Jo Mynard, Kanda University of International Studies, Japan

Mynard, J. (2020). Introduction. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 11(4), 298–300.

Welcome to the latest issue of SiSAL journal. Interest in self-access—and particularly with online learning—has increased dramatically in this challenging year as you will have seen from the previous special issue published in September 2020. The current issue is a regular issue, and we hope you will enjoy reading the contributions that leave us with a hopeful direction for the new year. I would like to extend heartfelt thanks to all the reviewers and editorial team members who generously donated their time this year to ensure that we can continue to publish this open-access, peer review journal and take it into its 12th year of publication. Special thanks go to:

  • Adelia Peña Clavel
  • Adelina Ruiz-Guerrero
  • Amelia Yarwood
  • Andrew Tweed
  • Carol J. Everhard
  • Dominique Vola Ambinintsoa
  • Helen Hendaria Kamandhari Tungga Walan 
  • Hisako Yamashita
  • Honggang Liu
  • Isra Wongsarnpigoon
  • Jung Wu
  • Katherine Thornton
  • Lixiang Gao
  • Metin Esen
  • Qunyan Zhong
  • Robert J. Werner
  • Stuart Warrington
  • Tarik Uzun
  • Walkyria Magno e Silva
  • Yiting Han

Contents of This Issue

In the first paper Daniel Hooper from Kanda University of International Studies in Japandescribes the ways in which members identify with the community of practice of a student-led learning community within a university SALC. Using Wenger’s (2010) modes of identification – engagement, imagination, and alignment, the findings of the pilot study indicate that members express the desire for (1) an accessible learning environment, (2) membership in an international imagined community of English users, and (3) the ability to negotiate sociocultural norms.

In the second paper, Fang-Ying Yang from the National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan examines Mandarin-speaking EFL learners’ autonomous learning processes and perceptions. Findings of the study show that participants adopted various strategies and self-regulation skills when voluntarily listening to TED talks of their choice outside formal classroom learning.

In the third part of an autoethnography series written by Robert J. Werner from Ryutsu Keizai University, Japan, a self-directed learner of French, the author discloses ways in which he attempted to enrich his vocabulary and improve his listening skills. Drawing on his longtime interest in accents and dialects, the Werner provides a moving account of some turning points in his own learning.

Finally, in the review section (edited by Hisako Yamashita), Judith Buendgens-Kosten from Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, explores ‘The Secret Agent’s Language Challenges’ App. The author examines the contents, the benefits, and some of the strengths and weaknesses of the app which was originally based on the Linguistic Risk-Taking Initiative where learners are encouraged to take small risks to use the languages they are learning (Slavkov & Séror, 2019).

Notes on the Editor

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.


Slavkov, N., & Séror, J. (2019). The development of the linguistic risk-taking initiative at the University of Ottawa. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 75(3), 254–272.

Wenger, E. (2010). Communities of practice and social learning systems: The career of a concept. In C. Blackmore (Ed.), Social learning systems and communities of practice (pp. 179–198). Springer.