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What factors encourage high levels of student participation in a self-access centre?

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Author(s): Keith Barrs

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

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 10;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: self-access | principles

ABSTRACT
The motivation to write about Self-Access Centres (SACs) comes from experiencing a marked difference in the frequency and depth of student participation at two separate centres; one in a university in Japan and one in a private language school in England. In this context ‘frequency’ means how often the students use the centre and ‘depth’ means in what ways and to what extent the equipment and resources are used. At the SAC in Japan, the facilities are continually exploited by a large number of students with many of them visiting three or four times a week, on an optional basis, for usually over an hour each time. The activities in which the students are engaged include listening to music while annotating lyrics, practising pronunciation in speaking booths, reading English language novels and graded-readers, and communicating in the target-language with other students and learning advisors. In contrast, the SAC at the institution in England is only frequented by a very small number of students and the activities are generally limited to the issuance and return of books and the use of computers for online social networking, which is usually conducted in the native languages of the students.
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