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Growth of an Out-of-Class Learning Community through Autonomous Socialization at a Self-Access Centre

Keywords: advising , learner autonomy , out-of-class learning , self-access center , socialization

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Abstract:

This study investigates the benefits of attending the Saitama University English Resource Center (ERC), a self-access center for English language learning open to all students at the university and managed by full-time faculty who alternate as center advisors. The study builds on previous research to explore how advisors promote language learning through facilitating autonomous socialization in the L2 among center attendees. This authentic social interaction not only exposes learners to patterns of discourse and other language input unavailable to learners in most institutional settings, it has also served as the means through which visiting students have formed an out-of-class learning community that now extends well beyond the center’s walls. Findings of a significant increase in center attendees and meaningful gains in the number of frequent attendees over the past year provide evidence that supports informal observations of the growth of this extraordinary L2-based community.

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