JALT 2011 Tokyo

Growing trends in self-access

The field of self-access has been growing in Japan over the last decade, with more and more schools setting up spaces where students can carry out their own learning. As time goes by, self-access centres must respond and adapt to the changing needs of their various stakeholders. In keeping with the theme of the JALT 2011 conference, the JASAL Forum focused on growing trends in self-access language learning.

You can read the Forum report, written by Azusa Kodate, which has been published in SiSAL Journal (Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal).

Photos from the JASAL Forum at JALT2011

Submissions were invited on the following themes:
– SAC layout
– Materials
– Learning program design
– Learner involvement in self-access
– Self-access learning communities
– Assessment of self-access learning
– Evaluating SACs
– Research design
– Integrating self-access with curriculum
– Managing and administrating SACs
– Interaction and collaboration with colleagues and administrators



Making a Pathway into Self-Access Learning: An Action Research Project

Clair Taylor, Keiko Omura, Gerald Talandis Jr., Toyo Gakuen University

This poster presentation describes an ongoing action research project designed to promote self-access learning in a freshman English course at a Japanese university. Several teachers collaborated to encourage learners to make use of a self-access center and online study materials using a stamp card system. The findings from the first cycles of the project have shown three factors to be significant; requiring student participation, providing a clear, hands-on induction, and developing cooperation between team-teachers.

Greater Emphasis on the “Thinking” Dimension of Learning for Sustainable Language Education and Promotion of Learner Self-Directedness (in PDF)

Azusa Kodate, Hiroshima Bunkyo Women’s University
This paper introduces the logistics and the rationale behind the use of a learner log used at a Japanese university to promote effective language learning and learner autonomy through a curriculum. It sheds light on a practical aspect of how language teachers can approach the concept of meatacognitive learning strategies in a way that learners can understand and experience the actual usage of such strategies.
PDF of Kodate’s Poster

Developing the habits of using a personalized language learning planner/diary to foster self-directed learning (in PDF)

Satoko Kato, Hisako Yamashita, Kanda Institute of Foreign Languages

This presentation introduces the soon-to-be-published day planner/diary which supports learners in establishing effective learning habits. It is not just a date-stamped notebook, but includes monthly & weekly activities, learning tips, and worksheets. The planner/diary covers the basic concepts of self-directed language learning and learners go through an in-depth self-reflective process by simply using the planner/diary. It can be widely used by all levels of English learners.

Application of the PDCA Cycle in SAC Administration

Caleb Foale, Momoko Iida, Rei Ishida, Hiroshima Bunkyo Women’s University

This poster presentation focuses on training and support for student staff who serve a vital function in the operation of a SAC at Hiroshima Bunkyo Women’s University. It focuses specifically on the way that managers and staff can collaborate to find solutions to problems in a manner that promotes continuous improvement. The presentation will illustrate how other Self Access Centers may be able to benefit from these processes and how the PDCA cycle, or Deming Wheel, can be used to operationalise them.

Self-access to self-access: Increasing student and teacher exposure to self-access programs (in PDF)

Daniel Sasaki, Kelly Kimura, Yukiko Ishikawa, Soka University

Many self-access center programs face the problem of increasing student usage. Reasons that students do not use self-access programs may be a lack of motivation, need, and information about the existence and benefits of the programs, or a reluctance to try unfamiliar programs. Teachers also may have insufficient knowledge to promote the programs. A scavenger hunt was developed as a homework activity to increase student and teacher exposure to self-access programs at a Japanese university.

Developing Self-Access Learning Community in a science and technology university

Yoko Kinoshita, Sojo University

Reflecting on students’ comments and ideas on the SALC and their learning preferences, we have been trying to improve SALC materials to meet the students’ needs and encourage them to get involved in the SALC as proactive users. We will present some of the SALC materials and events that have seemed actually helped the students change their perception or beliefs in English learning from negative to positive and motivate them to be more independent learners.


Integrating Self-Access with Curriculum – an Activities based Approach (in Powerpoint)

Scott Crowe, Sojo University

Caleb Foale, Hiroshima Bunkyo Women’s University

It is a tall order to expect Japanese university students to adapt comfortably to a self-access environment that is almost completely foreign to them. Thus the Bunkyo English Communication Center (BECC) at Hiroshima Bunkyo Women’s University and the Sojo International Learning Center (SILC) at Sojo University have developed an activities based approach that aims to successfully scaffold students into the self-access environment and that forms an integral part of the respective English curriculum of each institution.

An ethnographic study of a SAC: how do learners decide where to sit?

Satomi Shibata, Tokoha Gakuen University

This ethnographical study is an attempt to investigate how language learners decide where to sit when they voluntarily and autonomously use a self-access center (hereafter SAC) to learn English in a Japanese EFL context. The results suggested that language learners at a SAC in a Japanese EFL context use where to sit as messages to counselors. Implications for layouts of a SAC will be discussed.


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