Tuesday, November 06, 2007

TESOL 2008

In this lonely, out-of-the-way blog, I'll announce my success in getting into TESOL 2008, New York City, early April. The abstract and session description are below.

Writing Interest Section

Times are yet to be announced; TESOL this year is not on Wednesday, but is stretching a little into Saturday, so that more practitioners in the NYC area can attend.

Why is it here? I've always maintained here that the world is going toward chat, toward more writing, toward a situation where writing fluency will be to most people like oral fluency is today- a gateway to more interaction, and more successful interaction. I will develop this idea in a writing supplement to this presentation. I have to stare at it a while to get wound up to actually present it though. And I have to remember- as a demonstration, it's about how to teach it- not why, or what writing fluency is...

Teaching writing in online and paper worlds

Whereas the traditional writing class has paper products as its goal, classes which integrate online publication have new skills to master, and ongoing electronic audiences to adjust to. This demonstration provides strategies for teaching toward both traditional paper expectations and online environments simultaneously, expanding the concept of writing fluency.

Session description
Decades ago, communicative methodologies challenged traditional teaching with the assertion that fluency in real-world conversational situations is essential to the language learner, and teachable in the classroom context. Today, connectivism (Siemens 2003) asserts that ability to find and use information and resources online, ability to adapt to new environments quickly, and ability to find and join appropriate networks online are increasingly important elements of learning, functioning and being fluent in the modern world. Writing teachers may be caught off guard as they realize that the traditional essay-writing skills that they were prepared to teach may not be enough, and in fact may pale in comparison to the writing skills their students have to master, upon entering a world where most business, not to mention social activity, will occur in online environments. This new world will demand skills that the teacher may not even have; let alone be prepared to teach in the standard writing class hour. This demonstration takes on an ambitious definition of writing fluency (Leverett 2007), showing teaching strategies for, and methods of integrating online publication and online skill mastery into a writing curriculum, while not abandoning, or even backing down from traditional essay-writing objectives. In fact, the online world, with its informality and enthusiasm, can actually be exploited by the informed teacher in the service of teaching important traditional writing skills; the presenter will show ways of riding the high waves of student interest in online interaction, in the service of increasing students' writing fluency and skills, while at the same time making those students more prepared for the writing-intensive world they are about to enter and function in.