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LANGUAGE LEARNING AND TEACHING IN THE SELFACCESS CENTRE A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR LANGUAGE TEACHERS Noemí Lázaro and Hayo Reinders

A previous version of this book, written by the same authors, was first published in 2008 by NCELTR, Sydney, Australia. Series editor of that book was Anne Burns. We thank her for her support. 2


Copyright Noemí Lázaro and Hayo Reinders, 2009.

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Introduction This practical guide looks at ways in which teachers can make use of Self-Access Centres (SACs) to enhance their teaching. It deals with a range of topics that teachers new to self-access will need to consider, such as how to link the classroom with the SAC, how to assess self-access learning, and how to best prepare and support learning outside the classroom. The main body of the book summarises the principle findings on teaching and learning in SACs and then offers practical suggestions for activities that will help teachers examine the issues for themselves in their own classroom. The findings and suggestions are supported by quotations from relevant literature and examples are given in many places. For ease of reading, the supporting quotations appear on the left hand pages, opposite the findings or suggestions to which they are addressed. However, both pages are equally important in the discussion and contribute to a fuller understanding of teaching and learning in the SAC. At the back of the book there is a list of references from which quotations have been taken. This list provides a broad overview of current work in the area. Other useful works are listed under ‘Further reading’ in the Bibliography. We hope you enjoy reading this book and find it useful in implementing self-access in your teaching. We are convinced of its potential to develop learner autonomy and to enhance the quality of learning and teaching whatever your educational context. Let us know how it went and feel free to contact us with your questions and suggestions through this website: www.innovationinteaching.org All the best for your teaching! Noemí Lázaro and Hayo Reinders

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Contents Introduction 1 The rationale for SACs How ca SACs benefit language learning and teaching?

2 Linking classroom and SAC How can the classroom and the SAC be successfully linked?

3 The challenges of SACs What are some of the challenges faced by SACs?

4 Cultural aspects of ILL Is Independent Language Learning suitable for all cultural contexts?

5 Activities in the SAC What types of activities are the most common in SACs?

6 Materials for the SAC What kind of materials are used in the SAC?

7 Online resources What kind of online resources are available for independent learning?

9 Advising and learner training What other types of support are offered in SACs?

10 Assessing learning What types of assessment can be conducted in the SAC?

11 Managing a SAC What are the key elements for managing a SAC?

12 Schools without a SAC How can elements of a SAC be introduced in a classroom?

Bibliography

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INTRODUCTION

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WHAT RESEARCHERS

Self-Access resource centres are the most typical means by which institutions have attempted to implement notions of autonomy and independence over the last twenty years to the extent that ‘self-access language learning’ is now often used as a synonym for ‘autonomous language learning. (Benson and Voller 1997:15) SACs provide a legitimate and valued alternative learning activity in the AMEP (the Adult Migrant English Program) and contribute to its mission in that they enable a significant number of clients to progress their learning of English according to their own style or at their own pace. (Technisearch 1990: foreword). Benefits attributed to self-directed learning are a) increased self-responsibility and autonomy, b) an increase in the learners’ motivation arising from their self-constructed learning scenario, and c) greater scheduling flexibility. (Langner and Prokop 2003:68) If SALL [self-access language learning] is organised and systematic it allows maximum exposure to a wide variety of language-learning opportunities in the least time-consuming and least costly way. (Gardner and Miller 1999:25)

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Introduction Language teachers actively try to meet their students’ needs in the here and now. At the same time they keep an eye on the future and try to build skills that will allow students to develop further, without the teacher’s help. In this sense teachers must juggle the need to teach the language with the need to teach language learning skills. Self-Access Centres (SACs) are designed to prepare students for independent learning and to encourage the development of learner autonomy, or ‘the ability to take charge of one’s own learning’ (Holec 1981:3). As such, they have been successfully used by many teachers as an extension or complement to the classroom. SACs also serve other purposes that benefit language teachers. For example, they allow the individualisation of classroom teaching, they offer opportunities for remedial learning, and offer materials and support outside classroom times. Perhaps most importantly, SACs are flexible learning spaces that allow teachers and students alike to experiment with new ways of teaching and learning. They are one of the most learner-centred forms of language teaching available to us, and this presents both challenges and opportunities. In this book we will look at these challenges and opportunities and discuss ways in which teachers can make use of SACs to enhance their teaching. We will also look at some practical issues such as the implementation of independent learning as part of a course, the provision of materials, and the topic of assessment.

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INTRODUCTION

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To take charge of one’s learning is to have, and to hold, the responsibility for all decisions concerning all aspects of this learning; that is: - determining the objectives - defining the contents and progressions .- selecting methods and techniques to be used - monitoring the procedure of acquisition (rhythm, time, place, etc.); - evaluating what has been acquired. (Holec 1981:3) Humans are autonomous with respect to a particular task when they are able to perform that task (i) without assistance, (ii) beyond the immediate context in which they acquired the knowledge and skills and on which successful task performance depends, and (iii) flexibly, taking into account of the special requirements of particular circumstances. (Little 1997:94) The central point I would like to make [‌] is that autonomy is not an absolute concept. There are degrees of autonomy, and the extent depends on a range of factors to do with the personality of the learner, their goals in undertaking the study of another language, the philosophy of the institution (if any) providing the instruction, and the cultural context within which the learning takes place. (Nunan 1996:13)

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Terminology There are many terms that are used to describe learning environments where the focus is on developing learner autonomy and where learners have greater responsibility for their leaning than in many classrooms. Perhaps the most common term is ‘Self-Access Centre’, usually abbreviated to SAC. The learning in a SAC is called ‘Self-Access Language Learning’ or SALL. Another very common term is Independent Learning Centre or ILC. The learning in an ILC is often called ‘independent learning’ but this term has a broader meaning beyond the learning in an ILC, and we therefore prefer to use SALL in this book. In the United States and other countries, Writing Centres perform some roles that are similar to those of SACs. Other countries have translations or approximations of these terms in their own languages: centro de autoaprendizaje de lenguas (CAL) in Spanish, centre d’autoapprentissage in French or Selbstlernzentrum (SLZ) in German. In this book we will use the term SAC. We will use the following as our working definition. A SAC: … consists of a number of resources (in the form of materials, activities and support), usually in one place, that accommodates learners of different levels, styles, and with different goals and interests. It aims at developing learner autonomy among its users. Self-access language learning (SALL) is learning that takes place in a Self-Access. (Cotterall and Reinders 2001:25) We use the term learner autonomy a lot in this book and discuss its relationship to SACs in Chapter 1. We use as our working definition: Autonomous language learning is an act of learning whereby motivated learners consciously make informed decisions about that learning. (Reinders 2000:25). Related terms are independent learning (often abbreviated to ILL) and selfdirected learning (or SDL), both of which refer to learning in which the students have a greater degree of control over their learning than in a teacherdirected environment. The former term is sometimes used to refer to learning that takes place outside the context of formal education and the latter term is sometimes used to refer to learning that is guided by the learner (rather than by, for example, simply following the structure of a self-study course). Language advising, or language counselling, are meetings, usually one-on-one, between a language advisor and a student for the purposes of developing and discussing the student’s learning needs, plans and progress and to monitor progress and give feedback. Monitoring (in SACs) is the process of recording information about student learning for the purposes of providing personalised language help and feedback.

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We are also left with a paradox. To help learners to become autonomous, the teacher has to become autonomous, but the teacher cannot become autonomous until she has experienced the process with her learners for a substantial period of time. (Thavenius 1999:163) It would seem that teacher and learner autonomy are enhanced when both teaching and learning are seen as a constant process of construction, deconstruction and reconstruction, which can only be realised effectively, validly and reliably if an approach is discussed elaborately and finally shared with peers. (Van Esch and Elsen 2004:211) The basic requirement for the development of pro-autonomy teachers, I would claim, is an optimal institutional milieu in which student teachers work and/ or learn. Teacher education programmes need to be flexible in their curriculum and leave a lot of room, psychologically as well as time-wise, for student teachers to think, explore, resist and rebel. But granting freedom is only one of many roles, which institutions can potentially play. (Aoki 2002:117)

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PRE-READING QUESTIONNAIRE This brief questionnaire helps you to quickly assess your current knowledge of SACs. Read each statement and rate it. (1 Not at all, 2 A bit, 3 Partially, 4 With confidence) I know 1 2 3 4 1 what independent learning and SACs are 2 the pedagogical reasons for using a SAC, the benefits of SACs for my learners and the advantages for my classroom 3 how to combine the learning activities of my classroom with those in the SAC 4 the challenges in using the SAC as part of my teaching 5 how to adapt independent learning to the needs of learners from different educational and cultural backgrounds 6 what activities work well in the context of a SAC 7 the types of materials that I can find at the SAC and how to use them with my classes 8 how to use online activities and materials in the SAC 9 how to promote my students’ independent learning skills 10 how to monitor and assess my learners’ progress in independent learning 11 how to manage the administration and operation of SACs 12 how to encourage independent learning when no SAC is available 13 where to find more information and resources about SACs. If you have a low score on question 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Read chapter Introduction 2 The rationale for SACs 3 Linking the classroom and the SAC 4 The challenges of SACs 5 Cultural aspects of ILL 6 Activities in the SAC 7 Materials for the SAC 8 Challenges and opportunities of online resources 9 Advising and learner training 10 Assessing learning in the SAC 11 Managing a SAC 12 When your school does not have a SAC Bibliography

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THE RATIONALE FOR SACs

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WHAT RESEARCHERS

The characteristic features of an autonomous classroom have been highlighted by Leni Dam (cf. Dam 1994, 1995): authentic materials, group work, negotiation of learning tasks, selfevaluation of learning processes, and the teacher’s role as a classroom manager were among the most important issues focused upon. These and the other practical concepts were taken up in the theoretical discussion under headings such as authenticity, learning as socially mediated process, learner reflection, process orientation, evaluation (cf., for example, Benson and Voller 1997); they have also been central to discussion in the course of this symposium. Advocates of learner autonomy recommend the construction of learning environments based on concepts like these in order to enable learners to develop autonomy (see, for example, Müller 1996: 81ff.). (Wolff 2003:211) Changes within education systems and the practice of language teaching are indicative of more fundamental changes in the functions of knowledge in social and economic life and in the ways in which knowledge is constructed and exchanged. In the light of these changes, the successful learner is increasingly seen as a person who is able to construct knowledge directly from experience of the world, rather than one who responds well to instruction. Socioeconomic and ideological changes are rapidly bringing the notion of the autonomous learner into harmony with dominant ideologies of what it means to be a fully functioning member of a modern society.’ (Benson 2001:19)

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1 The rationale for SACs How can SACs benefit language learning and teaching? Findings > SACs give teachers and their students ways of individualising the learning process. > SACs offer support at times when this is otherwise not available. > A SAC can be a motivating place for students to learn, allowing them to work on areas that are of interest to them. > SACs can give control over the learning process to students. > SACs encourage independent learning but at the same time offer ongoing support. > SACs are ideal for project work. > SACs offer opportunities for remedial teaching. > From research we know that, given good support, students enjoy working in a SAC. > SACs help students develop skills for life-long learning.

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A point that is perhaps obvious, but often neglected in reports of research and practice, is that autonomy can never be the outcome of a single, short-term intervention in the learning process. [‌] In this sense, autonomy depends ultimately on the learner’s own efforts to develop it in a variety of contexts experienced over a relatively long period of time. (Benson 2002:10) Simply telling the learner who wishes to learn a language to go ahead and make his own arrangements is not provision at all, but simply dodging the issue. (Holec 1996:85) In enhancing self-directed language learning, it is autonomous learners who are both practically and cognitively in control of their personal learning that we ultimately aim to develop, not robot learners who mechanically carry out all designated activities without much metacognitive awareness of their overall learning process. Therefore, this meta-cognitive awareness, which enhances a learner’s overall understanding of the rationale behind all her actions and self-management of the entire learning process, must be developed in enhancing self-directed language learning. (Lai 2001:40)

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Reflection Discuss the questions below with your colleagues: > What are your own experiences with independent learning (not teaching) either inside or outside a SAC? What do you like or not like about it? Why? > Do you think it is important for a language teacher to foster learner autonomy in the classroom? > Have you been to a SAC? What was you first impression? > How do you think you could use a SAC with your classes? (see Chapter 11 ‘Schools without a SAC’) > Do you think your role would be different in the SAC from in your class? In what ways? > Do you think you would need a different set of professional skills for teaching in this environment? What type of skills? How could you develop these skills? > Do you think your students would need to have a different role in the learning process? What role? And what type of training would they need? > What support would you have to give to learners in a SAC? > What types of support are available to you when working in the SAC, for example from your institution, colleagues, the professional community, etc?

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LINKING CLASSROOM AND SAC

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WHAT RESEARCHERS

The literature also shows that, where […] programmes have been successful in fostering learner autonomy, they have: - allowed learners to choose skills, strategies and materials; - provided an initial or ongoing period of learner development in which learners are introduced to and discuss/reflect on a range of learning strategies; - timetabled a series of individual meetings between the teacher and the students during the course of the self-directed project; - provided sufficient learning time for the learners to be able to plan, carry out and reflect on the learning project (a minimum of two hours per week, and in many cases this continued for a year or more). (Toogood and Pemberton 2002:86–87) By promoting links between the classroom and the SAC we believe that the ‘culture’ of learning in the centre will begin to take shape, and the justification for developing expensive language learning facilities may be more obvious to funding bodies. (Gardner and Miller 1997:121–122) People have sometimes been surprised at the amount of support we give to, and contact we have with, our students – who are ‘supposed to be autonomous’. We have to assume that few students who come to us do not need any help (although there are some). The majority have not been accustomed to making choices and taking responsibility in their education so far. (Nordlund 2002:205)

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2 Linking classroom and SAC How can the classroom and the SAC be successfully linked? Findings > Self-access learning has been shown to be more effective where it is combined with classroom-based learning. > An increasing number of schools offer credit for learning in the SAC to encourage students to see it as part of their course. > In order for self-access learning to be accepted by students, parents and teachers, good assessment practices need to be in place. > To promote learner autonomy it is important to maintain a balance between freedom and control, independence and support, both in class and in the SAC. > The most successful programmes are those that ‘bring the SAC back into the classroom’, for example by inviting students to report to others what they have done or by letting learners’ choices outside the classroom affect what happens inside the classroom. In this way, development of autonomy becomes a more integral part of the course.

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WHAT RESEARCHERS

Learning is mediated by social-interactive processes: individual growth depends upon but also feeds into the collaborative construction of skills and knowledge. Autonomous learners are thus characterised by an independence that is at once constrained and enriched by interdependence. (Little 2003:223) Initially under guidance, but increasingly independently, students can be offered the opportunity to become more aware themselves of the purpose of what they are doing in class, of how they individually seem to learn best, and of how they can support their own learning outside the class and away from the course book. (Edge and Wharton 1998:305) As Widdowson (1990) justifiably remarks, learner autonomy does not imply that the teacher no longer directs or ‘teaches’ the learner. More than ever before, the foreign language teacher will have to serve as a guide who helps learners to take increasing levels of responsibility for their own learning process. This can be done by helping learners organise and plan their learning and develop new and better modes of language learning. The teacher monitors how learners learn before, during, and after they carry out learning tasks, encouraging then to think about how their planning and execution proceeded and the improvements that could be made. (Schalkwijk, E. et al. 2004:180)

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Suggestions for classroom teachers > Talk to your students about the rationale for independent learning. > Organise a guided tour of the SAC and show students how the activities and materials can help them with their classroom learning. > Allocate time for learning in the SAC so that students see it as part of their course. > Give students credit for their work in the SAC (see Chapter 9). > Reward students for the development of autonomy in their classroom learning. > Gradually give students more control over their learning, for example by letting them choose their own materials or letting them set their own goals. Discuss their choices in class and give them feedback. > Give students tasks and projects that draw on materials and activities in the SAC while they are still getting support from you in class. > Include in all your class activities extra tasks that can be done in the SAC to complement classroom learning. > Talk to the SAC staff to find out ways of working together, for example by organising joint workshops, conversation classes or learner training.

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THE CHALLENGES OF SACs

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This is not to say that autonomy as a concept or an educational goal does not exist elsewhere, but rather that a notion of autonomy will be very different in different educational contexts. To encourage ‘learner autonomy’ universally, without first becoming acutely aware of the social, cultural and political context in which one is working, may lead at best to inappropriate pedagogies and at worst to cultural impositions. (Pennycook 1997:44) The misconceptions related to ILL (eg learning alone, without guidance, without partners, without control, etc); that is, common attitudes that prevail both among students and teachers, contribute to the reluctance that some teachers feel about the use of these kinds of approaches and to the frustration of students who have attempted to engage in ILL without any preparation. (Räsänen and Meus 2003:13) SALL can easily lead to dependence on a narrow range of strategies and materials and a narrowing of perspectives […] there is no necessary link between learning a language in a self-access facility and the development of autonomy and independence. (Benson and Voller 1997:6)

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3 The challenges of SACs What are some of the challenges faced by SACs? Findings > Although research has shown the viability of the concept of learner

>

>

>

>

> >

>

autonomy across cultures, for learning in the SAC to be successful, it is important to consider the learners’ educational backgrounds and preferences. There is a danger, as shown in a recent study in the Australasian context (Reinders, Jones-Parry and Anderson 2003), that SACs may be used as a way to reduce the number of teaching hours (and thus to reduce costs), without providing adequate support. Some learners resist learning in a SAC and prefer to have more teacher-direction. In some cases this resistance results from misconceptions about the nature of independent learning. Teachers’ beliefs about independent learning strongly influence their use of a SAC. These beliefs have also been shown to have an effect on their learners’ beliefs about independent learning. Adequate training and preparation for both teachers and students are crucial in ensuring that everyone feels comfortable using the centre. In the case of school classes or with younger learners, parents may also need to be involved, especially where class time is substituted for time in the SAC. Ongoing support is a must for teachers and students to adapt to their new roles in the SAC. Gaining consensus on the reasons for establishing a SAC is a prerequisite for success. This involves discussions between school management, teachers and future SAC staff. Deciding on a mission statement together has been shown to be an effective first step. Centres that offer clear integration between the SAC and the classroom are the most successful.

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It may be tempting to present SALL as a cheap alternative to teaching, especially when looking for arguments to justify funding. However, this would be erroneous, partly because SALL does not replace teaching but complements it and partly because SALL is not cheap (although it may be an efficient use of resources). (Gardner and Miller 1999:31) Self-access language learning centres were originally conceived of as a means to foster autonomy, but in recent years they have rapidly spread around the world for reasons that often have less to do with autonomy than with the pragmatic and economic needs of language teaching providers. […] Although this has created opportunities for those who see selfaccess language learning as a means to foster autonomy, many self-access centres have been established without clear pedagogical goals or rationales. (Benson and Toogood 2002:4) Most teachers have been trained and gained their experience in the traditional mode. A change of role from ‘parent’ to ‘equal’ necessitates a change in attitude, which can be quite traumatic. […] Students also have their hang-ups! It is much easier to be dependent and let someone else (ie the teacher) take the responsibility. This is the way most educational systems work and it is, therefore, what most students are used to. (Sheerin 1989:7)

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Suggestions for the classroom > Involve students in preparing posters, booklets and short videos introducing the SAC to other students. Some have asked students to create materials and activities (eg pathways and webquests) for use in the SAC. > In schools where there is a SAC but no staff on duty, take turns to be available for questions and to provide help, either during or outside class time, provided this is recognised by the institution. > Make independent learning a part of the curriculum to link the classroom and the SAC. In this way independent work can be credited and students will more clearly see its benefits (see Chapter 2). > Have someone experienced come and talk to you and your colleagues about how to best make use of the SAC. Similarly, ask management for professional development time in this area. There are several excellent networks of practitioners (see the reference section for suggestions) that can provide support. > Use the tips in chapters 3, 4 and 5 to design attractive materials and activities that engage learners and promote interaction between students rather than concentrating solely on activities involving individual work. > Use the suggestions in Chapter 6 to train students in independent learning skills, such as analysing their needs, setting goals, planning, monitoring and assessing the learning process. > Meet with other teachers and management to discuss the wider role of the SAC in the school. What roles do others see for it in everyday teaching and learning practice?

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In order to accommodate learners’ authentic needs and wishes, teachers ideally need to be free from unnecessary constraints. Benson (2000) lists four categories of such constraints: policy, institutional, conceptions of language, and language teaching methodologies. Although restrictions such as a state curriculum to be strictly followed, prescribed textbooks, and standardized tests and evaluation still leave quite a lot of room for teachers to make choices, they will often find themselves in a dilemma between what their reflection tells them to do and what they are expected to do if restrictions are not negotiable. In addition to Benson’s four kinds of restrictions there seem to be at least two more factors which affect teachers’ freedom. One is the micro culture of the teaching environment. Lack of understanding among colleagues, for example, could be a serious hindrance to teachers’ efforts. The other concerns teachers’ working conditions. Reflective practice requires teachers to invest quite a lot of time and energy. Supporting each learner’s learning process also requires time and energy. (Aoki 2002:114)

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Practical examples > Below is a sample case study you can use in class as a way to initiate a discussion on the benefits of learning in the SAC. With your students. Read the following scenarios and collect ideas on how the SAC could benefit each of these people. Use these to complete the table at the end. Two examples are given. A. Muhammad is a shy student. He wants to improve his speaking but he is afraid to make mistakes and feels his pronunciation is bad. He does not like to practise speaking with other students in class. B. Maria and Pedr are two friends from Croatia who study engineering in Perth. They are trying hard to finish their semester project. For this they need to read a lot, both manuals and online materials. They also need to write a fully referenced report and deliver a presentation on their findings in class. Neither of them has done this before. C. Tina is having a hard time completing the listening activities in her English class. She feels she is the only one who cannot understand what is being said but feels that by asking the teacher to repeat herself, she is bothering the other students. D. Alexander is training to be a vet in his home country, Austria. Currently he is taking English classes in Sydney. He wants to do a farm stay in the Outback. He will need to learn specific vocabulary related to animals, crops and machinery. Alexander is the only one in class with his background and interests. Case A

B C D

Type of SAC study Conversation classes, computerbased pronunciation and speaking practice.

Benefits and strategies

Specific to Alexander’s interests. He can use the internet or some of the specialised materials available in the SAC.

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CULTURAL ASPECTS OF ILL

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An anthropological understanding of learner autonomy implies that the specifics of our pedagogy will vary from place to place, sometimes in obvious and sometimes in more subtle ways. By the same token, however, we need to respond sensitively to cultural differences that occur locally. […] Because these differences ensure that there can be no straightforward and certainly no universally applicable prescriptions, they are one of the major obstacles to the widespread achievement of learner autonomy in school classrooms. (Little 1999:30) Although programmes designed to foster autonomy vary in their effectiveness, there is no empirical evidence to suggest that nonEuropean programmes are any less successful than their European counterparts or that the cultural background of the learners is a significant factor in their effectiveness. (Benson 2001:57) Proactive autonomy is the form of autonomy that is usually intended when the concept is discussed in the West. The key word are actionwords: learners are able to take charge of their own learning, determine their objectives, select methods and techniques and evaluate what has been acquired (Holec 1981). In this way they establish a personal agenda for learning (Little 1994, p.431) which affirms their individuality and sets up directions in a world which they themselves have partially created. It is often said that this form of autonomy is contrary to the traditions and values in many Asian countries, but there is also considerable evidence that, in contexts which support it, it can develop successfully, if the participants desire […]’ (Littlewood 2002:30)

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4 Cultural aspects of SALL Is Self-Access Language Learning suitable for all cultural contexts? Findings > It has been questioned to what extent ‘learner autonomy’, ‘independence’ and other related concepts reflect Western views of education that may not be relevant to other cultural contexts. > Some studies have reported that the development of independent learning skills is a culturally marked activity that cannot be successfully implemented in some countries. Other studies have not identified such difficulties and report success in countries where the education system is often considered not to favour individualisation and independence. > Although these findings are contradictory, recent years have seen a growing popularity in the use of SACs in many countries around the world, including in countries sometimes previously thought not to emphasise the development of independent learning skills. Many students from such countries now also increasingly study abroad and are exposed to SACs and similar environments. > Some researchers propose that self-access learning can be adapted to the different sociocultural and educational traditions by distinguishing between proactive and reactive learner autonomy. Both types of autonomy differ in their level of self-regulation. Proactive autonomy regulates the direction and the activity, whereas reactive autonomy regulates the activity but not the direction, which is normally set by the teacher. Proactive autonomy is thought to be more easily implemented in Western contexts, and reactive autonomy in Asian contexts (see Littlewood 2002).

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Stereotypes of the ‘East Asian learner’ or the ‘Western learner’ will undoubtedly persist. They are, like other stereotypes, one of the ways in which people organise their complex social world and predict how others will behave. It is equally clear, however, that they distort reality in important ways (notably by exaggerating differences between groups and masking differences between individuals; […] and cannot serve as a firm basis for organising a learneroriented pedagogy.’ (Littlewood 1999:89) It is true that certain groups of learners seem to welcome an autonomous mode of learning more than other groups of learners. If culture cannot account for the difference adequately, where should we look for factors determining learners’ propensity for autonomy? One area which seems to be worth exploring is the situational context (Benson and Lor 1998) in which learning takes place. (Aoki 2001:83)

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Suggestions for the classroom > Avoid classifying your students only on the basis of their cultural and educational backgrounds, but rather, see them as individuals with specific learning preferences and needs. > Considering the wide range of learner differences, it may be useful to use activities that promote both proactive and reactive autonomy. Reactive autonomy may be more suitable to the early stages of the independent learning process. > Reactive autonomy activities are often group-oriented and encourage collaboration. They range from more teacher-oriented to more studentoriented. Examples include: - Group work using shared input or materials provided by the teacher. - Jigsaw group work based on differentiated input or materials provided by the teacher. - Jigsaw group work combined with groups, where one student acts as an expert. These could lead into activities more aimed at promoting proactive autonomy, but still in collaborative settings, such as group work on topics and/or with resources selected by the students. (Littlewood 2002). > It can be helpful to identify your students’ perceptions of independent learning with the help of the questionnaire on page 29. This questionnaire can also help your students understand their own expectations of the teacher and the class. This could be used as a basis for classroom discussion.

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WHAT RESEARCHERS

It is true that that individuals are influenced by the patterns of thought and behaviour characteristic of the environment they live in; but it is also true that those patterns are themselves always open to the influence, and in some cases the challenge, of individual behaviour. Because we are social creatures, we cannot avoid being influenced by others, and we cannot avoid influencing others in our turn. It is thus a fantasy to suppose that any pedagogy can be guaranteed to leave intact the traditions of a particular educational culture. (Little 1999:29) There are degrees of autonomy, and the extent to which it is feasible or desirable for learners to embrace autonomy will depend on a range of factors to do with the personality of the learner, their goals in undertaking the study of another language, the philosophy of the institution (if any) providing instruction, and the cultural context within which the learning takes place. Each of these factors will, of course, interact, so that a learner whose personality and preferred learning style is positively oriented towards autonomy might, in an institutional or cultural context in sympathy with autonomy, become largely autonomous, and, in a context antithetical to autonomy, develop little in the way of autonomy. (Nunan 1996:13)

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Practical examples You can use the questionnaire below to analyse your students’ expectations. Read the following statements and choose the appropriate answer. (1 Strongly disagree, 2 Disagree, 3 Neutral, 4 Agree, 5 Strongly agree) Statement

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1 I like activities where I am part of a group which is working towards common goals. 2 I like to take part in activities that involve discussion within a group. 3 When I am working in a group, I like to help maintain a sense of harmony in the group. 4 In the open classroom, I often feel hesitant to ‘stand out’ by voicing my opinions or questions. 5 In the classroom I see the teacher as an authority figure. 6 I tend to see knowledge as something to be ‘transmitted’ by the teacher rather than ‘discovered’ by me as a learner. 7 I expect the teacher (rather than me ) to be responsible for evaluating how much I have learnt. 8 I feel more motivated to work when my own success contributes to the goals or prestige of significant groups (eg family, other students) Adapted from Littlewood (1999: 90)

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What I would like to advocate is not the replacement of closed self-access activities but their supplementation by genuinely open activities which require learner investment of both the mind and the heart and which provide opportunities for the broadening and deepening of experience as well as for the acquisition of the target language. (Tomlinson 1998:321) All this reflects a growing commitment to the importance of interaction and collaborative learning, and an insistence that learning does not take place in a vacuum and that selfdirection does not mean learning on your own. (Pemberton 1996:6) A self-access centre could be used as a teacher-directed source of individualised homework activities, but this would in no way constitute self-directed learning. (Sheerin 1989:144) Development [of learner autonomy] can only be sustained through a process in which control over and responsibility for the learning situation is gradually shifted from teacher to learner. This transfer implies widening scope for learners to take charge of their own progress. (Socrates Lingua Learner Autonomy Group 2004:223)

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5 Activities in the SAC What types of activities are the most common in SACs? Findings > The most commonly practised skills in SACs are listening and reading; in other words, receptive skills are more popular than productive skills. > SAC staff and teachers often make special efforts to provide opportunities to practise productive skills through, for example, conversation groups and writing workshops. > Individual work is the most common, but SAC staff often actively promote pair and small-group work. Examples of these include ‘study-buddy’ programmes where students with similar goals are paired, and tandem learning programmes where students are matched with others from their target language community who are learning their native language. > Other common activities include book clubs, speaking corners, movie viewing, study skills workshops, webquests and other online activities. > SAC activities can be based on content covered in class, can be organised by teachers in class time, or can be directed at individual users of the centre.

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Nor, of course, does self-access necessarily imply that individuals are working by themselves isolated from other learners. Self-access merely means that the resources are immediately accessible by the learner(s) rather than being directly controlled by a teacher. Consequently, learning in a self-access facility may be individual, but it also may be in pairs or groups. (Leslie Dickinson, interviewed in Victori 2000:166) As teachers we can support, and of course hinder, our learners’ learning. It is our task partly to make the learners aware of the many possible sources of new knowledge/language (including ourselves) and partly to establish situations in which the learners can activate and develop their existing knowledge. (Dam and Legenhausen 1996:267)

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Suggestions for classroom teachers > Introduce your students to the SAC in the first week of the course. Then take your students to the SAC in class time, on a regular basis. > Start with a discovery task to let the students find out more about what resources there are in the SAC and where to find them. Many teachers use a scavenger hunt for this purpose (see the example on pages 34–35). > Set tasks in the SAC that students need to complete for your class by drawing on the many resources available there. For centres with computers, you could consider a webquest (see an example on pages 5153). SACs are also very rich environments for the completion of projectbased work. > Use the work in the SAC as a starting point for a discussion in class about the importance of independent learning. > Link the work students do in the classroom with their own work in the SAC. Encourage them to: 1) decide on their learning needs based on what they find difficult in class; 2) plan their learning in the SAC to work on those areas; 3) record their work, for example in a language learning journal; and 4) report back to you and the class. > Use the information above to adapt what you cover in class. In this way students can see that their out-of-class work impacts on what happens in class. > For classroom activities, pair and group students in the classroom according the different skills they have been working on in the SAC.

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WHAT RESEARCHERS

In order to make sure that learners can work entirely on their own and still receive useful feedback, there has been a limiting tendency to restrict the activities to those which can be easily self-marked by the learners. Thus, although there are notable exceptions, most self-access materials have consisted of controlled or guided practice activities which have used cloze, multiple choice, gap-filling, matching and transformation activities to facilitate self-marking and focused feedback. [...] So much could be achieved through the medium of self-access if only we could stop worrying about answer keys and self-marking. (Tomlinson 1998:320–321) Standard language-based syllabi – formed by lists of structures and functions to be mastered – will not be enough. We will need to practise principles of situated learning – in other words engaging learners in the kinds of authentic tasks and problem-solving activities that they will actually encounter in the future. Having students carry out complex project work involving negotiation, collaboration, goalsetting, meaningful communication, and the development of challenging ‘products’ will prepare them for the kind of language usages which will be required at the workplace. (Räsänen and Meus 2003:15)

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Practical examples DISCOVERY TASK The worksheet below is designed to introduce students to the SAC and to familiarise them with its resources and procedures. You can adapt it to suit your own needs. INTRODUCTION TO THE INDEPENDENT LEARNING CENTRE Welcome to the SAC. We are glad you have come to study here and we will do our best to help you make the most of your time in the SAC. This introduction task will help you find out how the SAC can help you. When you finish answering these questions, give them to your teacher or a SAC staff member to be checked. Using the SAC What are the opening times of the SAC? _______________________________________ When are staff members there to help you? ________________________________________ What are the first two things you have to do as soon as you enter the centre? 1._______________________________________ 2._______________________________________ Finding materials You find the right materials in several ways: • Use the computer catalogue to search for materials by topic, level, or skill. • Browse through the materials on the shelves. They are organised by language skill and the stickers tell you their level. You can see what the colours mean on the poster near the shelves. • The SAC also offers some activities. These are advertised on the board. What level are the yellow stickers?_____________ continued p 36 >>

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Practical examples continued from p 35 Finding materials Write down the title of two materials or activities that will help you with the following skills: 1. pronunciation skills at the intermediate level _______________________________________ _______________________________________ 2. using conditionals at the advanced level _______________________________________ _______________________________________ 3. conversation skills at the lower-intermediate level _______________________________________ _______________________________________ 4. Imagine you want to write an essay. What resources does the SAC have that can help you? _____________________________________________ Borrowing materials Some materials in the SAC can be borrowed. Which ones and for how long? _____________________________________________ Getting help Who can help you in the SAC with the following? 1. Borrowing a book: __________________________ 2. Looking at the exercises you have completed in the SAC: ___________________________________ 3. Helping you plan your independent learning: _______________________________________ Managing your learning 1. Successful learners plan and reflect on their learning. The computers in the SAC can help you do that. Have a look on the ‘managing your learning’ page. What tools do you see that can help you? ______________________________ 2. Complete the ‘Needs Analysis’. This will help you find out your current level and the skills you need to improve first. I need to work on: ______________________________ ______________________________ continued p 37 >>

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Practical examples: expected answers continued from p 36

Below we include several possible answers for the worksheet of the discovery task. These may help teachers new to SACs to recognise the sorts of answers they can expect from different types/levels of students. Using the SAC Here you can expect your students to know the opening times of the SAC, and the times staff are available to help them. Orientations and brochures are good ways to disseminate this type of information. Finding materials Here students have to show their ability to find materials with the help of the computer catalogue (if there is one), use the colour coding system and be able to understand labels and descriptions of resources. Informative posters and on-screen instructions can help to remind students. Borrowing materials Your students need to know the rules of your SAC related to borrowing materials, including the types of materials that may be borrowed and how long they can keep them. This also includes information about how to use the materials independently outside the SAC – Do they know where the answer keys are? What the purpose of the resource is? This type of information can be shown in the description of the resource which can be included (perhaps on a separate card) in the resource. Getting help There may be different staff available to help students in the SAC. For example, in many centres administrators and assistants are not able to provide (in-depth) learning support, and students need to know who to go to for what type of help. Managing your learning Many centres have ‘learning to learn’ tools such as books, tests, portfolios and computer applications. Students need to be able to use such resources to learn successfully in the SAC.

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WHAT RESEARCHERS

To sum up, self-access learning is the practical solution to many language teaching problems: mixed-ability classes, students with different backgrounds and needs, psychological and personality differences between students, etc. The essential prerequisite to self-access learning is the provision of self-access materials within an organised framework so that students can get what they need. (Sheerin 1989:7) No single category of self-access materials will satisfy all the needs of the learners in a SAC. Each has advantages and drawbacks. The solution is to take an eclectic approach. On opening a SAC, providing published materials is quick and convenient. As the SAC matures and user-needs become apparent this stock can be filled out with adapted or purpose-written materials. (Gardner and Miller 1999:113) […] the kinds of functions assumed by effective self-access materials are both affective – increasing motivation in learning, encouraging the learners and making learning more enjoyable – and cognitive – providing comprehensible input, giving instructions for tasks, suggesting systematic learning routes, and providing learners with linguistic information and mechanisms for independent learning (such as how to set learning goals, decide on what to do with materials and carry out selfassessment). (Lee 1996:169)

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6 Materials for the SAC What kind of materials are used in the SAC? Findings > Common materials in a SAC include: – authentic materials (eg newspapers, magazines, access to the internet) – reference materials (dictionaries, grammar resources) – commercial language learning materials (some specifically designed for independent learning) – computer-based resources (pronunciation software, video materials) – ‘learning to learn’ materials (information on strategies, planning worksheets, learning journals and so on) – locally produced materials (specific to certain classes or groups of learners) > Almost any type of materials can be used in a SAC and in particular authentic materials are common. The main challenge for SAC staff and teachers is to ensure that the necessary support is available for these materials, such as answer keys, explanations, translations, opportunities for practice, and access to help. > Making materials available online can give students access outside class times and possibly from home. > Many SACs develop their own materials to ensure they are suitable for the students’ needs, interests and levels. Often, generic worksheets and exercises are designed to reduce development cost and time. continued p 41 >>

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WHAT RESEARCHERS

Thus, it is suggested that there should be broadly two types of materials in a self-access centre, those which are directive and those which are not. Directive materials would include learner training tasks, as well as language and skill practice exercises. Non-directive materials would consist of collections of authentic texts, both written and recorded. (Sinclair 1996:149) [...] it is possible to engage the learner and to achieve depth of processing in self-access materials by activating both affective and cognitive responses and by respecting and challenging the learners. In my view, this is what all learning materials should be trying to do, and especially those which are designed to appeal to self-access learners who want something different and richer than what is conventionally offered in the classroom. (Tomlinson 1998:336)

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Materials for the SAC continued from p 39

What kind of materials are used in the SAC? Findings > An important aspect of the materials, and one that research has shown to be crucial for the success of the centre, is how students will find them. The use of: catalogues (either print or electronic); indications of level, language skill, topic, speed, accent etc; pathways with suggested materials for a certain skill or topic are all common ways of helping students find what they need. > Some schools have successfully experimented with asking students to bring in authentic materials (eg websites, audio and video recordings, music) and creating SAC resources out of them. > Many resources commonly found in SACs are not necessarily suitable for independent learning. Many do not offer the required support and may need to be adapted.

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WHAT RESEARCHERS

Materials that may be perfectly suitable for use in a classroom environment may not be in a selfaccess context. Not all materials we surveyed included the support learners in a self-access centre are likely to need. It is then up to staff to decide whether to keep the materials or make adaptations, for example in the form of additional notes on the learning process, by adding objectives for different parts of a CDrom, providing more information on the intended student level, or even just writing answer keys. (Reinders and Lewis 2005:48) Materials must have a positive effect on learners’ motivation. This can be encouraged in two ways: on the one hand, making sure the material is as attractive as possible (presentation, illustrations, even distribution of activities, etc.) and on the other, as Sheerin (1989) points out, the activities should result in the learning of ‘something’ worth learning and so inspire the same confidence that published materials do. (Navarro Coy and Brady 2003:79)

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Suggestions for classroom teachers Evaluating and using materials > Have a look through the catalogue, browse the resources and talk to SAC staff to find which materials are most suitable for your students. > Use a scavenger hunt or similar activity to familiarise students with the available resources (see an example of such a task on pages 35– 36). > Show students search strategies for finding additional materials and strategies for selecting the most appropriate ones for their needs. > Bring materials from the SAC into the classroom and show/discuss how they are linked with the topics covered in class. > Select materials in the SAC that are relevant for your class and, if possible, set them apart for your students. > Ask students to find additional materials in the SAC and let them bring these into class. > Create additional, perhaps generic, materials based on what you cover in class. In this way students can get more practice. By sharing these materials with other teachers, over time an extensive materials bank can be developed. > Adapt the materials you use in class to promote autonomous learning. For example, by asking students to determine what the learning objectives for a particular exercise are, or by asking them to select the topics most relevant to them. > Ensure that materials created for use in a SAC meet special criteria. To evaluate existing materials or to create new ones, use the evaluative framework on the following page.

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WHAT RESEARCHERS

The basic differences between the material resources appropriate for self-directed language learning and those used in teacher-directed learning are: - first, they are not resources which are preadapted to their potential users, i.e. they have NOT been produced as a function of: • precise needs/expectations (learning objectives; themes); • specific levels; • specific methodological constraints or options (learning structure: total duration and frequency; material infrastructure available; progression; collective/ individual learning, etc.); • or particular types of learner (style, rate of learning). Such materials remain adaptable by the learner to suit his own particular use; they constitute a stock of resources on which he can draw to implement the learning programme whose objectives he has defined; - second, these materials are available through self-access, or give access to the information, with the learner may need to be able to use them (no “hidden” explanations to be obtained from an authorised specialist, for example). (Holec 1996:91)

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A framework for quickly evaluating SAC materials This W H evaluative A T R Eframework S E A R(designed C H E RbySone of the authors with a

say

colleague) can be used to quickly determine how useful materials are in the context of a SAC. A framework like this can be used to make purchasing decisions but can also help to identify materials that require additions or adaptation. FEATURES

Yes/No/ Unsure

Selecting the resource Claims to be suitable for self-access Clearly describes student level Needs to be used sequentially Accessing the parts of the resource An index A table of contents A detailed ‘map’ A glossary Chapter previews or summaries Supporting the learning process Information summarised Examples provided for tasks Objectives provided for tasks Keys/answers/criteria provided for tasks Learning to learn Provides notes on the learning process Shows how to set goals

Originally published in: Reinders, H. and Lewis, M. (2006). The development of an evaluative checklist for self-access materials. ELT Journal 60:2, 272-278. Reproduced with permission from Oxford University Press.

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WHAT RESEARCHERS

From the perspective of autonomy, the most significant Internet-based activities involve email, on-line discussion and web authoring. A key characteristic of the Internet as a resource for self-directed learning is the opportunity it provides for collaborative learning. Internet technologies open up opportunities for interaction among learners, between learners and target language users, and between learners and teachers that could otherwise be difficult or impossible to achieve in the classroom or in self-access. (Benson 2001:139) The use of CALL assumes that learners possess some degree of autonomy. Although of course it is not always the case, it is still common to see learners plunked down in front of computers and told to work on given tasks for a period of time, and there is often an expectation that learners will continue to focus on the tasks with little or no teacher intervention. […] There are dangers in assuming that all groups of learners will automatically have the skills and discipline required to undertake CALL unsupervised from the outset. For the most part, learners need to be able to take increasing responsibility for their own learning. (Levy and Stockwell, 2006:198)

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7 Online resources What kind of online resources are available for independent learning? Findings > Electronic literacy and learner autonomy appear to go increasingly hand-in-hand, with one building on the other. > The internet offers access to authentic materials, ideal for individualising learning. > Online tools such as blogs and wikis allow authentic interaction and collaboration between learners, and between learners and native speakers. They offer opportunities for teacher support while motivating learners to work independently and to communicate with a real audience. > Free tools such as voice chat and webcasts let students practise speaking skills for free, while not requiring the face-to-face communication that some students find difficult. > Podcasts and vlogs (video podcasts) can easily be downloaded and offer opportunities for out-of-class and mobile language learning. Some teachers create their own. A good collection can be found at: (http://iteslj.org/links/ESL/Listening/Podcasts/ ) > Electronic portfolios are increasingly used as a way to track out-of class learning and to give learners a greater sense of control over their own language learning process. > Online projects (for example where students create a new Wikipedia entry or create a podcast) are popular ways of making classroom activities more authentic. These types of activities are also very suitable for use in the SAC where students can draw on support materials and get help from staff. > Resource rooms and ECRs (Educational Computer Rooms) and SACs, although they may look similar, have very different pedagogical purposes. SACs provide a great deal of support and encourage group work with the specific aim of promoting autonomy, while offering guidance, training and feedback during that process.

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The most obvious and immediate advantages of ICT clearly are in the area of accessibility. With language learning resources available online, language learners […] have instant access to materials that before were only available by physically going to the Language Centre. […] For many of the language learners studying for themselves and/or taking part in optional language courses, ease of access to learning support is an important factor in their decision to persist with their learning effort or to abandon it when external pressures increase. Something as simple as having access to video and audio materials at the place of work instead of having to physically go to where the resources are located can make the difference between continuing or abandoning a course or self-study. (Esch and Zähner 2000:14) Technologies available through the VLE [Virtual Learning Environment], such as discussion lists, also potentially support collective reflection, as they give teachers and students the opportunity to initiate and to engage in collective reflection at any time and outside the boundaries of the physical classroom. (Blin 2004:391)

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Suggestions for the classroom > Help students find the most appropriate online resources. Model strategies for searching and navigating the internet. > Help students develop skills to determine the quality of online materials for language learning. > Encourage collaboration and interaction with authentic interlocutors through a webquest (an online activity that requires students to find and critically examine information online). > Introduce students to online translation sites and discuss their uses and drawbacks. > Ask your students to write a blog and post this online. Invite other students to leave comments. Similarly, you could ask students to comment on, or even create their own podcasts. > Invite your students to record themselves or others, either by using a digital recorder, a cell phone or a music player. This can also be used to encourage self and peer assessment (see Chapter 9). > Encourage students to find an exchange partner for an online tandem learning programme (see http://www.slf.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/email/statseng.html ). > Some institutions have successfully linked computer labs or ECRs (Educational Computer Rooms) to a SAC by organising group activities in them or by incorporating their use into a (learner-specific) study plan. The facilities and resources in such spaces can, with adequate support, facilitate individualisation of the learning process.

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WHAT RESEARCHERS

We use Chapelle’s (2001:59) ‘criteria for CALL task appropriateness’, as they are wide-ranging and respond to structural and communicative, as well as integrative concerns. These criteria include the language-learning potential of the activity (does it provide sufficient opportunity for beneficial focus on form?), learner fit (can it be adapted to fit the needs of different groups of learners?), meaning focus (is learners’ attention directed primarily toward the meaning of the language?), authenticity (will learners be able to see a connection between the activity and second language activities that they may engage in outside the classroom?), impact (will learners learn more about the target language and language-learning strategies?), and practicality (are sufficient hardware and software resources likely to be available?). It is, of course, for teachers themselves to decide the relative importance of each of the above, depending on their intended learning outcomes. (Littlemore and Oakey 2004:96-97)

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Practical examples > Here is a sample of a webquest for students at elementary level. You can adapt this or create your own webquests by using these websites: http://www.instantprojects.org and http://questgarden.com/ Title Objectives

Skills developed

Introduction Tasks

An exciting trip to Europe The aim of this webquest is to put into practice what you have learned in class in the textbook unit on ‘travel’. Specifically this webquest will help you to: • analyse information written in the target language. • use the language for authentic communication through the internet. You will: • look up specific information on the internet and critically analyse it. • write postcards and letters. • work with others and discuss the tasks you will complete, in the target language. • use the grammar and vocabulary you have learnt in class. There's no school for the next three weeks, so, why not go on a holiday and visit London, Paris or Rome with a friend? Start your trip right now! You must be having a wonderful time! Why don't you send us a postcard? And when you get back we want to hear all about your trip. Write us a letter with all the details of your holiday. continued p 52 >>

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Practical examples continued from p 51 Process Step 1: Deciding where to go and when With a friend decide which city you want to visit: London? Paris? Rome? When do you want to go? Click here for a calendar: http://www.calendardate.com/2007.php Is the weather good in your destination city at this time of the year? Check out www.lonelyplanet.com or other sites to find out. Step 2: Planning your holiday Student A: You are in charge of the practical details of the trip such as booking the flights, finding a hotel and getting from the airport to the hotel. 1. Flights: Maybe there is no direct flight to your destination. In that case, find a combination of flights to the city you have chosen and, finally, the return flights. Remember you must be back before our course starts again on Monday! http://www.orbitz.com 2. Hotels: Now that you have the dates of your flights, you can make your hotel reservations. Don't spend more than 50â‚Ź per night. http://www.expedia.com 3. How to get there? You have rented a car to get from the airport to the hotel but how do you get to the hotel? Try this link to help you find your way: http://www.mapquest.com Student B: Decide which tourist sites you want to visit and look for information about them on the internet. 1. Sightseeing: There are a lot of places to visit in London, Paris or Rome. Choose one monument and one museum you would like to visit with your friend. http://www.lonelyplanet.com 2. Restaurants: After so much sightseeing, you must be very hungry! What about having lunch in a nice restaurant? What would you like to have? http://www.chowhound.com Students A and B: Share your information before going on to Step 3. continued p 53 >>

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Practical examples continued from p 52 Step 3: Sending a postcard Process Use the website below to send a postcard to tell your friend and family how your trip is going. Tell them where you are, what you are doing and what the weather is like. http://www.postcards.com Step 4: Arriving back home What was your holiday like? Write a letter to a friend and tell him/her why you chose that city, what you did and what you liked most.

Evaluation

Your teacher will look at the following points: • How well you researched your trip and gathered information. • How well you shared information with your partner. • How well you wrote your postcard (content, layout, punctuation, grammar and spelling). • How well you wrote your letter.

(Source: http://instantprojects.org/webquest/webquest.php?AuthorID=5360 )

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WHAT RESEARCHERS

Attempts to overcome problems of ineffective and inefficient use of the facilities have resulted in the emergence of various solutions. A particularly striking one is the emergence of a new professional role, the language learning adviser, which was initially positioned in the selfaccess centre and acted as a bridging figure between resources, new learning environments and the traditional academic structures (classroom and lecture theatres). (R채s채nen and Meus 2003:12) The main purpose of SALL provision is language learning, but it must give learners the means to learn languages without the teacher's constant presence and direction. Thus the purpose of any self-access centre is to provide a relaxed, materials-rich environment. Learners can only benefit from that if they are given some learner support, either in the form of learning-to-learn materials and/or a support scheme from the facilitator. (Gill Sturtridge, interviewed in Victori 2000:166167) On the other hand, experience has shown that the average learner needs a period of guided induction and adjustment to the demands of self-directed learning, especially when it is presented in an institutionalised way in the form of a self-access centre. Without some kind of preparation for self-access learning, learners turned loose in a sea of collected materials, authentic or otherwise, generally tend to spend a lot of time in a rather aimless activity, desperately seeking something interesting and useful to do, and end up feeling frustrated, even angry, and with a sense of wasted time. (Sinclair 1996:159)

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8 Advising and learner training What other types of support are offered by SACs? Findings > The provision of materials alone is not sufficient to help learners develop the ability to work successfully and independently. Learner training and ongoing support, for example in the form of language advisory sessions, are crucial. > Research seems to suggest that learner training is most successful when it is integrated into regular teaching. In this way students learn to apply the new knowledge immediately and can transfer it to other contexts. > Language advisory sessions are an increasingly common service in SACs and one very much appreciated by students. Some classroom teachers make themselves available as an advisor, either for their own students or for all students in the school, at certain times in the SAC. > Language advising requires a specific set of professional skills. These include macro-skills, such as initiating, goal-setting, guiding, modelling, supporting, giving feedback, evaluating, linking and concluding; and micro-skills like attending, restating, paraphrasing, summarising, questioning, interpreting, reflecting feelings, empathising and confronting. > Getting to know their preferred learning styles can help students to choose suitable materials and activities. > Learning strategies are generally divided into three types: metacognitive, cognitive and socioaffective strategies (Cotterall and Reinders 2004).The ability to choose and employ a range of learning strategies seems to be closely linked with the development of learner autonomy. The advisor can play an important role here.

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WHAT RESEARCHERS

The availability of self-access facilities, however excellent they may be, will not in themselves guarantee full and efficient use of those facilities by students. Users need to be shown ways into the system and be guided to make the best use of it in the long term. This kind of guidance is often referred to as ‘learner training’. (Sheerin 1989:34) […] teachers who wish to foster an autonomous approach need to be aware of the attitudes and beliefs which advanced foreign language learners bring to their language learning. It suggests that a failure to investigate the rationale for learners’ behaviour could prove inimical to the promotion of autonomy. The next step – the counselling of the learners – must be flexible and context-sensitive to meet the particular needs of the learners for whom it is intended. (Carter 2001:33) Initially under guidance, but increasingly independently, students can be offered the opportunity to become more aware themselves of the purpose of what they are doing in class, of how they individually seem to learn best, and of how they can support their own learning outside the class and away from the coursebook. (Edge and Wharton 1998:305)

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Suggestions for classroom teachers > Focus on strategies as a good starting point for learner training. You could use a strategy questionnaire as a starting point for a discussion on your students’ current strategy use. A learning style questionnaire can also be used. > Help your students analyse their learning needs and establish their own goals. > Ask your students to keep a record of their learning (through a journal or a diary) and use this to discuss different approaches to learning in class (see an example of a learning journal on page 57). This can also be one way to encourage learners with limited literacy to develop extensive writing skills. > Talk about language advising in class. Let the students know where and when the service is available and what it is for. Many students think of an advisor as a private teacher and this may set them up for disappointment. > If your course includes time for independent learning, make yourself available to give feedback on students’ learning plans and progress. > Help your students, if possible in collaboration with the staff of the SAC, to analyse their own learning needs, goals and preferred learning strategies. > Be aware that skills for language advising take time to develop. There are some excellent materials on this topic (see the references section). You could also work together with a colleague and observe each other.

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WHAT RESEARCHERS

My main thing, these days, however, is not just to talk about styles and strategies, but implement them as part of my lesson planning. When planning any lesson now I not only think about the language objectives, but also about the learning skill objectives. I also try to explain to the students why we are doing a certain activity in a certain way, and ask them to comment, from time to time, about the way they are learning. (Lindsay Miller, interviewed in Victori 2000:174) Advisers have been identified as having a crucial role in helping learners identify strengths and weaknesses which may be perceived as beyond the remit of traditional academic lecturers, or which cannot be addressed given the pressures inherent in classroom time. In this context, advisers have a significant highly skilled role as mediators between traditional models of teaching delivery and a transformed model in which dialog is a pedagogic tool in developing learners’ understanding of the mechanics and contextual role of language learning. (Mozzon-Mc Pherson 2007:82)

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Practical examples Keeping a language journal Keeping a language journal can be a great way to record what you learn and to see your progress. A journal can help you to: • plan your learning • record your progress • reflect on what went well and what did not • find out what areas you need help with • make sure you are working on the right language skills • make sure you meet your goals • practise your writing skills Here is a sample language journal that you can photocopy and fill in, or use to develop your own. LANGUAGE JOURNAL NAME: DATE: Today/this week I studied the following skills. I used the following materials. I did/did not have a chance to practise my English with native speakers. The following things went well.

If you did, describe the situation where you used the language.

The following are the things I want to improve. These are some ideas I can try out. I would like my teacher to help me with: Now re-read your previous journal notes. Did you work on the points you wanted to improve last time/last week? Did you try out some of your ideas? Did you get help from a teacher? My goals for next time/week are:

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WHAT RESEARCHERS

Learner autonomy denotes a capacity for selfmanagement in learning: a capacity to set one’s own learning goals, monitor one’s learning progress, and evaluate one’s own learning outcomes. Accordingly, self-assessment is fundamental to the practice and development of learner autonomy at every stage and in every phase: What have I already learnt? What do I need to learn next? Is my current learning effective? Have I achieved my goal? (Little 2003:223) Putting learner autonomy into practice shifts teacher roles from directing to coaching, from executing to preparing, from exclusively assessing the product to assessing both product and process […] the role of assessing product as well as process, means that the teacher must not only be exclusively concerned with what the pupils have to learn, but also with how they should learn it. This means, in point of fact, that the teacher will have to pay a lot more attention to learning strategies and to improving the learners’ approaches to learning tasks. (Schalkwijk et al. 2004:180-181) Autonomous learning is about individualisation of learning, and self-assessment helps learners monitor their individualised progress. An important aspect of the monitoring process for learners is simply knowing how they are doing in their learning. They want to know if they are becoming more proficient as users of the target language. (Gardner 2000:51) Learners should be engaged in identifying and formulating criteria that help them assess and evaluate their own learning results. The creation of such settings may also involve teachers in exploring concepts, such as formative assessment and evaluation, test washback and construct validation. (Van Esch and Elsen 2004:200)

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9 Assessing learning What types of assessment can be conducted in the SAC? Findings > A recent study showed that around half of forty-six SACs visited in five countries, did not carry out any type of assessment. In those centres that did, the most common forms of assessment were selfassessment and, to a lesser extent, collaborative assessment with a language advisor. Other forms included external examinations, teacher-led assessment and peer evaluation. > Formal and informal, summative and formative types of assessment all commonly take place in SACs. In some cases the results of the assessment affect the student’s grade, but this is the exception rather than the rule. > SACs offer the opportunity to conduct different types of assessment, in addition to those commonly found in classroom settings. This includes assessment conducted by learners themselves, through self or peer-assessment. SACs also offer the opportunity to assess the learning process, rather than just the learning outcomes. > The purpose of such types of assessment is to give learners a voice in their own learning and to encourage greater responsibility on their part. > Assessment in the SAC usually involves measuring improvements in both language gains and learning gains, as the improved ability to learn independently.

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[…] to me autonomous learning within an institutional context is the means as well as the aim of the development of learner autonomy. As a result of this, evaluating autonomous learning must include an evaluation of the process as well as the outcome. (Dam 2000:49) Given our definition of autonomy as a capacity to be developed, it is important for us to support learners in their search for ways of evaluating themselves. Their immediate reaction to being asked to do so in the learner-awareness session is often a variant of “I can’t”. It has always been the job and responsibility of somebody else. We believe that the capacity to continuously monitor and evaluate pushes learning forwards in a cyclic action. New insights about learning may arise and old ones may be confirmed, and all this feeds into the learning process. (Nordlund 2002:222-223) […]the fact that measurement of autonomy is problematic does not necessarily mean that we should not attempt to measure it. If we aim to help learners to become more autonomous, we should at least have some way of judging whether we have been successful or not. (Benson 2001:54) Results of assessments of self-access learners may be useful to SAC managers to show what is being achieved by learners in their centres, although it must be acknowledged that the contributions of SALL can rarely be completely isolated from other contributions to language learning like classroom learning. (Gardner and Miller 1999:206)

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Suggestions for the classroom > When asking your students to plan their independent learning, invite them to reflect on how they are going to know if they have improved. Introduce the various assessment tools available in your SAC, such as questionnaires, learning journals, portfolios, etc. > Explain the rationale behind alternative types of assessment, such as self and peer-assessment. > Train your students in the use of such techniques. > If possible, integrate students’ independent learning into their overall assessment. This could take the form of tracking students’ use of the SAC, recording the amount and type of work they do, and monitoring their participation in conversation classes and workshops. > Analyse/Observe students’ development of language learning skills, such as the range of strategies they use or an improvement in their ability to plan their own learning. > Show the criteria you use for assessing independent learning and invite your students to reflect/comment on them and apply them during their own (peer-or self-) assessments in class and in the SAC. > Give students credit for their own assessments of themselves and others. > Invite students to compare their own assessments with yours. You can use assessment grids such as those developed for the European Language Portfolio. (See the reference section as well as the sample grid on the following pages.)

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Practical examples Below is an example of a self-assessment checklist from the European Language Portfolio that is used with both young people and with adults.

Self-assessment Checklist Level A2 Use this checklist to record what you think you can do (Column 1). Ask someone else, for example your teacher, to also assess what they think you can do (Column 2). Use Column 3 to mark those things that you cannot yet do but which you feel are important for you (Column 3 = Objectives). Add to the list – perhaps with your teacher – other things that you can do, or that are important for your language learning at this level.

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My objectives

My teacher/ another

Me

Use the following symbols In columns 1 and 2:  I can do this under normal circumstances  I can do this easily In column 3: ! This is an objective for me !! This is a priority for me If you have over 80% of the points ticked, you have probably reached Level A2. Listening 1 2 3 I can understand what is said clearly, slowly and directly to me in simple everyday conversation; it is possible to make me understand if the speaker can take the trouble. I can generally identify the topic of discussion around me when people speak slowly and clearly. I can understand phrases, words and expressions related to areas of most immediate priority (eg very basic personal and family information, shopping, local area, employment). I can catch the main point in short, clear, simple messages and announcements. I can understand the essential information in short recorded passages dealing with predictable everyday matters which are spoken slowly and clearly. I can identify the main point of TV news items reporting events, accidents etc. when the visual supports the commentary. continued p 65 >>


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Practical examples

My objectives

Me

Use the following symbols In columns 1 and 2:  I can do this under normal circumstances  I can do this easily In column 3: ! This is an objective for me !! This is a priority for me If you have over 80% of the points ticked, you have probably reached Level A2. Reading 1 I can identify important information in news summaries or simple newspaper articles in which numbers and names play an important role and which are clearly structured and illustrated. I can understand a simple personal letter in which the writer tells or asks me about aspects of everyday life. I can understand simple written messages from friends or colleagues, for example saying when we should meet to play football or asking me to be at work early. I can find the most important information on leisure time activities, exhibitions, etc. in information leaflets. I can skim small advertisements in newspapers, locate the heading or column I want and identify the most important pieces of information (eg price and size of apartments, cars, and computers etc). I can understand simple user instructions for equipment (eg a public telephone). I can understand feedback messages or simple help indications in computer programmes. I can understand short narratives about everyday things dealing with topics which are familiar to me if the text is written in simple language.

My teacher/ another

continued from p 64

2

3

Source: ELP Model +15 http://www.sprachenportfolio.ch/esp_e/esp15plus/index.htm You can download the Portfolio from: http://www.sprachenportfolio.ch/esp_e/esp15plus/index.htm You can also use an electronic version of this portfolio: http://eelp.gap.it/

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“[…] centres need firstly to be effectively organised and supported. This implies designing the space according to architectural and pedagogic principles, purchasing materials and equipment, organising access to the same, defining the procedures for use of the space and its resources. Secondly, in order for learners to use the centre effectively, pedagogues (teachers and advisers) are required to facilitate the pedagogical use of the resources and promote a more independent approach to learning through the integration of the use of self-access centres in their curricula (the teachers) and gradual development of LSM (the advisers). Thirdly, the institution needs to provide the necessary infrastructure so that all parts of the self-access system work efficiently as a learning scheme […].” (Mozzon-McPherson 2007:67) […] educational politicians and supervising institutions fail to fully recognise that educational reform takes years and years before it is successfully implemented. In some ways, they abuse the autonomy that was democratically granted to them. Whereas the foreign language learner and teacher are expected to learn from mistakes, other standards seem to apply when it concerns those in power. (Van Esch and Elsen 2004:199)

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10 Managing a SAC What are the key elements for managing a SAC? Findings > Research has shown that most SAC managers are active language teachers. For many, managing the SAC is only one of their responsibilities and they run the SAC on a part-time basis. Most managers have not received any specific training, and there is a lack of professional development programmes in this field. > The management of a SAC requires the balancing of organisational, pedagogical and external aspects of the centre. Organisational features refer to easily observable aspects such as the physical setting and the materials of a SAC. Pedagogical features relate to aspects of the centre designed to support learning, such as language advising, learner training, introduction session, etc. External features describe elements that depend on external agents but that affect the SAC, such as financial and institutional constraints. (Lázaro 2006:364) > Managers report that one of their main challenges is to motivate teachers and learners, who, because of a lack of time, may not feel adequately prepared. Many centres also suffer from a lack of resources and a lack of recognition from the wider institution as well as a lack of integration into existing language teaching courses. > Managers are responsible for evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of the centre. Efficiency relates to ‘the relationship between output and cost’ and effectiveness to ‘the meeting of preset [learning] goals’ (Gardner and Miller 1999:228). Managers can use different evaluation instruments such as questionnaires, lessons observations, video recordings, interviews, reports, diaries and portfolios.

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It is difficult to imagine any other situation in which a person with no direct training or qualifications would be put in charge of a multimillion dollar facility. [‌]The institutions should provide not only money and space for the facility but also some specialised training for the managers. (Gardner and Miller 1997:119) The results of this study highlighted a number of conditions that seemed to determine failure or success when implementing learner autonomy in the foreign language classroom: a clear orientation by the teacher into what to learn and how to learn, careful planning by the students, explicit training of the students in how to structure learning tasks well and on how to use learning strategies and reflection on the results of this training, a gradual transfer of control over the learning process from the teacher to the learners, and a change in the roles of the teacher from an assessor and manager of the learning process to a facilitator and resource for the individual learner. (van Esch and Elsen 2004:196) Some characteristics of our ‘philosophy’ and action. These are quite simply put: pay explicit attention to the psychological and affective dimension for students and for staff. Invest in human capital or resources rather than merely in technology. (Vincent 2002:90)

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Suggestions for SAC managers > Managing an educational facility like a SAC requires a wide range of skills as outlined on the following page. Use the checklist on the following pages to identify areas where you feel you need more training. For appropriate training, it is likely that you will need to look beyond the field of language education to business administration, educational management, public relations and human resources. > As a manager you do not work in isolation. Draw on the strengths of your colleagues and on informal professional networks. > Start by outlining the position of your centre within the larger institution. Insist on getting clear, preferably written, commitments from stakeholders (senior management, other department heads, Deans) and document their proposed involvement. If there is no mission statement for your centre, draft one and reach consensus on its content. > SAC managers have a wide range of responsibilities, often not fully appreciated by management. Observe your own daily activities over a period of time and record the types of duties you perform. This record can help you to obtain more staffing, training, or (financial) support and recognition for your centre. - people management/line management - financial management/accounting - reporting - project management - strategic planning - teaching (students) and staff development - student counselling - materials evaluation - materials development - technical support - building management (materials purchases, maintenance) - marketing/publicity - research - committee work/institutional obligations - others_____________________________________

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One of the key areas of management for institution-based independent learning is within the self-access centre (wherever it is positioned or whatever it is called). Successful management will mean taking into account a range of factors when planning and reviewing provision. These include: - the type of learner (e.g. full- or part-time, international students, staff, members of the community), the language they are learning and their level; - integration with the language curriculum; - development, purchase and maintenance of learning resources; - the facilities provided and location of the centre; - monitoring of use and assessment of work done; - the individual needs, interests and expectations of the learners (and teaching staff); - learner/ staff training and support; - staffing levels; - management structures within the centre; - finances; - responsiveness to change. (Wright 2005:137) Many methodological premises and goals relating to SALL, and/or TELL may well not be shared, consciously or unconsciously, by various components in our institutions, ranking from central university decisional bodies, administrative staff, technical staff, other colleagues and faculty, and even the students themselves (see, e.g. Gardner & Miller 1999). (Vincent 2002:90) Institutions which provide insufficient management for SACs are wasting their resources because this results in under-use by learners. (Gardner and Miller 1999:72)

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Practical examples What are your training needs? Circle your answer rating from 1 to 4 (1 Not at all, 2 A bit, 3 Partially, 4 With confidence) I can 1 establish a clear structure and staff hierarchy for the SAC and strategically plan for the SAC’s future 2 set job descriptions 3 set and work to internal and external reporting procedures 4 define the roles of committees and working groups 5 conduct procurement procedures 6 follow the procedures to hire and fire staff 7 set a system to praise and reward staffing people 8 set a budget 9 manage tenders 10 counsel staff 11 teach staff to counsel students 12 evaluate materials 13 evaluate people 14 evaluate systems 15 provide staff training 16 initiate, conduct, facilitate and coordinate research 17 negotiate with staff 18 negotiate with higher level managers 19 do the planning for the academic year 20 set short-term and long-term development plans 21 promote the SAC both within and outside the institution

1

2

3

4

If you have a low score You should focus on: in questions: 1-2 Management systems 3-5 Institutional procedures 6-7 Personnel 8-9 Financial 10-11 Counselling 12-14 Evaluation 15 Staff development 16 Researching 17-18 Negotiation skills 19-20 Planning 21 Public relations Adapted from Gardner and Miller (1999:81)

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WHAT RESEARCHERS

Something to note at this stage is that a selfaccess operation does not have to be a fullscale one to begin with. Where resources are limited, it is possible to set up the classroom as a mini self-access centre with different parts of the room being used for different activitiesperhaps reading in one corner, listening with cassettes and headphones in another, and some computer assisted language learning (CALL) in another. As materials can perhaps be stored easily and transported on a trolley, a small-scale beginning may enable teachers working within administrative constraints or working with sceptical colleagues to start a selfaccess operation with the hope of extending it later. (McDonough, and Shaw 2003:211) Learner autonomy is the product of an interactive process in which the learner gradually enlarges the scope of her learners’ autonomy by gradually allowing them more control of the process and content of their learning. In classrooms as well as in naturalistic contexts communicative proficiency in a second or foreign language is also the product of an interactive process. Thus when language learner autonomy is an educational goal, we must devise an interactive dynamic that simultaneously develops communicative proficiency and learner autonomy: autonomy in language learning and autonomy in language use are two sides of the same coin. (Little 2007:26) In their attempts to support learner autonomy teachers need to make moment-by-moment decisions according to the needs and wishes of each learner. Teachers, therefore, need to be able to make choices and implement the consequences of their choices as they interact with learners. Teacher autonomy in this sense is unquestionably a must for the development of learner autonomy. (Aoki 2002:117)

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12 Schools without a SAC How can elements of a SAC be introduced in a classroom when no SAC is available? Findings > The pedagogical ideas that underlie a SAC are more important than their physical manifestation. > The provision of carefully selected online resources with appropriate help given by the teacher can go some way towards implementing such ideas. > There is a wide range of classroom activities that can promote independent learning (see Chapter 5). > Sometimes a SAC may be available in a nearby institution. Some universities allow members of the public to use the SAC facilities. > You can ask students to draw on authentic materials outside the classroom and build independent learning tasks around them. > A mobile SAC can be a good solution for schools that do not have a well-developed centre (see description on following pages).

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Practical examples Mobile self-access unit Below is a description of a mobile self-access unit designed by a teacher in Japan. Like many of his colleagues he was interested in encouraging independent learning, but his school did not have a SAC. The solution he came up with was to create a small, mobile self-access unit. If your school does not have a SAC perhaps you could try something similar. Mobile Self-Access at a Japanese Junior High School Rationale for a Mobile Self-Access Centre Japanese junior high school classes are usually mixed ability classes of between 35 to 40 students. A mobile self-access centre can address some of the problems encountered in a mixed ability class by providing a range of activities of varying difficulty levels that can roughly match the students’ interests and level of proficiency in English. Giving our students the freedom to take some control over their learning and a choice over the activities that they would like to do is a very motivating and empowering tool in any learning environment. It also encourages them to take the first step towards taking more responsibility for their own learning. Finally, Assistant English Teachers (AETs) are often underutilised, and this system provides a great opportunity for the AETs to contribute more to the EFL classes that they teach. The Mobile Self-Access Centre at Nishiyama JHS It is a collection of both authentic and teacher-produced materials, activities, and worksheets, which are made available to the students both in class and outside of class (placed in the library). The system includes materials focusing on developing certain skills and of varying levels of difficulty. It consists of many worksheets/activity sheets, which are placed into different colour coded folders: RED: BLUE: YELLOW: GREEN: DARK BROWN: CLEAR: PURPLE: ORANGE:

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Reading activities Writing activities Speaking activities Listening activities Cultural Information activities Vocabulary Building activities Grammar Explanations and Exercises Exam Preparation


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Practical examples continued p 75 >> continued from p 74 On the corner of each of the folders, there is a little round colour sticker in yellow, red or blue. These colour stickers indicate the difficulty level of the activity. YELLOW: RED: BLUE:

Difficult Average Easy

(Year 9 level or above) (Year 8 level) (Year 7 level)

The teachers become materials selectors and producers, and counsellors as opposed to being instructors. Once the materials are in place, the teacher lets the students choose the activities and worksheets that they want. Assistance is provided when asked for by the students. The teachers should not dictate which activities the students do, otherwise the motivating factor of freedom of choice will be nullified, and then this will be no different from a regular team-teaching lesson or a solo JTE (Japanese Teacher of English) lesson. The teacher can suggest several suitable activities if the students are seriously undecided and need guidance, but time should be given to the students to choose what they want to do. The mobile self-access centre developed here is a low-tech version that only requires the following: • 2 or more CD/cassette players with headphones and microphones (for recording materials) • Access to a computer with MS Word and clipart • Colour plastic folders • Colour stickers • A laminating machine (By Raymond Wong, Hiroshima YMCA Language School, raymond@hiroshima-ymca.or.jp )

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78 BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bibliography References Aoki, N. (2001). The institutional and psychological context of learner autonomy. In Dam, L. (Ed.), Aila Review 15: Learner autonomy: new insights. Milton Keynes: The AILA Review. Aoki, N. (2002). Aspects of teacher autonomy: Capacity, freedom, and responsibility. In Benson, P. & Toogood, S. (Eds.), Challenges to Research and Practice (pp. 111–124). Dublin: Authentik. Benson, P. (2000). ‘Autonomy as a learners’ and teachers’ right.’ In Sinclair, B., McGrath, I. & Lamb, T. (Eds.), Learner Autonomy, Teacher Autonomy: Future Directions (pp.111-117). London: Longman. Benson, P. (2002). Autonomy and communication. In Benson, P. & Toogood, S. (Eds.), Challenges to Research and Practice (pp. 10-28). Dublin: Authentik. Benson, P. (2001). Teaching and Researching Autonomy in Language Learning. Essex: Pearson. Benson, P. & Lor, W. (1998). Making Sense of Autonomous Language Learning. English Centre Monograph, No. 2. Hong Kong: The University of Hong Kong. Benson, P. & Toogood S. (2002). Introduction. In Benson, P. & Toogood, S. (Eds.), Challenges to Research and Practice (pp. 1–9). Dublin: Authentik. Benson, P. & Voller, P. (Eds.). (1997). Autonomy and Independence in Language Learning. Harlow: Longman. Blin, F. (2004). CALL and the development of learner autonomy: Towards an activity-theoretical perspective ReCALL, 16:2, 377–395. Brown, K. (1999). Using New Technology in the Classroom. Sydney: National Centre for English Language Teaching and Research, Macquarie University. Carter, B.A. (2001). From awareness to counselling in learner autonomy. In Dam, L. (Ed.), Aila Review 15: Learner autonomy: new insight (pp. 26–33). Milton Keynes: The AILA Review. Chapelle, C.A. (2001). Computer Applications in Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Cotterall, S. & Reinders, H. (2001). Fortress or bridge? Learners' perceptions and practice in self access language learning. Tesolanz, 8, 23-38. Cotterall, S. & Reinders, H. (2004). Learner Strategies: a Guide for Teachers. Singapore: RELC. Dam, L. (2000). Evaluating autonomous learning. In Sinclair, B. et al. (Eds.), Learner Autonomy: Future Directions (pp. 48–59). London: Longman. Dam, L. (1995). Learner Autonomy 3: From Theory to Practice. Dublin: Authentik. Dam, L. (1994). How do we recognise an autonomous language classroom?. Die Neueren Sprachen 93, 503-527. Dam, L. & Legenhausen, L. (1996). The acquisition of vocabulary in an

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Reinders, H., Jones-Parry, J., & Anderson, H. (2003). Self-access language learning in tertiary studies in Australia and New Zealand: A preliminary report. New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics 9:1, 109–114. Reinders, H. & Lewis, M. (2005). Examining the ‘Self'’ in self-access materials. rEFLections, 7, 46–53. Reinders, H. & Lewis, M. (2006). The development of an evaluative checklist for self-access materials. ELT Journal 60:2, 272–278. Schalkwijk, E., Van Esch, K., Elsen, A. & Setz, W. (2004). Learner autonomy in foreign language learning and teaching. In Van Esch, K. & St. John, O. (Eds.), New Insights into Foreign Language Learning and Teaching. (pp. 169189). Frankfurt a. M.: Peter Lang. Sheerin, S. (1989). Self-Access. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Sinclair, B. (1996). Materials design for the promotion of learner autonomy: How explicit is ’Explicit’? In Pemberton, R., Edward S.L.L., Winnie W.F.O. & Herbert D. P. (Eds), Taking Control: Autonomy in Language Learning (pp. 149-165). Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Socrates Lingua Learner Autonomy Group (2004). Learner Autonomy in Initial Foreign Language Teacher Education. In Van Esch, K. & St. John, O. (Eds.), New Insights into Foreign Language Learning and Teaching (pp. 219–239). Frankfurt a. M.: Peter Lang. Technisearch. (1990). Adult Migrant Education Program. Review of Individual Learning Centres. Melbourne: Technisearch. Thavenius, C. (1999). Teacher autonomy for learner autonomy. In Cotterall, S. & Crabbe, D. (Eds.), Learner Autonomy in Language Learning: Defining the Field and Effecting Change (pp. 159–164). Frankfurt a. M.: Peter Lang. Tomlinson, B. (1998). Access-Self materials. In Tomlinson, B. (Ed.), Materials Development in Language Teaching (pp. 320–336). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Toogood, S. & Pemberton, R. (2002). Integrating self-directed learning into curriculum: A case study. In Benson, P. & Toogood, S. (Eds.), Challenges to Research and Practice (pp. 86–110). Dublin: Authentik. Van Esch, K. & Elsen A. (2004). Effecting change: Research into learner autonomy in foreign language learning and teaching. In Van Esch, K. & St. John, O. (Eds.), New Insights into Foreign Language Learning and Teaching (pp. 191–218). Frankfurt a. M.: Peter Lang. Victori, M. (2000). Views on self-access language learning. A talk with Leslie Dickinson, Lindsay Miller, Gill Sturtridge & Radha Ravindran. Links & Letters, 7, 165–180. Vincent, J. (2002). Affect, ergonomics and culture in creating and managing a self-access centre. In Evangelista, P. & Argondizzo, C. (Eds.), L’apprendimento autonomo delle lingue straniere: filosofia e attuazione nell’ universitâ italiana (pp. 89-106). Calabria: Universita della Calabria. Widdowson, H. (1990). Aspects of language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Wolff, D. (2003). Content and language integrated learning: A framework for the development of learner autonomy. In Little, D., Ridley, J. & Ushioda, E.

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Further reading and other resources. One of the authors maintains a website that contains research articles on the selfaccess and related topics as well as a large (1500 entries) bibliography. Visit www.innovationinteaching.org Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching is a new journal, published by Taylor and Francis and edited by Terry Lamb and Hayo Reinders, that covers research and innovative practice in learner-centred approaches to teaching and includes articles on learner autonomy, independent learning centres, and related topics (http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/1750-1229) A good starting point on the topic of autonomy is this book: Benson, P. (2000). Teaching and Researching Learner Autonomy. Harlow: Longman. Or this one specifically about self-access: Gardner, D. & Miller, L. (1999). Establishing Self-Access. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Language advising is covered in this edited book: Mozzon-McPherson, M. & Vismans, R. (Eds.). (2001). Beyond Language Teaching: Towards Language Advising. London: Cilt. Auto-L is a forum for people interested in learner autonomy. There are regular discussions hosted by researchers in this field. To subscribe send an email to wldyc@cunyvm.cuny.edu and write in the body of the mail: subscribe AUTO-L, name, institutional affiliation, e-mail address

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Learning and Teaching in the Self-Access Centre  

Learning and Teaching in the Self-Access Centre

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