Meet the Committee

James Underwood

LD-SIG President

James Underwood is the current president of the LD SIG. He is currently researching how students can develop their knowledge of the SDGs alongside their academic and research skills. He encourages his students to make decisions about their own learning. When not in the classroom, he can be found running or cycling in the mountains.

Patrick Kiernan


Patrick Kiernan is the LD SIG treasurer. He joined the LD SIG a few years ago, and the editorial team of Learning Learning 2, before becoming treasurer in 2020. His research interests include teacher and learner identity. He enjoys communication with LD-SIG members and encouraging his learners to develop in many ways. He is also a fanatic cyclist.

Emily Choong

Membership Chair

Emily Choong joined the LD SIG in 2022 and became the Membership Chair in 2023. She is active in JALT, holding national positions and volunteering at major JALT conferences. She is currently based in Tochigi and mainly teaches at university level. When not teaching, her time is spent doing research in foreign language anxiety, pursuing her MA, and going on flavourful escapes in her kitchen.

Michael Kuziw

Publications Chair

Michael (Mike) Kuziw joined the LD SIG, receiving an internal grant to expand an English storytelling program at the elementary school level. Then in 2019, he joined the editorial team for Learning Learning. Since 2022, he has also held the position of Publications Coordinator, which oversees the publications of the LD SIG. Michael is interested in early language learning, learner autonomy, self-access learning, storytelling and educational development for Ukrainian migrants. In his spare time he is involved in volunteer work with non-Japanese students living in Fukui City.

Robert Moreau

Publicity Chair/Publicity Team Illustrator

Robert Moreau has been a member of the LD SIG since 2007. From that time he has been involved with the publicity team off and on, producing covers for several of the group’s publications as well as logos for the SIG’s conferences. Along with being the publicity chair for the SIG, Robert is currently a member of the editorial team for LDJ9. His current research interests include learner autonomy and project-based learning. When not involved in matters connected to teaching and learner development, Robert has a passion for playing music and doing photography.

Ken Ikeda

Learning Learning Editorial Team/Get-togethers

I’m Ken Ikeda and I’m involved in the Learning Learning editorial team and the online get-togethers. I’m concerned with social identity issues that students and teachers face as language users. My concern stems from my Japanese ancestry, American upbringing, and interests in history, media depiction and privilege. I enjoy life with my wife, playing the piano, and tinkering with my writing.

Andy Barfield

Learner Development Journal Steering Group

Andy Barfield, LDJ steering group: For me, learner development often involves tangled stories of learners, learner autonomy, content-based learning, critical literacy, PBL, learner creativity, and multilingual issues. Conversations, practices, writing, and inquiries in those areas keep nudging me ld-ishly along, making teaching and learning less certain, more interesting, in unexpected ways.

Amelia Yarwood

Programmes Chair

Amelia Yarwood joined the Learner Development SIG in late-2022 as Programmes Officer. When not organising forums, she is pursuing her doctoral degree through Kansai University’s Graduate School of Foreign Language Education and Research. Learner identities and emotions have always fascinated her. This fascination may stem from her career as a learning advisor, or her personal experience of being in a love-hate relationship with learning Japanese and other languages.

Ivan Lombardi

Learner Development Journal Layout and Design

Ivan Lombardi is interested in learner motivation, autonomy, and progress in language learning, research directions that brought him to join the LD SIG in 2018. Since 2022, he has been responsible for publication layout and design making The Learner Development Journal pinker and Learning Learning bluer and redder. He likes making coffee and learning other languages to talk about coffee.

Nicolas Emerson

LD-SIG Website Administrator

Nicolas Emerson took on the role of LD SIG Website Admin in late-2022. His research predominantly focuses on the intersection of technology and education. He is dedicated to exploring innovative ways in which digital tools can enhance learning experiences. In his spare time he enjoys reading sci-fi, keeping fit (or at least attempting it) and cooking.

Lorna Asami

Learning Learning Editorial Team

Lorna Asami has been a part of LD since April 2019. She became an editor for Learning Learning in December of the same year. She also enjoys helping out with the CCLT (Creating Community, Learning Together) events and seeing her students make presentations there. Motivation, self-efficacy, autonomy, and self-directed learning are some of her research interests. She has a small rooftop garden at her home in west Tokyo and wishes she could have a beehive too.

Hugh Nicoll

Learning Learning Editorial Team

Hugh Nicoll has been a member of the LD SIG for almost 30 years, after meeting Richard Smith and Naoko Aoki at the 1994 Learner Autonomy conference in Hong Kong. I have served as coordinator and web administrator as well as worked on Learning Learning and the Learner Development Journal. I am semi-retired, and looking forward to working less and to doing more cycling, trail walking, and marine sports over the coming years.

Tim Ashwell

Learning Learning Editorial Team

I have been involved with the SIG since 2011. I am not sure that I really knew what learner development or learner autonomy were back then, and I am still not sure that I know now what they are, or whether I ever have any success at helping my students to develop or become more autonomous. Nevertheless, I enjoy the camaraderie and collegiality of being a SIG member and like engaging with other people through their writing and through our regular get-togethers. I was part of the Steering Group for the LDJ for 5 years and last year moved over to join the Learning Learning team. I am a keen walker and cyclist and live in west Tokyo.

Full Committee List


  • James Underwood

Treasury Team

  • Patrick Kiernan

Membership Team

  • Emily Choong
  • Sayaka Karlin

Publicity Team

  • Rob Moreau
  • Eileen Yap

Publicity Team Illustrator

  • Rob Moreau

Programme Team

  • Blair Barr
  • Amelia Yarwood

Grants Team

  • Kio Iwai
  • Masayo Kanno
  • Sami Yoshimuta

Publications Team

  • Mike Kuziw

Learning Learning Editorial Team

  • Ken Ikeda: lleditor (editor, members’ voices, grant awardee essays)
  • Mike Kuziw: mike (editor, members’ voices, research and reviews)
  • Hugh Nicoll (editor, grant awardee essays, webmaster)
  • Tim Ashwell (editor)
  • Megumi Uemi (editor, translator)
  • James (Jamie) Thomas (editor)
  • Lorna Asami (editor)

Learner Development Journal Steering Group

  • Andy Barfield
  • Yuri Imamura
  • Huw Davies

Learner Development Journal Layout and Design

  • Ivan Lombardi

Web Maintenance and Development

  • Nicolas Emerson (LD-SIG website)

Get-Together Team

  • James Underwood
  • Ken Ikeda

Committee Members at large

  • Dexter Da Silva
  • Mike Nix

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