JALT 2006 Kitakyushu
JALT 2006 Symposium At the Japan Association of Language Teachers (JALT) 2006 Conference held in Kitakyushu from November 2nd – 5th, JASAL held a symposium on self-access learning. Our symposium theme was Self-Access Centres: Communities of Learners and was related to the JALT conference theme, “Community, Identity, and Motivation”.
The symposium reported specifically on the development of self-access learning in Japan. In three presentations JASAL members from different parts of Japan discussed their experiences in establishing self-access centers at their universities. A key theme running through the presentations was that these centers are actually communities of learners and practitioners, and that creating a sense of community is an important element of their success.
Lucy Cooker in a presentation entitled “Five Years of the SALC–Challenges and Successes,” critically examined the challenges and successes encountered as the centre at Kanda University of International Studies developed from being a small, pilot centre housed in two former classrooms to being a state-of-the-art facility boasting a dedicated team of learning advisors, and housed in a purpose-built structure.
Juanita Heigham in her presentation, “Starting Up Self-Access: Key Considerations,” reported on the development of a center at Sugiyama Jogakuen University in Nagoya. Her talk focused on the importance of a guiding philosophy and the need for staff members with the necessary knowledge and skills to train and support learners.
Garold Murray, Sara Cotterall, and Ingrid Johnson, in their presentation entitled “Self-Access Centers as Communities of Practice” discussed the means they have employed to promote a sense of community in Akita International University’s two centers, one of which, in downtown Akita, caters to the general public. Following the presentations there was a panel discussion in which the audience had the opportunity to express their views and pose questions.