy-supportive behaviours to enhance the practice of advising, and questions for further research will be identified for future exploration.
... To bring us full circle, Mynard (Chapter 12) examines university self-access learning centres (SALCs), drawing on research in self-access (Mynard, 2019), autonomy-supportive classrooms (Reeve, 2016) and out-of-class environments (Mynard & Shelton-Strong, 2020;Sjöblom et al., 2016) as she reimagines the SALC as a place for learners to thrive as language learners who are naturally inclined to want to engage with their interests, develop a sense of empowerment and confidence, and enjoy the benefits of making close connections with fellow students, teachers and advisors. Specifically, she draws on Davis and Bowles (2018) and Reeve's model for autonomy-supportive teaching (2016; Chapter 2 of this volume) to synthesise a model which outlines the features of an autonomy-supportive SALC and how this functions to support learners' basic psychological needs and activate their inner motivational resources. ...
Chapter
The aim of this final chapter is to reflect on our motives for putting together this volume, the reasons behind our belief in the necessity of bringing this book out into the world, and to re-examine the main currents that run through the different sections to provide a summary of what we can learn from the preceding chapters, and to consider where this might lead us.
... Typically, self-access learning centers teach students how to tailor their own learning process as well as how to manage content, speed, strategies and resources for their learning, and how to reflect on their learning. With reference to Japan, Mynard (2019) describes numerous self-access learning centers initiatives, which might easily be adapted and adjusted to the needs and characteristics of self-access language learning centers. It is anticipated that once students' autonomy increases thanks to such self-access language learning centers, they will be less teacher-dependent and will also be able to more easily and effectively cope with those teaching modes that require increased learner autonomy. ...
Article
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This paper explores Hungarian university students’ autonomous learning behaviors during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hungary (March-June 2020). A self-developed questionnaire was used to explore some aspects of learner autonomy relying on the action-oriented dimensions of Tassinari’s (2015) dynamic model of learner autonomy. The present paper aimed to investigate how university students in Hungary regulated their learning processes during the first wave of the COVID-19 epidemic in 2020 with regards to three Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-based teaching modes. Based on a quantitative study of the constructs of goal setting, management of the learning process and monitoring of efficiency, the researchers examine to what extent students were capable of adapting, through the exercise of learner autonomy, to challenges posed by the altered learning environment. Results of the study also show that participants had different perceptions of the three teaching modes and that students’ exercise of learner autonomy influenced their perception of these ICT-based teaching modes.
... Second, there has been a dearth of research exploring the complex interplay of LA factors in L2 formal classrooms. Previous LA research has primarily focused on developing LA independently via the support of online resources or technology (e.g., [20,27] or in an informal setting like a self-access center (see [44]. Among the few studies set in L2 classrooms, the foci were placed on exploring the construct of LA (e.g., [55,64] via a quantitative approach, or exploring the viability of pedagogical approaches or learning activities that can be conducive to LA development (e.g., [7,35,53]. ...
Article
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This study adopted complex dynamic systems theory as a lens through which to investigate the interactions of the factors of learner autonomy to understand their complex interplay and how it facilitates or impedes the development of learner autonomy across time. The participants were four EFL college students who were enrolled in an English writing course. Semi-structured interview transcripts, teaching logs, the participants’ reflective journals, their language learning history, and written products were collected over a semester for data triangulation. Qualitative data coding guidelines were employed, and the data were cross-examined iteratively in a grounded manner. The results reveal that four focal factors are related to the development of learner autonomy, these being learners’ affective state and regulation, learners’ behavioral change, learners’ constraints, and external push and support. By iteratively cross-comparing the interactions of these four both in and across cases, three requisites and one operational model of learner autonomy were revealed. The three requisites are sustaining positivity in the learner’s affective state, attenuating the learner’s constraints, as well as adequate and positive responses to the external stimuli and support. Together, these requisites and the model underline an area underexplored in the research on learner autonomy. At the end of this article, pedagogical implications are presented, and a direction for future research is suggested.
... Therefore, they can learn effectively and efficiently. In addition, learner autonomy prepares learners for lifelong learning (Mynard, 2019). In this case, autonomous learners have autonomy skills to help them fulfil the demand of education 4.0 after graduating from university. ...
Article
Full-text available
The present study sought to scrutinize undergraduate EFL students’ learning autonomy in a state university in Indonesia. This study employed a triangulation study of mixed-method design by distributing questionnaires and conducting interviews to get quantitative and qualitative data. The questionnaire was distributed to 40 second year participants enrolled in listening, speaking, reading, and writing for academic purposes classes, whereas 15 participants were selected for the interview Descriptive statistics and thematic analysis were used to analyse the data collected from the questionnaire and the interview. Findings revealed that the level of students’ learner autonomy was classified as moderate level of autonomy. This indicated that Indonesian undergraduate students were considered somewhat autonomous learners. In addition, the Indonesian undergraduate students defined learner autonomy as independent learning with or without the teacher’s assistance, students responsible for their own learning, and learner autonomy was the student’s self-awareness and self-initiated to learn outside the classroom to find ways of learning and collaborate with others. The study recommended that teachers should consistently develop learner autonomy in their teaching practice.
... Self-access practitioners tend to be trailblazers by nature (Mynard, 2019), but this was indeed a challenge for all of us. However, as you will see in the various contributions in this special issue, this turbulent time gave us a chance to innovate and overcome many of the challenges. ...
Article
Full-text available
Welcome to the special issue on self-access and the coronavirus pandemic. When we first had the idea to compile this special issue back in March 2020, we did so, not knowing how the year would pan out. Some parts of the world had already been severely impacted by the coronavirus, but others hardly touched. Many students and academics in various countries were waiting for leaders in their institutions to make decisions about how classes and academic support would be offered. We assumed that we would not be able to run our self-access centres as usual and were beginning to think of ways we could adapt our services. Being in unchartered waters, we were genuinely looking for ideas about how to proceed and how to keep supporting students in these unprecedented times. Self-access practitioners tend to be trailblazers by nature (Mynard, 2019), but this was indeed a challenge for all of us. However, as you will see in the various contributions in this special issue, this turbulent time gave us a chance to innovate and overcome many of the challenges. The call for papers resulted in contributions from around the world and one of the most international issues of SiSAL Journal to date. We are grateful to the authors and reviewers for their contributions to this special issue, and also to the two other members of our editorial team: Metin Esen from Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University, Turkey and Gao Lixiang, a PhD candidate in language education from Northeast Normal University, China. Acknowledgements also go to Robert Werner, the Associate Editor of SiSAL Journal, for his advice and careful copyediting.
... However, we think that teachers will recognize that their students are also situated partially in parallel with the descriptions above, in that all students learn somewhat differently from each other and when afforded one-to-one counseling or advising directed toward individual situations, they seem to blossom and thrive. This is certainly also one of the powerful soothing effects of schools opening selfaccess centers that offer one-to-one advising (Mynard, 2019), which may derive from the idea that advising is autonomy-supportive and thus engenders more energy, vitality, and health (Ryan & Deci, 2008). We hope that good friends and teachers have good "bedside manners" that show respect and helpfulness and engage students for better well-being, which we predict will be followed by more successful, autonomy-supportive education. ...
Article
Full-text available
My father encouraged me to go to Europe the summer before my last year in high school (at 16). He thought I was going to stay in a youth hostel in Geneva, but instead someone invited me to go with him to the Alps and he taught me how to hitch-hike by sticking out your thumb on the roadside. We hitched up into the Alps together. I hitched back by myself. Then hitched to southern France and up through Italy to Switzerland again and then around Switzerland. The most agentive-awakening 6 weeks of my life.
... However, we think that teachers will recognize that their students are also situated partially in parallel with the descriptions above, in that all students learn somewhat differently from each other and when afforded one-to-one counseling or advising directed toward individual situations, they seem to blossom and thrive. This is certainly also one of the powerful soothing effects of schools opening selfaccess centers that offer one-to-one advising (Mynard, 2019), which may derive from the idea that advising is autonomy-supportive and thus engenders more energy, vitality, and health (Ryan & Deci, 2008). We hope that good friends and teachers have good "bedside manners" that show respect and helpfulness and engage students for better well-being, which we predict will be followed by more successful, autonomy-supportive education. ...
Article
Full-text available
In this short article, we propose that education could benefit greatly if students and teachers were tuned into the biopsychosocial parts of our holistic well-being, which is considered to be autonomy supportive, as a prerequisite of learning. Thus far, education has largely operated on a bias toward cognitive processes as the sole meaningful contributor to learning, focusing on the acquisition of knowledge while often seeing the biological, psychological, and social contextual contributions as unrelated. With the recent generation of positive psychology and positive sociology, researchers and educators alike are becoming more aware of the contribution that contextual well-being (i.e. considering biopsychosocial factors) has upon learning. This growing awareness suggests the need to broaden rather than narrow our understandings of causality both in the classroom and with learning at large. We propose that showing attention to this wider context could improve student learning substantially and support student development of a more sustainable autonomy.
Research Proposal
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Revisiting our leadership identity each time before we walk into a classroom can give us an opportunity to re-examine what leadership tenets we demonstrate in the classroom and to what extent our leadership practices foster or limit our students’ growth. Leadership identity development is an ongoing and dynamic process and evolves through reflective practice. When teachers are involved with self-examination and reflection, they can access their underlying values, beliefs, and assumptions about language education. Through this introspective process, teachers can recognize their own limitations and biases, and the privileged position they are granted in the classroom. As a result, they can develop an empathetic lens that will not only help them understand the challenges students are facing, but also, stimulate their desire to collaborate with them. We believe that collaborative leadership between the unequally positioned teacher and students originates from this empathetic lens. Hence, this volume will shed light on how teachers’ leadership identity transforms their pedagogical decisions and proposes a new framework, leaderful classroom practices which emerge through collaborative interactions between the teacher and students. The pedagogical framework entails the following steps: • Creating a psychologically safe learning environment by eliminating the preconceived power distance between the teacher and learners. • Sharing power with learners by giving them a voice in pedagogical decisions. • Encouraging learners for introspection to to unlock their full potential. The multidisciplinary aspect of this volume should appeal to a wide range of readers from different fields and give them the opportunity to take a moment and reflect on their leadership identity, recognize the limitations of their practices, and adopt a leaderful classroom pedagogy in their respective disciplines. We believe that establishing an open, democratic, and participatory learning environment for all learners is a major leadership responsibility of teachers, and this volume intends to demonstrate how to accomplish this mission both in theory and practice.
Article
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Students on foreign exchange (FE) programs often fail to make progress in either their creation of intercultural relationships with domestic students or their foreign language (LX) abilities, despite these being the two most common FE student goals (Kudo & Simkin, 2003; Willis Allen, 2010). This article discusses the results of a pilot board game club project created with a Japanese university’s new self-access learning center to provide FE and domestic students more frequent opportunities to interact with and learn from each other. Five people involved in the club, two FE students, one domestic student, and two learning center staff members, took part in a written or face-to-face interview at the end of the first year of the program. Results indicated that the participants believed the club was successful in its two main goals of increased interaction and LX development. However, a more robust future quantitative study is necessary.
Conference Paper
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The Japan Association for Self-Access Learning (JASAL) held its 15th annual conference event on the 5th of December, 2020. Due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the event was conducted online via the Zoom teleconferencing application, marking JASAL’s first “virtual conference” and requiring an impressive feat of innovation from organizers. The conference, attended by more than 50 participants in total, featured 20 presentations on a variety of topics relevant to self-access learning and supporting language learner autonomy. Highlights of the day included a plenary talk by Satoko Kato and Hisako Yamashita and a virtual tour of Tokyo International University’s English Plaza. In this conference report, 17 English-language presentations are summarized and arranged according to three themes: autonomy-supportive learning projects; SALC development via research and reflection; and reflections on the transition to emergency remote self-access in 2020. Keywords: learner autonomy, learning spaces, advising, online learning, reflective dialogue
Article
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This article examines the development of the practice of advising in language learning (ALL) and the related establishment of a distinctive role for language learning advisors (LLAs) in the context of Modern Languages in Higher Education. It firstly defines ALL, its principles and interdisciplinary contributions to the construction of reflective dialogue which lies at the heart of advising; these come, inter alia, from counselling, psychology, and coaching. Secondly, it discusses the gradual shift from two distinctive practices (language teaching and advising for language learning) to a more highly integrated academic practice which utilises intentional, skilful reflective dialogue as its distinctive professional feature for successful, sustained, learning conversations. Thirdly, it illustrates this shift through advisors’ professional development stories and their professional needs. Finally, it identifies areas for further research and professional preparation of ALL practitioners and concludes by reflecting on the challenges facing universities, and the positive contribution which ALL can make to address them.
Article
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In the 2017-2018 academic year, the Self-Access Learning Center, Kanda University of International Studies moved into a new purpose-built building. This new building has afforded many opportunities to rethink the place of resources in the center, as well as what constitutes resources and how we can facilitate their use. The move has also presented numerous challenges to which advising team and other support staff have had to react rapidly. This report reflects on the tasks and approaches of the two resource coordinators and resource teams for the 2017-2018 academic year. It additionally provides further commentary on our expanding definitions of resources, as well as how they are being approached by resource teams and others, both within the limits of resource coordination and without, and in addition to future directions.
Chapter
Self-access learning centres (SALCs) have been fixtures in universities and language schools for decades (Mynard, 2019), and have traditionally played a supportive role in language learning due to the provision of spaces, equipment, and materials for students. In recent years, the social supportive nature of self-access has come to the fore, and in many cases, the main purpose of a SALC is to provide a social learning community and context for both language study and language use (Allhouse, 2014; Bibby, Jolley, & Shiobara, 2016; Burke et al., 2018; Murray, 2017; Murray & Fujishima, 2013, 2016; Murray & Fujishima, & Uzuka, 2014; Mynard, 2016). SALCs are defined as “person-centred social learning environments that actively promote language learner autonomy (LLA) both within and outside the space” (Benson, Chávez Sánchez, McLoughlin, Mynard, & Peña Clavel, 2016, p. 288). LLA is defined to be the ability and willingness to take charge of one’s own learning in pursuit of one's goals and in collaboration with others (Dam, Eriksson, Little, Miliander, & Trebbi, 1990). In a SALC such as the one which is the focus of this chapter, students are provided with “support, resources, facilities, skills development, and opportunities for language study and use” (Benson et al., 2016, p. 288). The purpose of this chapter is to examine how the social supportive nature of a SALC might be systematically evaluated to ensure that students’ second language study and use is supported.
Chapter
This chapter explores university students' views of Replika, an English chatbot. Students in a department of health administration at a state university in Turkey used Replika to complete different tasks over 7 weeks. At the end of the study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 randomly selected students. They liked using Replika and found the software useful. The participants underscored the importance of receiving an immediate response to what they wrote on their mobile devices and added that they edited their sentences when Replika could not understand the message they were trying to convey.
Article
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More than four decades have passed since the language learning strategy (LLS) concept was first brought to wide attention by Joan Rubin (1975). Although LLS research is prolific, it has faced challenges regarding its conceptual and methodological nature. These apparent weaknesses have encouraged some proponents of LLS research (e.g. Oxford, 2011; Rose et al, 2018) to conduct a systematic review of previous LLS research, with the aim of identifying the nature of the vigorous attempts to abandon the construct of LLS in research studies. Surprisingly, perhaps, these reviews did not include any LLS research studies concerning Arab learners. Therefore, this paper examines previous research into the LLSs used by Arab learners of English taken from different databases. The analysis has indicated that the majority (22 out of 27) of studies discovered were exclusively quantitative, using Oxford’s (1990) Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL). These quantitative studies correlated the Arab participants’ LLS use with other individual learner variables, especially those related to gender and language proficiency. The other five were qualitative studies, and no study had adopted a mixed-method approach. This paper concludes by suggesting some areas that deserve further investigation in future research.
Article
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In the 2017-2018 academic year, the Self-Access Learning Center, Kanda University of International Studies moved into a new purpose-built building. This new building has afforded many opportunities to rethink the place of resources in the center, as well as what constitutes resources and how we can facilitate their use. The move has also presented numerous challenges to which advising team and other support staff have had to react rapidly. This report reflects on the tasks and approaches of the two resource coordinators and resource teams for the 2017-2018 academic year. It additionally provides further commentary on our expanding definitions of resources, as well as how they are being approached by resource teams and others, both within the limits of resource coordination and without, and in addition to future directions.
Article
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This research aims to understand how students use English at the Self Access Learning Center (SALC) at Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS). Specifically, the research is focused on the second floor of the SALC which is intended to be an English only space. The new SALC opened in April 2017, but some layout changes were made in September (the start of the second semester) in response to student feedback indicating that the English Lounge was intimidating and difficult to access. The present research investigates whether students use the English Lounge differently since the layout change and their views on how the SALC can further be improved.
Article
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The Department of English Language and Culture at Konan Women’s University opened a self-access center in 2011. “e-space” was built into the department common room as part of a renovation project. Two full-time lecturers/learning advisors were hired to develop the language learning resources, offer advising services and to develop a more dynamic language learning community. In 2012, the department revamped its curriculum with a focus on improving the core English courses and facilitating the development of learner autonomy. Self-access language learning (SALL) activities were gradually integrated into the core courses as a way to expose students to the resources available in e-space and to provide opportunities to engage in language learning in a more learner-centered way. In 2013, teachers were asked to integrate SALL into first- and second-year core classes, and in 2014, these components became compulsory, graded sections of the courses. A stamp card system was developed to help students and teachers track the activities. At the end of the year, the cards were collected and student feedback was solicited via an online survey. While teacher buy-in has been difficult to achieve across the board, preliminary results show that the SALL components were generally successful in terms of student participation and satisfaction.
Article
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Welcome to issue 7(4) of SiSAL Journal, which is a special issue on Japan. It is my hope that future issues can be guest-edited special issues from other parts of the world, too. In this introduction, I will begin by commenting on some issues likely to arise in the Japanese context in the coming years along with some practical ways for us to respond. The ideas are based on plenary talks I gave this year in Mexico (see Benson, Chávez Sánchez, McLoughlin, Mynard, & Peña Clavel (2016) for a summary) and Japan (Mynard, 2016; also see Lin (2016) for a summary). I will then give a brief summary of each contribution to this special issue.
Article
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This paper reports on challenges that the new Self-Access Learning Center (SALC) has faced since it moved in to a new building in 2017, and actions taken by learning advisors as SALC managers. Before moving to the new two-storey building, language policies were decided by SALC managers in collaboration with university staff, students, teachers, and administrators. The first floor is a multilingual space and the second floor is an English-only space. However, since we opened the new SALC, although the number of students has increased, it seems that they do not interact with others using their target languages in the space. Thus, by analysing a survey conducted by the SALC team, and also drawing on casual observations, and discussions, learning advisors as SALC managers took actions such as changing the furniture layout, making language policies clearer, and raising awareness of language use in order for learners to increase their engagement in language learning, especially in relation to language policies in the SALC.
Chapter
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As advising in language learning (ALL) is a relatively new area of applied linguistics in this general introduction we attempt to address some relevant questions: • What is ALL? • How has ALL been influenced by the field of counselling? • To what extent should ALL involve directive and non-directive approaches? • What is the relationship between ALL and learner autonomy? • How is ALL different from language teaching? • What is the role of the learning advisor?
Book
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Reflective Dialogue presents professional educators with the necessary background and skills to engage in reflective dialogue with language learners effectively. It draws on work in the fields of advising in language learning, reflective practice, sociocultural theory, language learner autonomy, counseling, and life coaching to provide both an introduction to the field and guidance for researching advising in action. The book also includes a wide variety of practical ideas and over 30 sample dialogues that offer clear demonstrations of the concepts discussed in practice. This dynamic textbook’s practical approach illustrates how reflective dialogue can promote language learner autonomy and how language advising can be implemented successfully both inside and outside the classroom.
Article
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To cite this article Kato, S. (2017). Effects of drawing and sharing a 'picture of life' in the first session of a mentoring program for experienced learning advisors. Abstract Since language learning relates to learners' life events, Learning Advisors (advisors) who are professionals in promoting learner autonomy through conducting reflective dialogue with learners, often tap into learners' life stories in advising sessions. The previous studies on the life narrative approach indicate that storytellers construct personal meaning and stronger self-image while telling their stories (Bruner, 1990; Erikson, 1968). Atkinson (1998) indicates that creating visual images ahead of time could help storytellers prepare to tell their life stories. This study investigates the effects of drawing a 'picture of life' (PL) and sharing it in the first session of a professional development (PD) program where one-to-one mentoring sessions were conducted between five experienced advisors and the author during a period of six months. Data were collected from written journals and post-mentoring questionnaires. A qualitative analysis was conducted to investigate the effects of conducting the PL activity in the first session. The results showed that the PL activity not only helped the storytellers bring new insights and meanings to their professional and personal lives, but also it served as a 'point to return to' which became a strong thread throughout the following sessions.
Presentation
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Self-access Learning Centers (SALCs) include not only the materials learners need, but also information on how the available facilities can best aid users. However finding a way to introduce these resources to visitors and learners often relies on providing guided tours that by definition do not follow the pedagogy of learner autonomy and limit the experience in order to be of use to the widest variety of users. This show and tell presentation explores the development and implementation of the first iteration of a learner autonomy focused self-access tour app utilizing mobile devices and augmented reality (AR). This app was custom designed using 3D modelling software and app development programs by the presenters. Attendees at the presentation will get the opportunity to experience first-hand how AR can encourage people to get interested in SALCs and take control of their learning from the very moment they arrive. Presenters will provide an explanation of the SALC’s implementation of AR along with the considerations, limitations and lessons learned. It will conclude with some of the future prospects for the app and ideas for other teachers looking to implement similar ideas at their own schools. The presenters believe that attendees will leave with a better understanding of some of the wide ranging capabilities AR now presents within education.
Article
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This article explores the development and implementation of the first iteration of a learner autonomy focused self-access tour app utilizing mobile devices and augmented reality. The authors first provide an overview of learner autonomy, augmented reality and Puentedura’s SAMR model of technology in education, followed by an explanation of the project’s considerations, limitations and lessons learned before concluding with future prospects for the application. Keywords: learners autonomy, augmented reality, self-access tour, SAMR https://kuis.kandagaigo.ac.jp/relayjournal/issues/jan18/bonner_frazier/
Article
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This paper is a brief summary of an ethnographic research project currently in progress. Although the authors plan to present multiple papers based on the research, this paper has been written with the purpose of documenting progress so far. The main aims are to keep colleagues informed and to ensure that all of the steps are recorded to aid future dissemination of the findings. The authors summarize a project which started in June 2017 and will continue for several years observing student behaviors occurring in one social learning space in the Self­Access Learning Center (SALC) at Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS).
Article
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Most language learning research is carried out either in classrooms or among classroom learners. As Richards (2015) points out, however, there are two dimensions to successful learning: what happens inside classrooms and what happens outside them. Rapid development of online media, communications technologies and opportunities for travel has also expanded the world beyond the classroom for language learners. Language learning and teaching beyond the classroom (LBC) is, thus, emerging as a field ripe for the development of new research agendas (Benson & Reinders 2011; Nunan & Richards 2015). We propose potentially fruitful avenues for research here under the headings of settings for learning, learning processes and teaching.
Article
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Over the past four decades, learner autonomy in language learning has been quietly moving across what might be viewed as three paradigms in applied linguistics. When learner autonomy was introduced in the late 1970s, language classrooms were largely teacher-dominated. At that time, learner autonomy offered a much-needed focus on learners as individuals capable of accepting responsibility for all aspects of their learning. Later, as Vygotsky’s (1978, 1986) neo-constructivist theories became known, learning came to be seen as being socially mediated; and the field of applied linguistics experienced ‘a social turn’. Now it is widely recognized that learner autonomy develops more through interdependence rather than independence. Currently in the field of applied linguistics, ecology and complexity thinking are becoming more widespread. This article explores the impact that this theoretical shift might have on the work being carried out in social learning spaces. By drawing on themes arising from an ethnography, a multiple case study, and a narrative inquiry investigating a social learning space, this article looks at how managers might facilitate the emergence of affordances for learning by fostering conditions for complex emergence. It begins by situating the research within the literature, and providing an overview of pertinent aspects of theories of complex dynamic systems and space and place. Then, illustrating the points with themes and anecdotes from the three studies, suggestions are made as to how learning space managers might support the emergence of affordances for learning through attention to distributed control, neighbour interactions, reciprocity, randomness, and physical design features of the learning space.
Article
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Scheduled class time for students in tertiary language classes is limited, and is likely insufficient in itself to enable students to attain second language mastery (Nunan, 1989). Provision of language practice can be expanded outside regular class time through various means, including self-access centers. However, without effective marketing and management, and effective teaching staff, such facilities risk low participation rates. The current paper discusses the provision of an English language conversation lounge facility at a Japanese university in the light of a 69% increase in student attendance for the year 2015-16. The discussion is initially situated in the need for extra language study outside regular class time. A brief description of the language center is then given. The focus of the present paper is to note recent changes, and to consider effective practice for increasing attendance and for improving participation.
Article
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This paper reconsiders active learning (AL) in the context of Japanese higher education. AL encourages students to actively engage with learning, enhancing their generic and employability skills. In Japan, AL has become increasingly popular but lacks a clear definition. AL proponents suggest that it is the use of instructional methods that encourage cooperative learning (CL) and problem/project-based (PBL) learning approaches, without established learning contents and goals. CL and/or PBL used alone may not enhance students’ learning. I argue that AL should be viewed as one approach contributing toward a pedagogical methodology, rather than a collection of methods. The term proactive learning may be a more precise descriptor of this approach. Using the word proactive may help Japanese university instructors to: (1) Avoid misunderstanding of AL as physical activity; (2) Divert their attention from specific methods to a broader methodology; and (3) Refocus on the ultimate purpose of using AL.
Article
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Self-access learning environments traditionally received only rudimentary treatment and attention compared to classrooms as many educators presumed that it was a teacher and the instructional models, methods, and approaches that were the greatest mediators in learning. In recent decades, self-access centers and subsequently other self-access learning environments and digital spaces have been burgeoning throughout the world, created primarily with the goal of supporting learner autonomy. However, old classroom-centric learning and design paradigms are sometimes applied to the design of self-access environments despite the relative spatial, temporal, and grouping freedom available. By distancing themselves from the tendency to choose one particular learning paradigm on which to base their designs, as is often the case in instructional design, educators and designers open their designed environments to the possibility of becoming a rich space, informed by numerous and diverse fields, that can account for varied ways of learning and knowing. Looking to other fields to further understand what variables can either catalyze or obstruct various ways of knowing and learning can inform the design, development, support, and management of self-access language learning environments. Drawing on knowledge from a variety of disparate fields, this paper suggests six principles that can be applied in order to augment a wide variety of types of learning in self-access learning environments, and particularly those concerned with language learning.
Article
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This study investigates the benefits of attending the Saitama University English Resource Center (ERC), a self-access center for English language learning open to all students at the university and managed by full-time faculty who alternate as center advisors. The study builds on previous research to explore how advisors promote language learning through facilitating autonomous socialization in the L2 among center attendees. This authentic social interaction not only exposes learners to patterns of discourse and other language input unavailable to learners in most institutional settings, it has also served as the means through which visiting students have formed an out-of-class learning community that now extends well beyond the center’s walls. Findings of a significant increase in center attendees and meaningful gains in the number of frequent attendees over the past year provide evidence that supports informal observations of the growth of this extraordinary L2-based community.
Article
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This paper reports on an ethnographic inquiry into the linguistic and sociocultural affordances available to English and Japanese foreign language learners through their engagement in a social learning space at a Japanese university. By social learning space we refer to a facility in which students come together in order to learn with and from each other in a non-formal setting. To explore the social learning dynamic in this environment, we carried out a longitudinal ethnographic inquiry. Data came primarily from interviews with learners and administrators, supported by participant-observations. A thematic analysis of the data, informed by ecological and community of practice perspectives, pointed to the emergence of a community of learners and revealed how closely the affordances were connected with the emergent community. In this paper we explore the affordances which gave rise to language learning opportunities, their relationship to the conditions which supported the development of a community of learners, and the role of learner autonomy in regard to these two interrelated phenomena.
Book
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Introduction The papers in this book originated at a conference held in June 2010 at Zirve University, in Gaziantep, Turkey. The title of the conference, If We Had to Do It Over Again: Implementing Learner Autonomy in the 21st Century, was remarkably insightful as it hints at a “passing of the torch” moment in the field of autonomy in language learning. The combined age of the plenary speakers would be too frightening to calculate but it is probably safe to say that the majority of us have more years of working with learner autonomy behind us than ahead of us. This is a good thing because it represents a maturity in the field which is witnessed by the quality of the academic and professional work being undertaken and by the increasing literature. The conference served its purpose beautifully by juxtapositioning young and old, old and new, looking back and looking forward. This allowed the lessons of the past to be reviewed for the benefit of those who are relatively new to the field and the exciting new prospects of the future to be reviewed for those who may not yet have seen them coming. This book captures the diversity of the conference with papers ranging from those based on a career of experience to others reporting relatively modest experiments with learner autonomy and everything in-between. Tempting as it might be for readers to see which of the authors in this book are “passing the torch” and which are receiving it, I have not arranged the papers in that way for three good reasons. Firstly, I fear authors might be offended by being assigned either of those labels and may never speak to me again (and I would have to agree with them). Secondly, and more importantly, such grouping might suggest a priority of importance in the papers which would be inaccurate. All the papers selected for this book have their own importance whether written by veterans in the field or anybody else. Thirdly, I have grouped the papers in what I hope is a more significant way. The theme of this book is fostering autonomy in language learning. The papers have been grouped into six parts each representing a different aspect of researchers’ and practitioners’ attempts to understand, explain, support and develop learner autonomy in language learning both within the taught curriculum and outside it. Part 1, Observing Learner Autonomy, contains papers describing situations in which evidence of learner autonomy can be seen in authentic contexts. These are important papers not only because they detail so carefully evidence of developing autonomy in individuals or groups but because they offer us, as readers, the opportunity to reflect on different facets of learner autonomy and, thus, think about ways in which it can be fostered. The papers in Part 2, Promoting Learner Autonomy, deal with approaches to developing learner autonomy in various contexts. There is considerable diversity in this section which is not surprising given the wide range of contexts in which the authors work and, indeed, this is representative of the widely ranging situations in which learner autonomy is promoted throughout the world. This is also the largest section in the book and this is, perhaps, not surprising given the ongoing preoccupation throughout our profession with how to promote learner autonomy. Part 3 of the book, Perceptions of Learner Autonomy, contains papers which look at aspects of learner autonomy from the viewpoint of learners. These papers look at what students say about autonomy, whether their behaviour shows signs of learner autonomy and how ready they are for autonomy. These papers allow us to see learner autonomy through learners’ eyes and also provide insights into the effectiveness of some attempts to promote learner autonomy. In Part 4, Teacher Education for Learner Autonomy, the authors deal with teachers’ or teacher trainees’ beliefs about and attitudes to autonomy, their level of preparedness for promoting it and whether they receive adequate training for that role. These papers are important for the ongoing fostering of learner autonomy if we accept that classroom teachers are the main promoters of it. Part 5, Self-Access Centres for Learner Autonomy, looks at how self-access centres contribute to promoting and supporting learner autonomy in various settings, the management of self-access learning and effective ways of coping with the difficult task of evaluating the learning in self-access centres. These are important issues given the considerable resources poured into establishing and maintaining self-access centres around the world. The better our understanding of the relationship between self-access learning and developing learner autonomy, and in particular the role of a self-access centre, the better we are able to foster autonomy. The final part of the book, Technology for Learner Autonomy, covers the use of technology for promoting learner autonomy in four very different contexts each of which has a story to tell about the power, and sometimes the pitfalls, of technology. Technology has been closely connected in many parts of the world with providing opportunities for independent learning and for accessing authentic language materials and thus has had an important role in language learning for many years but it needs to be understood to be used effectively. Given the theme of this book, it will not be a surprise to readers to learn that more than half the papers in it refer to Henri Holec’s Autonomy and Foreign Language Learning (1981) which was the product of a study commissioned by the Council of Europe (published in 1979) with the aim of providing a “theoretical and practical description of the application of the concept of autonomy in the matter of language learning” (Holec, 1981, p. 2). Holec’s book is often seen as a starting point for the definition of autonomy in language learning. Holec’s definition, in its short form, is “the ability to take charge of one's own learning” but in its expanded form runs beyond 200 words. It will also probably be of no surprise to readers to learn that more than half the papers in the current volume also refer to the work of David Little who has researched, presented and published prodigiously in the field of autonomy in language learning. Amongst other things, Little has worked to refine the definition of autonomy in language learning. In his oft quoted book Learner Autonomy: Definitions, issues and problems (1991) Little lists what he believes autonomy is not and then attempts to define it but also cautions that “the concept of learner autonomy… cannot be satisfactorily defined in a few paragraphs” (p. 2). He picks up on and expands the notion of autonomy as a capacity of the learner but introduces a discussion of the importance of interdependence and its paradoxically close relationship with independence. True to his own statement of the importance of constant reflection and clarification through definition and redefinition of terms (Little, 1991, p. 1), Little has continued to refine his definition and has more recently made a distinction between learner autonomy and language learner autonomy (Little, 2007). The extent to which both Henri Holec and David Little are referenced in the papers in this book and, indeed, throughout the literature in the field illustrates their importance. Perhaps it also relates to my suggestion of the arrival of a “passing of the torch” moment in the field. The field of autonomy in language learning clearly has, its own “sages”, a history, a literature, widely accepted and quoted definitions, a body of relevant research and, as evidence by the conference from which the papers in this book originated and the many other conferences in the field, an ever increasing community of practitioners determined to foster autonomy in language learning across the world. References Holec, H. (1981). Autonomy and foreign language learning. Oxford: Pergamon Press Pergamon. (First published 1979, Strasbourg: Council of Europe). Little, D. (1991). Learner autonomy 1: Definitions, issues and problems. Dublin: Authentik. Little, D. (2007). Language learner autonomy: Some fundamental considerations revisited. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 1(1), 14-29.
Chapter
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Good self-access centres foster learner autonomy by providing a range of appropriate learning opportunities within the centre and by making the right connections to learning opportunities outside the centre. Self-access centre managers play a pivotal role in developing and maintaining these opportunities. This paper defines the complex role of a good self-access centre manager by looking at five key components of the role. The paper also illustrates a blurring of the boundaries of a self-access centre and suggests, consequently, that a manager’s responsibilities extend further than before.
Article
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This paper reports on a follow-up study to Gillies (2007), in which a survey was conducted to investigate how tertiary-level Japanese EFL students understand and interpret their use or non-use of their institution’s self-access centre (SAC). The survey data revealed general trends regarding the factors which motivate the students’ use of the SAC as well as reasons why students choose not to use it, while also suggesting four types of students, via cluster analysis. Employing Dornyei’s (2005) L2 Motivational Self System as a theoretical framework, the current paper attempts to probe deeper into the survey data, and specifically tease out the factors influencing the use or non-use of the SAC. It reports on a set of semi-structured interviews with a purposeful sample of nine students from amongst the survey respondents. The interviewees included representatives of each of the four clusters identified in the survey data. The interview transcripts were then subjected to coding and labelling, and key themes in the data emerged: the SAC as an environment; the SAC as a community of selves; the SAC as contrasted with the classroom. Related to these themes, it was found that in the first year of university, identities are forged, distinguishing regular SAC users and rare SAC users. The SAC is an attractive environment for students with strong ideal L2 selves, while being uncomfortable for less confident students. The former type of student is more likely to see the classroom environment as restrictive, while the latter views it as sheltered and supportive. Meanwhile, the level of English proficiency is not in itself predictive of SAC use, but rather the level of L2 motivation, in particular the strength of the learner’s ideal L2 self. The paper discusses these themes and findings, and concludes with implications for the SAC, and suggestions for making the centre accessible and appealing to a wider cross-section of the overall student body.
Article
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Linking self-access and classroom learning is a difficult and time-consuming business, but one which can lead to great rewards as learners develop independent learning skills and assume greater responsibility for their learning. This paper will outline the approach for encouraging independent learning employed in the first year English language curriculum at Hiroshima Bunkyo Joshi Daigaku (HBJD), a four-year women’s only university in Japan. Two different methods for doing this will be introduced: employing project-based learning activities and linking classroom activities with a Self-Access Learning Center (SALC). The design of the curriculum and the materials encourage individualized learning, while the project-based and independent learning activities promote learner responsibility and control of learning (Dickinson, 1987) through utilization of the SALC. This paper will outline the issues involved in shifting from a weakly linked curriculum and SALC to a more strongly linked curriculum-SALC relationship. It will provide specific examples of this challenge before also discussing examples of the successes and failures that have been faced by the curriculum design and self-access teams in attempting to create a curriculum which strongly promotes independent learning. It is hoped that sharing these experiences will provide some useful insights into the issues surrounding the encouragement of independent learning and how these issues can be tackled practically in a teaching situation.
Article
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In this article, I will describe how the Self-Access Learning Centre (SALC) at Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS) was established, and discuss some of the personal philosophies of self-access centres (SACs) and self-access learning that I have developed over the eight years of being associated with this centre.
Article
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Human beings can be proactive and engaged or, alternatively, passive and alienated, largely as a function of the social conditions in which they develop and function. Accordingly, research guided by self-determination theory has focused on the social-contextual conditions that facilitate versus forestall the natural processes of self-motivation and healthy psychological development. Specifically, factors have been examined that enhance versus undermine intrinsic motivation, self-regulation, and well-being. The findings have led to the postulate of three innate psychological needs--competence, autonomy, and relatedness--which when satisfied yield enhanced self-motivation and mental health and when thwarted lead to diminished motivation and well-being. Also considered is the significance of these psychological needs and processes within domains such as health care, education, work, sport, religion, and psychotherapy.
Article
I am now finishing up my third year as a learning advisor. Three years is not long; however, looking back at my own professional development, the pathway of “becoming” was full of discoveries and challenges. While I had a clear idea of what a learning advisor does from the literature, being one was fairly different from what I had imagined.
Article
As the number of self-access language centres (SALCs) in Japanese universities continues to grow, so too does the challenge of successfully introducing them to first-year university students, whose initial experiences of self-access language learning may otherwise be confusing and even unsettling. One approach is to carefully scaffold students’ first SALC encounters by connecting them with their classroom learning experiences. This paper discusses one such approach developed at a private university in central Japan, which was based upon a two-stage ‘push-pull’ ‘materials-light, people-focused’ strategy. Teachers initially ‘pushed’ their students to visit the SALC by giving them speaking ‘homework’ to be done there. The SALC then also offered interesting interactive events designed to ‘pull’ learners to continue to come. These push-pull activities could be done with few or no materials, and emphasized interaction with people rather than materials. This two-stage, push-pull strategy served as a bridge between the language classroom and a SALC, helping learners make the first steps in their transition from being a ‘classroom English learner’ to becoming a ‘SALC English user’.
Article
This column looks at the SAC at the University of Bradford (UoB), which is commonly known as Room 101. The column looks at how Room 101 has reacted to the problem of reduced usage as a result of the cancellation of foreign language courses at the UoB, social media making online communication between learners easier, and the availability of online resources which have reduced the perceived importance of SAC resources (such as books and CDs). Room 101 has adopted a materials-light, people-focussed approach which has led to increased usage. Other solutions were tried and are detailed in this instalment, with examples from the literature. Room 101’s approach has centred on facilitated social learning opportunities and a friendly, student-led atmosphere, with many students working in the Centre. This instalment is the first of three; the following instalments will look at research conducted into student and staff thoughts on the current state of SACs in UK Higher Education.
Article
In this article, I argue that a self-access center (SAC) should be able to foster group autonomy, although SACs were originally developed for individually autonomous L2 learning experiences—i.e., each student studying L2 on his or her own. Along with offering learning materials and chances for individual self-study, a SAC should provide opportunities for building and maintaining a learner community. The data obtained by a narrative frame and subsequent e-mail correspondence demonstrated that active users often come to SACs to do homework and prepare for classes. They are happy to work together and have opportunities to make friends with students in different classes and in different year groups—i.e., mutual peer support is vital. Fun activities for establishing rapport and boosting L2 learning motivation are worth implementing. Learner autonomy ultimately involves interdependence between learners in a well-functioning learner community, and for this purpose a SAC can and should be a physical space where students can comfortably spend time and interact with other students, as well as with counselors and teachers.
Article
As more and more self-access facilities face up to the challenge of shrinking budgets and responding to the ubiquity of mobile devices for learning, Michael Allhouse’s column examining the movement towards social learning that has taken place at the University of Bradford reminds us that such centres have a valuable role beyond providing access to physical resources. In this final instalment of his three-part series, Allhouse examines the provision of self-access in UK Higher Education, in order to determine to what extent Room 101’s journey towards becoming a social learning space is reflected in other centres around the country. By widening the scope of his research to examine not only the attitudes of learners at his own centre, but also wider trends across the UK, he reveals a diverse picture of self-access, and one in which social learning plays a vital and growing role.
Article
The inseparable relationship between affect and cognition has led us to view learners’ affect as something that learners need to be able to ‘manage’ and ‘control’. Positive affect is known to enhance learning, while negative affect can interfere with successful learning. Extensive research and theorizing led to the development of motivational and affective strategies (Dörnyei & Ushioda, 2011; Oxford, 1990, 2011). Many people hold the images of negative affect as something that is difficult to deal with, but also as something that learners should take care of by themselves. The roles of advisors in supporting learners’ affective dimensions have not been discussed extensively, and some advisors are at a lost in dealing with feelings and emotional aspects of learning (Gremmo, 1995; Tassinari & Ciekanski, 2013). In this paper, instead of viewing negative affect as something that impedes learning, I view learners’ affect, both positive and negative, as an ‘essential resource’ that advisors and learners should make use of in helping learners become autonomous and achieve their learning goals in a self-fulfilling way. Such processes are best carried out in socially-mediated dialogic interactions between the advisor and the learner. The advisor’s role is to help learners express their day-to-day feelings and motivational experiences, reflect, and engage in the cognitive-affective meaning-making process of their learning experiences. I will illustrate the effectiveness of this approach in developing learner autonomy through a case study of an EFL learner in Japan.
Article
This paper describes an example of how to bring language learners into a self-access language learning center (SALC) in a Japanese university. A number of factors affect learners’ decision making about whether or not they use and continue using the SALC. In the context of lower interest in studying abroad or using English in jobs in the future, it may be necessary to consider setting up a clear purpose for students to come to the SALC. From the reflections on the last five-year implementation of extensive reading (ER), connecting classes and the SALC with an ER system seems to play a significant role in scaffolding their first SALC encounters in the current context, helping them go through the acclimation period leading to not only ER but also other usage of SALC.
Article
The three institutions featured in this instalment have all shown considerable success in raising user numbers in recent years. In order to attract users to a language learning space (LLS), a number of factors need to be present. Potential users need to be aware of the existence of the space itself, and know its location. They need to have some knowledge of its functions, and feel that it has the potential to fulfil at least one of their needs as a language learner (Heigham, 2004). Then, they need to feel inspired enough to step into the unknown and have the confidence to enter and engage with staff and other users (Gillies, 2010). The space needs to have a welcoming atmosphere, and the interactions the learners have should provide them with a good balance of success and challenge in order to convince them to return and become regular users.
Article
One of the roles of language learning advisors is to help language learners become more autonomous and one crucial way to achieve this is to facilitate reflection on their learning through dialogues in advising sessions. Although previous studies on advising skills have provided practitioners with invaluable resources for their professional development, more studies on actual interactions can further illuminate the nature of advice-giving to support or better inform existing advising frameworks. This research uses conversation analysis to examine a naturally occurring advisor-learner interaction to uncover how the conversational participants achieve shared understanding. It was found that a series of confirmation requests help adjust and maintain the participants’ mutual understanding while the conversation unfolds. The findings of this study suggest that more research examining authentic dialogue using conversation analysis will shed light on uncovering the mechanisms underlying the successful provision of appropriate advice in language learning and consequently contribute to the professional development of advisors in the future.
Article
This paper argues for an environmental view of the relationship between self-access, the classroom and out-of-class learning. The self-access centre (SAC) developed as an alternative or complement to the classroom at a time when classroom instruction was considered the norm for language learning. In the light of increased opportunities for out-of-class language learning and questioning of the importance of classroom instruction to achieving high levels of proficiency, a holistic view of the in-class and out-of-class spaces in which languages are learned is now needed. The idea that languages are learned in ‘language learning environments’, in which the self-access centres are potentially one of many ‘settings’ for individuals’ language learning, is proposed as a framework for discussing issues of self-access planning and management.
Chapter
In a New York Times article commenting on the protest movements which unsettled the status quo from Tahrir Square in Cairo to Zuccotti Park in New York City, the author cautions that ‘we tend to underestimate the political power of physical places’ (Kimmelman 2011: SRI). In this chapter we argue that neither should we underestimate the power of place in relation to language education, nor its relevance for learner autonomy. Benson (2011: 58) defines autonomy as ‘the capacity to take control of one’s own learning’ and characterizes it as encompassing three dimensions: control over learning management (cf. Holec 1981), control over cognitive processing (cf. Little 1991), and control over content. We propose a fourth dimension: space. How learners imagine a space to be, perceive it, define it, and articulate their understandings transforms a space into a place, determines what they do there, and influences their autonomy.
Chapter
This chapter presents recent changes in Japanese higher education policy, and analyzes its impact upon higher education institutions. It can be assumed that in the twenty-first century, economic forces will increasingly demand the production of new knowledge and the development of personnel through universities. No governments will be able to continue meeting such social demands for higher education without relatively abundant financing. Without question, Japan faces the same challenge. Both the private and public sectors of higher education in Japan will continue to confront limited financing, and issues of accountability will continue to emerge. However, since the economic recession in recent years has become serious, the educational expenses of households are exceeding existing capacity. It is strongly encouraged that the level of educational expenditures allocated to higher education in Japan be raised to the level of the average standard of other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Singapore. All rights are reserved.
Book
(Book Blurb) Self-Access Language Learning (SALL) has played a prominent part in language education in universities. Its role is to foster autonomous learning among students. With the wide-spread implementation of SALL and its increasing impacts on students, it is important to understand how SALL is managed in order to meet the learning needs of the users in the most resource-effective way. This book provides readers with an understanding of SALL management by setting the discussion against a wider backdrop and also examining details of current good practice. The authors examine issues of leadership and management in education before turning to look at the roles of a SALL manager, and suggest how these roles are changing and what the future may hold for managing SALL. Case studies are used to illustrate how SALL is managed in different universities as a way of contextualizing the issues discussed in the book. The book is of relevance to institutional and departmental managers, classroom-based language teachers, teachers more directly involved in providing SALL opportunities and, of course, SALL managers.
Article
Although learning advisors are often qualified teachers, the skills they apply, such as those discussed by Kelly (1996), require a significant shift in approach regarding interaction with students. As teachers reorient themselves to advising, their role changes quite markedly from teaching language to advising on learning (Mozzon-McPherson, 2001). This challenging move requires professional development training to support and ease the shift in professional roles (Hafner and Young, 2007). As part of the professional development for advisors at Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS) in Japan, advisors undertake a series of ‘observations’ where they record and reflect on advising sessions. An analysis of these reflections was undertaken with a view to identifying common themes which provide important insights and practical implications for teachers considering advising and those involved in professional development for educators. The findings of the study show that the skills most commonly referred to are goal-setting, guiding, questioning and attending. A further skill of negotiation of meaning was also observed as being important in successful advising sessions. A greater understanding of these skills can inform language teachers who take on learning advisor roles.
Article
..., teaching method, although important, is just one aspect of language teaching. Every teaching situation involves the interaction between a given teaching method, the students, and the wider socio-cultural context of learning. If this interaction is not a happy one, learning is unlikely to be effective, no matter how good the credentials of the teaching method may be in theoretical terms. Teaching method needs therefore to be chosen not only on the basis of what seems theoretically plausible, but also in the light of the experience, personality, and expectations of the students involved. (Tudor, 1996b, p. 276-7)
Constructivist strategies for teaching English language learners
  • Adelman Reyes
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Adelman Reyes, S., & Vallone, T. L. (2008). Constructivist strategies for teaching English language learners. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
The regulation of fixed-term employment in Japan. Labour policy on fixed-term employment contracts
  • H Takeuchi-Okuno
Takeuchi-Okuno, H. (2010). The regulation of fixed-term employment in Japan. Labour policy on fixed-term employment contracts, 2010 JILPT Comparative Labour Law Seminar (pp. 69-84). The Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training. Retrieved from http://www.jil.go.jp/english/reports/documents/jilpt-reports/no.9.pdf