Published: Edited book on advising in language learning

21 05 2012

The following book was published this year:

Mynard, J., & Carson, L. (2012). Advising in Language learning: Dialogue, tools and context. Harlow, UK: Pearson Education.


Advising in Language Learning (ALL) brings together examples of advising practice and research from various international contexts in a fast-developing field. A theoretical model based on constructivism and sociocultural theory (the “Dialogue, Tools and Context Model”) is proposed and supported thoughout the book, as each of the contributions focuses on one or more areas of the model. In this volume the editors set out the general aims and understandings of the field, illustrating the innovative manner in which advisors around the world are working with learners and researching the practice of ALL.

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Published: The degree of directiveness in written advising

22 04 2012

KUIS learning advisors Jo Mynard and Katherine Thornton have published an article in the special issue of SiSAL Journal: Advising for language learner autonomy. Details as follows:

Mynard, J., & Thornton, K. (2012). The degree of directiveness in written advising: A preliminary investigation. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 3(1), 41-58.


In this paper, the researchers analyse written discursive devices that learning advisors (LAs) at their institution use in order to give input to learners on their self-directed work. The researchers analysed written advising approaches by seven LAs throughout an eight-week period and coded the discursive devices according to their degree of directiveness. The results of the research indicate that LAs draw on a range of discursive devices and use varying degrees of directiveness when addressing the needs and learning stage of the students. The results have implications for LA training at the authors’ institution.

Keywords: advising, self-directed learning, written feedback, discursive devices


Published: Transitioning from Teaching to Advising

12 12 2011

KUIS learning advisor Elizabeth Lammons has published a column in the IATEFL Learner Autonomy SIG newsletter. Details as follows:

Lammons, E. (2011). Finding my way: Transitioning from teaching to advising. Independence, 53, 27-31.

Elizabeth Lammons, a new Learning Advisor,  wrote a column reflecting on her experiences transitioning from teaching to becoming a learning advisior. In this first column, Liz discusses her previous teaching and how it influenced her decision to become a learning advisor. Also, Liz discusses the challenge she faced in not having a class of my own. Liz comments, “I hope that by sharing these experiences I am able to shed some light on some of the challenges that moving from a classroom to a role that supports learners outside the classroom can have on an educator’s professional development.”

Keywords: advising, professional development

Published: Autonomy in Language Learning: Opening a Can of Worms

12 12 2011

SALC Director Dr. Jo Mynard has co-edited a book with Carol J. Everhard and Richard Smith published by IATEFL. Details are as follows:

Everhard, C.J., & Mynard, J. with Smith, R. (2011) (Eds). Autonomy in language learning: Opening a can of worms. Canterbury: IATEFL.

This volume contains a collection of articles which were originally published between 2006 and 2010 in the Learner Autonomy SIGʼs newsletter Independence. All of the articles were written in connection with a project which likened exploring the multifaceted concept of learner autonomy to opening a metaphorical “can of worms”. Ten “worms” were released into the academic community, resulting in a series of short articles. The following areas are explored in this collection: Assessment, Classroom research, Counselling/advising, Culture, Learner training, Motivation, Self-access, Teacher autonomy, Teacher education, Technology.

Published: Second Language Development through Technology Mediated Strategic Interaction

12 12 2011

ELI Assistant Director Dr. Neil Johnson has published an article in the Asian EFL Journal co-authored with ex-ELI teacher Dr. Jonathan deHaan. Details as follows:

Johnson, N.H., & deHaan, J. (2011). Second language development through technology mediated strategic interaction. Asian EFL Journal, 14 (3), 69 – 101.

Teaching language proficiency can be particularly problematic in a Japanese university context because of issues with low motivation (Yashima, 2002; Oda, 1993), anxiety and shyness (Kitano, 2001), and practical difficulties associated with monitoring performance and providing effective feedback to large numbers of students. Strategic interaction (SI), as proposed by Di Pietro (1987), uses the scenario as an organizing principle for classroom practice. This involves learners being given different parts or roles in a situation to be resolved through language in unfolding interaction. In this paper, we explore and detail the design of an approach to SI that is mediated by use of an online wiki space and digital video technologies. Participants at a Japanese university engaged in an SI routine within the context of learning politeness strategies for a Business English course. Analysis of performance transcripts using a functional language framework, data from a post-performance discourse completion task, and learner reflections, confirm the potential that technology mediated SI holds for increasing language proficiency in this context. We argue that the data shows evidence of a shift from object-regulation towards increased self-regulation, in the genesis of language development.

Key words: Mediation; Strategic interaction; Technology; Sociocultural; Wiki

Published: Blended learning spaces: synchronous blending

7 11 2011

ELI lecturers Lara Promnitz-Hayashi, Daniel Jenks, Joe Geluso, Joachim Castellano and former lecturers Dirk MacKenzie and Roman Delgado, have published an article in the April 2011 issue of JALTCALL Journal. Publication details are as follows:

MacKenzie, D., Promnitz-Hayashi, L., Jenks, D., Geluso, J., Delgado, R., & Castellano, J., & Hinkleman, D. (2011). Blended learning spaces: Synchronous Blending. JALTCALL Journal 7(1), 43-60.

Discussions of blended learning (BL) have generally failed to account for the synchronous combination of computer-mediated and face-to-face interactions that can occur within a blended learning space (BLS). This paper provides an overview of BLS use by a department of 51 teachers at a Japanese university specializing in foreign language learning. Data was collected via a teacher questionnaire (n=38, response rate=75%) and follow-up interviews. Compared to non-BLS lessons, BLS lessons had different lesson goals, different patterns of interaction, different types of homework, more variety of media, and more variety of input and output. BLS lessons also showed signs of increased learner autonomy and motivation.

Published: Student Technology Use in a Self-Access Center

21 10 2011

ELI Lecturers Joachim Castellano and Troy Rubesch and ELI Assistant Director Jo Mynard have published an article in the October 2011 issue of Language Learning & Technology Journal. Publication details are as follows:

Castellano, J., Mynard, J., & Rubesch, T. (2011). Student technology use in a self-access center. Language Learning & Technology Journal, 15(3), 12-27.

Technology has played an increasingly vital role in self-access learning over the past twenty years or so, yet little research has been conducted into learners’ actual use of the technology both for self-directed learning and as part of everyday life. This paper describes an ongoing action research project at a self-access learning center (SALC) at a university in Japan. Previous research has mainly looked at resource availability in a self- access setting (see for example Lázaro & Reinders, 2007) or has evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of various technology tools (for example Ruiz-Madrid, 2006; Mynard, 2009). This paper presents an expansive view of technology-based language learning tools that includes materials design, support, and purchasing decisions. The paper shares findings of a qualitative research study involving a questionnaire and interviews with self- access center users. Concrete, corrective actions to remedy issues and improve language- learning opportunities for SALC users are reported. These include: raising awareness of the materials, improving formal and informal support, developing materials based on students’ patterns of use, and making more strategic purchasing decisions. Broader implications of the research are that technology deployment and support can be improved by focusing careful attention on the students served by a particular self-access center.

Published: The bespoke syllabus, objective setting and WIN analyses.

21 10 2011

SALC Learning Advisor Bob Morrison published an article in the Independence IATEFL Learner Autonomy SIG Newsletter.

Morrison, B. R. (2011). The bespoke syllabus, objective setting and WIN analyses. Independence IATEFL Learner Autonomy SIG Newsletter 52, 16-18.

In Richard’s (2001) seminal work on curriculum development and syllabus design, he discusses “organized course[s] of language instruction” (p.1). Much of what is covered in the areas of planning goals and learning outcomes are clearly relevant when planning a bespoke syllabus for an individual learner, yet the teacher-led needs analysis goes against the philosophy underlying self-directed language learning and the autonomy approach to learner facilitation. Nevertheless, with a few modifications, learners can be guided through a process of objective setting which goes beyond needs analysis to incorporate wants and interests. For learners without a clear knowledge of their learning objectives or the gaps in their linguistic abilities, this will result in learner-generated focus that can identify a clear purpose for language learning.

Published: Developing a classroom-based self-access learning course: A course evaluation

21 10 2011

SALC Learning Advisor Tanya McCarthy has published an article in volume 3 of ELTWO Journal. Publication information is as follows:

McCarthy, T. M. (2011). Developing a classroom-based self-access learning course: A course evaluation. ELTWO Journal, volume 3.

This paper is based on the premise that a considerable amount of language can be acquired outside the classroom lesson, and that as educators it is our responsibility to raise awareness of the value of self-directed learning. Self-access language learning (SALL) promotes the idea that as there are different types of learners with different language needs, students learn better if they are actively in control of their own learning. The paper focuses on how a SALL course was integrated into the curriculum at a private university in Japan. A mixed method approach incorporated whole class and small group discussion, reflective diary writing, out-of-class learning and one-to-one meetings with the teacher. Feedback on the course from a questionnaire was used to evaluate learners’ perception of the effectiveness of the program. Results were favorable, showing that learners found this mode of learning helpful in organizing study habits; sustaining motivation; improving specific language skills; and increasing knowledge of self-access resources.

Published: Pre-university experience of ICT and self-access learning in Japan

10 10 2011

ELI lecturer Thomas Lockley has published an article in the September 2011 issue of the Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal. Publication information follows:

Lockley, T. (2011). Pre-university experience of ICT and Self-Access Learning in Japan. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 2(3), 182-194.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) can play a key role in self-access
learning and the organization of self-access centres (SACs) (Reinders & Lázaro,
2007). The generation of young people currently at university has been labeled
“digital natives” (Prensky, 2001), yet it would seem that many of these “natives” in
Japan seem to lack the necessary ICT skills to use in the university context
(Castellano, Mynard & Rubesch, 2011; Williams, 2011). This paper assesses the
current situation of Japanese young people’s pre-university ICT experience and its
implications for self-access learning. Do they actually lack the necessary skills to
engage with self-access in an ICT context? Or does the reality in fact show that this
perception is wrong and if so why? This paper will answer the questions through
original research (N=105) and reference to the literature, globally and in Japan. It
finds that students have more competence than previously believed and ventures some
reasons for this previous misperception.