JASAL 2017 Annual Conference, KUIS

Kanda University of International Studies, Chiba, Japan
Saturday, December 16, 2017

Plenary Speaker
Garold Murray .jpg
Dr. Garold Murray
Okayama University
“Self-Access Environments as Self-Enriching Complex Dynamic Ecosocial Systems”

Over the past decade, there has been a proliferation of self-access learning in Japan. Most self-access centers start off as modest endeavours and over time develop into fully-fledged facilities. Successful self-access centers are in a continuous state of becoming. Change is one of their key features. One major change that has taken place so gradually over the years that it has been barely perceptible is the shift in the fundamental mission of self-access centres from places that support individual self-directed learners to spaces that also embrace the social dimensions of learning.

In my talk, I argue that self-access environments can be enriched by the inclusion of social learning spaces. Self-access centers, which incorporate social learning spaces, have the potential to become complex dynamic ecosocial systems.  As such, they can support the emergence of a wide variety of affordances for language learning. While complex dynamic systems cannot be created and the process of emergence cannot be engineered, both can be facilitated. In my talk, I will suggest steps that self-access workers might take to support the emergence of complex dynamic ecosocial systems and affordances for language learning.

To illustrate my views, I draw on data from three research projects, which investigated a social learning space at Okayama University. These projects include a five-year ethnography, a multiple-case study and a narrative inquiry. After describing the social learning space and outlining the studies, I will briefly summarize how the theoretical orientation shifted from a community of practice perspective to a complex dynamic systems approach. I will then share with you what I have learned from these studies and the implications for the development, management and day-to-day operation of self-access learning facilities.

Garold Murray is associate professor in the Center for Liberal Arts and Language Education at Okayama University. He holds a PhD in language education from the University of British Columbia. In addition to having taught EFL courses in undergraduate, graduate, and teacher education programs, he established and managed two self-access centers – one of which was open to the general public. He has served as convener of the AILA Research Network on Learner Autonomy in Language Learning (2005-2011) and president of the Japan Association of Self-Access Language Learning (2005-2010). His research interests focus on learner autonomy, social learning spaces, imagination, and semiotics of place. He is editor of the book The Social Dimensions of Learner Autonomy (2014), and co-editor of the books Identity, Motivation, and Autonomy in Language Learning (2011); Social Spaces for Language Learning: Stories from the L-café (2016); and Space, Place and Autonomy in Language Learning (2018).

Please register by Nov. 15, 2017 to get an early discount and reserve lunch and your place at the evening reception.

Registration Fees
Early registration fee (until Nov. 15) : ¥2,000
On-site registration fee: ¥3,000
Undergraduate students: Free
Lunch & Evening reception
Lunch (booked by Nov. 15): ¥1,000 (Asian Cafe buffet, vegetarian, Halal available)
Evening reception (light food and drinks, Booked by Nov. 15): ¥2,000
For those who do not book lunch, please pick up your own lunch on your way to KUIS. There are convenience stores near the Kaihin-Makuhari and Makuhari Stations.

Call for Presentations for JASAL 2017

Submit your proposal here. Submission deadline: Sunday, September 3, 2017


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