Huw Davies, Kanda University of International Studies, Chiba, Japan

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

Davies, H., & Mynard, J. (2021). Introduction. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 12(4), 317–318.

Welcome to the final issue of SiSAL journal for 2021. The cover picture for this issue was kindly provided by Elizabeth Lavolette and is a festive scene from Kyoto Sangyo University. Decorations and themed events in self-access centres in Japan are popular at this time of year, and on that note, we wish everyone a peaceful holiday and all the best for 2022. We would especially like to thank everyone who contributed articles to SiSAL Journal this year and to all the reviewers and editorial team members, especially the Associate Editor Robert Werner. As we go into the 13th year of the journal, we feel proud that with everyone’s help, we can publish four open-access issues of SiSAL Journal each year.

We hope you enjoy the three articles and two reviews in this issue. We were inspired by the innovative research approaches, for example, visual narratives (Howard et al.; Kashiwa), in-depth interviews (Kashiwa; Lavolette & Claflin), and learning space analysis using typologies (Lavolette & Claflin). The authors also highlight the important roles of peers in the learning process (Panmei & Waluyo; Howard et al.; Kashiwa).

Contents of This Issue

The first paper by Mayumi Kashiwa of Kanda University of International Studies is a case study of a university student who went from being a non-user to an active participant in a SALC. The author shows how a mind mapping activity done in class raised the student’s awareness of her individual learning ecology. This, in turn, led the student to strategically use the SALC as part of her routine. Looking beyond this case, Kashiwa considers the role classroom teachers should take to encourage learners to explore self-access opportunities.

In the second paper, Elizabeth Lavolette and Matthew Claflin from Kyoto Sangyo University in Japan present their investigation into a learning space at a university in Japan. They explore the extent to which the space could be considered to be like a self-access learning centre (SALC) and like a US-style learning centre (USLC). They then use their findings to suggest how the learning space could become more effective in achieving educational outcomes, taking up ideas from the two schools of thought.

The third paper by Stephanie Lea Howard, Gökçe Arslan, and Hamid Furkan Suluova from Yildrim University in Ankara, Turkey, is a case study of a small group of learners and a peer advisor (PA). The authors show how a PA is able to guide the four other learners through a personalised learning module and how all five participants experience transformational learning as evidenced by the analysis of feedback forms and metaphor drawings.

There are two contributions to the Summaries and Reviews section (edited by Hisako Yamashita). Firstly, there is a report and some reflections on a recent event hosted by the Research Institute for Learner Autonomy Education (RILAE) on the topic of agency and learner autonomy by Amelia Yarwood from Kanda University of International Studies, the host institution for the event.  The author not only gives a summary of the featured presentations and key themes but also reflects on her role as co-organiser of the event.

Finally, there is a review of, a website that can support learners in developing autonomous writing skills both inside and outside the classroom by Benjamin Panmei and Budi Waluyo from Walailak University, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand.

Notes on the Editors

Huw Davies is a learning advisor at Kanda University of International Studies in Chiba, Japan. He holds an MEd in Applied Linguistics (The Open University, UK) and is a PhD candidate in Educational Research (Lancaster University, UK). He has published papers on multilingualism, learner autonomy, and advisor professional development.

Jo Mynard is a professor in the Faculty of Global Liberal Arts, 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.