The Potential of Self-Access Language Centres in Fostering Lifelong Global Citizenship: Towards a Community of Practice Approach

Mike Smith, Ran Niboshi, Christopher Samuell, Simon Timms

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Drawing primarily on the Japanese context, this study aims to highlight this setting to emphasise the potential for tertiary-level self-access language centres to develop lifelong global citizenship, self-reflection and cross-cultural collaboration. This inquiry calls on the community of practice approach to account for the shared interests motivating lifelong cross-cultural participation, the quality of social engagement between actors, and the material and cognitive tools called upon to realise global citizenship's shared enterprise. As argued here, embracing various cultures and inclusive participation can lead to a broader understanding of global citizenship, avoiding narrow-minded views of globalism through shared knowledge and critical practices. Further, self-access provides a cost-effective, technology-mediated alternative to bilateral student mobility, whereby digital community-building occasions cross-cultural practice that may be extended throughout a learner's life, irrespective of their financial status or place of study. This study is one of a select few drawing on the community of practice framework within the context of lifelong global citizenship. Nevertheless, such an approach remains primed for future development. With a social constructivist philosophy in view, the authors suggest complementary qualitative research approaches that highlight the socially situated nature of both disciplines.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)21-40
Number of pages20
JournalQuality Education for All
Issue number2
Early online date13 Jun 2024
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2024


  • Self-access learning
  • Communities of practice
  • Globalisation
  • Japan

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