SSLW and SLW Institute
October 19-22, 2016
Arizona State University
Tempe, Arizona, USA
This year's theme, "Expertise in Second Language Writing," highlights the need to explore and articulate what it means to have expertise in the field of second language writing.
Call for Abstracts: L2 Writing in Non-English Languages
CFP: Special issue of Writing and Pedagogy on Writing Development Across the Lifespan
What's wrong with the term "second language writers"?
What's wrong with the term "second language writers"?
It's this very question that requires critical scrutiny.
If some people feel there is anything negative or pejorative about it, that means they have implicitly accepted the idea that being an L2 writer is somehow negative. By avoiding the term without challenging the negative perception, people are inadvertently perpetuating the problem.
It's important to focus on positive aspects of L2 writing and writers, but that cannot be the only thing we do to address the issue. If we ignore the challenges they face, and the need to learn and develop to accomplish their own purposes, or if we simply dismiss other people's negative perceptions and feed them the "correct way" to talk about the issue, we are simply evading the real issue.
I don't do what I do to feel good about myself. I prefer to face the real challenges, even though other people may not see it as pleasant or fashionable. While some may prefer to gentrify the discourse, someone has to do the real work of understanding the situation as it is and promote that understanding so appropriate responses can be developed. It is this kind of work I choose to engage in.
I accept second language writers as they are--with all their amazing accomplishments and daunting challenges they face.
I am a second language writer. And I'm proud of it.
Job Opening: American University of Sharjah, UAE
American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Department of English
Ad should be placed in: The Chronicle of Higher Education
Faculty Position in TESL-Composition / Second Language Writing
The American University of Sharjah, an internationally ranked and accredited American-style university of 6000 students in the United Arab Emirates, seeks a faculty member with a Ph.D. in TESL-Composition / Second Language Writing for a full-time appointment in the Department of English. The faculty member will teach courses in critical writing at the undergraduate and graduate level.
Successful candidates will have a completed Ph.D., a record of excellent teaching experience, active scholarly publication, and a commitment to productive institutional service. Some experience in course leadership is also desirable. The University is fully committed to equal opportunity at all levels without discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion, age, family status, or national origin. As a university formed on American models, AUS will give priority to candidates who have substantial experience in American models of higher education.
Interested applicants should send a letter of application (including a statement of teaching experience and research interests), curriculum vita, and the names and addresses of three referees to: Dr. Mahmoud Anabtawi, Dean, College of Arts & Sciences, American University of Sharjah, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Completed applications received by October 17, 2015 will be given priority consideration.
Feedback on a Conferece Proposal
Thanks for your message. The reviewers did not provide any comments on your abstracts, but the scores were just below the cut-off point, which means it is a good proposal but there were plenty of other proposals that were even stronger.
If I may, here are some of my own thoughts on your proposal. You wrote:
Writing is a difficult, vulnerable act, and becomes even more so when done in a second language. Giving and receiving writing feedback, for instructors and peers, in an L2 context is even more of a balancing act due to the historical focus on accuracy. Compounding the matter further still is the issue of where students should write and receive feedback. Using technology has been a common practice for at least a generation for L1 writing classrooms globally, but for international students from more traditional classroom environments bringing computers into the classroom can be a new and daunting experience. Currently, there are numerous studies detailing the uses of wikis and blogs for L2 writing for both instructor and peer feedback along with a growing amount of literature on L1 cloud writing feedback. But although cloud feedback is being used more in the L2 writing classroom, there is still a rather large gap in the L2 writing literature about said usage. Of all the technologies available, cloud feedback has the highest potential to shift the L2 educational paradigm in order to encourage the L2 writer’s ideas, in lieu of highlighting their language deficiencies. If there ever was a student population that would benefit from added visual input and shifting educational paradigms, it would be L2 writers. This action research study examines how 34 international students from two sections of First-Year Writing classes at a university in the South-Western United States utilized, benefited from and reacted to using Google Docs for feedback purposes.
You are right that cloud writing feedback has not been widely used or documented in L2 writing classroom. There certainly is room for a study that defines and describes cloud writing feedback, documents its implementation, and discusses its impact on learning and teaching. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the lack of studies on any given topic is not strong enough as a rationale for a study. It would have made the proposal much stronger if it made clear to the readers what the issues in the field are that can be addressed by taking up the particular topic or approach (feedback is too general).
I do realize that there is a statement that seems like an attempt to justify the study: "Of all the technologies available, cloud feedback has the highest potential to shift the L2 educational paradigm in order to encourage the L2 writer’s ideas, in lieu of highlighting their language deficiencies.” But this sentence needs to be developed more. First, what are the shortcomings of the current technologies and how does cloud writing feedback overcome those issues? And why is cloud feedback contrasted with “highlighting their language deficiencies”? (This is a matter of how technology is used, not necessarily what is inherent in the technologies that are used for providing feedback.)
Another consideration is how the proposal is grounded in a current conversation in the field of L2 writing. In this proposal, the introduction consists of a series of general and widely accepted statements—so much so that they don’t need to be stated at all. There is an attempt to narrow down by moving from general to specific (a genre appropriate move). But it starts too far back, rather than starting with the current state of knowledge in the field. It also moves too slowly to get to the real issue. In fact, you could get rid of the first four sentences without affecting your proposal at all. Instead, more emphasis needs to be placed on describing the specific research problem/question, research method, possible findings and implications.
In writing a proposal, always keep in mind these questions: What is it about (research problem)? How are you going to address the research problem (method)? What are the major contributions (findings)? and Why does it matter (implications)?
Hope these comments help as you develop future proposals.
CFP: Special Issue on Internationalizing the WAC/WID Classroom
- Theory-based pieces that examine what it means to internationalize the teaching and learning of writing across the curriculum
- Examinations of the challenges presented to instructors teaching writing in the disciplines by the call to internationalize their classrooms
- Research into best practices for creating or adapting curricula and syllabi to reflect an international focus
- Models of how WAC/WID instructors can leverage existing intra-campus relationships to enhance the international focus of the classroom
- Narratives of faculty and administrators who are charged with implementing, supporting, or assessing the internationalization of the teaching and learning of writing in the disciplines
Call for (Self-)Nominations: AAAL Blog Coordinator
Here is an announcement for a new opportunity for AAAL members who have a vision for how blog can be used to facilitate communication among its members--and beyond!
Call for Nominations
As our membership continues to grow, we are constantly looking for new ways to communicate, both with the membership and with the world at large. With this in mind, we are announcing an exciting opportunity for self-nominations for the position of the AAAL blog coordinator.
Since this is a new undertaking, the new coordinator will have a unique opportunity to design the blog and to shape our communication over the first few months of his or her appointment, then the coordinator will administer the blog until March 2016.
All nominations should include a biographical statement and a proposal for how you would like to operate. Biographical statements should include your current position and interests, your history and experience with AAAL, and your experience with social media and technology (approximately 500 words). Your proposals should discuss your own vision for the AAAL blog in terms of authorship, frequency, features, and ways to address internal and external audiences (approximately 500 words).
All proposals should be sent to email@example.com by March 1, 2015.
We are really excited about this new undertaking and hope to find a kindred spirit - someone who could help us trigger meaningful conversations among AAAL members and create opportunities for outreach that could inform the larger world about our work.
Reporting Technical Problems
Many people, when they report technical problems, just say that something is "not working."
Well, it may be the case, but that's hardly informative--there is not much that can be done with that little piece of information. It's not even the tip of an iceberg--it's more like a glare off the tip of the iceberg.
The problem could come from many sources, including your hardware, software, Internet connection, web server, web design, database, data, or data entry. It helps to eliminate some of the possibilities first.
Before you report the problem, try at least the following:
- Try different search terms (if you are doing a search)
- Try removing (or adding) special characters such as diacritics (if the search term might include or not include them)
- Check other websites (the Internet connection may not be working)
- Trying the same website later (the server may be down temporarily)
- Restarting the browser (the browser may be logged into the website, which can change the behavior)
- Trying a different browser (the browser may not be compatible or not correctly configured)
- Try a different device (the device may be incompatible or not working properly)
To figure out the problem and to address it, it is helpful if you can provide as much information as possible. Here are some of the pieces of information to include:
- Computer model (e.g., Macbook Air 13-inch, Mid 2013)
- Operation system version (e.g., OSX Yosemite 10.10.1)
- Browser type and version (e.g., Google Chrome Version 39.0.2171.95, 64-bit)
- Time and date of access (the server may have been down)
- The URL of the site that is having the problem
- A screen shot of the window
- A description of what you were trying to do, steps you took to do it, when the problem happened, and what the problem seems to be (be as specific and detailed as possible)
- Any error messages you have received
- Which of the possible solutions listed above you have tried.
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