I am a foreign instructor of English at the Hakodate campus of Hokkaido University of Education. Our branch, which has about 1400 students, specializes in humanities and regional science and offers the following foreign languages: English, French, Chinese, German, Spanish, Russian and Korean.
The type of self-access system that I have set up is that of the ‘supermarket’ system, which offers the learner the opportunity to look around and choose what to study (Miller, L., Rogerson-Revell, P. 1993). I have also decided to make the use of the SAC completely voluntary as I believe requiring its use could potentially negatively affect second language learning motivation and impede the development of learner autonomy.
I also have a volunteer staff of about 10 students, one of whom is an exchange student, whom I have included as much as possible in the various stages of the development process. The main reason for this is that in cooperating with the students in the establishment of the self-access center from the onset, it is my hope that students will not only have a stronger personal attachment to the center, but also better understand its value in learning languages and building learner autonomy. Furthermore, I believe students, rather than the teacher, are in a better position to publicize such a center as their peers can relate to their situation and experiences of learning languages. Ultimately, I would like to have the students themselves organize, control, and maintain the center with the teacher’s role being that of an advisor or guidance counselor.
Miller, L. & Rogerson-Revell, P. (1993) Self-access systems. ELT Journal, 47(3): 228-233.