Introduction

Introduction 

Diego Mideros, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago

Jo Mynard, Kanda University of International Studies, Chiba, Japan

Mideros, D., & Mynard, J. (2019). Introduction. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 10(4), 319-322. https://doi.org/10.37237/100401

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Articles

In the first paper by Shawn Andersson and Maho Nakahashi, the authors describe an innovative enterprise for self-access language learning: online synchronous support. They implemented online self-access services for English language learners at Osaka University in Japan. Their aim was to cater to a wider student population from different campuses. The implementation sought to assist learners to practise and improve conversation, presentation and writing skills via Skype video conferencing. They report that the student population mostly sought online services to practise conversation and writing, and the objective to reach students from distant geographical locations was achieved, which speaks of the potential of online self-access for language learning.

Next, Atsumi Yamaguchi, Erin Okamoto, Neil Curry, and Katsuyuki Konno illustrate how they went about adapting a checklist in order to evaluate self-access materials. Based on a checklist designed by Reinders and Lewis (2006) for a self-access centre (SAC) in New Zealand, the authors systematically collected data from Japanese learners to adapt the checklist at a SAC in a Japanese university. The study shows how important it is to get the learners’ input when it comes to evaluating self-access materials to consider learners’ contextual interests and likes. The authors illustrate how whereas some areas were found to be relevant (or irrelevant) for the learners in the original study (Reinders & Lewis, 2006), the same was not the case with the Japanese learners who participated in this study.

In the third paper, Amelia Yarwood, Crystal Rose-Wainstock, and Michelle Lees describe an intervention where they managed to combine classroom peer discussions with possible self-access use at Kanda University in Japan. The authors show evidence of support for basic psychological needs autonomy, relatedness, and competence in using English in self-access. Using a set of prompts, the authors encouraged non-English majors to reflect on how they would react and behave in given situations where the use of English would be required. The data gathered from the intervention suggest that the classroom discussions helped students to become aware of their own competencies and was a first step for some students to reflect on how to take action and maximise the opportunities available to practise their English at the self-access centre.

Finally, Qunyan Maggie Zhong and Howard Norton from Unitec in New Zealand explore the roles and facilitation strategies of online peer moderators. Through content analysis, the authors investigated student-led discussions on the forum of a Learning Management System. They highlight the main strategies employed by the student facilitators who led the discussion on the forum, while the course teachers observed. They found that encouraging students to lead online discussions results in students taking more responsibility for their own learning. At the same time, student-led discussions create positive interdependence in which students support and learn from each other.

Reviews

There are two reviews in this section which have been edited by Hisako Yamashita who is a lecturer and learning advisor at Konan Women’s University in Kobe, Japan. The first is a book review of Autonomy in Language Learning and Teaching: New Research Agendas edited by Alice Chik, Naoko Aoki and Richard Smith. The review was written by Gamze A. Sayram from Macquarie University ELC in Australia.

The second is the review of an event, the Self-Determination Theory Conference which was held at Egmond aan Zee in the Netherlands in May 2019. The conferences was reviewed by Amelia Yarwood from Kanda University of International Studies in Japan.

SiSAL Journal News

SiSAL Journal is in its 11th year and we are delighted to report that it has been accepted for inclusion in Scopus. We are working with the Scopus team to enable this to happen in early 2020. In addition, the journal has been accepted for membership of Crossref which will enable us to register our content and add doi numbers to all of our articles from now on. Doi numbers for previously published papers will also be added gradually over the coming year. Finally, we will be updating our manuscript submission system in order to manage the workflow and editorial process more easily. Thank you for your continued support for SiSAL Journal and we wish you all the best for the new decade.

Acknowledgements

We would like to express our sincere thanks to the reviewers and editorial team members for their generosity in sharing their time and knowledge to ensure that this peer-review journal can continue to be published. In addition, we thank the authors for choosing to publish in SiSAL Journal and their contributions to the growing body of quality published work in the area of self-access.

Notes on the Editors

Diego Mideros is a lecturer in Spanish at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago. He holds a PhD in Linguistics awarded by the same university. His research interests include autonomy and agency in language learning, phenomenological research and qualitative approaches in language learning, identity and sociocultural research.

Jo Mynard is a professor in the English Department, Director of the Self-Access Learning Center, and Director of the Research Institute for Learner Autonomy Education at Kanda University of International Studies in Chiba, Japan. She holds an M.Phil in Applied Linguistics (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland) and an Ed.D. in TEFL (University of Exeter, UK). Her research interests include advising in language learning, the psychology of language learning, and learning beyond the classroom.

Reference

Reinders, H., & Lewis, M. (2006). The development of an evaluative checklist for self-access materials. ELT Journal, 60(2), 272-278. Retrieved from https://unitec.researchbank.ac.nz/handle/10652/2468