The Learner Autonomy SIG Committee 2016/17
IATEFL LASIG is run by a group of volunteers who form the Committee and take on the various jobs involved in managing the SIG. As of April 2017 the Committee consists of the following SIG members.
Christian Ludwig, Coordinator, PCE/LASIG Day organiser
My interest in Learner Autonomy stems from work in the field of EFL Methodology. I studied English, Spanish and German as a Foreign at the Universities of Bochum, Córdoba and Duisburg-Essen. In 2015, I received my PhD from the University of Duisburg-Essen in American literature and culture (Rites de Passage: The construction of gender identities in Alison Bechdel’s (autobio)graphic writings). After 4 years at the University of Duisburg-Essen and two years at the University of Koblenz-Landau, I was appointed substitute professor for Cultural Studies, Literature and TEFL at the University of Education, Karlsruhe, in 2015 where I am head of the English department and the Self-Access Centre since October 2015. My publications and areas of research include Learner Autonomy, teaching literature and new media in the foreign language classroom. In 2010, we organised a local LA SIG conference at the University of Duisburg-Essen. I joined the SIG as a webmaster in 2011 and since 2016 I am the SIG's coordinator.
Leni Dam, Treasurer, PCE Organiser
I joined IATEFL in July 1995. At that time I was a member of a number of special interest groups apart from the LASIG, for example the Research SIG, Young Learners’ SIG, the Teacher Development SIG. However, I came to the conclusion that the Learner Autonomy Special Interest Group really covers all the other SIGs mentioned, so I committed myself to the work for this SIG. In 2009, I became the joint coordinator of the SIG together with Lienhard Legenhausen. My interest in learner autonomy started in 1973, when I as a practising teacher at a Danish comprehensive school tried to implement learner autonomy in my classes. As a pedagogic adviser at the University College of Copenhagen, I had the chance to incorporate the principles of learner autonomy in in-service teacher education in Denmark. In 2004 I was awarded an honorary doctorate in pedagogy from Karlstad University, Sweden. Apart from books and articles on learner autonomy, I have published widely on differentiation and evaluation as well as given numerous talks around the world on these topics. I am now freelance.
Lienhard Legenhausen, PCE Organiser
I am professor emeritus of Language Pedagogy and Applied Linguistics at the University of Münster, Germany. My research interests include the study of learner language, technology-enhanced language learning as well as learner-centred approaches to classroom learning/teaching. Together with Leni Dam, Denmark, we ran the LAALE project (Language Acquisition in an Autonomous Learning Environment) in which we systematically observed the linguistic development of a class of Danish mixed ability learners who were taught according to the principles of autonomous language learning over a period of four years. For the last eight years I have taught linguistic and methodology courses in the English and German departments of the National University of Cherkasy, Ukraine. I became a member of the LASIG committee in 2008.
Maria Giovanna Tassinari, Webinars
I am director of the Centre for Independent Language Learning at the Freie Universität Berlin (Germany), which I set up 2005, and lecturer for Italian as a foreign language at the Language Centre of the same university. I started researching on self-access learning and learner autonomy 2004, during my Master Degree Master Itals at the Università Ca’ Foscari in Venice (Italy). In my PhD I developed a Dynamic Model for Learner Autonomy to be used for self-assessment and self-reflection in classroom and language advising settings. I joined IATEFL LASIG 2011 and I am grateful for all the colleagues I met here and at several conferences and congresses all over the world: their enthusiasm, their generosity, their openness to exchange and collaboration are something very special in the academic world. As one of us said at the AILA World Congress in Brisbane, August 2014, “autonomy is about being human”. Beside learner autonomy and self-access language learning, my research interests are language advising and emotions and feelings in language learning.
Jo Mynard, Publications
I am the Director of the Self-Access Learning Centre, Assistant Director of the English Language Institute, and Deputy Director of the Research Institute of Language Studies and Language Education at Kanda University of International Studies in Japan. I have an Ed.D. in TEFL from the University of Exeter, UK and an M.Phil. in applied linguistics from Trinity College, Dublin. I have taught EFL in Ireland, Spain, England, the UAE and Japan and have been interested in self-access and learner autonomy since 1996. I joined IATEFL and the SIG committee in 2001 and I have had various roles over the years. I am currently the Publications Officer which involves coordinating the publication process of our e-book series.
Natanael Delgado, Membership Officer
I work for the State University of Durango, Mexico, UJED. I am currently coordinating the Self-Access Centre at the School of Languages and teaching CALL and methodology courses to student-teachers of the BA in ELT. I have also taught English as a Foreign Language in Mexico, and Spanish as a Foreign Language in the UK. I have an MA in ELT from the University of Southampton, UK. My research interests lie on self-regulated learning, language learner strategies, and the use of digital technologies for effective language achievement in independent learning settings. I am a member of the IATEFL LASIG since 2010, who collaborated as a co-editor of Independence since 2011.
Anja Burkert, Local Events Organiser, LASIG Day Organiser
I am a university teacher of English and French at the Karl-Franzens-University of Graz/Austria and am especially interested in English for Academic Purposes and the promotion of learner autonomy. My interest in learner autonomy was initiated in 2006, when I was working on my PhD in language teaching methodology with a special focus on initial teacher education. In 2008, I joined the committee of the Learner Autonomy Special Interest Group (LASIG) of IATEFL as events organiser. I organised a two-day LASIG conference in my hometown, Graz, at the beginning of June this year (2012) and have co-organised several PCEs at IATEFL conferences.
Katja Heim, Local Events Organiser
I first started to develop my interest in Learner Autonomy when I explored the field of primary English teaching in Germany for my PhD project (back in 2000). Primary English lessons were very teacher-centred at that time and did not leave much room for choice. This sparked my interest in exploring ways of allowing learners to act more freely and creatively, ways of integrating the spoken language more into open learning scenarios and, most importantly, ways of reflecting with these young learners on their choices. Since then, I have also pursued similar goals in the field of secondary English teaching. Working in an EFL methodology department at the University of Duisburg-Essen (as a tenured post-doc) I enjoy organizing cooperative projects between my courses at university and schools, often using digital media with a view to producing creative outcomes that are meant to have some relevance to the students, possibly even beyond the project.
Djalal Tebib, Editorial team & Social media
I am a teacher of English as a Foreign Language and a freelance editor/proof-reader in Algeria. I am also the director of the UC Writing Centre at the University of Constantine, Algeria. I hold an MA in Applied English Linguistics, and I am currently preparing a PhD on writing and learner autonomy. My growing interest in the latter began when I started my doctoral research some years ago. I Joined the LA SIG in 2013, and I am now an editorial assistant of its newsletter. Along with learner autonomy, my area of interest includes writing, teaching technologies and psycholinguistics.
Ruth Wilkinson, Editorial team
I originally qualified as a teacher of French and German in the UK, but for many years I have been working as an English teacher and teacher trainer in Spain. I finished my PhD in June 2013: my thesis focussed on my attempts to develop learner autonomy with my university students. I have been involved with LASIG since I first met Leni, Lienhard and Phil Benson in Sevilla in 2008.
Irena Šubic Jeločnik, Editorial team
I have been working as a secondary teacher at the Biotechnical secondary school in a rural area of Slovenia. Having taught across a wide variety of contexts from young learners to primary and elite grammar school as well as adult students in private language schools, I am dedicated to developing her learners’ creativity, learning strategies, independence and autonomy. I have been involved with the LASIG since 2008 and joined the editorial board of Independence in 2011.
Lawrie Moore-Walter, Editorial team
I am a lecturer and teacher trainer and have been living in Vienna, Austria since 1997. I mainly teach EAP/ESP in both face-to-face and blended-learning classroom settings. I focus my classes around self-directed learning concepts in which learners set their own learning outcomes, choose their own tasks and support their peers through collaborative tasks. I am also a tutor on the CELTA course, where we encourage trainees not only to develop their own autonomy in their role as learners, but also support them in integrating aspects of autonomy into their classrooms once they leave the training context. I joined the LASIG committee in April, 2017.
Michelle Tamala, Editorial team
At present I am the Academic Coordinator for Intermediate and Upper Intermediate English For Study levels at Latrobe Melbourne, a pathway college to La Trobe University. In my role here I write curriculum, syllabus and assessments and oversee the teaching and learning in the courses I coordinate. My aim is to create teaching and learning environments that support the development of autonomy for both students and teachers. Before working at Latrobe Melbourne I was Manager for Independent Learning at the pathway college for Monash University where I managed all aspects of 3 ILCs. My start in teaching EFL and encountering Learner Autonomy was at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) where I was fortunate enough to work with an inspirational colleague who had attended a conference at CRAPEL and heard Henri Holec speak about LA. What I learnt about autonomy at RMIT made me reflect on my practise as a teacher, and learner, of second languages and I realised that in both pursuits I had instinctively leaned towards autonomous practice as an effective and motivational way of learning. Being a member of LASIG has shown me how varied, and yet unified LA is wherever and however it is practiced. I look forward to meeting like-minded people every year, and learning. As well as LA, I am interested in family history, Indonesian and other ikat textiles, 1950’s Australian domestic pottery, long walks on the beach and gardening. I live in Melbourne with my husband, adult children but no cats or dogs.
Diane Malcolm, Reviews Editor
Until recently I was head of English at Arabian Gulf University, Bahrain, a medical college, where I established and ran a self-access centre and incorporated elements of self-directed learning into the credit first year English courses I taught. I have also taught in Portugal, Canada and Saudi Arabia. My interest in learner autonomy began in the late 1970s when I first heard of Leni Dam’s work. I have an MA in Applied Linguistics from Concordia University, Montreal, and a Doctor of Applied Linguistics from Macquarie University, Sydney and have published in the areas of reading strategies, learner autonomy, motivation and identity.
Sandro Amendolara, Blog editor
I am a University Lecturer at the University of Helsinki, Finland. My main teaching areas are ALMS (Autonomous Language Learning Modules), Intercultural Communication, and Academic Writing for English-medium Masters students; I have conducted research in all three fields. I became involved with learner autonomy in 2007, the year I started teaching in Helsinki. I have had the great fortune of having had two inspiring mentors, Felicity Kjisik (Flis) and Leena Karlsson, who not only created the wonderful ALMS framework over 20 years ago, but continue to have an active role in its continued development. My present interests in the field include the convergence of metacognitive and metaemotional discourse between ALMS counsellors and learners. I became a member of the LASIG committee in April 2016.
Micol Beseghi, Blog editor
I am a teacher of English Language and Translation at the University of Parma and a language advisor at the Language Centre of the same University, where I run a self-study programme for English language learners. I strongly believe in the importance of learner autonomy and I try to promote it among my students, by encouraging them to take control of their learning. Besides learner autonomy, my research interests include emotions and feelings in language learning, the didactics of translation and audiovisual translation. I became a member of the LASIG Committee in April 2017.