Dynamics of a Social Language Learning Community: Beliefs, Membership and Identity

Author: Jo Mynard, Michael Burke, Daniel Hooper, Bethan Kushida, Phoebe Lyon, Ross Sampson, Phillip Taw

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Multilingual Matters
Number of pages:
234mm x 156mm

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This book provides an in-depth exploration of psychological phenomena affecting language learning within a social learning space. Drawing on the literature from identity in second language learning, communities of practice and learner beliefs, in conjunction with other individual difference factors, it uncovers perceptions and assumptions that language learners have of the space and how they affect their relationship with it and the people within it. Readers will gain a greater understanding of how psychological phenomena shape a space and how a learning space can contribute to a wider learning ecology. This book will appeal to researchers interested in language learning beyond the classroom and psychological aspects of language acquisition, as well as to practitioners and professionals who are supporting learners outside the classroom.

A compelling example of spaces transformed into places for learning through the interaction of individuals whose complex identities shape their choices and actions. This is an invaluable resource for educators, administrators and researchers committed to creating and exploring innovative environments that support classroom practice by fostering out-of-class learning.

Garold Murray, Freelance Language Consultant, Japan

This book goes beyond a collection of research papers related to self-access or self-directed learning spaces – it will be a useful guide for those interested in enhancing or transforming their learning spaces into a social learning community. It provides the reader with a complete and comprehensive presentation of social learning spaces dynamics and the diversity of phenomena that emerge within these environments.

Adelia Peña Clavel, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico

It is refreshing to see a book on language learners and their experiences that actually takes the learners' voices as the starting point. This book gives fascinating insights into the psychological realities of the language learning journey and provides us with important directions for future practice and research.

Hayo Reinders, Anaheim University, USA

The authors are all researchers working at Kanda University of International Studies, Japan. The research team is led by Jo Mynard, Professor and Director of the Self Access Learning Center. The co-authors, Michael Burke, Daniel Hooper, Bethan Kushida, Phoebe Lyon, Ross Sampson and Phillip Taw, are all lecturers within the English Language Institute at the university.

Part 1: Setting the Scene

Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. Social Learning Spaces

Chapter 3. The Japanese Educational Context

Chapter 4. Methodology

Part 2: Case Studies

Chapter 5. "If some freshman come to us, I said like, 'please join us'." Kokon's Story

Chapter 6. "We see like the same people like every day so I feel like yeah it's kind of like a community, Yellow Sofa community kind of thing." Sina's Story

Chapter 7. "Is it okay if I ignore grammar and just speak?" Kaede's Story

Chapter 8. "Don't be afraid of making mistakes." Rintaro's Story

Chapter 9. "I should be more confident in talking with people." Sachiko's Story

Chapter 10. "Just try is I think the most important thing". Sayaka's Story

Part 3: Exploring Concepts Through the Research

Chapter 11. Understanding Identity in a Social Learning Space

Chapter 12. Understanding Communities of Practice in a Social Language Learning Space

Chapter 13. Understanding Learner Beliefs and Other Individual Differences in a Social Learning Space

Chapter 14. Lessons Learnt from the Research Methods Applied in this Project

Part 4: Implications for the Field

Chapter 15. Summary of the Findings 

Chapter 16. Implications and Practical Interventions

Postgraduate, Research / Professional
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