JASAL 2016 Annual Conference
Konan Women’s University, Kobe
December 10, 2016 9:30-17:00
Thank you to everyone who participated in JASAL 2016. We had over 95 participants from 43 different affiliations joined us! The day was filled with twenty 15-minute presentations, 12 poster presentations, and e-space tour scheduled three times. Participants enjoyed buffet lunch and coffee/tea during short breaks. The JASAL 2016 Conference at Konan Women’s University was an exciting event for all of us. It was great to see so many passionate and dedicated people, both from established and newer self-access centres, sharing ideas and making connections. Below are presentation abstracts and a link to the actual presentations.
JASAL 2016 Annual Conference: Introduction to JASAL and the 2016 Conference PDF here.
Hisako Yamashita, JASAL President, Konan Women’s University
Clair Taylor, JASAL Publicity Chair, Gifu Shotoku Gakuen University
Katherine Thornton, JASAL Membership Chair, Otemon University
Andy Tweed, JASAL Events Coordinator, Meijo University
Shifting Self-Access Landscapes: Opportunities and Challenges
Dr. Jo Mynard, Kanda University of International Studies
The field of self-access learning has existed since the 1970s and a typical centre has looked more or less the same for five decades. However, a fundamental shift is occurring which will affect our work in significant ways in the coming years. Specifically, we are currently experiencing a rapid disruption in how learning environments are imagined. In the past, students had access to classroom instruction and (if they were lucky) a self-access centre which supported outside class learning. This model is now becoming outdated as students have any number of learning environments available to them – both physical and virtual (Benson, 2016; Benson, Chávez Sánchez, McLoughlin, Mynard, & Peña Clavel, 2016). In addition, learning opportunities exist via an increasing number of devices and everyday objects and tools (Reinders, 2016). So what does this mean for our field? Well, although these changes force us to reevaluate our place in language education, they can bring opportunities as well as challenges. In order to accommodate the changing needs of our students in such a rapidly shifting environment, we need to pay particular attention to several elements of self-access learning (Benson et al., 2016; Mynard, 2016). In this talk, I will consider three such elements: Social opportunities, the emotional side of learning, and the development of autonomous learning through our advising and teaching. PDF here.
<Morning 15-minute presentations in rooms 911 & 912>
Your Space, Your English: Creating a Student-Centered, Student-Driven English Language Learning Space
Paul Mathieson (Nara Medical University)
Many of our students face strong pressure to succeed in their English studies, so providing them with opportunities to actively engage with English and take ownership of their language learning outside of class is vital to help them maintain their motivation (and sanity!). This presentation examines the creation of an institutionally-sponsored, student-run English learning space at Nara Medical University. Particular attention will be devoted to how the space is utilized by students, the facilitative role played by English teachers, and some of the challenges that were involved in setting up such a language space. PDF here.
Promoting Autonomous Learning Through Tracking
Rachelle Meilleur (Kyoto University of Foreign Studies), Midori Tanimura (Kyoto University of Foreign Studies), Hiromi Kono (Kyoto Junior College of Foreign Languages), Agnes Patko (Kyoto University of Foreign Studies)
What are students actually studying outside of the classroom, and for how long? This question, in conjunction with the need to encourage more self-directed learning from our students, led to the creation and implementation of language study trackers that 1st-year university students would use. Two trials were held, first with a paper-based tracker, and the second with an online mobile-based tracker. The researchers will present the results and discuss how tracking can impact students and teachers, especially in regards to promoting autonomous learning both in and out of the classroom. PDF here.
From Language Learning Spaces to Traditional Japanese Craft Studios: Using Hands-on Workshops to Promote Autonomous Learning
Mark Hammond (Kanazawa University)
The English Help Center at Kanazawa College of Art is a small-scale self-access program that offers a weekly one-hour session of conversation practice. Students are encouraged to discuss their creative activity through informal ‘show-and-tell’ of their own creative work. Since the beginning of the program six years ago, several students offered to guide tours of their own studios, which led to the concept of hands-on instructional workshops, designed and taught by students. The presentation will focus on recent workshops taught by students majoring in Japanese craft, and will included analysis of the spontaneous discourse recorded in authentic context. PDF here.
The Effects of Independent Study and Reflection on Japanese EAP Learner Beliefs: Lessons for Self-Access
Caroline Hutchinson (Kanda University of International Studies)
The ability to take charge of our learning is considered a key determiner of success, but many students need support to develop the skills to become more autonomous. This presentation describes a teacher-guided classroom cycle in which students tried activities chosen from a given selection, and reflected on their experience, exploring their decision-making at key stages of the learning process. I will describe student beliefs and how these changed, and discuss the extent to which ease, fun and friendship – the ‘whole learner’ – interacted with and sometimes obscured decisions about learning. PDF here.
Creating a Friendly Atmosphere- SALC Layout
Lindsay Mack & Meg Varney (Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University )
A Self-Access Center should be created as a space that is inviting to the user, a place where students want to hang out and speak English (Cooker, 2010). This was the principle underlying the layout of a private Japanese University’s Self-Access Language Center (SALC), created in 2013. The following presentation will detail the philosophy behind the original layout and why changes needed to be made. It will conclude with tips for making a successful SALC layout. PDF here.
多言語学習と留学生との交流について (Multilingual Learning Facilitated Through Cultural and Language Exchange With International Students)
Kodai Okabayashi & Mika Kobayashi (Kyoto University of Foreign Studies students)
Designing Learning Environments to Impact Student Use in Self-Access Centers
Andrew Tweed & Atsumi Yamaguchi (Meijo University)
As part of its wider globalization initiative, Meijo University has opened self-access centers at two of its campuses. Known as ‘Global Plaza,’ these self-access centers include design features which aim to effectively promote certain kinds of use, such as oral communication and quiet learning. This ‘my share’ presentation will demonstrate specific ways in which the center has been designed to influence how students use the Global Plaza. In particular, we will focus on the self-study area and the social area, two learning spaces which aim to promote different types of learning activities. PDF here.
Professional Development for Advisors in Language Learning
Saki Inoue (Soka University)
Advising has been regarded as an effective approach to develop learners’ autonomy, which is important for their success in language learning. An advising service is often included as a part of a self-access center. In advising programs, advisors often offer sessions based on their own learning experience, and the challenge is to maintain the quality of sessions. Thus, on-going professional development is necessary to meet the various needs of students. This presentation will present professional development opportunities at an advising program in a Japanese university, and how advisors incorporate the outcomes into their advising sessions. The voices of the advisors will also be shared. PDF here.
Changing our SAC: Student-Initiated Campaign for a Better Atmosphere
Ayumi Tahara, Erina Kinoshita, Yui Fukushima (Konan Women’s University students)
“It’s too loud”, “we can’t study here”, “we don’t want to come here anymore” are all statements we have heard this year from students in our self-access learning center (SALC). It has become clear to us that students’ reasons for using the center are changing. Although we are all from different school years, we have come together with a common goal in mind, to make our SALC accessible to everyone. In our presentation we will talk about our campaign to improve our center, including how we organized the campaign, its implementation, and the outcomes we’ve seen. PDF here.
学習者形成の場としてのSAC−学習者像把握の必要性− (SAC and Learner Autonomy: Knowing About the Users)
Tetsuo Kato & Seiko Oguri (Chubu University)
勤務校のSI Room(Self-instruction Room)では「自らが一歩を踏み出す」を設立理念としている。利用者の中には、語学への劣等感や不安感、失敗体験を抱いている学習者も多い。SACが学習習慣の形成に貢献できることは何であろうか。本発表では、SI Roomで5年ほど実践している学期ごとの登録と登録時のアンケート調査、毎利用時に残す利用記録と利用者の語学力、学習意欲の変化について紹介する。限られた財力や人材のもとでも可能なことは何か、学習者像の把握から得られる学習者形成の場としてのSACのあり方とは何かについて、アイデアをシェアしたい。
<Poster presentations in room 921, 13:55-14:25>
Managing a SAC: Introducing Issues and Measures
Yuki Ota (Seitoku University)
In a private women’s university in Chiba, where the majority of the students are unmotivated, uninterested, or have a strong hate-feeling towards English language learning, the university opened an SAC in 2012. The aim was to support and provide an environment for English language learning outside the classrooms. Since then, the number of SAC users has increased exponentially. However, the students did not always utilize the center as a space for the intended reasons. Instead, the SAC gradually turned into a socializing space. In this poster presentation, various issues will be introduced with the measures that were taken at this particular SAC. Poster PDF here.
Incorporating Self-Access into Various Classrooms
Jennie Roloff Rothman (International Christian University)
Learning to become an independent learner is a skill to be encouraged at all levels of ability and in all types of learning environments. This poster will share a variety of activities the presenter has used in classrooms at a high-level Japanese university. The tasks include, but are not limited to: self-reflection, focused self-study, guided reflection, time management, and discussion. These activities were implemented in reading, writing and academic skills classes as well as in informal one-on-one tutorials. The presenter will share additional activity ideas and suggestions for modification to lower ability level students.
Increasing Participation of Foreign Language Conversation Program
Carlos Budding (Akita International University)
The Foreign Language Conversation Partner (FLCP) Program of Akita International University was set up to connect people learning a foreign language with native speakers. In 2015 the FLCP program underwent some changes meant to streamline the appointment process. However, these changes resulted in a drop of usage by students. In 2016 a few “old school” systems of registration and accountability were introduced and the program grew by almost 400%. This presentation will talk about the positive effects these “old school” changes had on the program. Poster PDF here.
Functional, Emotional, and Pedagogical Aspects in Designing Materials to Promote Self-Access Language Learning
Azusa Foale (Kokugakuin University), Yaeko Watase (Hiroshima Bunkyo Women’s University), Yukari Rutson-Griffiths (Hiroshima Bunkyo Women’s University)
Frameworks for designing and purchasing learning materials for self-access language learning have been developed by several scholars with ‘pedagogical’ and ‘functional’ aspects in mind (Nunan, 1997; Gardner & Miller, 1999; Reinders & Lazaro, 2011; Tomlinson, 2016) It should be noted, however, that the greatest emphasis is often placed on the ‘pedagogical’ aspect, while the ‘functional’ or ‘practical’ aspects are not as fully addressed. The ‘emotional’ aspect, which is expected to generate a positive influence in learning processes, has also been largely overlooked. The presenters will propose a practical framework, which addresses those non-pedagogical aspects of materials for self-access language learning. Details can be accessed here. Poster PDF here.
Evaluating Freshman Orientation to a SAC
Huw Davies & Robert Stevenson (Kanda University of International Studies)
Due to a feeling of disengagement felt by both students and learning advisors, it was decided to replace the introductory tour of a self-access centre at a university in Japan with a challenge. This challenge encouraged students to actively participate in orienting themselves to the space. The presenters have undertaken two studies to evaluate the challenge, a questionnaire for freshman students, and a Q sort for teachers, advisors and other staff. In this presentation, some preliminary results will be shared, and discussion of the implications of these results and ideas for improvements to the orientation will be welcomed. Poster PDF here.
Xreading as a Resource for Self-Access Learning
Paul Goldberg (Xreading)
Xreading is an online library of hundreds of graded readers from major publishers such as OUP, CUP, Cengage, and Macmillan. Every book has audio, quizzes, ratings, and more. The digital library is connected to an LMS that allows teachers to monitor their students’ reading progress. Xreading is an ideal and inexpensive resource for self-access learning because it provides students with unlimited, simultaneous access to all books, and can be accessed on computers, tablet, and smartphones. The presenter, who developed Xreading, will explain how the system can be effectively used as part of a class, and in a self-access learning environment. PDF here.
<Poster presentations in room 921, 14:24-14:55>
Integrating Self-Access Learning Center Resources to Promote Learning Autonomy and Identity Expression
David Cooke (Kanda University of International Studies)
The presenter will demonstrate how integration of SALC resources for an Identity and Language Learning course at a Japanese university promoted learner autonomy and prepared students for life outside of Japan. Participants will experience how scaffolded identity expression events (Norton, 2000) such as gallery presentations, panel discussions, near-peer interviews (Murphey, 1998), iMovie productions, and cultural festivals utilized the free conversation area, practice center, multilingual communication center, presentation room, and computer lab lowered students’ affective filters (Krashen, 1988) and increased their willingness to communicate. The presenter welcomes discussion on identity and will offer practical suggestions for incorporating SALC resources. PDF here.
Developing a Social Learning Space Step by Step: An Action Research Project
Clair Taylor (Gifu Shotoku Gakuen University)
This poster presentation tells the story of five cycles of an action research project which set out to tackle the problem of an underused conversation lounge facility at a university in Japan. Interventions included changes to the design, to the staffing, to the resources provided, and to the branding and publicizing of the space. The impacts of these changes were monitored by usage records and qualitative data from field notes and interviews. This presentation will be helpful for those starting or building up a low-budget space, highlighting both successful steps taken and pitfalls to avoid. PDF here.
MOOCs and Advising in Self-Access Centers: A fit?
Howard Doyle (Kochi University)
Platforms for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have been increasing in diversity, scope and number in recent years, including in the Language-Learning field. To some extent they are an alternative and competitor for self-access centers, but instead these two can compliment each other. This presentation focuses on qualities and limitations of both while working towards roles and places for language advisers regarding MOOCs. The current presentation considers learning in and from MOOC discussion forums, and space for this in adviser-learner negotiation: do MOOCs and introducing academic study and language advising compete or complement each other? PDF here.
XReading and its Self-Access Learning Potential
Richard John Walker (Reitaku University)
Online Extensive Reading library, Xreading, has definite potential as an optional resource in self-access centres and this presentation describes its past performance (as a supplementary graded adjunct in content-based courses) and its future promise. Spring 2016 questionnaire results provided insights into student-perception of it as a self-access learning tool; further reflection convinced the author of its efficacy in extending the ‘space’ in which worthwhile self-access activity takes place. By focusing on educational uses of screen-based media, this talk may also interest those looking to liberate students from unproductive uses of Smartphones. Poster PDF here.
Starting up a SAC at a Junior and Senior High School
Lorna S. Asami & Michelle Jerrems (Kanda Girls’ Junior and Senior High School)
The principal at Kanda Girls’ Junior and Senior High School is endeavoring to improve its academic standing by challenging traditional passive lecturing styles and pushing for interactive, student-centered classes. She has brought in a second vice-principal who is focused on professional growth and new ways of learning. Presently, the principal is backing the vice-principal’s suggestion to start a SAC and is considering how it will be staffed and run. This poster presentation will display our proposed design, cite research that provides direction to our list of goals, and invite valuable advice and knowledge from colleagues and administrators. Poster PDF here.
<Afternoon 15-minute presentations in rooms 911 & 912>
Progress Report of the SALC Restructure After the Kumamoto Earthquake
Yui Sawatari & Kayoko Horai (Sojo University)
This presentation is about the restructure of the Self-Access Learning Center (SALC) in a university after two consecutive great earthquakes in Kumamoto in April, 2016. The SALC facility was terribly damaged and designated as a restricted area on the campus. We resumed the SALC within 3 weeks by relocating it to the library. In this presentation, we discuss the practical issues we faced from different perspectives, such as an administrator, a learning advisor and a SALC director. This presentation reports how we dealt with the aftermath of the disaster and an afterword also suggests possible preventive measures for the future. PDF here.
Introducing a Mentoring Program for Experienced Learning Advisors
Satoko Kato (Kanda Institute of Foreign Languages)
The author of this study specializes in establishing professional development programs for Learning Advisors (LAs) in the field of advising in language learning. Six experienced LAs who participated in this study were asked to have mentoring sessions with the author, where the focus was placed on ‘reflective dialogue’ to promote mutual growth. In the presentation, the author will introduce the structure of the mentoring program being introduced as well as the findings based on the analysis of the dialogue and participants’ written reflective journals. Presentation PDF here.
Integrating a Self-Access Conversation Program in a Beginner Level English Course
Maho Sano (Soka University)
A self-access conversation program is integrated in a beginner level English course for the learners to practice speaking independently. However, several factors including lack of confidence hampered their visits to the program. To overcome the challenges and maximize the benefits of the program, in-class speaking strategy practice and a reflection sheet were introduced. This presentation will outline how the reflection sheet is designed and used, and how strategy practice is integrated in the English course. Then learners’ voices regarding in-class speaking strategy trainings, the use of the reflection sheet and their visits to the conversation program will also be shared. PDF here.
Using Portfolios to Integrate Self-access in the Curriculum
Marcel Van Amelsvoort (Juntendo University)
Programs need ways of introducing and acclimatizing learners to assets and encouraging sufficient engagement to ensure learning success can be tangibly experienced. Portfolios can be effective tools to introduce, organize, and track (for personal validation or assessment) learner use and performance in regards to self-selected and classroom learning. This can be done by integrating portfolio use with a counselling system, a learning center, and classes. Portfolios can be much more than just repository binders for student work. They can be a means of making student engagement visible, something that can be used by teachers, or the students themselves (through reflection or portfolio presentations). PDF here.
Lessons Learned About Effective Organization and Promotion During a Large-Scale SAC’s First Year
Thomas Mach & Shari Yamamoto (Konan University)
The Language LOFT is a campus-wide SAC that opened last fall at Konan University. First term usage statistics were acceptable, but we felt there was room for improvement. We achieved a fairly dramatic increase the following term through implementing critical changes in promotion strategy and organizational approach. Our organizational changes also appear to have made visits more purposeful and meaningful from the students’ perspective. In this presentation, the LOFT’s principal administrators will provide a brief overview of the facility’s layout and defining characteristics, share relevant visitation data, and explain the main strategies that resulted in increased student usage. PDF here.
自律的な学習態度形成を目指す学生による言語学習支援活動の成果と課題 (Effectiveness and Issues of Extracurricular Language Learning Activities Toward Enhancing Autonomy)
Peer Assistants in a SAC: Individual and Group Training
Meg Varney & Lindsay Mack (Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University)
Peer assistants (PAs) are an invaluable part of a SAC, providing students with a friendly and encouraging language-learning resource. PA training sessions must meet the needs of both new and continuing PAs on a variety of topics and skills. This session will explore one approach for providing training to a mixed group of new and experienced PAs. Training session frequency, format, procedures, and content will be discussed with a look at how to meet training needs from both a management and PA perspective. Regarding content, specific suggestions will be offered for developing PA tutoring skills in both speaking and writing. PDF here.
Rearing Bookworms: How to Encourage ESL/EFL Reading by Reading Clubs
Sannie Tang (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University)
Voluntary reading programmes, or reading clubs, are commonly used to foster students’ leisure reading habits to enhance their proficiency in the target language, but the challenge lies in encouraging students to participate in such programmes. This session aims to offer suggestions in designing these programmes to encourage leisure reading in L2. The speaker will share her experience, both as an administrator and a facilitator, in creating and running various reading programmes to mixed proficiency levels in different tertiary settings in Hong Kong. Tips on book selection, activities used, and other essential considerations on running reading clubs will also be discussed. PDF here.
Diversity and Leadership: Key Elements in Building a Successful Grassroots Learning Community
John Tomecsek, III (Osaka Kyoiku University)
The Global Learning Community at Osaka Kyoiku University has grown exponentially, not through mandatory participation requirements, but by virtue of a student-led, grassroots campaign. Student supporters actively participate in the management of the community. A concerted effort is made in the recruiting process to ensure a diverse staff which is representative of the student body. Training focuses on team building, leadership, problem solving, communication and student outreach. Emphasizing diversity and leadership, the GLC has made its student staff stakeholders in the success of the organization, and in the process has created a robust interdisciplinary student-driven community that continues to grow. PDF here (coming soon).
Database Design Basics for Managing, Assessing, and Evaluating Self-Access Learning
Branden Kirchmeyer (Sojo University)
A relational database was developed using open-source software specifically for a SAC at a small private university in southern Japan, which stores student survey responses, resource usage, and language learning activity data. The system allows for improved functionality in tracking self-access learning activities, as well as providing means to easily collect and analyze data regarding both student perspectives and actions. This presentation will provide attendees with an explanation of design principles, some sample results and data analyses, and suggestions for how similar individualized databases may be set up and utilized by other institutions. PDF here.