Call for Papers: Special Issue on Self-Access and Young Learners

SiSAL Journal is planning to publish a special issue on self-access and young learners in December 2015 (Volume 6, Issue 4).

Editors of the special issue: Annamaria Pinter, Robert J. Werner, and Jo Mynard

Information for potential contributors

The theme of this special issue is self-access and young learners, and the editors feel that bringing these two active areas of research and practice together is long overdue. Institutions investing in self-access language facilities and advising programmes tend to be at the tertiary level, yet there are benefits for providing such support in schools, public spaces, and community centres. Surely, if we are to equip our learners with skills for autonomous learning beyond the classroom, then the earlier we start, the better?

However, we aren’t starting completely from scratch as there has already been some interest in the area. For example, in recent years the theme of ‘learning beyond the classroom’ has received an increasing amount of attention (e.g. Benson & Reinders, 2011; Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, 2015). We might also fruitfully draw upon related fields such as extensive reading (Day & Bamford, 1998; Robb & Kano, 2013 ); online learning and gaming (Sundqvist & Sylvén, 2014a; 2014b); Exploratory Practice (Allwright & Lenzuen, 1997; Dar & Grieve, 2013); and the power of stories for younger learners (Ahlquist & Lugossy, 2015). Although only a few writers (e.g. Gardner & Miller, 1999; Vettorel, 2015) have focussed specifically on self-access language learning aimed at young learners, we may refer to some previous work for direction, especially given that one of the aims of self-access learning is to promote learner autonomy and much of this work may actually start in the classroom. Examples include: developing autonomous learning skills in young learners (e.g. Ellis, 2011; Pinter, 2006); promoting critical thinking in young learners (Puchta & Williams, 2012); and young learner involvement in research (Pinter, 2014).

The editors invite submissions from colleagues who are involved in some way in supporting younger language learners (i.e. learners aged 18 or below) outside the classroom through systems that could be associated with self-access learning. Examples might include self-access resources for language learning (physical or online), advising programmes, the development of learner autonomy and self-directed language learning, language-learning communities, activity groups, or projects. The papers can be research papers, theoretical papers, and/or practical papers. Themes may include (but are not restricted to):

  1. Space design principles for supporting young language learners in self-access settings.
  2. Appropriate self-access materials for younger language learners.
  3. Supporting and/or promoting reading and/or writing outside the classroom/curriculum.
  4. Advising young language learners.
  5. Online and e-learning for young language learners.
  6. Supporting self-directed project work outside the classroom.
  7. Promoting learner autonomy and self-directed learning skills in young language learners for self-access.
  8. Support for speaking and/or listening skills development outside the classroom.
  9. Administrative and/or management systems and processes for running self-access centres for young learners.
  10. Staffing considerations and training for self-access for young learners.

Submissions  dealing with classroom-based approaches may be considered, but authors should make clear links with self-access learning for this special issue.

This special issue will publish the following:

  1. Research papers (around 4000 words)
  2. Summaries and works in progress (around 2000 words)
  3. Descriptions of practice and practical applications based on research (up to 3500 words)
  4. Perspectives (opinions and reflections) (around 2000 words)
  5. Reviews of events, academic books, articles, and learning resources (around 2000 words)

Submissions will follow the usual blind peer review process. Please refer to the following page for a detailed description of submission types and format:

Deadline for submissions: August 10th, 2015


Ahlquist, S., & Lugossy, R. (2015). Stories and storyline. Hong Kong: Candlin & Mynard ePublishing.

Allwright, D., & Lenzuen, R. (1997). Exploratory Practice: Work at the Cultura Inglesa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Language Teaching Research, 1(1), 73-79. doi:10.1177/136216889700100105

Benson, P., & Reinders, H. (2011). Learning beyond the classroom. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Dar, Y., & Grieve, S. (2013). The use of Exploratory Practice as a form of collaborative practitioner research. International Student Experience Journal, 1(1), 19-24. Retrieved from

Day, R. R., & Bamford, J. (1998). Extensive reading in the second language classroom. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Ellis, G. (2011). Learner training and young learners. In C. J. Everhard and J. Mynard with R. Smith (Eds.), Autonomy in language learning: Opening a can of worms (pp. 99-102). Canterbury, UK: IATEFL.

Gardner, D., & Miller, L. (1999). Establishing self-access: From theory to practice. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Pinter, A. (2006). Teaching young learners. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Pinter, A. (2014). Child participant roles in applied linguistics research. Applied Linguistics, 35(2), 168-183. doi:10.1093/applin/amt008

Puchta, H., & Williams, M. (2012). Teaching young learners to think: ELT activities for young learners aged 6–12. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Robb, T., & Kano, M. (2013). Effective extensive reading outside the classroom: A large-scale experiment. Reading in a Foreign Language, 25(2), 234–247. Retrieved from

Sundqvist, P., & Sylvén, L. K. (2014a, Sept 2). How Swedish children learn English through gaming. The Conversation. Retrieved from

Sundqvist, P., & Sylvén, L. K. (2014b). Language-related computer use: Focus on young L2 English learners in Sweden. ReCALL.26(1), 3-20. doi: 10.1017/S0958344013000232.

Vettorel, P. (2015). Teaching technologies: Setting up self-access centres. One-stop English. Retrieved from:


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