Published: Learning behaviors: Subtle barriers in L2 learning and Creating diagnostic frameworks for supporting focused, effective, self-directed learning

2 05 2013

ELI lecturer Brian Morrison published the following two articles: Learning behaviors: Subtle barriers in L2 learning in Studies and global perspectives of second language teaching and learning and Creating diagnostic frameworks for supporting focused, effective, self-directed learning in IATEFL 2012Conference Selections.

1. Morrison, B. R. (2013). Learning behaviors: Subtle barriers in L2 learning. In J. Schwieter (Ed.). Studies and global perspectives of second language teaching and learning, pp. 69-89. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing.


This chapter is concerned with a university course which was designed to focus on self-directed learning, target-language development, and empowerment of learners to make informed decisions about their own learning. The results of the study showed that the learners were not ready to take full responsibility for their learning; nevertheless, learners referred explicitly to how the course improved their language skills, their language learning skills, and their understanding of available resources, while an analysis of their learning journals indicated a vast improvement in ability to select and undertake goal-appropriate language learning activities. The chapter outlines the context, syllabus, and course implementation of an elective, self-directed language learning course for first-year Japanese university students. Change in language learning behavior that occurred as students implemented their individual learning plans (ILPs) outside the classroom was observed during document analysis of the learning journals of members of one class. The results suggest that even when these learners had an understanding of the principles discussed in class and used this knowledge to design an ILP, there were initially challenges breaking language learning habits which had been successful at high school but which were insufficient for achieving individual language learning goals.

2. Morrison, B.R. (2013). Creating diagnostic frameworks for supporting focused, effective, self-directed learning. In T. Pattison (Ed.). IATEFL 2012Conference Selections, pp. 47-49. Canterbury: IATEFL.

Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS) in Japan is a specialist language university with a purpose-built self-access centre, which is staffed and resourced to encourage out-of-class learning. This paper shows how support was developed to help students understand their self-directed learning needs through the design and use of diagnostic framework worksheets (DFW). While all skills are referred to, DFW examples have been selected from the speaking worksheet.




The ELI evaluates iPads and English language education

20 02 2013

The ELI has been pioneering the use of iPads in its EFL classes since the release of the first unit in 2010. Several pilot research projects have gauged the potential of iPads in the learning environment here. Projects headed by members of the Basic English Proficiency Project (BEPP) and the CALL Research Groups have investigated the potential impact of these tablet computers on language education. For instance, one project looked at the impact on the existing  infrastructure. Another tested the media production capability of the iPad. Last month, one of the projects, “The Integration of iPads at a Japanese university,” was published in the December 2012 issue of The JALT CALL Journal. Marnie Brown, ELI lecturer and one of the authors of the study commented, “I think iPads in education is the way forward.” The following is a video of Brown talking about everything iPad. Based on this previous research, starting in April 2013, the ELI will significantly expand the use of iPads in its curriculum.

Published: Integration of iPads into a Japanese university English language curriculum

9 01 2013

Eli lecturers Marnie Brown, Joachim Castellano, Erin Hughes, and Alex Worth’s research on the integration of iPads at KUIS has been published in the December 2012 issue of The JALTCALL Journal.

Abstract follows:

Tablet computers are a growing trend in education that has been gaining momentum since the introduction of the Apple iPad in 2010. This paper presents a case study at a Japanese university that investigated the integration of iPads into an existing English language curriculum. It reports on the experience of teachers and students using this particular tablet for several learning tasks in a Freshman English course. The tablets were used as a presentation tool, digital handout, Internet browser, transcription recorder, and media playback device. Data gathered from the study describe benefits and drawbacks of using tablet computers in the Japanese university EFL context. In addition, teacher and student views on using tablets in class activities were gauged. The researchers used direct observations, video recordings of student use, and survey data from teachers and students. It also details the mobile applications that were used for the classroom tasks. While the iPads showed promise in collaborative projects involving media, connectivity, unfamiliarity, and incompatibility issues limited their effectiveness. Although only a few iPads were available for the study, the issues and results are considered from the perspective of tablet technology in general. Furthermore, the lessons learned here might provide additional insights into the broader implementation of mobile devices in language learning environments.

Published: Shifting roles: From language teachers to learning advisors

21 11 2012

Learning advisors Bob Morrison and Diego Navarro published the following paper in System:

Morrison, B. R., & Navarro, D. (2012). Shifting roles: From language teachers to learning advisors. System 40(3), 349-359.


Although learning advisors are often qualified teachers, the skills they apply, such as those discussed by Kelly (1996), require a significant shift in approach regarding interaction with students. As teachers reorient themselves to advising, their role changes quite markedly from teaching language to advising on learning (Mozzon-McPherson, 2001). This challenging move requires professional development training to support and ease the shift in professional roles (Hafner and Young, 2007). As part of the professional development for advisors at Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS) in Japan, advisors undertake a series of ‘observations’ where they record and reflect on advising sessions. An analysis of these reflections was undertaken with a view to identifying common themes which provide important insights and practical implications for teachers considering advising and those involved in professional development for educators. The findings of the study show that the skills most commonly referred to are goal-setting, guiding, questioning and attending. A further skill of negotiation of meaning was also observed as being important in successful advising sessions. A greater understanding of these skills can inform language teachers who take on learning advisor roles.


  • Learner autonomy;
  • Self-directed learning;
  • Advising;
  • Counselling;
  • Professional development;
  • Reflective practice

Published: Investigating the Focus of Advisor Comments in a Written Advising Dialogue

26 09 2012

Eli lecturer Katherine Thornton and SALC Director Dr. Jo Mynard have published the following article:

Thornton, K. and Mynard, J. (2012). Investigating the Focus of Advisor Comments in a Written Advising Dialogue. in C. Ludwig and J. Mynard (Eds.) Autonomy in language learning: Advising in action. Canterbury, Kent: IATEFL. pp. 137 – 153.


“Advising in language learning involves the process and practice of helping students to direct their own paths so as to become more effective and more autonomous language learners” (Carson and Mynard, 2012, p. 4). Promoting reflection on the language learning process is an indispensible part of this process. The study described in this paper, focusing on written advising, examines advisors’ written responses to learners’ work within self-directed learning modules. It aims to establish what advisors choose to focus on and how they attempt to raise awareness of the language learning process with learners. We argue that written advising is not an inferior form of advising, as may be assumed from its relative absence from the field, but is a valuable way of helping students to focus on the metacognitive, cognitive and affective aspects of their learning processes, especially in an L2 context.

Published: The pedagogical benefits of a linguistic landscape project in Japan

19 09 2012

ELI lecturer Luke Rowland recently published the following journal article:

Rowland, L. (2012). The pedagogical benefits of a linguistic landscape project in Japan. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 1-12.

doi: 10.1080/13670050.2012.708319

This article examines the claims made by various scholars regarding the use of the linguistic landscape as a pedagogical resource within multilingual educational contexts. As an area of increasing interest in sociolinguistic research and with an established pedagogical history in L1 literacy classrooms, the study of publicly displayed texts, such as advertisements and road signs, is now beginning to find favour in L2 classrooms, particularly in English as a Second Language (ESL) contexts. As a point of difference, the current study describes the implementation of an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classroom project which required students to collect and analyse photographs of English used on signs in Japan. The students’ analyses of their local linguistic landscape are discussed with reference to the claims made in the relevant literature about the benefits of having language learners engage with texts displayed in public. Overall, the study supports the idea that pedagogical linguistic landscape projects can be valuable to EFL students in a variety of ways, particularly in the development of students’ symbolic competence and literacy skills in a multiliteracies sense.

Published: Learning lessons: Implementing the Autonomy Approach

17 07 2012

ELI Lecturer Brian Morrison published the following article:

Morrison, B.R. (2012). Learning lessons: Implementing the Autonomy Approach. IATEFL 2011Conference Selections, pp. 73-75. Canterbury: IATEFL.


Japanese education policy ensures that upon graduating from high school, 18-year-olds will have studied English for six years. If they have done well, they will have learned the vocabulary and grammar taught to them in class and this knowledge will have been applied successfully in gap-fill tests. Students who have gained high grades have thrived within this system. Kanda University, which specializes in languages, receives new undergraduates every year who have been successful in this way. However, the English-only policy in this institute’s English language classes, assessment of skills rather than of traditional grammar and vocabulary tests, and the greater independence expected of students can create a challenge for those who find the strategies that worked so well at high school are no longer fit for purpose. In recognition of this, the university promotes out-of-class learning with a purpose-built self-access centre, discussion areas, a writing centre, a practice centre and full-time learning advisors offering self-access learner-training courses and consultations. In 2010-11 a new elective taught course was piloted in an attempt to support students to become more effective language learners.

Published: From student-centred teaching to learner-led learning

17 07 2012

ELI Lecturer Brian Morrison published the following:

Morrison, B.R. (2012). From student-centred teaching to learner-led learning. Independence IATEFL Learner Autonomy SIG Newsletter 54, 10-12.


Perceptible changes in approaches to teaching and learning may be due to experience, the range of professional and academic qualifications, and changes in professional environment. One career pedagogue shares how his approach has changed by considering relevant moments in his career in order to disseminate his narrative with the community that informed him. This ethnographic account provided additional opportunities to reflect on what have been pivotal moments in his professional development.

Published: Working with textbooks: reconceptualising student and teacher roles in the classroom

3 07 2012

ELI lecturers Luke Rowland and Keith Barrs published the following article in the Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching journal:

Rowland, L., & Barrs, K. (2012). Working with textbooks: reconceptualising student and teacher roles in the classroom. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching [Online version]

Student reactions to different methods of in-class textbook use have received little attention in the literature on English language teaching. This article explores the responses of 57 Japanese university students to the replacement of teacher-led textbook lessons with small group, role- based textbook work in regular English reading classes. Insights into the challenges and opportunities presented by small group, role-based work were gained through a qualitative analysis of the students’ written lesson reflections. The findings reveal that although the students tended to view the new approach favourably, there were underlying issues related to responsibility, pressure and collaboration that emerged from the students’ lesson reflections. Conclusions point to the context-dependent and individually realised nature of classroom enterprise. In this article, the authors also contend that insights into classroom activity are best gained through research methodologies that allow for inquiry into
teaching/learning environments without disturbing pedagogical endeavour.






Published: Fostering computer-mediated L2 interaction beyond the classroom

28 05 2012

In the February 2012 issue of Language Learning and Technology, ELI lecturer Keith Barrs published an article titled,  Fostering computer-mediated L2 interaction beyond the classroom.


In language learning contexts a primary concern is how to maximise target language interaction both inside and outside of the classroom. With the development of digital technologies, the proliferation of language learning applications, and an increased awareness of how technology can assist in language education, educators are being presented with new opportunities to engage learners in innovative ways. This article reports on how technology was used to deal with the issue of an identified lack of English language interactional opportunities outside of the classroom at the author’s university in Japan. An Action Research (AR) project was initiated with a Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) programme being implemented during an eight-week summer vacation period, in order to provide a platform for students to interact in the target language outside of class. The article reports on the action research methodology undertaken and the results of the CMC programme interactions. It shows that a CMC programme can offer students a convenient and useful platform on which to continue to communicate in the target language while outside of their classes, but that the construction of the platform needs input from both teachers and students.