SELF-ACCESS learning is developing rapidly in Hong Kong as a mode of language learning but a great deal has yet to be done to clear misconceptions among teachers and alter students' long-established learning habits, self-access learning practitioners say. The independent mode of language learning has become increasingly popular in Hong Kong since most tertiary institutions such as the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the City Polytechnic started building self-access learning centres and introducing the independent learning manner during the past few years. The concept of self-access learning works according to the principles of autonomous and independent learning with the help of counsellors as well as multi-media resources such as computers, audio-visual facilities and books, which allow each learner to follow his or her own set of strategies and paces to fulfil individual needs. 'The essence of self-learning is to foster a learner's attitude of mind so that one could be responsible for one's own learning,' said Dr Herbert Pierson, programme director of the English programme of the Independent Learning Centre at the Chinese University, and a practitioner of self-learning. But a lot of teachers misunderstand the mechanism and are sceptical about this mode of learning. 'Many teachers, worried that self-learning is a means of replacing them, were not enthusiastic about it. They thought it was an administrative way to reduce teachers,' said Dr Pierson. He said the method entailed only a shift of teachers' duties, which freed them to do more interesting work with students. 'It gives the teacher time to pursue the more creative aspects of teaching by promoting attention to students on a more personal basis, especially through the language counselling services,' he said. Lindsey Miller, university lecturer of the English Department at City Polytechnic, and a self-access learning specialist, suggested that the idea had to be introduced to teachers through training programmes in colleges.