Plenary Speakers

Plenary I

The Future of Second Language Writing (and Reading) Instruction
Plus ça change; plus c’est la même chose

Ann M. Johns
San Diego State University, USA (Emerita)

No doubt the teaching of writing (and reading), and our students' experiences with literacies, have changed radically in the past few years as multi-modalities have become increasingly prevalent and writing has become more collaborative, informal, and global. However, for a number of reasons, the teaching of second language literacies has not kept up with this fast-paced change. In this presentation, I will discuss five goals for the second language writing classroom that acknowledge and embrace change while drawing from the extensive pedagogical accomplishments and research during the past 20 years or so. The five goals for our classrooms should be: 1) Fostering student literacy research, that is, research into genres and literacy practices in a variety of contexts; 2) Encouraging the interaction of reading, writing, and technology and the extensive use of technologies to promote different types of reading and writing; 3) Modeling literacy practices for multiple texts and contexts, and encouraging writing for these contexts; 4) Promoting student reflection and metacognition as integral to student literacy research and writing practices, and 5) Re-assessing student assessments to value writing (and reading) for the 21st century. Handouts related to these goals will be distributed.

Ann M. JohnsAnn M. Johns is Professor Emerita of Linguistics and Writing Studies at San Diego State University, where she teaches freshmen, most of whom are bilingual, and continues to be involved in the professional development of literacy teachers. She has published five books and more than fifty book chapters and articles, most of which are devoted to the study of academic literacies. Dr. Johns has presented plenaries and consulted with universities about their literacy programs in more than 20 countries (www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~annjohns/) and has recently been awarded two Senior Fulbrights (2007, South Africa; 2009, Lebanon) to continue this work, by assisting universities to develop English for Academic Purposes programs for undergraduates. Her most concentrated  literacy efforts have focused upon first-generation pre-college students in the United States. Consulting for the AVID program (www.avidonline.org), she has developed a college readiness curriculum for secondary schools, and she leads literacy seminars for AVID teachers throughout the country.

Plenary II

The Future Ain’t What it Used to Be

Mark Warschauer
University of California, Irvine, USA

Less than two decades ago, new forms of socially constructed multimedia were believed to be devaluing writing, marginalizing the essay, and contributing to a postmodern death of the author. But today, writing is more important than ever before in human history, the essay is critical to success in schools and influence in society, and, as Chris Chesher has noted, “the author is alive and well, and has a blog.” This paper briefly summarizes the history of computers and writing, surveys its current terrain, and examines its future, particularly in relationship to second language teaching and learning. Issues addressed included the development and diffusion of low-cost wireless mobile devices such as netbooks and smartbooks; the expanding role of open source software, open educational resources, and cloud computing, especially in conjunction with these devices; the affordances of Web 2.0 tools such as blogs and wikis and their impact on writing; the evolution of artificial intelligence-based software to score and respond to writing and the increased use of such software in schools; and the social and economic context that shapes who has access to all these tools and how they are used inside and outside the classroom.

Mark WarschauerMark Warschauer is Professor of Education and Information at the University of California, Irvine, and director of the Digital Learning Lab at the university. He also directs UCI’s PhD in Education program, which includes a specialization in Language, Literacy, and Technology. Previously, he has worked in Egypt, Russia, and the Czech Republic assisting English teaching reform efforts, and has conducted research on computer-mediated learning in the U.S., Japan, Egypt, Brazil, India, China, and Singapore. His research focuses on the intersection of digital media use with literacy development, language learning, educational reform, and educational and social equity. His prior books include Electronic Literacies: Language, Culture, and Power in Online Education (Lawrence Erlbaum), Network-Based Language Teaching: Concepts and Practice (co-edited with Richard Kern, Cambridge University Press), Technology and Social Inclusion: Rethinking the Digital Divide (MIT Press), and Laptops and Literacy: Learning in the Wireless Classroom (Teachers College Press). He has recently completed a study of new technology use in ESL and EFL instruction in 15 countries, and is currently investigating the role of netbook computers, open source software, and open educational resources in K-12 instruction.

Plenary III

Exploring Learning Transfer in Second Language Writing Education

Mark A. James
Arizona State University, USA

A fundamental goal of second language writing education is that learners develop knowledge and skills that they can apply beyond the learning context. In other words, if learning occurs in a L2 writing classroom but students cannot apply that learning outside that classroom, instruction has limited value. This goal involves learning transfer, which refers to the application of learning in novel situations. In some education circles, assumptions have been made that if learning occurs, learning transfer inevitably follows; however, a century of research on learning transfer in experimental and educational psychology suggests that learning does not automatically lead to learning transfer, and that learning transfer can, in fact, be difficult to stimulate. This presentation will explore learning transfer in L2 writing education through a discussion of the following questions: What is learning transfer in L2 writing education? In what ways is learning transfer relevant in this area? How has learning transfer in L2 writing education been investigated, and what has been learned? Finally, what directions might be taken in future research on learning transfer in this area?

Mark A. JamesMark A. James is Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics in the English Department on the Tempe campus of Arizona State University. He teaches graduate courses on research methodology, ESL teaching methodology, curriculum design, and language assessment, as well as undergraduate ESL writing courses. He has also taught ESL and applied linguistics courses at universities and private language schools in Canada, Japan, and Puerto Rico. His research has focused on practical and theoretical aspects of learning transfer in second language education. His recent work has appeared in ELT Journal, TESOL Quarterly, International Review of Applied Linguistics, Written Communication, and Journal of Second Language Writing, and will be appearing in Classroom Practice Series: Writing (TESOL) later this year. His most recently completed projects examined transfer climate in ESL students' mainstream academic courses and student motivation to transfer learning from ESL writing courses. He is presently studying learning transfer from an ESL writing course to tasks across academic disciplines as well as teaching-for-transfer techniques in ESL writing instruction.

Plenary IV

Second-Language Writing Research Across the Generations: It's All in the Family

Carole Edelsky
Arizona State University, USA (Emerita)

Gail Shuck
Boise State University, USA

Edelsky and Shuck will present a view of research on second language writing across 30 years. This mother-daughter pair will examine how some of the theoretical frameworks and research questions have shifted from “Then” to “Now” and how some frameworks and questions persist. They will look together and separately at a sample of second-language writing using various Then and Now lenses—how would mama Carole have analyzed the sample close to the beginning of her career, and how would daughter Gail analyze the same sample now, near the beginning of her own career? What lenses would they bring to bear? To what extent would their research questions move beyond the writing of individual students and what frameworks would they draw on to do so? Relying on fluid notions of Then and Now, they will ask questions such as these: How does scholarship Now challenge scholarship Then? What does Now owe to Then? What was Then reaching for but couldn’t quite grasp because Now hadn’t yet happened? Woven through each analytic “take” will be references to—and sometimes longer discussions of—such issues as context, genre, discourses, normativity, identity, language ideologies, and institutional practices.

Carole EdelskyCarole Edelsky is Professor Emerita at Arizona State University, having taught at ASU from 1976-2008. She earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of New Mexico in 1974. Professor Edelsky’s research interests have been in the areas of first and second language literacy, gender and language, critical literacy, and classroom discourse. Her book Writing in a Bilingual Program was an early volume in the field. With Literacy and Justice for All, a collection of her essays on second language learning in bilingual education, literacy and literacy education, has been updated with new essays on those topics in now a third edition. Her edited collection, Making Justice Our Project, is a major text in the area of critical literacy. She has recently co-authored with ASU colleagues Karen Smith and Christian Faltis Side by Side Learning: Exemplary Literacy Practices for English Learners and English Speakers in the Mainstream Classroom. In retirement, she stands outside in the Tucson heat carrying signs and singing protest songs with Tucson Raging Grannies, painting in her garage, and reading novels. Ah, such pleasures!

Gail ShuckGail Shuck is Associate Professor of English and Coordinator of English Language Support Programs at Boise State University. Since receiving her Ph.D. in the Interdisciplinary Program in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching at the University of Arizona in 2001, she has directed the first-year ESL academic writing sequence and taught courses in applied linguistics and second-language writing at Boise State. Her work on language ideologies and multilingual speakers/writers has been published in Language in Society and the Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, and her article on administrative challenges in the face of pervasive monolingualist language ideologies won the award for Best Article of 2005-2006 in WPA: Writing Program Administration. She was also invited to co-facilitate—with Vivian Zamel—a summer 2008 workshop on integrating second-language writers into college writing programs (at the annual conference of the Council of Writing Program Administrators). Her most recent research is forthcoming in the collection Reinventing Identities in Second Language Writing, edited by Michelle Cox, Jay Jordan, Christina Ortmeier-Hooper, and Gwen Gray Schwartz, and published by the National Council of Teachers of English.

Arizona State University