Richard Smith

Richard Smith (R.C.Smith@warwick.ac.uk)

I’m an Associate Professor at the University of Warwick, UK, and – in relation to autonomy  – have published and presented mainly on cultural issues, teachers’ autonomy as learners, history of the autonomy movement, and teaching in difficult circumstances.  I’ve convened the Research Network on Learner Autonomy (ReNLA) for the last three years, with Garold Murray.  Some significant innovations/achievements:

* (recently) leading a successful campaign, with ReNLA members’ support, to have AILA’s restriction on lifetime of networks like ours ended;

* with Lucy Cooker’s help, seeing an increase in ReNLA membership from around 300 in 2008 to over 400 in 2011;

* with Jo Mynard’s help, seeing our website made more interactive (though we’d still like to innovate in this area);

* introducing a new ‘supported by the AILA ReNLA’ scheme for regional conferences (two so far, in Turkey and the UK);

* sending at least two e-mail ‘Bulletins’ per year to members and instituting a Learner Autonomy in Language Learning area on the website for longer contributions;

By the end of the coming three years, aside from building on the above, I’d like to feel I’d helped renew the field of autonomy research by encouraging younger/newer researchers to take more of an active role in ReNLA, at the same time as ensuring that past experience and insights aren’t forgotten. So I’d like to:

* Triple membership of the ReNLA ‘committee’ to refresh our activities, enlisting in particular members who’ve recently completed doctorates in the field and who have fresh ideas for ReNLA activities;

* Institute an ‘advisory board’ consisting of former convenors going back to 1993, in case of need;

* Encourage committee members to take initiatives to significantly enhance useful interaction among members during the three years leading up to the next AILA Congress, via website, online discussions, regional conferences/symposia etc.

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