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Directions in Self-Access Language Learning

Directions in Self-Access Language Learning

David Gardner
Lindsay Miller
Copyright Date: 1994
Pages: 200
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  • Book Info
    Directions in Self-Access Language Learning
    Book Description:

    This is a collection of articles on the topic of self-access language learning by a variety of experienced educators currently active in the field of English language teaching in Hong Kong. Separate chapters discuss a wide range of issues confronting ELT professionals in tertiary and secondary education, and in the private sector.

    eISBN: 978-988-220-099-9
    Subjects: Linguistics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
    David Nunan
  4. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xiv)

    The past five years has seen an explosion of interest in self-access language learning in many parts of the world. This interest is most obvious in such places as the Centre de Recherches et d’Applications Pédagogiques en Langues in France, the Self-Study Centre of the Bell College, Saffron Walden and the Language Centre at Cambridge University. Within Southeast Asia, Hong Kong has become a centre of expertise in self-access as a result of the large-scale development of independent learning largely promoted by government funding of language enhancement.

    The rapid development of self-access in Hong Kong has been assisted by the...

  5. Contributors
    (pp. xv-xvii)
  6. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xviii-xviii)
    David Gardner and Lindsay Miller
  7. Section One: Approaches to Self-Access

    • CHAPTER 1 Self-Access Systems as Information Systems: Questions of Ideology and Control
      (pp. 3-12)
      Phil Benson

      Until recently, self-access language learning facilities were discussed mainly in terms of support for projects in self-directed and autonomous learning (Holec 1981; Riley 1982; Dickinson 1987). But in the last few years, self-access has become an issue in its own right, and attention has shifted to organizational aspects of setting up and running self-access centres (Little 1989; Sheerin 1989, 1991; Mitchener 1991; McCall 1992; Moore 1992; Carvalho 1993; Miller and Rogerson-Revell 1993). In much of this literature, underlying philosophies of learning take second place to the solution of practical problems, and learner autonomy increasingly appears as a purely optional or...

    • CHAPTER 2 The Limits of Learner Independence in Hong Kong
      (pp. 13-28)
      Richard Farmer

      Since self-access embodies a learner-centred approach, it seems appropriate to start with some of the initial reactions which learners had to the introduction of learner independence in the programmes of study at the English Language Study-Centre, Hong Kong Polytechnic.

      ‘I prefer a teachers to teach me in the whole programme because he/she can know what 1 need and the progress in learning.’

      ‘I prefer the teacher encourage me talking to speak a lot.’

      ‘I would like to have a teacher with me in the whole lesson but not always goes away and let us alone.’

      ‘Small group learning with needs...

    • CHAPTER 3 A Self-Directed Project: A Critical Humanistic Approach to Self-Access
      (pp. 29-38)
      Terence T.T. Pang

      A centrally administered special fund has been established in Hong Kong to provide grants for language enhancement. This Language Enhancement Grant has provided an unprecedented opportunity for working towards the ideals of equal access in language development for all tertiary students in Hong Kong. This is necessitated by the rapid expansion of tertiary education in recent years in the territory. The facilities that can be developed by using the Language Enhancement Grant ensure that students will be able to complete their tertiary education successfully, without being handicapped by language problems. They also ensure quality of education in addition to quantity...

    • CHAPTER 4 Self-Access Writing Centres
      (pp. 39-42)
      Kathy Hayward

      Writing is the most prized of academic skills. It is by writing that most students studying at tertiary level are assessed and pass or fail their courses. Many native English users find writing difficult, so how much more difficult is it for non-native users of the language? This paper looks at the development of writing centres as part of self access centres (SAC) in the drive towards helping non-native English users with their writing.

      In Hong Kong we have seen an increase in tertiary education and an increase in the number of students who have problems with expressing themselves through...

  8. Section Two: Learner Training

    • CHAPTER 5 Helping Learners Plan and Prepare for Self-Access Learning
      (pp. 45-58)
      Winnie W.F. Or

      This paper reports on the planning and preparation stage of a self-access project undertaken by first year undergraduates at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). It also discusses ways teachers can help learners build better learning paths and emphasizes the importance of teacher intervention in the planning and preparation stage, particularly in helping learners establish statements of objective, and analysing them. If we can help learners establish realistic and achievable goals, we can solve a lot of problems that might occur in the later stages of a self-instruction programme.

      The project ran for 15 weeks during which...

    • CHAPTER 6 What Is the Fare to the Land of Effective Language Learning?
      (pp. 59-64)
      Beatrice Ma

      FARE is a seven-day programme that trains learners to utilize, for self-directed language learning, the resources of the Independent Learning Centre (ILC) at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). The name has two levels of meaning. It can be seen as the means used to reach a certain destination or a stage of accomplishment (like a bus fare), and, it is also an acronym for Flexible learning approaches, Accessible resources, Responsible learners and Enjoyable learning experience.

      The first three days of the programme is an orientation component which deconditions learners from their past language learning experience and provides them...

    • CHAPTER 7 Self-Access Logs: Promoting Self-Directed Learning
      (pp. 65-78)
      Elaine Martyn

      Kahlil Gibran wrote these words in 1923, but they remain an item of faith, if not action, for many educators today. This drive to encourage autonomous, independent, or self-directed learning is one of the key forces behind the development of self-access centres for language learning.

      As has been noted by Sheerin (1989), a self-access centre (SAC) full of fine resources and advanced equipment does not necessarily lead to this desired type of learning. In fact, programmed self-access learning materials may lead to greater dependence than many of today’s classrooms; however in such an environment, a student is likely to feel...

    • CHAPTER 8 Training Learners for Independence
      (pp. 79-88)
      Deirdre Moynihan Tong

      This paper describes the Speaking Skills module of a learner training programme in use at the Hong Kong Polytechnic English Language Study-Centre. It also discusses in detail the piloting of that module, its evaluation and implications for future development.

      During term time, the English Language Study-Centre is open only to students who attend a service-English course and have been identified by their service-English teachers as requiring supplementary tuition (in practice, the weakest 20% of a class). These students are referred to the Study-Centre for a compulsory twenty-hour programme. They attend in groups of between two and five and are provided...

    • CHAPTER 9 Developing Pronunciation Skills through Self-Access Learning
      (pp. 89-104)
      Pamela Rogerson-Revell and Lindsay Miller

      Interest continues to grow in creating materials to promote independent learning and in developing self-access centres (SAC). There are many examples of successful SACs around the world (Harding-Esch 1982; Dickinson 1987; Riley et al. 1989; Sheerin 1989; Miller 1992). The decision of what type of system to use in the SAC (Miller and Rogerson-Revell 1993) will determine the type of material and the way in which the material is classified, organized and presented for the learner to use. With the receptive skills: reading and listening there are fewer problems in developing and organizing the material than there are with the...

  9. Section Three: Materials

    • CHAPTER 10 Creating Simple Interactive Video for Self-Access
      (pp. 107-114)
      David Gardner

      Over the last few years Hong Kong has witnessed a flurry of activity in the area of self-access learning, particularly in relation to the learning of language. While the secondary sector is beginning to show a cautious interest, tertiary institutions have already made major investments of resources, both human and material, as have some non-government sponsored training operations. As self-access centres mature in Hong Kong a problem that they are encountering is the paucity of quality materials which lend themselves well to working in self-access mode. While many publishers have quickly added ‘self-access’, ‘self-study’ or ‘independent learning’ at strategic points...

    • CHAPTER 11 Materials Production for Self-Access Centres in Secondary Schools
      (pp. 115-126)
      Janice Tibbetts

      The purpose of this paper is to show how materials can be developed for a self-access system in secondary schools. That such a centre is worthwhile is becoming more and more obvious to teachers in Hong Kong. It can go a long way towards the problem of large, mixed ability classes and free the teacher for more productive work with small groups or individuals. It can provide remedial help for weaker students and challenging material to stretch the high flyers. But setting up such a centre can seem an impossible task. There are major problems in government secondary schools in...

    • CHAPTER 12 Self-Access Language Learning for Secondary School Students
      (pp. 127-132)
      Julie Forrester

      The summer of 1993 was the first time that the British Council in Hong Kong ran the Intensive English Language Programme for students entering Form 7. This course was designed to help these students bridge the gap between Chinese-medium secondary schools and English-medium tertiary education. There were approximately 1,100 students with a teacher-student ratio of 1 to 10. The course was run at two centres (the Institute of Language in Education and City Polytechnic of Hong Kong), both of which had a centre supervisor, and a self-access supervisor.

      The first part of this paper summarizes reports from the South China...

    • CHAPTER 13 Incorporating Aspects of Style and Tone in Self-Access CALL Courseware
      (pp. 133-144)
      Lynne Flowerdew

      This paper reports on a computer-assisted language learning (CALL), self-access, job-seeking skills package designed for both undergraduate and postgraduate students at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). The CALL exercises are based on an error analysis of students’ letter and résumé writing and address three main areas of weakness: style and tone, grammar and lexis. However, it is the area of style and tone that is the main thrust of this paper as this type of error was found to outnumber those concerning grammar and lexis, and was deemed to be the most serious because of the...

    • CHAPTER 14 From English Teacher to Producer: How to Develop a Multimedia Computer Simulation for Teaching ESL
      (pp. 145-154)
      Linda Mak

      This paper describes the stages involved in developing a piece of multimedia courseware and suggests a framework for teachers who may be interested in this new technology for language teaching purposes. The paper first explains the rationale for designing a multimedia computer simulation (1997 Dilemma) for tertiary students in Hong Kong. It then briefly outlines the stages the author, an ELT teacher, has gone through in developing such a program. It also discusses the problems identified in the pilot stage and offers suggestions for the development of multimedia courseware.

      During the establishment of a new Independent Learning Centre (ILC) at...

  10. Section Four: Evaluating Self-Access

    • CHAPTER 15 Learning to Improve: Evaluating Self-Access Centres
      (pp. 157-166)
      Marian Star

      Current initiatives in the teaching and learning of English as a Second Language in Hong Kong have recognized the need to take account of developments in educational theory and practice which stress individual differences and learner independence. These developments have been practically realized in the establishment of self-access centres for language learning. The huge investment in establishing and maintaining these centres makes regular evaluation essential.

      This paper outlines the principles which underpin self-access learning and relates them to the purposes and methods of obtaining feedback in self-access centres. A case study of an evaluation carried out in the self-access centre...

    • CHAPTER 16 Directions for Research into Self-Access Language Learning
      (pp. 167-174)
      Lindsay Miller and David Gardner

      Kershaw (1993) paints a gloomy picture of the future of self-access language learning (SALL). He compares SALL facilities to those of language laboratories in the 1960s and in doing so reminds us of the earlier comments of Stern (1983:64) who declared that the ‘introduction of the language laboratory was undertaken with virtually no systematic research except on its engineering aspects. The teaching methodology was developed ad hoc, and what research was done was after the event.’ Kershaw goes on to state that the comparison between language laboratories and self-access centres is justified in that both are resource-based rather than theory-or...

  11. References
    (pp. 175-180)