Presenter: Cathy Bow, Australia
Research on autonomy in language learning has generally focused on learners in structured programs – language classrooms, distance programs, self-access centres, etc. However, learners living on location where the target language is spoken, yet who are not engaged in formal programs could be considered among the most autonomous language learners of all. In this context, learners are required to develop and maintain their own language program, often with minimal support. This presentation describes a different approach to advising for language learner autonomy, where the language advisor is geographically separated from the learners and is neither a teacher nor speaker of the language(s) being learnt. Advice and support is offered by distance, using online tools such as email, skype and Moodle. Some of the challenges and benefits will be described, and the implications for research and practice outlined, as the program has the potential to shed light on the needs, practices and achievements of this under-researched sample of autonomous language learners.