Presenter: Umida Ashurova, Sugiyama Women’s University, Japan
A great deal of positive feedback has been given on linguistic gains from peer advising. However, the fact, that peer advising can also have strong social and attitudinal effects, is often omitted. Not always we have an atmosphere of respect and trust prevailing in self-access centers that employ peer advisors. Assuming that peers model enthusiasm and cooperation all the time could be wrong. Often peer advisors will bring their learning styles, learner beliefs and attitudes along with themselves to advising sessions. What if successful cooperation between peers does not always happen? What if even similar characteristics of age, gender, culture, and language result in different approaches towards self-access language learning? How can teachers and coordinators of independent learning centers make sure that credible students were chosen as peer advisors? How can a first-year student at university be encouraged to express her thoughts freely to a demanding third-year peer advisor? And vice versa, what can be done to lower expectations of the peer advisor and still keep her motivated in doing her job? This presentation will seek answers to the aforementioned questions while sharing the stories of two strikingly different EFL learners, who are having their journey of self-access language learning at a private university in Japan.