Call for proposals: ReNLA Symposium at AILA 2011 in Beijing – ‘Social Dimensions of Autonomy’

In the last Bulletin we requested your ideas for a theme for the ReN on Learner Autonomy symposium at AILA 2011 (the 16th World Congress of Applied Linguistics, to be held in Beijing, August 23-28, 2011: (in Chinese) or (English version).

Among the suggestions we received, the most favoured by the committee was for the Symposium to be titled ‘Social Dimensions of Autonomy’. For one thing, we felt that this relates well to the overall conference theme of ‘Harmony in diversity: language, culture and society’, but it also has relevance as a counterbalance to over-individualistic interpretations of autonomy and as a way of addressing issues of ‘making connections’ through technology.

Here is the call for papers, followed by details of deadlines:

Social Dimensions of Autonomy

The symposium will focus on the social dimensions of autonomy, in other words how various social and contextual processes mediate language learner and teacher autonomy in particular settings. With autonomy being increasingly promoted as a crucial component and desirable outcome of language classroom pedagogy in many contexts including the host country for AILA 2011, and with technological development bringing about an increasingly interconnected world, there is a need to document efforts to explore practices intended to engage or enhance autonomous language learning which take into account the social dimensions of learner and teacher autonomy.

By ‘social dimensions’, we also refer to the participation of the individual in complex nets of socially interconnected relationships, the many social identities which emerge in one’s life span, and how these relate to the affordances for learning available in the social environment. Therefore, another aim of this symposium is to build on that of 2008 and to further reflect on learning, teaching, autonomy and identity as entangled socially-constituted processes.

To these ends, Xuesong (Andy) Gao, Jiang Xiaoli,  Garold Murray, Liliane Resende, and Richard Smith, the organizers of the symposium, welcome proposals for papers from ReN members which touch on one or more of the following – or on other, related themes:

1) How conceptions of the social dimensions of learner autonomy influence or emerge from practice;

2) How contextual and social forces may mediate the development of forms and/or practices of autonomy in particular educational contexts;

3) How, in return, forms and/or practices of autonomy have an impact on language learning and teaching in particular educational contexts;

4) How new technologies may provide new kinds of affordance for learning in the social environment (for example, participation in wider communities of practice), and the relationship this may have with forms and/or practices of autonomy;

5) How an understanding of the individual as socially constituted may have implications for forms and/or practices of autonomy.

Paper proposals should be 150-200 words in length, including a title not exceeding 10 words. Please send your proposal to the Research Network convenors, Garold Murray and Richard Smith as a word file attachment by 9 January 2010. After your proposal has been reviewed, you will be notified of the result by 1 February 2010.

Please note that a submission to the ReN symposium and a submission to the AILA Congress itself are two different things. We intend to inform members whether or not their paper has been accepted for inclusion in the ReNLA symposium by 1 February 2010. In this way, if your paper cannot be included in this symposium, then you will still have plenty of time to submit your abstract as an individual paper for the AILA Congress via the official conference website. The deadline for submission of abstracts for individual paper presentations to the AILA Congress committee is 28 February 2010.

Back to the November 2009 bulletin

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