This presentation explores how learners majoring in English language at a university in Japan planned, managed, and reflected on their self-directed language learning over one semester. Self-directed learning is a system of personalised study in which learners are responsible for setting goals, choosing resources and strategies, implementing a plan, and reflecting on both the process and the outcomes (Hiemstra, 2013). During compulsory classroom activities, two classes of students set meaningful language-related goals for the semester and decided strategies and resources that they would use to work toward these goals. The students kept reflective journals, participated in discussions with classmates, and received written feedback from the teacher and learning advisor assigned to the class (the researchers/presenters). The reflective journals were analysed along with additional data collected from interviews and questionnaires. Qualitative data were analysed using Nvivo and quantitative data were analysed using IBM SPSS. The results suggested that the self-directed learning activities were beneficial and meaningful to the participants. The activities promoted reflective processes which in turn helped learners to develop their self-directed learning skills, particularly in the areas of goal setting, noticing progress in learning, and maintaining motivation. The research also showed that visual tools were particularly effective at helping learners to reflect deeply on their learning, see their progress, gain self-awareness, and understand how to become more reflective learners. The presenters will provide details of the visual tools, tasks, and written advising strategies (Kato & Mynard, 2016) used in the study and share some illuminative extracts from their data.
Christine Pemberton, Kanda University of International Studies, Japan
Jo Mynard, Kanda University of International Studies, Japan