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

SILC event: Public Lecture by Greg Sholdt

30 11 2011

The following event is at an ELI partner institution, the SILC in Kumamoto, Japan:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011, 18:00-19:30

Professional Development through Collaborative Research- A Writing Fluency Project

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

Making the transition from teacher to teacher researcher can result in a range of classroom and career benefits; however, getting started in classroom-based research can be a bewildering endeavor when undertaken alone. In this presentation, I will introduce a unique project that aims to provide an opportunity for language teachers to independently replicate a quantitative research study on writing fluency in their own classrooms and do so concurrently with a team of other teacher researchers connected through an online discussion forum and resource center built with the popular Moodle platform. Teachers who join the project will discuss issues, raise questions, and share ideas about the research process while making use of online resources and receiving guidance through each step of the research process. The goals for the teachers include developing skills and knowledge in fundamentals of quantitative research, connecting with a community of EFL teacher researchers, producing a manuscript with potential for publication, and gaining experience with Moodle. I will provide an overview of the project, describe the structure and function of the Moodle site, and explain potential benefits and applications for this approach to professional development. The project will begin next January with data collection taking place in the Spring 2012 semester. Interested teachers will have the opportunity to ask questions and sign up after the presentation.


Gregory Sholdt teaches in the School of Languages and Communication at Kobe University. His interests include teacher development, classroom-based research methods, English for academic purposes, and fluency instruction. Based on his graduate studies and teaching of introductory statistics courses at the University of Hawaii, he has been exploring innovative approaches to professional development through classroom-based research. He has developed and given a number of professional development workshops and presentations throughout Japan, and created an online research methods course in 2009 for language teachers through MASH Collaboration. He currently serves on the Editorial Advisory Board for the JALT Journal.


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:

SILC Contact number (December 7 only): 096 326-3850

Advising for language learner autonomy conference held at KUIS

14 11 2011

Kanda University of International Studies hosted the Advising for language learner autonomy: A Learner Autonomy SIG event last Saturday, November 12th. The conference focused on language advising. Conference convener Dr. Jo Mynard added, “As far as I know, there has not been an event dedicated to advising in eleven years, so the time was definitely right for this conference.”

Plenary speakers included University of Birmingham’s Lucy Cooker and Macquarie University’s Dr. Chris Candlin. Aside from the main speakers, there were eighteen presentations, one workshop, ten posters and ten virtual presenters, who beamed their talks in from remote locations around the world. Talks focused on the field of advising for language learner autonomy. Although most delegates were from Japan, others hailed from over ten countries. “Advising for language learner autonomy is quite a specialist and emerging strand of applied linguistics, so I was really happy that we managed to attract over one hundred delegates,” reflected Dr. Mynard. For those who could not attend, some information, including presentation slides are still available on the conference website. More photos from the event can be seen here.

Video: The SALC at 10 years

7 11 2011

The Self-Access Learning Centre (SALC) at Kanda University of International Studies celebrates its 10th year of facilitating autonomous language learning in 2011. Watch interviews with SALC founder Lucy Cooker and current director Dr. Jo Mynard. More at:

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.