OK ah Ilona Lekia I-l-o-n-a L-e-k-I-a. And ah I am at the University of Tennessee. I’m supposed to look at you. OK laugh yes laugh I wasn’t even looking at you I was looking at the lens there like we. laugh. yes. perhaps, laugh. I’m just like a little kid. oops oops I’m hooked. I can’t go. Yeah that will be noticeable. yeah And plus it will look ridiculous. But thank you. stupid yes well here we go. yeah I’m sure. OK I I think that a I think it is important for teachers to have the experience themselves in order to feel what its like to be a second language writer. Even before they try to think about what it is like to be a second language writer. And a number of people most people don’t spend a lot of time writing and it would do I think it would do teachers a lot of good just to try to um write something themselves in L-1 and then trying it out again in L-2. And see where you stumble and see where you can’t find the words. And see where your intellect doesn’t come out in the same way that you would like it to or that you know that you can ah make it come out when your when your writing in your first language. Another I think is that for having for teachers to experience what it’s like to try write in a second language. You ought to try to write in different genre. Think about the letter to the IRS where your trying to balance your rage at being challenged laugh against the the sort of need to mollify the person that your writing to be aware of the audience that you are writing to. So um What is it like to write that? What’s it like to write a letter of recommendation? What is it like, what was it like in college to write a research paper. And when you think about how differently you have to approach those things and especially if you try to do them in a second language we see where the holes are where you are not able to do that. I think you get a felt since of of something of what it is like to try to be a second language writer in ah in a umm school situation. um Let’s see I think other things that teachers should know about second language writers is that it takes a very long time to develop writing skills and that writing skills aren’t unitary so you don’t simply learn how to write you move forward in different domains at different speeds so a person may not yet have your controlled spelling for instance. Or or whatever grammatical features or juan features and those things don’t all come at the same time. I think it is important to recognize that as well. Another thing that I think is important to think about is is the fact that you can’t become good at a skill or ability or development ability without having practicing it. You can’t assume that practicing one domain will transover in this kind of complex skill area to another domain. What that means for writing teachers is is that can’t expect students to be able to write in ways that they haven’t had a chance to practice or see or interact with. um And also you can’t expect people to develop complex skills without having a opportunity to engage in them. So I think that those are a few things. um I guess another another thing that seems very important to keep in mind is that in fact that most of us spend our time talking rather then writing. Which means that second language learners to have a lot of oral input and probably a lot less written input. um That means that the formal registers the more formal registers of um writing as compared to speaking. um Those more formal registers are much less familiar. So I think that those are kinds of things that just generally writing teachers ought to keep in mind. In thinking about in thinking about what the challenges are for a second language writer. ah huh ah huh ok I can do that . OK let me see if I can try to think that through. Now you said you like me to give a kind of general thing of what confronts every writer. OK So, every writer I guess second language or first language has um has this plexed cognitive chore of expressing our ideas in a medium with that the person made that the writer may be more less familiar with. But manipulating a fairly large number of features of the language of the pretrial structures that that a are going to be employed of a awareness of audience of of a sense of why am I writing this. All of these kinds of things have to be held in mind at the same time. It’s hard enough for the advantage with writing of course is that you can lawyers go back and change things and you have time. The disadvantage though is that there are a lot of things to manipulate at 1 time. And um what can be held in short term memory at any given moment is limited. What that means is if your short term memory is is a sort of loaded up um you don’t have cognitive space with the more important issues and I think that helps explain why what we find often with second language writers even mature second language writers is that is that they they since themselves and readers also since that there not able to fully express exactly what it is is that they think. The debt of their thought the subtlety of their thought. um So this is just to much of a cognitive load. Does that... laugh (whispers something very low under breath) terrible. I am making it up as I go along. Am I making sense? laugh uh huh yeah uh huh uh huh uh huh yeah smacks lips. ok Let me try to thing of a good way to do that. The processes by which someone becomes literate or becomes a writer becomes able to read in first language and in second language necessarily go along the same path way. The problem is that for second language writers and readers obviously they have a lot less experience in the new language. But they are often bringing with them a experience at literacy in their own first languages. And that’s a enormous advantage but it is not a advantage that can be plugged in to immediately. Their seems to be evidence that their is a certain threshold level writers need to get or readers need to get to before they can actually plug in those efficient strategies that they use for reading and writing in their L-1. um Assuming that they were literate in their L-1 in the first place. Or that they had some literacy experiences in their L-1 in the first place. um The processes aren’t that different but what we have of course is a new language to deal with. A new rhetorical domain to deal with. um New kinds of audiences to deal with that kind of thing. And it takes time to get through that. I don’t know if that’s that, yeah. ok ok oh ok oh laugh uh huh uh huh smacks lips uh huh yeah It’s I I have mixed feelings about writing oddly enough ah one one feeling is that and I was hoping to um I’ll be talking about this in a minute. But. um you can cut that out. yeah right right um. One facet writing is that it leaves writers particularly venerable, but the other side of it, the really big advantage for writing and how it promotes other kinds of languages is that people have time they have time to sit there and think through what it is that they want to say and return to it , go back to it. And, and um make what they have written reflect better what it is that they were thinking. um What was the what was the... how it promotes language development in general yeah. yeah yeah yeah I was actually going to talk about that SLE thing. So, so lets do that and then we can come back. OK. laughing uh huh I I think that um second language acquisition research has something to say to second language writing in some very specific domains and very interesting domains I think. One thing is that, I think we learned ah through the work of Steven Crashin the importance of reading. um Reading you’ve gotta have input in order to have language. And reading provides the kind of input that is appropriate for writing. So, reading is very important. It’s not sufficient though. So it it allows that necessary input but there’s gotta be a pushed output and that’s the kind of and that’s another sort of term that we get from second language acquisition. The whole notion that its not enough to just understand what you have heard or what you have read. You’ve also got to push yourself to provide production to provide output. um That links up um meaning, this is what Maril Sween says this links up meaning with syntax. Meaning with actually figuring out of how am I going to put this together. yeah So I think that we get insight to the importance of reading from second language association we also get some inside into the importance of vocabulary. And ah vocabulary is in some ways in a L-2 writing is a domain that has not really been explored very much. And probably needs to be explored more. But 1 thing we learn from SLA is that um you don’t simply learn vocabulary item and have it. There isn’t such a thing as having the vocabulary item having it’s meaning that’s the end of it. It comes packaged in a bundle with some tactic features with co-occurring words with ah well ah you know “I’m looking forward to seeing you again.” There are a lot of things, I mean you may know what forward means but to string that whole phrase together takes a lot. um I’m fond something, I’m I’m fond isn’t a ah isn’t a well formed phrase in English. But you gotta know you gotta say I’m fond of. So there are things that cling together in vocabulary. And the acquisition of a vocabulary is ah ah are students may have 40% grasp on a word. They might be using it but they are not using it in it’s form. But they are not using it in its full sort of range of meanings and it it’s full sort of syntax. So, so I think that we learn that from second language association. Another thing that a that we learn I think is really really interesting isue. And this is a notion that’s been around for a couple of years a couple of decades already. And it’s the notion that new forms enter the enter language in more formal registers in more formal styles of language productions. And what that means for writing is that a writer is more likely to include ah a barely understood form. Or a barely grasp form and have the merge in writing rather then in speech. You it’s almost kind of intuitive, but I think there is enough research evidence that shows that in fact people do start to to test those hypothesis in writing. Somewhat more readily even then in speech. um So I think that is a really exciting domain. That means that writing is a means of learning language in a kind of non focused on language language way. In a way that doesn’t focus directly on language. So I think that is a really interesting insight from second language acquisition. Let’s see ah here’s one more thing. And that is I’m not sure you know how much this applies but it is a interesting idea. And this is this speaks to the frustration of writing teacher who laughs constantly grades marks papers and sees the same errors coming up again if that’s a focus for the for the um response the teacher is creating. um I forgot the beginning of that sentence. Alright. ok Alright. um That thing that second language association research tell us is that there are certain features of the new language that are impervious to correction at given stages of language development. Which means that although you may teach this particular form and the learner may have well have a grasp of it in some kind of conscious way um they may not be ready yet to use that form in a kind of fully functional way in writing yet. And it doesn’t matter how much you teach it there’s not the readiness for employing those forms yet. So the teachers need the writing teachers need to be sort of generous in their in their sense of a how in their ability to not react with frustration when the find the same the same errors coming up over and over the same kinds of non target-grammatical constructions coming up over over over. Why because that particular form may not be ready to come out yet. So I think that’s something that comes from SLA that’s helpful. In terms of lowering our frustration (laugh) level as writing teachers. (smacked lips) I think I oh no I forgot the Crashin thing. Yeah ok. um I think one one domain that many people are are fairly familiar with is Crashins monitor model. And one of the features of these monitor models is is the since of restrictions that ah occur in using the monitoring. And being able to use the monitor and being able to deploy the monitor. The monitor being of course what you’ve learned consciously about our language and about a languages structures. And how you can plug that in to edit basically monitor or edit your production. Well Crashin says there are three limitations. The first limitation is you have to actually know the rule in order to produce it correctly. The second thing is you have to be focused on producing the rule correctly um and not focus so much on what you are trying to say. And the third thing is you’ve gotta have time to do it. Well in writing can have the time you may or may not have the focus and you certainly may or may not have the rule. So there are limits on the amount of monitoring that a that even a writer can do. But the whole notion that its’ possible to a tee the whole notion of the monitor is a interesting one I think for second language writing teachers and and for a understanding of what happens and what can’t happen for individual writers. Laugh. Bring me back. oh. Laugh. ok. ok yeah. I think that some of the most exciting areas right now that can inform writing teachers and and writing researchers second language writing researchers are are a explorations in the general range of of um socio-cognitive features. And I think that they play out in different kinds of ways. One of that seems to me really important is um is the notion of writers identity and how a writers identity is both challenged by um by being in a second language and having to function in a second language and how um a second language writer not just as challenged but also can um forge a new identity. But, as agent that is forged a new identity the kind that that writer wants I’ll take this and I’ll take that. But I won’t take this middle thing. And this middle thing may be the thing that the teacher wants the writer to be able to learn. So I think that whole domain of how a writer constructs his or identity is a important one. What goes along with that is how the teacher constructs the writers identity. There’s this wonderful work by Linda Harklow about uh yeah on um um high school students and how their identities are foreign first by their high school teachers and then later by their by their um post secondary school teachers. And um I’m not going to go into it but it’s very interesting research. And I think its a eye opening ah kind of glimpse into how those writers position themselves and attempt to position themselves and how there then also position by institution and a those those forces outside themselves. I think that whole domain is very exciting the whole domain of social cultural issues. um Think another aspect of that is um question of social cultural issues is work that’s being done by the new literacy people, Brian Street those people in in England um where they their foundational notion is that there isn’t such a thing as autonomous literacy. Your literate your not literate. um Rather they suggest term Ideological literacy which I take to mean imbedded literacy. Your literate sometimes in some domains in some context in some places where you want to be. You resisted in other places where you don’t want to be so I think that complicates our understanding of literacy in general to the good. It’s a good thing to be to have our since of literacy complicated in that kind of way. um On a much much more practical domain in a much more practical domain um we have um the ongoing work in teacher response to to writing. I mean this isn’t a global picture this is a small picture. Well how does a teacher respond to a given students text and um that I think that that work also can form us and help us figure out ah who a figure out isn’t the right word thread our way through the little forest of of decision that we have to make as writing teachers.
Oh great good. I was getting ready to say oop I’m out of here. So nice to see you laughing. yeah good. great. Well I got that I think I got pretty much what I know. yeah I think The question of how ah interactions with text and with what kind of text promotes ah how that promotes literacy development. That’s a really important question. So it’s a really important thing to think about. In my mind the the very very first feature of importance is quantity interaction. You have to have interaction. To a great degree. I mean ah hm as I said before which I am not going to say again. Yeah right. (laughing) yeah I will. You mean from the very beginning of the sentence. Just from where I was over there. OK. um Large quantities that’s what it was. Yeah um We know that ah language can not develop with out input. Um The input that a writer needs is textual input. And we also know that people will spend most of their time in fact interacting orally and not interacting through text. So what we need to do is really make sure that we provide students with the opportunity to interact with a lot of text. So that’s the most important thing for for the effect that interaction with text can have or the the kinds of interactions that are necessary for language development. The second thing in my mind is that um that interactions should be an interaction this is my own view of this. I mean not my own but ah everyone may not agree with me. I think that the interactions needs to be a interactions focused on ideas rather then focused on analysis. So um the kind of interaction needs to be a interaction that is compelling because of the real reason that we deal with text. Not in order to prepare for a exam and not a but really to get something that we really want out of a text when we were reading. And then to um to produce something that we really want to produce when were writing. So, again it seems to me that it is important to have a lot of context a lot of contact with text. And it’s also important to have that context be contact be a type that is not only analytical but actually engaged in in the meaning. um It’s also ah it kind of brings us away from text in a way. But I think that its important to see text as part of a entire cultural world or an entire social world. So interacting with the texts is great, but there needs to be a sharing of whatever happened with that interaction and that sharing may be a oral sharing. It’s the kind of thing that when you read a book that you like the first thing you want to do is tell someone else about it. And I think we ought to promote that kind of sharing with others. um A textual interaction that then gets broaden out into a sharing with others about that textual interaction. Whether its something students read or or something that they wrote I think those are important factors. um Then there is the question of what are the text? Well it seems to me that it is very important especially for younger writers that these be that the text that they interact with be personally compelling if there is no personal sort of drive towards the text what ends up happening is that they the writers L-1 and L-2 don’t develop what Linda Blanton calls literate behaviors. Not just reading and writing but a craving for reading and writing it kind of needs to interact with texts and to think of text as part of a dialog. So um, that’s why I think that text need to be personally compelling not just the interaction have but also the actual text itself. um Another idea that comes from Steven Crashnen is this idea of narrow reading and reading that which means reading um of a single author repeatedly different text by a single author or a repeated text of different text on a on a a same subject area. So I think that’s also very helpful and promoting um the developmental of second language. No that’s it. I gotta take a breath though. Oh thanks. Good idea. Really. Laughing. I was already impressed with the legs. Laughing. So I don’t think I have said theses many words except after several drinks. Laughing.
In this mix of . Hello. oh god. Laughing. Alright. Laughing. yeah. With those terms. alright. ok. ok ah First Language and second language literacy development and I guess I wanted to focus particle on on writing development um are similar in certain kinds of ways that are quite interesting one of is that writing is alien to human beings its not a natural function of human beings. It’s not you don’t automatically require writing you have to learn it and you don’t spend all your time in textual world. You spend most of your time in a oral world. Which means that the registers that are necessary in writing even informal writing are different registers. And there just as different from first language writers as they are for second language writers. So that’s a important thing to to see in terms of similarities between development of first language and second language writers. Ah a second thing that I think is difficult for both writers is the ability to project an audience mentally. To understand that to guess what the writer readers needs are. To understand what the readers requirements are as they come to a text. And that’s hard for young people to do. Whether its in their first language or second language. A part of that is that since most of the writing that ah young people these days are doing is of any sustained writing besides Internet stuff. But most of the writing is um to teachers. Their writing to teachers. If their writing to teachers especially in classroom settings they see the teacher as the audience. That’s fine because the teacher is the audience the problem is is that its very narrow audience. And both first and second language writers need break out need to be allowed to encourage to break out the mold of writing just for a teacher. So, so they both experience that thing. And perhaps most importantly then in terms of similarities at least for me is that venerability that ah that the writer is left in having expressed herself or himself text. There lays the text. um There lies the text. (laughing) You know I really object to having to make the switch but God forbid I should say the wrong thing and someone goes is well I heard it on TV so. (laughing) Alright. So let me start again. (laughing) Yeah I think that’s the vulnerability that that the poor writer is in in having created it text um whether or not the writer is aware of how vulnerable writers themselves are aware of how vulnerable they are. Certainly the reader is aware and the reader being able to see the teacher the reader then the teacher is in the position of judging these writers and there are a lot of things that are taken from a persons text that are probably unfair um if the person is writing in a second language. Or if the person is unfamiliar with writing a particular genre And the things I am talking about is intellectual depth intellectual capacity. You read a text that is riddle with errors and you think oh this is how they think they don’t think well. um Their not good their not smart. They haven’t developed much. Um it’s it’s those kinds of um conclusions aren’t typically drawn in in a social or oral interaction. but they may well be drawn in in a written interaction. So I think that kind of vulnerability that occurs ah through writing is something that both first language and second language writers experiencing. Yeah. Nah. oh ah not the unique contributions were not on that yet. ok. no. That’s all I was going to say. ok Laugh. ahhhh I’m afraid I’m like missing grossly important things. I’m trying to think what did I oh well whatever. No (laughing) Am I doing. yeah. Oh great. Great. Great. (laughing) Oh great! ok yeah. Stuff with writing. Ok good. good I’m glad. I’m glad I mean that’s the prime directive. When I do something that’s worth it. (laughing) for you guy’s and for. Oh yes. Yeah. I know. Spends that much time with text yeah. Yeah in our own world. (laughing) yeah (laughing) I miss understood the question. ok What I was thinking about is what kinds of understandings can we get about literacy acquisition specifically from L-2 literacy acquisition. (laughing) I wrote some some pl ok. Alright I just I think understanding second language literacy acquisition brings us certain kinds of insights into literacy acquisition that we wouldn’t keep yet if we were only looking at L First language literacy acquisition. And the first thing is that literacy’s are not required the same way a cross culture. This is a astounding thought um once we realize that that what that means is that we can now suggest to ourselves that even in first language literacy acquisition perhaps everybody isn’t acquiring literacy in the same way. There’s and and the case and point I’d look to use is a an article that appeared in the Tca quarterly by um Jill Sinclaire Bell. The attended a very successful professional person first languages English. She decided she wanted to learn Chinese. She was doing very well in her oral Chinese class but in her literacy class where she was learning to write the letters in Chinese she wasn’t doing well at all. She became increasingly frustrated her tutor became increasingly frustrated and she couldn’t figure out what the problem was. What she realized was she was being confronted with a culture clash. With a cross cultural literacy acquisition clash. And the clash was this in her mind the way she learned was to sort of generalize um whatever it was she had to learn thinking she could fill in the details eventually. but that’s not how they teach literacy in Chinese first language literacy and that’s not how her tutor was teaching her literacy in Chinese. They don’t start with the broad over view and then work out the little features they start with the features you write the same character over and over and over and over again until it is perfect. Her her tutor would say things to her like your characters are not beautiful we need to keep practicing. There’s something missing from these characters. Um you need to keep practicing on those three before you can move on to the next one. Well the author was terribly frustrated cause she didn’t want repractice those three to perfection she thought well lets just get it we’ll fill in the details later. What we see here are really two completely different perspectives on how you might go about developing literacy so maybe we can draw from that the idea that in L-1 as well um not every child not every student will develop literacy in this exact same kind of way. If we only teach in one kind of way we maybe holding back on or not promoting to full extent possible. The development of all the students that have these different styles. um A second thing I think is that a second um aspect of um insight that we can get from second language literacy development is the fact that literacy isn’t a unitary skill it’s developed in stages and its developed in lurches. A little a territory conquered here a little territory conquered there. Um lot’s of territory not even addressed yet. How many of us for instance are who are literate highly literate um would find out were not particularly literate when it comes to writing certain genre. Maybe a business letter or reading certain genre maybe a physics a abstract. So our literacy isn’t a unitary kind of thing. It is fragmented in certain ways and all of us are like that. And I think that we get we can certainly get that insight from looking at first language acquisition. But second language acquisitions. literacy acquisitions um reinforces that notion that its literacy isn’t a unitary skill. um Let’s see along along those same lines um we can recognize that just like second language acquires first language acquires um grasp portions of rhetorical skills. Portions of grammatical skills and portions of a conquest of vocabulary lets say. um and those portions act as foundations for building on. But there not all there yet all at once. So I think we need to recognize that in that we can get that from second language literacy development. nah. nah. I’m talking to long. (whispers something) ok (laughing)
(breathes in through nose.) Yeah the focus on form stuff. Um um I’m looking oh under corrective feedback. so. Ok yeah. No its two away. yeah. (laughing) I have been working on this. I gotta get all the questions here. I mean. (laughing) Come back (laughing) um I think that the way one one some important ways that teachers can help to develop um can help writers to develop there strategies then writing ah first of all would be to recognize that in fact that writers have to build their own strategies you can’t give a strategy to a writer just as you can’t give muscles to a exerciser. It has to built from the inside but what a teacher can provide is opportunities to do that exercising. And can provide coaching to keep that metaphor of the kind of athlete. um Providing ranges of strategies that are possible in both reading and writing varieties of ways of reading a text. Text shouldn’t all be read the same way. And a teacher can certainly help budding ah readers and writers ah figure out or understand that different text can be approached in different ways and should be approached in different ways. Both in terms of reading and in terms of writing. In terms of writing modeling ways of creating text um modeling pre writing activities giving writers letting writers a range of activities to choose from so that they can then have ah those that range behind them. To try out them and see what suits there own um their own abilities their own predilections. Um I think it’s important also to encourage people to talk about the writing. And I think that’s a important strategy that a that teachers can use. Before you start to write. Or as your writing turn to you neighbor and discuss it or or turn to the teacher and discuss it. Talk through ideas. I think those are important kinds of strategies to um to encourage. I don’t think there’s any well um I can’t say if there’s any or not I don’t know very many writers um in my profession who would who’s ideas bring fully formed from their head and land on paper. For the most part ideas that end up in print for instance published ideas um are talked through in various kinds of ways with colleagues. Once a draft is created most people submit that draft to friends to look over. um Once that’s done most people also ah if they want to publish there writing and submit it to a editor or a or and the editor submits that to a reviewers all of those people giving feed back to the writer. There’s a kind of dialog that goes on um between the writer there writers ideas the text on the page. Maybe it’s a multi log rather then a dialog and a variety of different readers. I do think that it’s important to encourage that kind of notion in writing letters as well. But they can and should rely on others to talk over there ideas and to read what they’ve written. um I think another important thing that kind of overrides all of this is the need for teachers not to rigidly focus on either errors to correct or no errors to correct or you must revise or you just not revise. I think that teachers need to develop a lot of flexibility in a a lot of flexibility in what they encourage writers to realize about um about what’s important when they um when they create text and when they go to rights. I think flexibility’s is and important thing. That that’s a not particularly practical. Those are kind of broad ideas. But a even broader idea I think is that writing teachers do writers a big favor when they make writing non punitive not judgery. Most people actually do not like to write that much. And um probably a lot of students are in that situation as well. But we have the possibility in a school situation to create writing to create writing a context and writing um task that are compelling that are interesting that will um give the writer enough success so that the writer will fell compelled to come back to writing again. To develop those kinds of literacy behaviors that Linda Blankston talks about. Sharing writing um sharing writing of compelling genre personal narratives come to mind immediately you know but that’s not necessarily ah the only kind of writing. um Responding to ideas to support support idea building um among students but between student and teacher as well. um Taking advantage of moments of anger of emotions of moments of anger or joy or happy or excitement. And plugging that into writing a lot of I think when were totally miserable and don’t want to show our misery to someone else and write it out. We don’t encourage students to do that. And I think ah writing would start to play a bigger role for students and they would come to see writing not so much as drudgery school work but rather as a incredibly useful tool for personal advancement sort of personal thinking of things. I think one way to do that is is to stop thinking of writing as um as a single kind of genre. Genre keeps coming up it’s a important factor um I think the genre we think of school genre were you write a text an essay of some kind but that’s not the only kind there all kinds of unusual genre. Ah one of the things that I do that I really enjoy doing is at the end of a class at the end of a class I say to students we got 5 minutes left what I’d like you to do is write down everything you remember from what happened in class today. um It’s interesting for me to read that because they remember the unusual things but I think that doing that and also doing the same type of thing at the beginning of a class and saying what do you remember from the last class what that prompts in in better writers but also in more experienced writers is the realization that writing is the means of retrieving memory and of organizing. Not just the way of of of a displaying knowledge or a way of performing for a teacher. It can also serve relieves as a relieves for for personal sorting through. and I don’t think we encourage that. And we could could have free rights. um More often. And of how did you what did you think of the last exam. That’s always a mind boggling experience. (laughing) I tell my students so here is your writing assignment what did you think of the last exam? I find out a lot of things that other wise I can’t find out and it gives the students a chance to vent as well and to self reflect and to self blame sometimes. But it opens up a dialog also between the teacher and the student. So I think that we have a teachers I think in school settings give us a little bit of sense of what we can do with writing and that it would be a good idea to to um broaden that and to create a certain amount of pleasure in writing. Rather then then unhappiness in writing. Oh no another writing assignment. ok yeah. ok. uh huh. uh huh uhuhuhuh One of the one of the greatest besides using a variety of strange genre and little quick writes and things like that. I think one of the most promising ways to approach writing enhancement writing developments in the schools setting is to create sequenced writing assignments. Writing assignments that that will allow allow a writer to go to gather materials gather momentum gather interest and interest gathers I think partially based from developing information and developing knowledge and a developing since of expertise in the area being explored carry that through from one writing assignment to the next. It’s devastating to have ah this is one day the second week of class um will write on this topic this is Monday the third week of class this week we write on this topic. The fourth week we will write on some other topic. You know and just lurch from one topic to the next. It makes a lot more since I think its very satisfying to students to be able to explore topics and depth. It seems important to me to start from a position of personal engagement. That means whatever whatever domain is being explored whatever topic is being written about there needs to be a kind of personal connection the writer has with that already. Or at least the writing task audience start it would be good the writing task would start with um with a exploration of the writers own interest in that subject. Why why is the writer connected to it what kind of personal ways is this topic compelling in the way to the writer. From that it seems to me that um its important to allow writers to gather information topics that isn’t strictly textual information. Some real world information um the the more we send students into writing context where they have very little knowledge the harder it is to turn out pages and the more they think well I got to make 5 pages ok ah I’ll make bigger margarine’s and that sort of thing. Well if you want to get away from that um they need to be overloaded with information. They need to have a lot of information they’ve gathered things that they found out that then they start saying things like” oh no I’m only suppose to have 5 pages I’ve got 7, how am I going to cut it back.” um So part part of the advantage of sequencing assignments is you initiate an a sequence to assignment by assuring a personal engagement but the also a gathering of some kind that’s beyond textual gathering. Textual is ok also but beyond that is what. And then I think a third factor is really important for public sharing with information that is gathered um people do that now a days in poster sessions. I think I think that’s a very comfortable kind of that could be a very comfortable kind of way of showing what I’ve learned in this writing topic. It includes writing , it includes talking , it includes sharing expertise that has been developed over the course of a period of several weeks or whatever. um And that that’s a very promising kind of domain because its got prompts or a visual prompts that the that the writer can point to. and focus on. Unlike me right now. (laughing) Ah corrective feedback is a fraught area I think (laughing) and I think there are two general domains of corrective feedback kind of basically error correction kind of feed back. and then the kind of feed back that would lead to broader visions. So I’d like to take those one at a time. um And in addressing error correction or grammatical correction feed back I would like to quote this is a quote ah these are two quotations from students that are ah that are sort of spliced together from many many times that I’ve heard students say this. The first one is the students say “ I don’t make mistakes in writing on purpose, if I knew how to do it correctly I would do it correctly.” I’ve heard teachers I can understand why teachers get frustrated um we see the same errors over and over. I once said that I would I was going to create I was going to try to create a whole career by figuring out how to make responding to writing easier on teachers. so they don’t spend hours and hours grading papers but in fact I think that is a huge part of teaching writing. Looking at the writing and responding to it. It’s enormously influential part to of teaching writing and part of that is is is this um. Ok um so second language writers don’t make errors in their writing because their lazy or because they ah don’t proof read. A lot of what turns up in the text of second language writers is there because that is where the language is for them. That is where they are in their language development. So, I think realizing that can help people feel a little bit less frustrated ah about seeing the same errors over and over. That students don’t make the errors on purpose. The second thing that a the second comment I’ve heard from students often that I think is important to keep in mind is this one. How can you know what I did wrong if no one tells me. I think that there’s over and over repeated pieces of research that show students saying please help me with this. um I do want my errors corrected. I do want to know what the what the errors are. Tempering with that idea or tempering with that sort of desire part of students we should also recognize writing teachers all of us to recognize that um it may not do much good to correct those errors. We may correct them like crazy the students may simply not be at that point yet where they can take it in. And you know maybe they will never get to that point. But maybe any case I think that we have a responsibility to at least provide the possibility for them to see how a target what the target normally looks like. um But it needs to be done in nonpunitive way with the recognition that ah that students are asking for error correction but they may not necessarily be able to to a benefit from it at that point. um Students will focus on grammar if their in a context or correct forms let say if their in a context where teacher demands it and they will not focus on this is what I believe and I’ve seen um students will not focus on grammar if the teacher is not focusing on grammar. So that means, it doesn’t mean its a either or situation but what it does means is that if you are the kind of teacher who really doesn’t focus on grammar you’ll see that your students will eventually not worry about it as well. Not go back and check it again not fret over it. Fretting may not do any good at all , but they will feel freed from fretting. If you want them to be freed from fretting that’s fine. um But if you feel ah on the other hand that you ah let me put it the other way um if on the other hand you want to focus on grammar a lot then its important to keep in mind that students will do that to and they will necessarily have to let something else go. And that something else is likely the broader features of the writing. Do you want that is the decision the teacher has to make. And um knowing that the students will probably rise to the accession to the best of their ability. Whichever way you decide to go. So it seems to me illogical to choose one or the other. And I don’t know why its not possible to sort a non punitively ah present target norms or model target norms for students. I’ll even remind them of target norms you know this isn’t the right verb tense or whatever. And then ah to some degree students have to act at that on their own. To the to the extent of their ability at that point. I think it is also important to recognize that in college in general um most disciplinary teachers in fact most of the research that I’ve read or people that I have spoken to do not focus on grammatical errors from second language writers they focus on the content of what they’ve written. And their perfectly able to let the errors go. They maybe annoyed by them they may individual people obviously will have different responses some people will be more annoyed then others. But over all over and over seems to me we get reports from disciplinary teachers who say psst what do you want this is a person who has only been writing in English for 8 years or 3 years or however long. That doesn’t matter I can read what they are saying. If the ideas are good the the what they are talking about is what they should be talking about I’m happy with that I think that is a important for high school teachers especially to be aware of not that that doesn’t mean you need to focus on grammar but it may not be such a a fanatically important thing or such a dramatically important thing ah later on for students either. (smacks lips, whispers to self) no , I guess that’s it. Oh then I didn’t get to the revision part. I know we need to move on but. I’m such a blabber mouth. I can’t believe this. All right I will talk faster. (laughing) Wait lets see . Let me just see this. I think I can I can a talk I think the revision thing I can do. Yes um, another area of responding to students writing ah has to do with requesting revisions it seems important to do that but not to fettish-ize it. Revisions are important sometimes there not always important. not every text ought to be revised or needs to be revised. And if students see no point in doing a revision for a particular document or or if they don’t feel compelled or committed to that information tin that document their not going to do a particularly good job revision and even if they try to do a good job um may very well be that that revision turns out worse then the original you know. And I I think it’s important to offer revision as a opportunity to students without fettishizing it and saying that you know we in our class we do four revisions of every paper. Why? (laugh) So, yeah. fours a good number right. (laughing) ah ok . I’ll go to 10 ok yeah I’d much rather prefer 10. yeah, I much prefer 10. I really don’t have anything to say about 9. Yeah ok
Other people who know about that. All right. ok. Yeah the students who come from US high schools into college and who come as immigrants face considerable challenges. And I’d like to talk about three of them I guess in particular. The first one that’s really important is that they face the challenge of speed. They have a extremely hard time keeping up with the pace of lectures with the pace of readings. Next week read 50 pages in each of their class they have a very difficult time with that. They also have a very difficult time in general with um keeping up with the class room classroom discussion. Or discussion in the classroom they obviously miss a great deal of that. That’s a enormous challenge for incoming students ah to the college level. um A second challenge is that professors at the university level specially in the first couple of years are often addressing big groups of students and when they do that they try to make connections with that big group of students primarily usually first language or people who share the same culture with them . And they may make cultural assumptions that just don’t work for the second language learners. for the English learners. Um I was observing the class where the whole class had to do with a it was a geography class I was talking the professor was talking about hobos. The student who I was working with I am sure she doesn’t know what a hobo is. The entire class was on hobos they live an unusual life or they lived an unusual life. I am sure the whole class was almost a blank for her. She probably understood almost who are they talking about. What it hobos? So, um where as the teacher the professor can make lots of assumptions about um shared culture with with the native seekers or the domestic students with the international students with the with the second language learners those assumptions can’t be mad and that is a huge challenge for for those students. And the third thing ah that stands out a lot I think has to do with vocabulary. And its not vocabulary that’s domain or disciplined specific. It sort of general academic vocabulary that they have trouble with. um The sort of big words like apparently (laugh) that are just standard sort of educated youth, but that don’t turn up often in the speech of their peers. And that ah does turn up a great deal in the reading and the writing of reading and the lectures they get at the college level. um Another thing I think. Those are the three but ah but sort of a colliery to that last one is for the most part immigrant students let me start with the others first. For the most part international students have had their entire education in their own native language come to the university or the college ah wit a good grounding in disciplinary content. Often with second language students who have spent sometime getting a education in a second language they come to the university with holes in their knowledge back ground. In the content back ground. And then their asked to build upon those that foundation that already has holes in it. That makes it yet more difficult they have holes. They have holes because they were learning in a second language. There were things that they missed necessarily they missed them. So when they try to build on that the foundation isn’t there so that that’s a struggle to. ah For them I think. I think the final thing that I would like to to to sort of a test or a claim is that in the first two years of of post secondary education in most context um students are engaged in doing general educational classes for the most part those do not include sustained writing um of essays or genre that are typically school writing. For the most part there are many multiple choice kinds of context there are short right short answers. So if spend a lot of time developing the ability to write essays and and ah we also need to recognize that we that it may be quite along time before a student gets to employ anything that they learned about writing essays and they may forget it by the time they get to the history class that ask for it. So, well. My soap box yes. Ok now I have seven pages of soap box. Were going to be here all night. (laughing) I hope your next person is late. No, I’m kidding. About about I would really for me an important thing um that I think we need to keep in mind as language teachers and as writing teachers is that the writing that we ask students to do shouldn’t be um set in a context where they need to write is deferred where we keep telling students well you need to learn this now some day in the future you’ll need it for your college. and in college and some day in the future you’ll need it for graduate school. And in graduate school someday in the future you’ll need to learn how to write like this because you your job will call for it. when we defer the need to write were making were taking the ground out from under the point of writing . Ah it makes a lot more since to to create writing task that are create needs right now. that create writing needs um that students can interact with at the moment their in the classes. Not constantly think well I have to learn this because someday maybe I’ll use it. Because often they don’t use it. So for me that that notion that ah that someday you’ll need this is a crippling one. it’s its what we should be focusing on is how do we make it a need right now. How do we make this writing assignment necessary. Now one way to do that of course is to plug into what students current situation is. What what students current um um social context is what’s bothering them now. What goes on in their their social and academic lives that could possibly think through in writing and even do something more then think through with. You know the usual things like writing letters to the editor when its not a phony context when its a real context. Even if the letters aren’t sent if it does if the writing talk responds to a real need fast at the moment I think its a lot more effective. um Another thing that that I that seems important to me in terms of getting on a soap box is that we as language people fetish our won language genre. We really like essay writings. And so we give students a diet of essay writing. um And I think think that’s limited its a limited view of what can be done with writing. What should be writing so what should be writing so I think that it is important to see that there are um the there’s a bigger world out there means in writing essays and getting on a topic that barely knows anything about and saying what is your opinion about smoking or who knows what. So that’s those are a couple of domains where I think that is important to reflect a little harder on . On the kinds of things we do . And lastly this is a touchy one um I see evidence sometimes that um that all of us into a kind of oh shallow idea of what crossed cultural differences are. And were saying things like oh he’s Japanese he does it this away or um Chinese they got the Chinese have wonderful festivals they have great foods we really like Chinese people or what ever. And its a really shallow version of what cross cultural differences well interactions aren’t easy there fraught there there people bring different kinds of assumptions there likely to get tied up their own assumptions without being able to step back and I think that we need to deepen and deepen our reflection and think more carefully about the real difference that separate us and can potentially not separate us if we think about them in a less shallow way. No that’s it. Are you tired. You must be so tired.