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.

http://blog.nus.edu.sg/eltwo/2011/08/17/developing-a-classroom-based-self-access-learning-course-a-course-evaluation/





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.

 





Published: Is grammar anxiety hindering English speaking in Japanese students

10 10 2011

ELI lecturer Thomas Lockley and former ELI lecturer Stephanie Farrell have published an article in the November 2011 issue of the JALT Journal. Publication information follows:

Lockley, T., & Farrell, S. (2011). Is grammar anxiety hindering English speaking in Japanese students? JALT Journal, 33(1), 175-189.

Researchers and teachers have observed time and again that speaking in the L2
causes anxiety in many Japanese students (Cutrone, 2009; Kitano, 2001); the students
seem to be afraid of making mistakes in front of their peers and teachers. Is
the reason for this fear anxiety about the speaker’s grammar? This study, based on
questionnaire data obtained from 54 Japanese EFL students at a university in Japan,
explored the relationship between language learners’ confidence in their grammatical
ability and their actual speaking performance. The relationships were examined
between students’ perceptions of their grammatical competence (self-evaluation),
actual speaking level (scores from the Kanda English Proficiency Test [KEPT]), and
overall strength in English (scores from the Test of English for International Communication
[TOEIC]). Qualitative data collected from the questionnaire was also
analysed. The study did not find a significant relationship between confidence in
grammar and speaking. Self-perception of grammatical ability appears to have little
to do with how a person performs orally.





Published: Self-directed learning modules for independent learning

10 10 2011

ELI lecturer Brian Morrison has published an article in the June 2011 issue of the Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal. Publication information follows:

Morrison, B. R. (2011).  On Self-directed learning modules for independent learning: IELTS exam preparation. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal 2(2),  51-67

Learners studying for exams sometimes show a lack of awareness in their abilities as tested through the framework of that exam. Instead, such learners focus on the score obtained in exams, and exam preparation includes using textbooks, online materials and timed use of past papers. The purpose of exam-focused flexible self-directed learning modules (FSDLMs) at Kanda of International Studies have been designed to address this by developing learners’ ability to identify their strengths and weaknesses, to make informed decisions about their own learning, and to improve their test-taking skills. Each FSDLM has at its core a diagnostic for learners to use for self-evaluation, often with guidance from a learning advisor. This process leads to the setting of clear goals and the development and implementation of an individual learning plan through a variety of dialogues. Learners have the potential to transfer this skill beyond examination preparation to other areas of learning. In other words, learners’ awareness of needs analysis, planning, implementation and evaluation is fostered with a view to developing their language learning ability within and beyond this module.





Published: The importance of affective factors in self-access language learning Courses

10 10 2011

ELI Assistant Director Jo Mynard has published an article in the June 2011 Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal. Publication information follows:

Valdivia, S., McLoughlin, D., & Mynard, J. (2011). The importance of affective factors in self-access language learning courses. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 2(2), 91-96.

The Importance of Affective Factors in Self-Access Language Learning Courses

In this short summary, we investigate the importance of learners’ emotional involvement in self-directed learning. We begin by briefly examining the literature related to affective factors in self-access language learning. We then describe two examples of institutions with self-access centres that place particular importance on affective factors in courses of self-directed study. The first example is in a university in Japan, where affective strategies are introduced through self-directed learning modules. The second example is in a university in Mexico, where educators are investigating how feelings about self-access language learning can change over time.





Published: Editorial in SiSAL special issue on skills development and practice

10 10 2011

ELI Assistant Director Jo Mynard has published an article in the March 2011 Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal. Publication information follows:

Mynard, J. (2011). Editorial. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 2(1), 1 – 3.

Editorial – Special Issue on Skills Development and Practice

The March 2011 issue of SiSAL Journal was a special issue on skills development and practice in the field of self-access learning and this editorial summarizes the contributions. Some contributions were related to language skill areas and other contributors interpreted the theme in a broader sense which led to a very interesting and varied issue. For example, self-directed learning is an important skill area, particularly in the context of self-access learning. This issue touches on both linguistic and non-linguistic development for outside class learning.





Published: Editorial – special issue on learner involvement

10 10 2011

ELI Assistant Director Jo Mynard has published an article in the June 2011 Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal. Publication information follows:

Mynard, J. (2011). Editorial. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 2(2), 48-50.

Editorial – Special Issue on Learner Involvement

The June, 2011 issue of SiSAL Journal had the theme of “Learner Involvement” and the editorial summarizes the contributions and makes distinctions between some of the different ways in which learners can be involved in self-access learning. Learner involvement is relevant to self-access learning in a number of ways and this special issue highlights three of them through its contributions. Firstly, there is a learner’s involvement in his or or her own self-directed learning. Secondly, there is the emotional involvement with learning. Thirdly, there is learner involvement in the actual running of a self-access centre.





Published: Editorial in SiSAL special issue on CALL, E-learning and M-learning

10 10 2011

ELI Assistant Director Jo Mynard has published an article in the September 2011 SiSAL journal. Here is the following publication information:

Mynard, J. (2011). Editorial. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 2(3), 100-106.

Editorial – Special Issue on CALL, E-learning and M-learning

Technology has, in one form of another, been a part of self-access learning since the very first self-access centres (SACs) of the 1980s. Some of the better-funded centres featured elaborate listening and recording machinery and (occasionally) early personal computers. Early software programmes and language-learning websites available for self-access use tended to be aimed at individual study, initially following the language lab model, and were often designed to teach or test discrete language points. Of course, in 2011 programmes aimed at individual study do still exist and certainly have a place in self-access learning, particularly if a learner has identified a target language area that the software or website covers. However, in this special issue we go beyond language learning software and look at tools and technologies currently available to the learner as self-access resources.





At the SILC: Public Lecture by Dr. Rod Ellis, University of Auckland

29 09 2011

Dr. Rod Ellis, University of Auckland, will speak at the Sojo International Learning Center (SILC) on Wednesday, October 12, 2011, 18:00-19:15. Please note that this event will be held at Sojo University Kumamoto, Japan and not on the Chiba campus of Kanda University. The SILC is a project of the ELI’s External Language Consultancy Center (ELCC).

Public Lecture by Dr. Rod Ellis, University of Auckland

Wednesday, October 12, 2011, 18:00-19:15

Focusing on Form in the Communicative Classroom

Sojo International Learning Center (SILC)
Sojo University
Kumamoto, Japan
〒860-0082 熊本県熊本市池田4丁目22−1
Free to the public

Current theories of second language acquisition emphasise the importance of learners’ attending consciously to form.  Similarly, current discussions of communicative language pedagogy stress the need for classroom language learners to focus on form as well as meaning.  The study reported in this talk is intended to contribute to both theory and practice.  It examines the different ways in which teachers and students achieve a ‘focus-on-form’ (i.e. attend to linguistic form in the context of activity that is primarily message-oriented).  Based on an analysis of 12 hours of teaching English in a private language school, a coding system is developed to account for the general characteristics of ‘focus-on-form episodes’ (FFEs).  The system is then used to provide an account of focus-on-form in the classrooms studied, revealing that nearly half of the total FFEs were proactive rather than reactive and that more than half involved negotiating form rather than negotiating meaning (i.e. they were not triggered by any communicative problem).  The paper concludes with some ideas for future research.

Professor Rod Ellis is the deputy head of the Department of Applied Language Studies and Linguistics at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. In addition, he is a Cheung Kong Scholar Chair Professor at Shanghai International Studies University, and also a TESOL Professor and Chair of the Graduate School of Education at Anaheim University, where he teaches various online courses in the Master of Arts in TESOL. He has also taught in positions in Zambia, the UK, and at Temple University in Japan and the US. He is currently editor of the journal Language Teaching Research, and is also a senior advisor to the Asian EFL Journal.

Ellis received a Master of Arts from the University of Leeds, a Master of Education from the University of Bristol, and a doctorate from the University of London. He is a leading theorist of task-based language learning, and has published two books and more than a dozen articles on the subject. Since 1980, he has authored more than 30 books and 100 articles on second language acquisition.

His research interests include: Second language acquisition, individual learner differences, form-focussed instruction, teacher education, course design and methodology of language teaching.

For additional information about the talk, or if you would like to be included in the reservation for a post-lecture dinner, contact Chris Stillwell:

cstillwell@ed.sojo-u.ac.jp

Contact number (October 12 only): 096 326-3850