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Scaffolding Students’ Initial Self-Access Language Centre Experiences

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Author(s): Robert Croker | Umida Ashurova

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

Volume: 3;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 237;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: self-access | connecting to the classroom | SALC activities | learner motivation

ABSTRACT
As the number of self-access language centres (SALCs) in Japanese universities continues to grow, so too does the challenge of successfully introducing them to first-year university students, whose initial experiences of self-access language learning may otherwise be confusing and even unsettling. One approach is to carefully scaffold students’ first SALC encounters by connecting them with their classroom learning experiences. This paper discusses one such approach developed at a private university in central Japan, which was based upon a two-stage ‘push-pull’ ‘materials-light, people-focused’ strategy. Teachers initially ‘pushed’ their students to visit the SALC by giving them speaking ‘homework’ to be done there. The SALC then also offered interesting interactive events designed to ‘pull’ learners to continue to come. These push-pull activities could be done with few or no materials, and emphasized interaction with people rather than materials. This two-stage, push-pull strategy served as a bridge between the language classroom and a SALC, helping learners make the first steps in their transition from being a ‘classroom English learner’ to becoming a ‘SALC English user’.
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