Introduction

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

Mynard, J. (2021). Introduction. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 12(1), 1–3. https://doi.org/10.37237/120101

Welcome to the first issue of SiSAL journal for 2021. The current issue is a regular issue which contains five regular papers, one ethnography, and two reviews. Contributions come from colleagues based in Japan, New Zealand, Turkey and the USA. I would like to thank the contributing authors for choosing to publish in SiSAL Journal and working with us closely during the review stages. Enormous thanks and appreciation as usual go to the reviewers and editorial team members who make the publication of this journal possible.

Contents of This Issue

The first paper by Doğuş Aydın and Birsen Tütüniş from Istanbul Kultur University, Turkey is a case study investigating how language advising strategies can be incorporated into private tutoring with beneficial outcomes. The study centers on how a tutor took on an autonomy-supportive role and helped a language learner to take more responsibility for her learning, particularly in the area of vocabulary.

In the second paper, Akiko Kiyota from Waseda University in Tokyo Japan documents the socialization process of beginner-level Japanese university students into an on-campus English lounge over a one-year period. Drawing on analyzed data collected from learners’ reflective journals, the author noted instances of resilience and adaptability allowing some learners to thrive in the L2 environment.

In the third paper by Sara B. Ferguson from Nagoya University of Commerce and Business in Japan, the author examined how creativity can be fostered in self-access learning environments. The article contains several practical examples of tools that promote creative development which also have great potential to increase learner engagement and even promote the development of higher order skills.

In the next article, Anne Schiller from George Mason University in the USA explores origins, practices and functions of an informal English conversation club based in Puglia, Italy. Drawing on preliminary findings from interviews and questionnaires, the author notes two key reasons for the club’s longevity and success: the conversation topics are wide-ranging and sustain interest, and the group fosters multicultural community building.

The final article in this section is by Qunyan Maggie Zhong from Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. The author presents a study that examines collaborative inquiry in outside-classroom settings, namely an asynchronous discussion forum. A thematic analysis of the peer-moderated forum posts showed evidence of knowledge co-construction as well as deep understanding of the content within a collaborative and supportive community.   

In the fourth and final part of an autoethnography series written by Robert J. Werner from Ryutsu Keizai University, Japan, the author, a self-directed learner of French, discusses how he enriched his vocabulary and improved his listening skills through French language songs. The author reflects on the role of autoethnography in developing empathy with other language learners, and in enhancing the awareness of teaching and learning in oneself in general.  

Finally, in the review section (edited by Hisako Yamashita), there are two reviews of recent online events hosted by institutions in Japan. Firstly, Ross Sampson from Kanda University of International Studies in Japan gives a summary and some reflections after attending the first graduation symposium to celebrate the first cohort of graduates of the learning advisor education program. The author comments on the five featured talks given by leaders in the field of advising in language learning. In the second review, Jason R. Walters from Nagoya University of Foreign Studies in Japan provides a detailed summary of the 15th annual conference event for the Japan Association for Self-Access Learning (JASAL). The author summarizes 17 presentations within three themes: autonomy-supportive learning projects; SALC development via research and reflection; and reflections on the transition to emergency remote self-access in 2020.

Notes on the Editor

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.