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EFL College Students’ Perceptions of Self-access Language Learning at a CALL Center
self-access language learning
language learning programs
Self-access language learning (SALL) has attracted research in such areas as facilities and systems in a self-access classroom (SAC), evaluation of a SAC, factors affecting the use of a SAC, learner contributions and SAC material development, and curriculum integration and SACs. A paucity of literature focused on learners’ perceptions of SALL in a SAC. This paper evaluates the effectiveness of a university self-access classroom (SAC) in Taiwan by examining EFL college students’ perceptions of SALL at a CALL classroom. Initial participants included a total of 1,613 students (935 females and 678 males, respectively) from 48 classes of Freshmen English course during the 2005 to 2006 academic year. They were required to fill out an 8-item on-line survey questionnaire before they logged out of each learning program they chose to work with. The successful logins were further categorized based on their frequency of visits and the year-end reading and listening proficiency tests. The target interviewees of 121 students thus formed; among them, 29 volunteered to participate in a semi-structured interview on a one-on-one basis. The analysis of the on-line questionnaire shows that vocabulary, listening, speaking, and culture are perceived as greatly improved over grammar, reading and writing; moreover, the participants self-report that they have gained common knowledge about the world, learned critical thinking skills, developed their own learning methods, and reflected on and evaluated their own learning. Further investigations of the frequent visitors reveal that they are able to select materials catering to their proficiency levels and current needs; they also know how to motivate themselves as well as to monitor their progress. Skill-wise, they have developed strategies for acquiring vocabulary, producing oral expressions and comprehending listening materials. The SAC discussed in the present study has been a relaxed and well-organized environment for individual English learning to the general participants.
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