Thursday, October 29, 2009

NJ & beyond

My chat presentation was given again, this time at the NJ Higher Ed ESL Conference in Montclair NJ. I barely changed my script, but did, and pointed out Edmodo and other new things. People however were quite interested in the blogs themselves, and all changes that have come out of them. Between this New Jersey conference, and Miranda's presentation (see below), and with other perspective, I've noticed a few changes in the landscape.

Some people are quite focused on how chatting and informal language improves more formal writing. There is a connection, as Miranda pointed out, having to do with fluency and confidence; I should keep Peter Elbow references closer at hand, as he is who I draw my inspiration from. The fluency-first movement, as applied to reading, writing, speaking, and all language skills, basically was right when it said that you have to be comfortable in your own informal writing self, before you can really crank out the structured stuff; thus it makes little sense to demand essays out of intermediate students who really don't write much of anything else. Under questioning I also said this in New Jersey: increase the amount of writing your students do. Let them compare relentlessly what they said, and what would have worked better (Community Language Learning). Informalize the setting; concentrate on the communication. Make them write so much that they never have trouble getting started.


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