February 2012 Bulletin: Item 1

Message from the newly elected convenors

As recently elected convenors of the AILA Research Network on Learner Autonomy in Language Learning (ReNLA for short), we would like to thank you for your support, and thank also Terry Lamb for organizing the election at the end of last year. We’d also like to express great gratitude – on behalf of all members – to Garold Murray for all the work he put in as joint convenor during 2005-11.

We also pay tribute to Richard Pemberton, who convened the Research Network (then known as a ‘Scientific Commission’) from 2002 to 2005. Members have already heard the very sad news that Richard passed away on 19th January. We have posted a brief account of Richard’s career and contributions to the field of learner autonomy on the ReNLA website (please see https://ailarenla.org/richard-pemberton/), and we will be commemorating Richard more fully in the next issue of Learner Autonomy in Language Learning.

Since we were elected as convenors, we have been discussing together how we can bring our election statements into reality while building on the achievements of the last years. Here are some plans we have come up with so far, all of which depend for their success on your participation:

Expanding the committee and encouraging the development of new ideas

Lucy Cooker and Jo Mynard helped the former convenors, Garold and Richard, with membership and homepage maintenance respectively and they are happy to continue with their work with us. At the moment, therefore, we are a committee of five. We would like to triple membership of the ReNLA ‘committee’ to refresh our activities, enlisting in particular members who are doing or have recently completed doctorates in the field and who have fresh ideas for ReNLA activities as well as experienced practitioners/researchers. Please get in touch with us as soon as possible if you’d like to join others in an active committee leading developments in any of the areas listed below:

Enhancing interaction

We would like 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. We will seek to do so by developing a more interactive platform on the existing ReN website to allow faster and more social interaction, and by providing stimulating content.

Drawing up research agendas

We wish to help re-energize the field of learner autonomy by encouraging identification of key areas for further work and by leading discussion of research priorities in each area. This will hopefully lead to a variety of research agendas and will enhance further international collaboration in research. Relatively new fields such as exploring learner autonomy in the digital age need to be considered as well as more established areas. We aim to start the process of identifying research topics and agendas soon, via AUTO-L.

Enhancing the e-Bulletin and Learner Autonomy in Language Learning

We’d like to continue to ensure that we bring out Bulletins twice a year, making this more regular (e.g. in January and around June). We will try to enhance the contents of LALL, e.g. by introducing more interviews.

Members’ publications

Garold was watching out for members’ publications and provided information on new publications through the Bulletins and our web site. We’d like to continue with this service and possibly expand it by, for example, eliciting (or writing) reviews of recent publications for LALL and/or interviewing authors/editors of recent publications, again for LALL.

Doctoral theses

We are aware that there have been many doctoral theses written in the field of learner autonomy in the last decade, but these are rarely announced to an international readership. We would like to do so, and – even better – link to pdf versions, if these can be made available. We would like there to be someone on the committee (a current or recent PhD student probably) to take on this specific role of surveying and improving access to recent/ongoing doctoral work.

Providing resources for ‘beginners’ in the field

We aim to develop a list of resources for learner autonomy beginners and put it up on the website. So much information is circulating and it is not necessarily easy for people starting to learn about learner autonomy to lay their hands on literature that suits their interests and concerns. We would like to create a jumping-off point for those people.

If you’d like to join us on the new committee in taking forward these or other activities please do get in touch with us.
Best wishes

Naoko Aoki (naoko0323@mac.com)
Alice Chik (alice.chik@cityu.edu.hk)
Richard Smith (R.C.Smith@warwick.ac.uk)

Joint convenors of the AILA Research Network on Learner Autonomy in Language Learning, 2011-14

(Back to Feb bulletin top)

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