The Learner Development SIG has been an active part of JALT since 1993. We commemorated the 25th anniversary of the LD SIG in 2018 with the hope of further improvement and development of the SIG and its activities. Some might wonder why we started our activities under the name of “Learner Development” rather than “Learner Training”, “Learner Independence”, or “Learner Autonomy” which are also relevant realms of our SIG activities. One of the founding members, Richard Smith, wrote in our first newsletter (Learning Learning), “[w]e chose “Learner Development” as the name of the SIG, then, precisely because of its relative obscurity and concomitant capacity to embrace and, we hope, enable synthesis of a wide range of hitherto separate interests.” With this intention, the LD SIG has evolved by providing various platforms for discussions with members for the past few decades to answer the questions which may not have clear answers.
Members of the LD SIG can access two types of publications. In our newsletter, Learning Learning (http://ld-sig.org/learning-learning/), contributors can engage in a wide range of writing to showcase practical and theoretical ideas for learner development as well as ongoing research. If you are a new member of the SIG, the “New Members’ Voice” section allows you to introduce yourself to the LD community and get connected with people. The Learner Development Journal (https://ldjournalsite.wordpress.com) is a relatively new attempt for the LD SIG to stretch our unique personalities. The journal contains research articles, reviews, and reflections written in a range of styles which discuss learner development from theoretical and practical points of view. For both Learning Learning and The Learner Development Journal, our editorial team uses a collaborative approach so that contributors receive constructive feedback from various perspectives through discussions with our committed editors. Therefore, we see the road to publication as a constructive process during which both contributors and editors can learn from each other.
Get-Togethers is our local event which follows the university school calendars. While the Hiroshima and Kansai get-togethers have paused for the moment, Tokyo Get-Togethers continue to be active. The Tokyo Get-Together team is planning to hold the Creating Community: Learning Together (CCLT) conference (http://ld-sig.org/cclt4/) in December 2019, which might lead to a future publication. We are also keen on hosting forums at the Pan SIG, JALT CALL, and JALT International conferences. Every year, we provide opportunities for our members to present in the LD SIG forums at each of these conferences. Although we rarely turn anyone down, the LD forums are technically vetted, although by the SIG rather than the conference committee for such events. If you are looking to further promote your academic portfolio, our forums are one of the best places to start presenting your interests regarding learner development.