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June 2003

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Independent Learning Conference

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"Supporting Independent Language Learning in the 21st Century"
Inaugural Conference of the Independent Learning Association

On September 13-14, 2003, the University of Melbourne, Australia, will host the inaugural conference of the Independent Learning Association ( "This is a conference for practitioners, academics and researchers involved in English language self-access centers and independent learning centers," explained Moira Hobbs, one of the conference organizers, in an e-mail to ESL MiniConference Online, "and for those teachers with an interest in the development of learner autonomy."

The recent Call for Papers was oversubscribed, according to Hobbs, and the quality and range of papers submitted from throughout the world will ensure an exciting opportunity to share and learn from ones peers. Among those submitting papers and abstracts were educators from the United Kingdom, Iran, Hong Kong, Japan, Turkey, Germany, Singapore, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Mexico, China, Abu Dhabi, Vietnam, Bahrain, Australia and New Zealand.

The conference will offer strong leadership in practice, research and theory across the following themes:

  • Fostering Learner Autonomy in the Classroom
  • Innovation in Self Access Facilities
  • Resourcing to Support Self Directed Learning
  • The Use of Computers in Self Directed Language Learning
  • Models of Effective Interaction
  • Evidence of Learning Effects in Self Directed Learning Environments
  • Self-Assessment and Assessment of Self-Study
  • Developing Teacher Autonomy

  • There are three very impressive plenary speakers for this event, according to Moira Hobbs. Sara Cotterall, from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, "is a leader in the study of learner autonomy in language learning, including learner beliefs, self-access language learning, learner strategies and learner advising," said Hobbs. Terry Lamb, from the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, is, she said, "a leading researcher into learners' constructions of language learning and their relationships to motivation and learner autonomy." Lamb is developing a doctoral curriculum in autonomy in language learning. Richard Pemberton, from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, "is a leading practitioner and researcher, currently leading a project to develop an interactive, adaptive online language advising system," said Hobbs in her e-mail report.

    Registration is open now at the Independent Learning Web site, Moira Hobbs has promised to submit a report after the event for publication in the ESL MiniConference Online. For more information, please e-mail

    Report by Robb Scott, Hays, KANSAS

    2003 ESL MiniConference Online