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Integrating Self-Access into the Curriculum: Our Experience

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Author(s): Gene Thompson | Lee Atkinson

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

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 47;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: self-access | principles | curriculum

ABSTRACT
Linking self-access and classroom learning is a difficult and time-consuming business, but one which can lead to great rewards as learners develop independent learning skills and assume greater responsibility for their learning. This paper will outline the approach for encouraging independent learning employed in the first year English language curriculum at Hiroshima Bunkyo Joshi Daigaku (HBJD), a four-year women’s only university in Japan. Two different methods for doing this will be introduced: employing project-based learning activities and linking classroom activities with a Self-Access Learning Center (SALC). The design of the curriculum and the materials encourage individualized learning, while the project-based and independent learning activities promote learner responsibility and control of learning (Dickinson, 1987) through utilization of the SALC. This paper will outline the issues involved in shifting from a weakly linked curriculum and SALC to a more strongly linked curriculum-SALC relationship. It will provide specific examples of this challenge before also discussing examples of the successes and failures that have been faced by the curriculum design and self-access teams in attempting to create a curriculum which strongly promotes independent learning. It is hoped that sharing these experiences will provide some useful insights into the issues surrounding the encouragement of independent learning and how these issues can be tackled practically in a teaching situation.
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