Editorial

Jo Mynard, Kanda University of International Studies, Japan

Mynard, J. (2018). Editorial. Relay Journal, 1(2), 255-258.

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Welcome to Relay Journal Volume 1 Issue 2 which is published by the Research Institute for Learner Autonomy Education (RILAE) at Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS), Japan. We are grateful to all of the authors and reviewers for participating in the dialogic process that has led to the publication of this issue. We hope you enjoy reading not only the final versions of the papers, but also the original submissions and the ensuing comments and responses. The original papers have been retained in order for readers to be able to capture the evolution of ideas facilitated by the dialogue. The PDF versions were then revised based on the comments and ideas that the dialogue stimulated. In fact, we hope that the dialogue and thinking will still continue. This short introduction will briefly summarise the submissions and also include announcements and acknowledgements.

Contents of this Issue

Featured Theme: Affect and Learner Autonomy

The issue begins with a featured column on affect and learner autonomy which was also the theme of the 2nd online LAb session held on June 4th 2018 (https://kuis.kandagaigo.ac.jp/rilae/lab-sessions/4-june-lab). By affect, we mean the motivational and emotional factors that have an impact on learning, and the experiences that a language learner has as a result of those emotions.

In the first paper, Takuto Marutani describes an innovative classroom intervention for helping senior high school students in Japan deal with exam anxiety. The students share their concerns by participating in an “anxiety-shooting” activity and give advice to their classmates, helping them to realise that they are not alone.

In the second paper, Hirofumi Naruse describes how he originally used learning logs as an activity in a Japanese junior high school classroom in order for students to keep a record of their learning. However, in his paper, he comments on how the learning logs might have an important role to play in the promotion of learner autonomy as students become more aware of their learning processes through the reflective processes.

In the third paper in this column, Scott J. Shelton-Strong and Jo Mynard provide details of a course offered at a university in Japan that not only promotes self-directed learning, but also supports the emotional side of learning. The authors describe a number of ways in which an awareness and control of affective factors are approached either as part of the course or within the self-access learning center.

Reflective Practice

The reflective practice column is edited by Kie Yamamoto and in her introduction, she summarises the contributions in this section. Firstly, Gamze Güven Yalçın reflects on successful elements of a mentoring session in a university in Turkey. Next, Hülya Şen reflects on ways to broaden perspectives through intentional reflective dialogue with a colleague. Finally, Isra Wongsarnpigoon reflects on his efforts to establish a positive mood in an advising session in a university in Japan.

Perspectives and Summaries

There are three papers in this section, starting with an account by Daniel Hooper on efforts to promote self-directed learning in a private English conversation school in Japan. The author discusses some of the contextual constraints, but also suggests some possible fruitful approaches for enhancing learning opportunities for students within and beyond the classroom.

In the second paper, Sina Takada explores the motivational effects of being part of a student study group at a university in Japan. Interviews with group members revealed insights into how learners developed motivation through interaction with others within the study group as an example of a Community of Practice.

In the third paper, Olga VibergJarmo LaaksolahtiJo Mynard and Anna Mavroudi give an overview of the initial stages of a collaboration between a university specialising in languages in Japan and a university specialising in technology in Sweden. The research so far is focussing on a needs analysis and evaluation of the learning environment which is necessary before any technological designs are implemented.

From Theory to Practice

The contribution in this section is a paper related to autonomous interaction by Gordon Myskow, Phillip A. Bennett, Hisako Yoshimura, Kyoko Gruendel, Takuto Marutani, Kaori Hano, and Teresa Li. The authors make a distinction between Cooperative and Collaborative Learning and show how both approaches can provide opportunities for fostering autonomous interaction. The authors also present seven Cooperative Learning activities and show how they encourage autonomous interaction.

Research in Progress

The two papers in this section present research reports from large ongoing projects currently being carried out in the Self-Access Learning Center (SALC) at Kanda University of International Studies, Japan. These are large-scale projects, and the contributions document key components of the overall projects.

The first paper is by Emma Asta and Jo Mynard who give an overview of the start of a research project designed to explore whether the SALC supports basic psychological needs as defined within Self-Determination Theory (Ryan & Deci, 2017). The initial stages of the project involved coordinating a large number of researchers to conduct more than one hundred interviews and the authors describe this process in detail.

In the second paper, Jo Mynard and Kie Yamamoto report on a stage in an ongoing action research project which investigates ways to harness technology for enhancing the experience of self-directed language learners. In this portion of the research, the perceptions of users (students and learning advisors) are investigated and the findings indicate some benefits, but mostly limitations of the app.

Innovative Practice

Curtis Edlin and Euan Bonner present an example of innovative practice utilising Augmented Reality technology in their paper. The authors describe a mobile app called Peer Scan which was developed to help language learners select appropriate learning materials for self-access use by accessing peer reviews of the resources.

Reviews

Marilyn Lewis provides a review of the book Language Teacher Psychology edited by Sarah Mercer and Achilleas Kostoulas (2018) published by Multilingual Matters, Bristol, UK. The author gives an accessible overview of the contents and encourages teachers at all stages in the profession to dip into this book.

Announcements

We are delighted to announce the Relay Journal Managing Editors for 2019: Phillip Bennett (Japan), Sin Wang Chong (Hong Kong), Hülya Şen (Turkey) and Maria Giovanna Tassinari (Germany). The featured theme of the January 2019 issue is identity and learner autonomy and the submission deadline is December 20th. Following that, the featured theme of the September issue is teacher and advisor education for learner autonomy. General papers are also welcome. Please see the website for submission guidelines https://kuis.kandagaigo.ac.jp/relayjournal/for-authors/

Acknowledgements

We are grateful for members of the editorial team and to the reviewers for reading and commenting on the papers, and engaging in reflective dialogue with the authors. Many thanks go to:

Phillip Bennett
Eduaro Castro
Sin-Wang Chong
Neil Curry
Huw Davies
Yuri Imamura
Ewen MacDonald
Chris Maschio
Josh McMillen
Paul Moore
Tim Murphey
Hayo Reinders
Hülya Şen
Scott Shelton-Strong
Rob Stevenson
Giovanna Tassinari
Satoko Watkins
Isra Wongsarnpigoon
Satomi Wolfenden
Kie Yamamoto