Introduction

Introduction

Jo Mynard, Kanda University of International Studies, Japan

Hisako Yamashita, Konan Women’s University, Japan

Mynard, J., & Yamashita, H. (2020). Introduction. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 11(1), 1-4. doi:10.37237/110101

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Welcome to the March 2020 issue of SiSAL Journal which contains two regular papers, two reviews, one summary, and a call for papers.

Research Papers

The first paper is by André Parsons of Hokkaido University of Education, Japan and Stuart Warrington, Nagoya University of Commerce and Business, Japan. The authors explore how an assignment requiring students to use a self-access learning centre affected their awareness of the opportunities available to them. Although forced self-access use might contradict the autonomous nature of a facility, the researchers designed a ‘push’ assignment in order to facilitate student discovery of a SALC. The findings show that the assignment did help to raise awareness of the SALC, but continued optional use was minimal. The authors explore the reasons for this and also consider how future interventions might include further ‘push’ activities.

In the second paper, Yukari Rutson-Griffiths and Arthur Rutson-Griffiths, both based at Hiroshima Bunkyo University in Japan, examine links between study time, self-directedness, and language gain. The researchers surveyed students taking English classes about their typical self-access centre usage, independent language study time, and their readiness for self-directed learning as indicated on the Self-Directed Learning Readiness Scale (SDLRS) (Guglielmino & Associates, LLC). The findings indicate that the SDLRS predicts independent study time, and that language students with high self-directedness are less likely to seek out the support of a self-access centre.

Reviews

The first review is by Jackson Koon Yat Lee of Gifu University, Japan. The author reviews the Japan Association for Self-Access Learning (JASAL) 2019 National Conference: New Beginnings, which was held at Otemon Gakuin University Ibaraki Campus in Osaka, Japan, on November 30th and December 1st, 2019. The author participated in the JASAL 2019 National Conference for the first time, and in his review article, he shares his major revelations which he gathered throughout the conference as a beginner in the subject, from the perspective of a person brand new to the field of self-access language learning. The author specifically reviews the presentations related to the three themes which deeply resonated with the issues he is experiencing through his self-access work: 1) incentives for visiting SALCs, 2) use of online spaces, and 3) student involvement in running SALCs.

The second review is by Nashid Nigar from the University of Melbourne, Australia. The author reviews the English for Academic Study (EFAS) course on FutureLearn, a digital education platform which offers a handful of English language courses created by reputed universities in the United Kingdom, and also the British Council. The courses on FutureLearn are mostly free to access for a limited period and both English language teachers and students can use the courses for their teaching and learning needs. The author reviews the EFAS course from the perspective of its audience, objectives, topics, components, structures, and the learning and assessment tools.

Summaries

Jo Mynard, Louise Ohashi, Ward Peeters, Scott J. Shelton-Strong, Andrew D. Tweed, Satoko Watkins, and Isra Wongsarnpigoon from different higher education institutions in Japan have provided a summary of a research forum held at the Japan Association of Language Teachers (JALT) in Nagoya, Japan in November 2019. The paper gives a summary of the forum, entitled Understanding Learner Autonomy Through Research, including a description of the four research presentations and comments on the main themes.

Call for Papers: Special issue on Self-access and the Coronavirus Pandemic

SiSAL Journal is planning to publish a special issue on Self-access and the Coronavirus Pandemic in September 2020 (Volume 11, Issue 3). The deadline for submissions is July 20th, 2020. The Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has had an enormous and unprecedented effect on the whole world. Society has changed in fundamental ways and people around the globe are increasingly turning to technology to attempt to keep systems going and to maintain social bonds. We are interested in accounts of how colleagues around the world are attempting to overcome significant challenges. For more information, please see the website (https://sisaljournal.org/for-authors/cfp-coronavirus). We are interested in both successful and less successful interventions so that we might learn from our experiences. We are also interested in hearing from anyone who would be interested in editing, co-editing, or being part of the editorial and review boards for this special issue. Please contact the editor: editor@sisaljournal.org.

The previously advertised special issue featuring papers from the IATEFL LASIG Conference, Metamorphosis: A Journey of Self-Directed Learning and Advising, to be hosted by Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University, School of Foreign Languages, Ankara, Turkey (edited by Tarık Uzun, Hatice Karaaslan and Stephanie Lea Howard), has been postponed until a later date.

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

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.

Hisako Yamashita is a lecturer and learning advisor at Konan Women’s University in Kobe, Japan. She is the former President, and current Student Involvement Coordinator of JASAL, the Japan Association for Self-Access Learning. Her research interests include advising in language learning, peer reflective dialogues and the application of learner autonomy into a variety of classroom environments.

Reference

Guglielmino & Associates, LLC. (n.d.). Learning preference assessment. Retrieved from   https://www.lpasdlrs.com/