Learning Communities and Spaces

There has been a recent interest in environmental and contextual factors affecting autonomous language learning. As RILAE was created to develop the research agenda of the self-access learning center (SALC) at KUIS. In the coming years, research needs to investigate questions such as the following: What affordances of space design can have an impact on language learner autonomy? What can we observe about the learning communities in the SALC? How can we foster a community-based approach to language learning? If you are interested in joining one of our current projects, or proposing a related project, please get in touch.

Current research projects

Exploring and supporting sustainable language learning communities of practice (SALC-19-3). Daniel HooperKanda University of International Studies, Chiba

The aims of this project are 1. to investigate how a student-created learning community (Study Buddies) functions as a community of practice and explore learners’ varying trajectories within the community over time, and 2. to analyze the experiences of newly established core community members during leadership succession when a community facilitator leaves the community.

An investigation of attitudes towards an English speaking area in a multilingual space (SALC-19-2). Yurimamura and Isra Wongsarnpigoon, Kanda University of International Studies, Chiba

This project aims to investigate the effectiveness of events to promote English usage in the English Speaking Practice Area and find out whether or not the participants perceive a need for the events for their language learning. 

Identity and Social Learning Spaces (Identity_1 2017)
Jo Mynard, Bethan Kushida, Phoebe Lyon, Phillip Taw, Ross Sampson, Daniel Hooper, Michael Burke, Kanda University of International Studies, Chiba

A longitudinal ethnography investigating identity construction via use of a conversation lounge.
Research questions: (1) How do KUIS students view the role of the English Lounge (“Yellow Sofas”)? (2) Why do some students choose to frequent the lounge? (3) Why do some students avoid the lounge? (4) What role does the English Lounge have on the development of an English user identity?

Learner perceptions of the SALC (SALC_Surv)
Isra Wongsarnpigoon, Bethan Kushida and Jo Mynard, Ward Peeters, Kanda University of International Studies, Chiba

An analysis of annual surveys administered to KUIS students in July each year investigating shifts in views of the SALC.

Investigating freshman attitudes to and use of the SALC (SALC-2018-1)
Yuri Imamura and Neil Curry, Kanda University of International Studies, Chiba

By collecting and analysing regular feedback from selected freshman classes, we hope to know what expectations they have of the SALC and its services at the beginning of their school careers, and how these attitudes might change.

Do SALC Services and Environments Support Basic Psychological Needs? A Self-Determination Theory Perspective on English use in the SALC (SALC-2018-2)
Jo Mynard, Isra Wongsarnpigoon, Amelia Yarwood, Emma Asta, Yuri Imamura, Andy Gill, Curtis Edlin, Alecia Wallingford, Andria Lorentzen, Scott Shelton-Strong, Michelle Lees, and Arthur Nguyen, Martin Mielick, and student researchers, Kanda University of International Studies, Chiba 

By using self-determination theory as a framework, we aim to investigate whether SALC services and its environment provides the conditions for supporting English language use.

English use in a student-led learning community in the SALC (SALC-2018-3)
Yuri Imamura, Kanda University of International Studies, Chiba 

Research through observations and focus groups to find out why participants keep joining a student-led learning community and how they use their target language in the multilingual language space in the SALC.

Publications related to learning communities and spaces

Burke, M., Hooper, D., Kushida, B., Lyon, P., Mynard, J., Sampson, R., & Taw, P. (2018). Observing a social learning space: A summary of an ethnographic project in progress. Relay Journal, 1(1), 209-220.

Chen, A., & Mynard, J. (2018). Student perceptions of the English Lounge after a layout change. RelayJournal, 1(1), 221-235.

Curry, N., & Watkins, S. (2016). Considerations in developing a peer mentoring programme for a self-access centre. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 7(1), 16-29. Retrieved from http://sisaljournal.org/archives/mar16/curry_watkins/

Edlin, C. (2016). Informed eclecticism in the design of self-access language learning environments. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 7(2), 115-135. Retrieved from https://sisaljournal.org/archives/jun16/edlin/

Edlin, C., & Imamura, Y. (2018). Resource coordination in the Self-Access Learning Center at Kanda University of International Studies for the 2017-2018 academic year: Activity, concept, and expanding definitions. Relay Journal, 1(1), 178-196.

Imamura, Y. (2018). Adopting and adapting to new language policies in a self-access centre in Japan. Relay Journal, 1(1), 197-208.

Kanai, H., & Imamura, Y. (2019). Why do students keep joining study buddies? A case study of a learner-led community in the SALC. Independence, 75, 31-34.

Kershaw, M., Mynard, J., Promnitz-Hayashi, L., Sakaguchi, M., Slobodniuk, A., Stillwell, C., & Yamamoto, K. (2010). Promoting autonomy through self-access materials design. In A. Stoke (Ed). JALT 2009 Conference Proceedings: The Teaching-Learning Dialogue: An Active Mirror, pp. 151-159. retrieved from http://jalt-publications.org/archive/proceedings/2009/E012.pdf

Mynard, J. (2012). Does ‘Self-Access’ still have life in it? : A response to Reinders (2012). ELTWO, Volume 4. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/2100669/Does_Self-Access_Still_Have_Life_in_It_A_Response_to_Reinders_2012_

Mynard, J. (2016). Looking backwards and forwards: Evaluating a 15-year-old SALC for continued growth. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 7(4), 427-436. Retrieved from https://sisaljournal.org/archives/dec16/mynard/

Mynard, J., & Edlin, C. (2016). Virtual and other learning spaces: Introduction to the special issue. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 7(2), 110-114. Retrieved from https://sisaljournal.org/archives/jun16/introduction/

Mynard, J., & Ludwig, C. (2014). Introduction. In J. Mynard & C. Ludwig (Eds.), Autonomy in language learning: Tools, tasks and environments. Faversham, UK: IATEFL. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/8945357/Introduction_Tools_Tasks_and_Environments_for_Learner_Autonomy

Sekiya, Y., Mynard, J., & Cooker, L. (2010). 学習者の自律を支援するセルフアクセス学習 [Self-access learning which supports learner autonomy]. In H. Kojima, N. Ozeki & T. Hiromori. (Eds.), 「英 語教育学大系」全13巻中の第6巻「成長する英語学習者―学習者要因と自律学習」大修 館書 店 [Survey of English Language Education: Vol. 6. Developing English learners: Learner factors & autonomous learning] (pp. 191-210). Tokyo: Taishukan-shoten.

Sekiya, Y., Mynard, J., & Cooker, L. (2010). 大学英語教育への応用 8. セルフアクセス学習と大学教育 [Implications for university education: 8. Self-access learning and university education]. In H. Kojima, N. Ozeki & T. Hiromori. (Eds.), 「英語教育学大系」全13巻中の第6巻「成長する英語 学習者―学習者要因と自律学習」大修 館書店 [Survey of English Language Education: Vol. 6. Developing English learners: Learner factors & autonomous learning] (pp. 225-227). Tokyo: Taishukan-shoten.

Thornton, K., & Noguchi, N. (2016). Building a picture of usage patterns in a language learning space: Gathering useful quantitative and qualitative data. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 7(4), 412-425. Retrieved from https://sisaljournal.org/archives/dec16/thornton_noguchi/

Tweed, A., & Yamaguchi, A. (2017). Impacting student use in self access centers through learning environment design. Independence, 70, 22-27.

Yamaguchi, A. (2011). Fostering learner autonomy as agency: An analysis of narratives of a student staff member working at a self-access learning centre. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 2(4), 268-280.
Retrieved from http://sisaljournal.org/ archives/dec11/yamaguchi/