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Fostering Learner Autonomy as Agency: An Analysis of Narratives of a Student Staff Member Working at a Self-access Learning Center

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Author(s): Atsumi Yamaguchi

Journal: Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal
ISSN 2185-3762

Volume: 2;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 268;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: learner autonomy | agency | identities | Communities of Practice | self-access

ABSTRACT
This study investigates narrative stories of a student staff member working at the Self Access Learning Center (the SALC) at Kanda University of International Studies, Japan in order to discover whether / how her working experiences in the SALC have an impact on her identities especially focusing on her development of learner autonomy as agency. Drawing on four layers of narrative positioning (Wortham & Gadsden, 2006), I will explore: 1) the ways that agency is projected; and 2) how the learner’s involvement in a SALC impacts on her identities. The examination revealed that the learner’s involvement as a student staff member enhanced her agency to access a target community of English in the SALC. Drawing on the Communities of Practice (CoP) framework by Lave & Wenger (1991), I discuss the possibility that gaining voice in the target community might enable a learner to be more autonomous. Finally, this paper addresses the importance of learner involvement in SALCs – not only for the learners involved, but also for other SALC users in order to provide opportunities to activate both agency and autonomy.
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