3rd International Santa Barbara Conference on Writing Research

Writing Research Across Borders


February 22-24, 2008

University of California, Santa Barbara



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Denis Alamargot
, University of Poitiers, France

Denis Alamargot is senior lecturer in cognitive and developmental psychology at the University of Poitiers (France). He is the director of the French CNRS 'Group of Research on writing' and does research on eye movements during writing in children, students and professional writers. He publishes various synthesis and experimental papers on writing processes (actually the book "Through the models of writing" in col. with Lucile Chanquoy). He is the co-inventor (with David Chesnet) of the Eye and Pen (c) software.

Eye movements during handwriting

Writing is a complex human activity. The writer has to compose a coherent message and formulate it in accordance with linguistic rules (grammar, spelling), all the while taking the characteristics of the potential reader into account. The ability to manage all these various mental activities, as well as their time course, can be regarded as an indicator of the writer's expertise (Alamargot & Chanquoy, 2001). For cognitive science researchers, identifying the rules that govern the engagement and course of these mental processes is an essential step towards a greater understanding of writing and processing (Levy & Ransdell, 1996). The Eye and Pen software was designed to help researchers attain this goal (Alamargot, Chesnet, Dansac, & Ros, 2006; Alamargot, Dansac, Chesnet, & Fayol, 2006; Chesnet & Alamargot, 2005 - www.eyeandpen.net).

The Eye and Pen device makes a synchronous recording of eye movements during periods of writing and pauses. For researchers in educational sciences, linguistics, or cognitive psychology, the ability to track with high precision the processing of visual information during writing will contribute enormously to their understanding of compositional strategies and the functioning of written language. For instance, investigations in the workplace and in professional writing should provide researchers with insight into the acquisition and development of expertise. Studies conducted with children should give interesting pictures of spelling processing and difficulties. Ergonomics and pedagogical applications are numerous.

Eye and Pen can be mainly (but not exclusively) used in the context of handwriting studies, whatever the graphic format (from text to drawing). The Eye and Pen software was designed to allow the synchronous recording of handwriting (by means of a digitizing tablet: coordinates and state of the pen) and eye movements (via an optical eye-tracking system: eye coordinates in the task environment). The conjunction of these two signals allows us to study the synchronization between eye and pen movements during pausing and writing periods. For instance, it makes it possible to study not only the visual control of graphomotor execution, but also the reading of the text in order to revise it and the consultation of documentary sources with a view to summarizing them. Eye and Pen allows users to conduct these investigations in a continuous way, without interrupting the activity underway or increasing cognitive load.

The aim of this talk is to give an overview of the various characteristics and functions of eye movements during handwriting in adults and children attesting various levels of expertise. Exemplars from experiments will be provided to illustrate the role of vision in the control and the supervision of writing processes, while producing words, sentences and texts of various complexity.


Alamargot, D., & Chanquoy, L. (2001). Through the models of writing. Dordrecht-Boston-London: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Alamargot, D., Chesnet, D., Dansac, C., & Ros, C. (2006). Eye and Pen: a new device to study the reading during writing. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments and Computers, 38(2), 287-299.

Alamargot, D., Dansac, C., Chesnet, D., & Fayol, M. (2006). Parallel processing before and after pauses : A combined analysis of graphomotor and eye movements during procedural text production. In M. Torrance, D. Galbraith & L. v. Waes (Eds.), Cognitive Factors in Writing. Dordrecht-Boston-London: Elsevier Sciences Publishers.

Chesnet, D., & Alamargot, D. (2005). Analyses en temps r‚el des activit‚s oculaires et graphomotrices du scripteur: intÇrˆt du dispositif 'Eye and Pen'. L'Ann‚e Psychologique, 105(3), 477-520.

Levy, C. M., & Ransdell, S. (Eds.). (1996). The science of writing: Theories, methods, individual differences, and applications. Mahwah: Laurence Erlbaum Associates.

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Linda Allal
, University of Geneva, Switzerland

Linda Allal obtained her Ph.D. at Michigan State University. She is professor in Educational Sciences at the University of Geneva where she conducts research on the social and cognitive dimensions of writing in classroom contexts.

Interplay between cognitive and social processes in writing instruction

Research on the cognitive and linguistic processes involved in writing has had an important impact on the conception of writing instruction and has affected, in varying degrees, current classroom practice. There is also a substantial body of research on the social processes intervening in different contexts of writing that has led to increased instructional emphasis on the importance of dialogue about writing as a means of supporting writing. Although several models, developed in neo-Vygotskian research and in the work on situated cognition, have described how cognitive and social processes interact in learning to write, relatively little empirical data have demonstrated how this interplay works in a detailed way. Our presentation will review studies concerning two levels of social mediation of cognitive processes in the writing classroom: (1) whole-class discussion and one-to-one conferences during which the meaning of writing concepts and the criteria for writing are constructed by the exchanges between teacher and student(s); (2) peer interactions during tasks of joint composition and revision or in situations of reciprocal response to individual texts. Each level will be illustrated by data from elementary school classrooms participating in writing research in Geneva. The data include direct observations and transcriptions of classroom interactions as well as analyses of the characteristics of students' texts and revisions. With respect to each level of social mediation, questions will be raised concerning the relations between the social processes and the cognitive/linguistic knowledge and skills under construction. Particular attention will be given to the interplay between dialogic, interactive regulation and individual self-regulation during writing and revision. Suggestions will be made regarding the types of studies that need to be conducted to understand more fully how the co-elaboration of social and cognitive processes takes place during writing activities in instructional settings.

PDF Article Link: Whole-class and peer interaction in an activity of writing and revision (with Lopez, Lucie Mottier, Lehraus, Katia, & Forget, Alexia)

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Arthur N. Applebee
, SUNY Albany

Arthur N. Applebee is Leading Professor and Chair of the Department of Educational Theory & Practice at the University at Albany, SUNY; he also directs the National Research Center on English Learning & Achievement. He has published widely on the teaching and learning of language and literacy across grade levels, and has been a longtime consultant to the National Assessment of Educational Progress in reading, writing, and literature. His most recent book, Curriculum as Conversation, earned the David A. Russell Award for distinguished research from NCTE.

Writing in the Secondary School: 25 Years of Progress, or déjà vu all over again?

In the early 1980s, a series of studies investigated the nature of writing instruction in American schools, using a combination of in-depth case studies of classroom instruction with national surveys of instruction to provide a detailed portrait of strengths and weaknesses across the major academic subject areas (Applebee, 1981, 1984). This presentation will examine changes in instruction since this early work, drawing on data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress as well as early findings from a new National Study of Writing Instruction.

The portrait of curriculum and instruction that emerged from the earlier studies was quite bleak: The typical writing assignment was a page or less, begun in class and completed for homework. Most writing involved filling in blanks and providing short answers, with little attention to analysis and interpretation, and with an average of just over 3 minutes of instruction before students were expected to begin to write. At the same time, the studies highlighted the importance of writing across the curriculum: Although writing was most likely to be taught in English classes, students did more writing, in total, for their other subjects than they did for English. And while the overall picture was bleak, later studies, particularly Langer & Applebee (1987) and Langer (2001), highlighted schools and classrooms in which students were engaged in rich and challenging writing activities. During this same time period, the National Writing Project was beginning to expand the number of local writing project sites across the country providing professional development to teachers in the teaching of writing, K-12. (Lieberman and Wood, 2003; MacDonald, Buchanan, & Sterling, 2004).

These decades have also been marked by a number of trends whose impact on writing instruction is unclear. First among these is the new emphasis on high stakes testing. When writing is included in these assessments, as Hillocks (2002) has noted, the nature of the assessment can have a powerful and sometimes narrowing influence on what is considered good writing. Further, as the emphasis on high stakes tests increases, there is a chance that writing will be squeezed out of the curriculum.

Another trend whose impact on the teaching and learning is unclear is the spread of new technologies. Advances in technology have made word processing tools and Internet resources widely available, and students report making extensive use of them in their writing (Applebee & Langer, 2006; National Writing Project, 2006). At the same time, new genres and forms of publication have emerged that integrate a variety of media and capitalize on the flexibility of hypertext. From instant messages to web pages to blogs to embedded graphics and videos, these changes are certainly having an impact on students' writing experiences, though we do not know the extent to which students have opportunities to engage with these technologies to carry out school tasks.

While students' reading performance has been high on the national agenda in recent years, students' writing ability has been remarkably absent from public concern. Although studies over the past twenty years have identified strong relationships between reading and writing as well as the role writing plays in content learning, there has been little national attention to how writing progresses across the school years and across subject areas.

In a series of analyses of National Assessment data, we found that although changes in writing achievement have taken place since the early 1970s, the gap between more and less advantaged students continues to be large, and overall performance has not risen very much. Students still do not seem to be writing enough nor receiving enough writing instruction, in any subject (Applebee & Langer, 2006).

In this presentation, these analyses will be augmented by case studies of writing activities in an initial sample of 3 middle and 3 high schools. These studies involve interviews with students, teachers, and administrators, observations of classroom instruction, and analyses of the cumulative body of students' work across an academic year.

Related Article: Arthur N. Applebee & Judith A. Langer (2006). The State of Writing Instruction in America's Schools: What Existing Data Tell Us. Albany, NY: Center on English Learning & Achievement. Available at: http://www.albany.edu/aire/news/State%20of%20Writing%20Instruction.pdf

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Arnetha F. Ball and Warren Liew
, Stanford University

Dr. Arnetha F. Ball is a Professor in Curriculum & Teacher Education and Educational Linguistics at Stanford University. Her research focuses on literacy studies, research on writing, and teacher preparation. She combines sociocultural and linguistic theory to investigate the discourse patterns of students in classrooms and community-based organizations across national boundaries and provide insights on teacher professional development and the successful pedagogies of teachers who work effectively with diverse students in the United States and South Africa. Dr. Ball's recent books include: Bakhtinian Perspectives on Language, Literacy and Learning with Dr. Sarah Freedman (2004), African American Literacies Unleashed with Dr. Ted Lardner (2005), Multicultural Strategies for Education and Social Change: Carriers of the Torch in the United States and South Africa (2006), and With More Deliberate Speed: Achieving Equity and Excellence in Education-Realizing the Full Potential of Brown v. Board of Education (2006).

Warren Liew is a PhD student in the Stanford University School of Education's Curriculum and Teacher Education (CTE) Program.

Research On The Writing of US and South Africa Students: The Discourse of Liberation and Equity in Online and Offline contexts

Much has been written on the pedagogical capacities of offline versus online learning tools such as discussion boards for electronic conferencing. Studies on the use of computer-mediated communication have also focused on the advantages of using electronic conferences in both distance education courses and traditional classroom-based instruction. These studies point to the need for informed instructional design and continuous management of the technical, intellectual, and social aspects of using writing as a pedagogical tool for teaching and learning. These dimensions have been analyzed in terms of particular discourses (e.g. rhetorical and linguistic structures). Little, however, has been written on the ways in which these discourses relate to students' ideological becoming, students' and instructors' relationships, roles, and identity development across both online and offline contexts, and how these in turn affect teaching and learning. We believe that a discourse analytic approach to teaching students' about using writing as a pedagogical tool for learning will make them more critically self-aware and generative in their thinking. This presentation on the writing of US and South Africa students on issues of liberation and equity in online and offline contexts will explore these issues more deeply and will shed light on the following questions: 1) How are US and South African students' identities, roles, and relationships expressed, explored, and expanded in the writings produced within two course contexts? 2) Do online versus offline discussion forums enable individual students to engage more critically with classroom discourse? 3) How do students' interactions with peers and the course instructor through online versus offline discussions contribute to and make visible their learning?

The data include: (1) offline written course reflections of US and South Africa students (2) electronic copies of students' written assignments; (3) instructors' weekly lesson plans, fieldnotes, and correspondences with students;

(4) electronic archives of students' online postings in a discussion forum; (5) semi-structured interviews with students. Drawing on this data and the growing scholarship on ideological becoming, professional development, and digital pedagogies, this presentation reports on a study that investigated how teaching that uses writing as a pedagogical teaching tool can facilitate the learning outcomes of students in the areas of generative thinking and critical analyses. In this presentation we share insights into the potential benefits and pitfalls of online versus offline learning for graduate students in college courses.

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Charles Bazerman
, U.C. Santa Barbara


A Different Vision of Writing Studies

The Handbook of Research on Writing: History, Society, School, Individual, Text (Erlbaum, 2007) attempts to refigure our vision of the scope of writing studies by starting with writing as a recently emerged historical phenomena, filled with a history of small inventions that have diffused throughout society, changing the potentials of social organization and individual life in the process. It considers how various forms of social practice and organization have emerged facilitated by writing, and how these social changes have formed the context for schooling and writing education. Individuals develop as writers within society and history, passing through the institutions of schooling, learning ways to deploy the tools of written language and now new media.

The broad view of this volume is reflected in its organization. The first section places writing in a historical context, as a technology of inscribing the meanings of spoken language, developed independently in at least three locales in different historical moments and elaborating into a variety of writing systems, typographies, and handwritings. The second section then considers how writing has enabled and become a central element of social systems and practices: the economy, law, government, documentary bureaucracy, knowledge, journalism, literature, and professions, community, gender and cultural change. The third section surveys what we know about the history of schools and writing, the history of writing teaching and teachers, and current practices of teaching writing at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, along with current understanding of diversity and assessment at all levels. The fourth section considers how individuals develop their writing within the social and educational world, considering issues such as development, cognition, affect, identity, multilinguality, health, disabilities, and disorders. The last section explores more deeply what we know about the specific linguistic resources people deploy to carry out their purposes.

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Anne Beaufort
, University of Washington, Tacoma

Anne Beaufort is associate professor and writing-across-the curriculum coordinator at University of Washington, Tacoma. Her first book, Writing in the Real World: Making the Transition from School to Work, proposed a new framework for understanding the nature of writing expertise. That framework is tested and developed further in her new book, College Writing and Beyond: A New Framework for University Writing Instruction. http://www.usu.edu/usupress/books/index.cfm?isbn=6592

Reconceptualizing writing across disciplines in higher education

How do novices learn the practices of disciplinary writing? What is the developmental process for acquiring writing expertise in a specific discourse community and how can we implement curricula that support that developmental process? To begin to answer these questions, I will present a synopsis of the research reported in College Writing and Beyond: A New Framework for University Writing Instruction (Utah State Press, 2007). The book reports on a six-year case study of a college writer who double-majored in history and engineering and proposes a new theoretical basis for conceptualizing post-secondary writing instruction. I suggest implications for curriculum development in courses across the disciplines, as well as implications for training teachers of writing.

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Carol Berkenkotter
, University of Minnesota

Carol Berkenkotter is Professor in the Writing Studies Department at the University of Minnesota where she teaches courses in genre analysis, rhetoric of science, and science communication. T. Kenny Fountain and Zoe Nyssa are both doctoral students in the Writing Studies Department.

Stretching Beyond Borders: The Multiple Discourses of an Anatomy Laboratory and at an Urban Zoo (with T. Kenny Fountain, and Zoe Nyssa)

For Ph.D. students in the new Writing Studies Department at the University of Minnesota, science studies meets writings studies on equal terms. Many faculty encourage their advisees to take science studies courses outside the department believing that this cross-disciplinary training enhances young researchers' understanding of the unique discursive environments of the scientific professions. Drawing on research in anthropology of science, history of medicine, art history, and rhetoric of science, the speakers present two participant-observation studies of the multiple discourses and modalities of two very different research sites: a gross anatomy laboratory where undergraduates have their first experience with the human anatomy, and a well-known "new" zoo in a large metropolitan area. In the first of these sites, the laboratory, students' learning is verbal, visual, and tactile. Paradoxically, most human anatomy courses require no writing save the naming of bodily structures. Yet to learn in these spaces, students must make sense of, memorize, and recreate visual displays that resemble the human body, thus marking the visual as a dominant means of instruction. In fact, visuals function as a reasoning tool used by students engaged in a dialectical process of hypothesis-confirmation, one aimed at identifying structures on an increasingly dissected cadaver. Drawing from his ethnographic study of human anatomy education in a cadaver lab, Fountain will describe how medical students and undergraduates make use of visual inscriptions (whiteboard drawing, color atlases, etc.). Using interview excerpts and student notes, he will show how students interact with and create visual displays that aid in memorization, dissection, and self-persuasion. Visual rhetoric, then, both presents anatomy and shapes their knowledge of the body.

The second site described in this presentation is the "new" zoo, new because in the last quarter century, zoos have shifted their institutional missions and communication practices to emphasize conservation activities characterized by sophisticated biological research on captive and wild animal populations. In attempting to communicate these new research priorities and activities, zoos must address diverse local and international audiences that include visitors, peer institutions, donors, animal welfare organizations, and communities around the world where field research takes place. The new zoo's scientific research and communication practices are complicated, however, by zoos' engagement in ethical, political, and environmental conflicts over the roles and the status of animals, as well as the incomplete and often inconclusive scientific evidence on which conservation policies must be based.

Using textual analyses of popular and technical zoo research reports and interviews and participant-observations collected over a twelve-month period at a prominent, research-oriented zoo, Nyssa will describe how the divergent epistemological and ethical commitments of zoo scientists and writers actually constrained the editorial staff, leading to interpersonal conflict reflected in the hybrid registers and narratives appearing in zoo publications. She will also discuss the outcome of this action-research project--namely how, at her suggestion, zoo writers and researchers implemented alternative information-gathering and writing procedures, measures that functioned successfully to reduce conflict between members of these groups and other zoo stakeholders.

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Virginia Berninger
, University of Washington

Virginia W. Berninger (Ph.D. Psychology, Johns Hopkins and Professor Educational Psychology University of Washington since 1986) has had an NICHD-funded writing research program since 1989 on assessment and instruction with a focus on writing in early and middle childhood and early adolescence. She studies both typical writing development and writing disabilities.

Levels of Language in Assessment and Instruction: Lessons from Longitudinal Studies Grades 1 to 7 (with Gary Troia and Scott Beers)

Following an introduction to the symposium, presentations will be made by Noelia Garcia, William Nagy, Scott Beers, Gary Troia, and Virginia Berninger. These presentations, which are based in large part on a five-year NICHD-study of typical writing development and its connections to listening, speaking, and reading, will cover spelling, syntax, composing by pen and keyboard, and a levels of language framework for synthesizing the word- , syntax-, and text- levels of writing. The spelling study focuses on the phonological, orthographic, and morphological contributions to spelling. The syntax study offers new insights into the role of syntax in writing development. The composing study compares texts composed using different modes of writing-conventional paper and pen and computer-assisted word processing. A levels-of-language framework is offered that is useful for explaining individual differences among writers at a specific stage of writing and patterns of writing development across the grades. Instructional implications of the findings will be discussed.

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Pietro Boscolo
, University of Padova, Italy

Pietro Boscolo is Professor of Educational Psychology at the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Padova (Italy). His research focuses on the relationships between cognitive and motivational aspects in learning subjects, mainly writing, but also literature, history, and science at various levels of education, including university. Regarding writing, in particular, he has co-edited with S. Hidi the volume Writing and Motivation (Elsevier, 2007).

Playing with genre(s) as a meaningful writing activity

Over the past two decades, studies on writing from a motivational perspective have focused on three main topics: how to stimulate students' willingness to write (e.g., Boscolo & Gelati, in press; Hidi, Berndorff, & Ainley, 2002; Hidi & McLaren, 1991), the relationship between writing competence and self-efficacy in writing (Pajares & Valiante, 2006), and how writers - not necessarily students - organize and regulate the available cognitive and affective resources when writing (Zimmerman & Kitsantas, 1999, 2002). Regarding the first topic, writing researchers have tried to identify the conditions under which a writing task may be perceived as enjoyable by students. In general, empirical studies have shown that students are motivated to write to the degree to which a writing task is seen a meaningful activity for them, and one which they feel able to carry out (Bruning & Horn, 2000; Hidi & Boscolo, 2006, 2007). 'Meaningful', however, is a somewhat generic adjective, which, when related to writing tasks, may take on different meanings, such as 'authentic' or 'interesting'. A meaningful writing task is often one in which writing is not perceived by students as an "academic" ability, but as a tool for expressing personal experience and communicating important and involving classroom activities.

The objective of the presentation is to propose a different meaning of 'meaningful', by describing an intervention study aimed at teaching fourth-graders "to play" with narrative genre. This is an instructional approach consisting of teaching students to use writing in a flexible and "creative" way, by modifying the rules of a genre (e.g., introducing changes in the structure and/or characters or limitations in fairy tales), combining fragments from book or journal texts into a new one ("cento"), writing coherent texts by avoiding specific word categories, and so on. This teaching method helps young writers become aware of narrative genre as well as its creative possibilities, and to acquire the sense that writing may be an enjoyable tool for creating "new" texts and meanings. Two aspects of the results of the intervention will be emphasized in particular: the improvement in children's writing abilities due to the intervention, and its motivational effects in terms of increased interest in writing as an activity and self-perception of writing competence.

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Deborah Brandt
, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Deborah Brandt is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is author of two books, Literacy as Involvement: The Acts of Writers, Readers and Texts (1990) and Literacy in American Lives (2001).

The Status of Writing

This presentation explores the rising value of writing to economic and social ways of life in this country and suggests how this development opens a new chapter in the history of mass literacy. Where mass reading developed under the aegis of church and state, mass writing had its origins in commerce and trade, giving it an uneasy status within the "moral order" of dominant literacy ideology. However, economic and technological changes over the last 60 years are now making writing the mass skill of consequence, bringing into prominence what had been a minor strand in literacy's history, one that is now mixing, often unarticulated, in the literacy experiences of individuals as well as broader cultural practices. For the first time, the potential for what could only be called mass authorship is in place, bringing radically different values and sponsoring agents to the forefront and upending traditional relationships between reading and writing.

This presentation shines a light on literacy's emergent minor strand by examining work history accounts of two American men, both born in the mid-20th century. Their careers (one as an academic librarian and the other as a history teacher turned financial manager) began squarely in the moral order of a mass reading literacy but over time turned dramatically to writing. An analysis of their accounts will reveal their growing reliance on writing for productivity, the shifting relationship between reading and writing in their daily habits, and the relationship between changes in their literacy and changes in their professions. The analysis will link these individuals' writing literacy to a long tradition of commercial sponsorship for writing, showing that what is new now is not so much a market mentality for writing but the level of its infiltration into the literate experiences and organizational practices of more and more people. Implications for the status of literacy going forward will be considered.

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Paula Carlino
, CONICET - University of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Paula Carlino has a Ph.D. in Psychology. Researcher with the CONICET at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Research interests: WAC, WID, academic literacies, university teacher development, and graduate students' experiences regarding their dissertations.

The rationale of an itinerary of research, teaching, and promotion of WAC/WID/academic literacies in Argentina

The scholarship and teaching of academic writing are endeavors only recently undertaken in Argentine universities. In this presentation, I trace the development of my ten years in the field to share a line of research and to discuss whether its underlying motives are idiosyncratic or general. My route has been guided by a blend of epistemological rationality, personal enthusiasm, commitment to democratic distribution of knowledge, rhetorical pursuit of data to make a case, and almost no budget. These influences shaped a research and action program consisting of seven partially overlapping stages of inquiry.

The first one treated academic writing as a cognitive skill and researched, through draft analysis, how Psychology and Education undergraduates' texts were revised during an exam. The second stage proceeded from the difference found between these Argentine students' revisions compared to those of French and North Americans' which had been reported in the inspiring literature of my study. After successive enlargements of the sample and repetitions of the procedure, I realized this difference was not cognitive but cultural, and attributed it to the dissimilarities of national instructional experiences regarding writing, which needed to be researched. This gave rise to a comparative study, through an extensive Internet search "discovering" realities previously unknown within Latin American literature, such as the Australian teaching and learning units and teacher development programs, and the North American writing centers, writing intensive courses, as well as the WAC/WID and academic literacies contributions. Almost simultaneously, the third line of work was a 6-year action research project, which tried out several reading and writing tasks in Psychology and Education courses involving guidance, dialogue and response. Particularly, I began to teach how to substantively revise a text through classroom discussions. The results of these two lines of inquiry, which I considered key to promoting the need to integrate writing support in the teaching of any university course, were used as arguments against local institutional indifference, teachers' passive complaint, previous research focused on students' difficulties, and consequent exclusion of those coming from families alien to the university. Stage four is a current project involving interviews with undergraduates and their teachers about how writing and reading are presented in different subjects, as well as analysis of the syllabi, assignments, and (scarce) teacher response, with the aim of providing detailed knowledge relative to actual practices and viewpoints. The fifth to seventh lines of inquiry are similar to the three former ones but regarding graduate studies.

This itinerary has been productive in Latin America, encouraging related research and being used as a reference in incipient attempts by institutions and individual teachers to incorporate writing to learn and learning to write in their disciplines. The questions my presentation leaves open concern how research problems and designs develop in other countries, and whether the factors detected in this case (the pursuit of international disciplinary contributions, researcher's interests and values, sensibility to the local context, and the need of evidence for debate) influence the conception, execution, and publication of new research.

PDF Article Link: Sociedad Argentina de estudios comparados en educaci¢n. (in Spanish)

"Writing, reading, and learning in the university. An Introduction to Academic Literacy" (in Spanish).

"Reading scientific and academic texts in Higher Education: Obstacles and welcome to a new academic culture". Uni-Pluri/Versidad, 3(2), Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia, 17-23, 2003. (in Spanish)

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Kate Chanock
, La Trobe University

Kate Chanock works with students and faculty to develop academic language and learning. Her research interests include the cultures and discourses of academic study and the challenges facing students with dyslexia.

Dyslexic students' writing: what kind(s) of problem, and for whom?

While numbers of students identified as dyslexic have risen dramatically in the last twenty years, dyslexia has become a grey area traversed by very disparate discourses - medical, social-constructionist, experiential, pedagogical, even (indirectly) anthropological. These focus on different aspects of the syndrome, and reveal different understandings about the nature and meaning of literacy; but they share a tendency to think of writing as, in Goody's phrase (2000), a "technology of the intellect". Insofar as writing is, indeed, a technology, this conception has led to the development of electronic tools to compensate for dyslexic writers' difficulties with the written word. Software programs for brainstorming and outlining capture holistic thinking and help to reshape it to a linear structure. Voice-recognition programs allow students to compose with greater speed and accuracy. Screen-reading programs allow them to hear what they have written and revise their texts. Spelling checkers improve accuracy (though they do not guarantee it). At the cost of much time and attention, a sensible oral composition can be rendered as a sensible written text.

However, while a technological approach to dyslexia can facilitate communication, dyslexic writers will often gain only limited advantage by conforming to conventional expectations of text structure and policing their spelling. The value that academic readers invest in surface accuracy goes much deeper than a simple need to understand what the writer is trying to say, for spelling does far more than encode the denotative meaning of a word; it also encodes cultural capital. The ancestry and history of words are preserved in their spelling, so that errors with homophones (e.g., elude/allude; prophet/profit) carry particular risks, exposing the writer as a person who does not know about language. Furthermore, dyslexic writers may lack the experience of text necessary to glean the connotations and nuances of words that avid readers meet in a variety of contexts, resonant, as Bakhtin says, with the voices of previous speakers. Academic readers take pleasure in evidence of textual experience and cultural memory; unhappily, they also often take offence at evidence that these are lacking. To the extent that this issue of values is recognised in the literature, the insistence on accuracy is likely to be defended as "standards" or dismissed as prejudice. Neither approach does much to elucidate the problems that values around literacy create for dyslexic writers, which can be very serious.

This paper asks: what kind(s) of problem is dyslexic writing, and for whom? What constructions of literacy underlie the various responses universities make to dyslexic writing? And how do these responses help, or fail to help, dyslexic students to become better writers?

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Marilyn Chapman
, The University of British Columbia, Canada

Marilyn Chapman's research interests include children's writing in varying school contexts, genre development across the curriculum, and influences of children's social worlds on their writing.

Young children's informational writing: A multimodal perspective

This presentation reports some findings from a three-year longitudinal study of children's writing in "information literacy rich" classrooms from first through third grade. Theoretical Framework. This study is situated within a social constructivist perspective informed by theories of Vygotsky (1978) and Bakhtin (1986). Literacy develops out of external social activity through internalization of the processes, practices, and genres provided by the sociocultural context (Bakhtin, 1986; Rogoff, 1990; Vygotsky, 1978). Informational literacy learning is part of genre learning: reading, writing, and using informational texts, which are typically multi-modal. Rather than simply text types with regularized structures, genres are ways of communicating that reflect a dynamic interplay of content, context, function and form, (Freedman & Medway, 1994).

Method. Beginning in first grade, an informational book writing activity was conducted in 4 schools in May of each year. Children (n=140) chose their own topics and formats. All of the compositions were analyzed for text structure; lexico-grammatical features; format features, such as headings, labels, and bolded text; and visual features, such as diagrams and illustrations. Focal children (n=48) were interviewed about their books.

Results. With the exception of 2 narratives in first grade, all texts produced by the children across the three years displayed expository lexico-grammatical features, headings, and typical informational visuals, including an array of charts and diagrams, tables of contents, and so on. Text structures ranged from simple attribute series (Newkirk, 1987) in first grade to multi-paragraph reports. Expository format and visual features were more extensive in each successive year. Significance. There has been little research into informational writing in the primary years, especially longitudinal studies. This study provides important insights into children's information writing as multimodal texts that reflect the characteristics of the texts they encounter, and the changes in their texts over a three-year period from first to third grade.

PDF Article Link: A longitudinal case study of curriculum genres, K-3

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Ulla Connor
, Indiana University -- Purdue University Indianapolis

Ulla Connor is Professor of English at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis where she teaches courses in applied linguistics and English for specific purposes. Director of the Indiana Center for Intercultural Communication, her research interests include intercultural rhetoric, language learning for specific purposes, and medical communication.

Her books include Writing across Languages (with Robert Kaplan), Coherence in Writing (with Ann Johns), Contrastive Rhetoric, Multiliterate Lives (with Diane Belcher), and Discourse in the Professions. Perspectives from Corpus Linguistics (with Thom Upton). Books in preparation include Current Research in Contrastive Rhetoric. Reaching to Intercultural Rhetoric (with Ed Nagelhout and William Rozycki) and Discourse on the Move: Using Corpus Analysis to Describe Discourse Structure (with Douglas Biber and Thomas Upton).

Corpus Linguistics and Composition Studies

Presentation Description: Corpus linguistics has revolutionized the study of language. Linguists involved in the building of computerized corpora in the last five decades have provided a powerful argument for studying actual language use rather than elicited language samples provided by native speaker intuition. Corpus analysis techniques have provided evidence about recurring language patterns and about lexical, grammatical, and lexico-grammatical aspects of language use. Such studies have been invaluable for constructing grammars and dictionaries of general language use.

While large general corpora are important and provide a critical foundation for the study of language structure and use, they are less conducive for language use in specific academic and professional situations, or for composition studies. Consequently, there is a strong and growing interest in compiling specialized corpora with focus on specific types of genres within specific contexts. Specialized corpora often focus on one particular genre (e.g. research papers, letters of business request, fundraising letters) or a specific situation (e.g. academic lectures, office communication). Examples of such specialized corpora -- both oral and written -- collected in academic and professional settings are found in Discourse in the Professions: Perspectives from Corpus Linguistics (Connor & Upton, 2004) and Small Corpus Studies and ELT. Theory and Practice (Ghadessy, Henry, & Roseberry, 2001). Both volumes emphasize the application of corpus linguistics in teaching languages and writing.

Other developments in corpus linguistics are also taking place, with potential impact on composition research. Text and discourse analysis are having an effect on corpus linguistics. There has been a growing emphasis on the analysis of communicative functions of specific discourses and sections of discourses with an eye to identifying patterns and the distribution of these functions. Genre analysis, for example, has encouraged researchers to study the language use in the different rhetorical "moves" of research articles, grant proposals, and letters of job applications. Such "top-down" computerized text analysis is one way for determining teachable discourse structures of texts. Another approach is to apply a "bottom-up" computerized analysis to texts in identifying discourse organization, as shown in Discourse on the Move: Using Corpus Analysis to Describe Discourse Structure (Biber, Connor, & Upton, in press).

In this presentation I will discuss why these recent developments in corpus linguistics -- specialized corpora and discourse-based analyses -- should not be ignored by composition researchers. I will show examples of design and analysis from two specialized corpora -- fundraising letters and international medication labels. In addition, I will describe the newest directions in discourse-based corpus linguistics. On one hand, we are working to be able to tag discourse by computer. On the other hand, we strive to better account for the contexts of language and writing situations; corpora now include coding of both the text and talk part of the text production and consumption. Finally, considering the multimodality of texts is an issue getting attention among discourse-oriented corpus linguists.

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Angela Paiva Dionisio
, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco - Brazil

Angela Paiva Dionisio is a Portuguese Professor at the Federal University of Pernambuco (Brazil). Her current research investigates the writing of scientific posters by undergraduate students.

The Visibility of Writing: An Analysis of the Academic Poster

In the last 15 years, initiation into scientific investigation has increasingly become an integral part of undergraduate academic courses in Brazil. Our young students are becoming involved in scientific research through a nationally funded program called PIBIC (Program for Initiation in Scientific Research). Professors are encouraged to elaborate small research projects within their own ongoing research which could then be carried out by one or two students during a period of one year. The students then present their results in a specific congress called CONIC (Congress of Initiation in Scientific Research). The academic poster has become a part of a set of genres that undergraduates are required to produce as part of their academic activities. Within the frame that organizes the student writer_s life as an undergraduate, the genre poster is that which permits the delivery for the community beyond the university, of what the student produces in a given area of research. The students can present the results of their research as either an oral communication or an academic poster. In both cases, these genres need to be taught, and someone needs to assume this responsibility. But who? The Portuguese professor? The research professor? Both? One thing is for sure: young researchers need to learn how to prepare their presentation. As a researcher and professor of Portuguese, as well of judge of poster presentations, I have noted that students have not yet learned this genre. In order to understand more systematically what students need to learn, I framed this corpus research. The research is comprised of poster taken from a few of academic fields including math, science, history, medicine and languages. These posters were presented at the 2006 CONIC. The posters used were donated by students and their advisers whose identities will remain anonymous. The original formal was a banner, however, for this analysis I have chosen to use the PDF version. In order to understand the steps taken in preparing the posters I'll interview a number of students and their advisers. The analysis will be divided as follows: (i) motivations behinds the choice of making a poster as opposed to an oral presentation; (ii) steps leading up to the design of the poster; (iii) whether the advisor was involved and if so, what type of involvement he/she had in the process and (iv) whether the students have consulted any books or papers, on the subject of how to prepare a poster.

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Christiane Donahue
, University of Maine, Farmington

Linguist Christiane Donahue is Composition Program Director at the University of Maine-Farmington and member of the interdisciplinary French research group THEODILE (Théorie et Didactique de la Lecture-Ecriture) at the University of Lille III.

Analysis and Interpretation of Student Texts: Complementary Readings across Cultures

Contact zones, literate arts, generous readings-these terms are the currency of some composition discussions in the United States. Polyphony, textual movements, reprises-modifications--these terms are found frequently in certain schools of French linguistics and "didactique de l'‚crit," the theorizing of teaching writing in France. As I have worked across the boundaries of these two research traditions, I have come to see how tightly they complement each other. Together they offer a way to read and interpret university student texts with tools that account for some of the specific dialogic dynamics in the interaction between the texts' readers and writers.

My presentation will first review some of the relevant theoretical frames evoked above, and then describe the methodology that I have been using and refining, a methodology that weaves together approaches embedded in different research traditions from France and the United States, influenced in part by what are considered Bakhtinian perspectives. While my analyses have sometimes focused on categories such as subject position and genre construction in the dynamic set of social and rhetorical negotiating movements that take place in the discursive spaces of the university, in this presentation I will offer examples of specific movements in the complex, embedded category of textual coherence, pulled from a data set of 250 French and United States student texts written at their point of initiation into university discourses.

The examples will show that student writers across different cultural and institutional contexts use what ML Pratt began to inventory in 1990 as "literate arts" to construct their texts. We can localize these arts, dialogic moments, in the identification and description of what we perceive to be students' "reprises-modifications" (François, 1998), a descriptive-analytic tool that enables us to identify and examine the range of specific dialogic elements that contribute to the relationship a text builds with its reader. That relationship occurs in textual movements, what "makes the text move along" for a reader. In the case of coherence, reprises-modifications, literally "re-taking-up-modifications" as essential discursive acts, are studied as moments along at least two continuums, from the most shared and language-constrained reprises (deixis or connectors, for example) to the most individual, "stylistic" reprises, and from the most local to the most global reprises. In each continuum, itself a dynamic construction in which elements shift places for a variety of reader-receptor reasons, other elements studied include syntax, commonplaces, isotopes of meaning, intertextuality, overall organization, and unspoken references.

These specific examples will bring us back to a broader discussion focused on accounting for the construction of these readings of student writing and seeing how they might inform theories of writing. We will explore how both subtle and more obvious methodological differences in linguistics, literary theory, and composition theory, in both French and United States variants, play out and help us to move beyond worn out dichotomies such as "analysis" v. "interpretation" (systematic exploration and open-ended interpretation as mutually insightful) or reductive cultural dichotomies such as "French" and "American" student writing.

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Olga Dysthe
, University of Bergen, Norway

Olga Dysthe is professor of Education at the University of Bergen, Norway. Her research has been in the area of writing, language and learning, ICT, assessment and research supervision. http://www.uib.no/iuh/ansatte/dysthe/english.htm

Reforming Undergraduate Writing in Higher Education in Norway A study of change

Norwegian higher education has recently undergone a major reform, called the Quality Reform, which has also affected writing and feedback practices. While most educational reforms have very little impact on classroom pedagogy (Cuban 1990, 93, 02), this reform resulted in substantial pedagogical changes, and it is therefore a particular interesting object of research. One of the outcomes was that while Norwegian universities, like most continental European universities, previously demanded very little undergraduate writing and mainly relied on traditional sit-down exams, now virtually all courses include compulsory student essay writing, feedback and in many cases portfolio assessment. In the presentation I will explore positive and negative consequences for students and teachers as well as some institutional and disciplinary and differences.

From sociocultural theory perspectives writing, feedback and learning practices are deeply embedded in academic, institutional and disciplinary traditions, and change can only be understood by analysing the complexity of structural and cultural characteristics. The presentation is based on data about the effects of the reform from nationwide surveys among teachers and students. As a member of the research group that conducted the evaluation of the reform, I also interviewed leaders, teachers and students in 8 institutions and was involved in a separate study of portfolio practices. In addition I draw on data from an interview study of how teachers and students in three disciplines in my own university have been affected by the changes. Three major research questions will be discussed:

1) What characterizes the changes in writing and feedback practices in Norwegian higher education, and how were these related to assessment? 2) What are students' and teachers' reactions to the changes, and what benefits and problems do they identify? 3) What are critical factors in the development of writing in the aftermath of the reform, and what strategies are available to avoid a backlash?

These questions are contextualized in a particular national context, where basic writing courses are unheard of and 'writing teacher' is a non existent category. The issues raised may still be of interest to everyone involved in integrating writing in higher education curricula, as they touch on what constitutes quality in the teaching and learning of writing, feedback and assessment.

Professors as mediators of academic text cultures: An interview study with advisors and masters degree students in three disciplines in a Norwegian university

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Peter Elbow
, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Professor of English Emeritus at UMass Amherst. He directed the Writing Program there and at SUNY Stony Brook. He's taught at M.I.T., Franconia College, and Evergreen State College. NCTE gave him the James Squire Award "for his transforming influence and lasting intellectual contribution." CCCC gave him its "exemplar" award.

Reflections on Writing Research Across Borders

Chuck Bazerman invited me to attend as many diverse sessions as possible and then at the end of the conference give a plenary talk in which I try to pull together my reflections on this feast of cross-border research.

Link to his work: http://scholarworks.umass.edu/peter_elbow/

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Lisa Emerson , Massey University, New Zealand

Lisa Emerson is a member of the School of English and Media Studies, Massey University, New Zealand. She publishes in the fields of WAC, action research, writing science, and plagiarism.

"Whose writing project is this?": Action research and Writing across the Curriculum

Models for collaboration between English/writing faculty and subject specialists have been thoroughly explored in the WAC literature. However, issues of power and ownership continue to be problematic in the range of collaborative WAC models used both in the US and Australasia. This paper explores the use of action research, particularly the more emancipatory forms of action research developed by Australian academics, as a way of establishing collaborative teams working with WAC. In particular, the paper looks at the use of action research in two writing projects in a science programme in a New Zealand university; one where action research proved highly successful, with long-term benefits, and one which produced mixed results. I consider which features of a collaborative writing program (and which features of its context) suggest that action research may be effective in empowering subject specialists as teachers of writing, and under what circumstances a more directive form of consultation or support may be more appropriate.

Here are some links to some of my work:

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Michel Fayol
, Université Blaise Pascal & CNRS, France

Toward a dynamic conception of written production

Writing is one of the most complex and uniquely human of cognitive activities. Psychological research has enhanced our understanding of the cognitive processes, mental representations, and textual properties that contribute to successful writing. Many factors that influence written production have been identified. However, each factor tends to be studied in isolation with little consideration of how they operate alongside each other and in interactive ways.

Two types of studies have been conducted. Some of them are exclusively concerned the with written products ; some others are concerned with the writing processes. They must be closely connected. Two types of mechanisms have been proposed, some being highly automated, the writer having (almost) no control over the information activated, and some others being strategically triggered to produce efficient texts. Such processes must be combined in a single framework.

We will present a large series of studies conducted in written French. Some of them deal with the description of the evolution of writing products (mainly narratives) in children from 6 to 10 years of age. Some others are concerned with the on-line management of writing by children and adults : pauses as well as writing rates are studied as a function of content and formal factors. A third series reports experiments aimed at trying to integrate the results of on-line and off-line studies : determining the impact of low-level processes (e.g. graphic transcription ; spelling) onto the management of higher level processes (quantity and quality of texts), and the reverse.

We will thus try to provide a dynamic conception of written production, a framework for considering and integrating multiple factors during writing.

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Emilia Ferreiro
, National Polytechnic Institute, Mexico


During literacy development children acquire new knowledge about language (usually called "metalinguistic awareness"). In particular, they need to transform oral language that they usually master as a social communication tool into an object of inspection, and object of inquiry (in epistemological terms).

An adult literate speaker can segment the flow of speech into units at various levels. Some of these units are of linguistic interest. What are the available units before and during beginning literacy (3-5 years old children)? What are the units acquired during initial literacy, when formal instruction usually begins (6-7 years old children)? Do these units evolve?

Children's written productions will be used to focus on three main units:

a) The word as a conceptual unit and the word as a graphic unit. The theoretical status of this unit is controversial but its psychological status is very strong. In AWS (alphabetical writing systems) the unit "word" has a peculiar relevance (a string of letters separated from other strings by empty spaces is considered to be a single word).

b) The syllable is a strong psycholinguistic unit ("The shortest bit of speech that people recognize automatically are syllables" P.Daniels, 2006). However, it is not marked as such in AWS. Linguistic interest on this unit is growing.

c) The phoneme is, no doubt, the most important of the theoretical units. AWS are often regarded as a mapping of phonemes into letters. However, many inconsistencies are evident as well in the so-called "deep orthographies" (English, for instance) as well as in "shallow orthographies" (Spanish, for instance). Spontaneous awareness of phonemes seems out of reach besides literacy in an AWS.

These three units will be inspected through interpretation of data contrasting an oral --> written view with an oral<---> written view (taking also into account a possible written --> oral view). In doing so, the dichotomy between reading and writing will be considered as an obstacle to our understanding of literacy development as a conceptual development.

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Jill Fitzgerald
, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Dr. Jill Fitzgerald is Senior Associate Dean and Professor of Literacy Studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she has taught since 1979. A former primary grades teacher and Reading Specialist, she has taught courses in reading and writing at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She has published over 70 works and been an invited speaker at national and international research and professional conferences. Her current primary research interests center on literacy issues for multilingual learners and early literacy development in relation to literacy-instruction reform efforts. She has won the American Educational Research Association's Outstanding Review of Research Award and (with George Noblit) the International Reading Association's Dina Feitelson Award for Research. She currently serves on editorial boards for several national and international journals, including Journal of Educational Psychology, Reading Research Quarterly, Contemporary Educational Pscyhology, and Review of Educational Research. She has also served on national and international literacy and educational associations extensively through committee work.

Multilingual Writing in Preschool through Twelfth Grade: The Last 15 Years

Historically, interest in multilingual writing has been rooted in the study of college and adult students. But what research has been done on multilingual writing for preschool and school-age students? What issues have been addressed, and how thick is the evidence to support various contentions and theoretical positions about multilingual writing? In the present paper, I address these questions through a comprehensive examination of published preschool through twelfth-grade research conducted from 1988 through 2003. Fifty-six studies were selected that met minimal criteria for inclusion. I analyzed studies using a systematic interpretive procedure, similar to a constant-comparative method used in qualitative research. Several features of the collected research made synthesis of the research findings difficult. There was a tendency toward low levels of research rigor, coinciding with coverage of a wide range of research issues, many of which were narrow in scope. Consequently, topic clusters were not deeply researched. Although I have tried to push toward synthesis where possible, on the whole, this paper stands more as a compendium of studies and my critique of that body of work. On the whole, there were too few studies that were alike with regard to contextual situations (e.g., studies within a particular country, with participants of the same native-language background learning the same new language under similar circumstances) to draw many generalizations. Very few dependable contentions about preschool through twelfth-grade students' multilingual writing arose. There may be only three possible assertions, and even these are based upon very small numbers of studies and participants: a) For very young children, features of early English-as-a-second-language writing may develop in ways that are quite similar to certain features of early writing development of native-English young children (seven studies). b) For primary and intermediate grade students, knowledge/skill can transfer between first- and second-language writing (seven studies). c) For secondary- and/or intermediate-level bilingual students or students learning English-as-a-foreign language, selected composing processes may be highly similar across native- and second-language writing, though differences may also exist (five studies). The paper presentation concludes with consideration of needed research agenda.

PDF Article Links: About hopes, aspirations, and uncertainty: First-grade English-language learners' emergent reading

Multilingual reading theory

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Linda Flower
, Carnegie Mellon

Linda Flower, Professor of Rhetoric, is a past Co-Director of the Center for Study of Writing and Literacy at Berkeley and Carnegie Mellon and of CMU's Center for University Outreach.

Writing and Research in the New Public, Performative Paradigm: The Problem of Tracking Transformation

Tracking transformation, as change, growth, or development, is central to writing research and teaching. But the nature of the change we seek to observe has varied with our paradigm. For example, early work in cognitive rhetoric focused on individual changes from novice to expert and growth in meta-knowledge and control. The social paradigm argued for an alternative focus on the features and development of discourses to which individuals would become (unconsciously or by choice) acculturated.

Some work, influenced by activity theory and social-cognitive research, has explicitly tried to bridge the gap between individual and social processes. This integrated understanding is even more central to a paradigm now emerging in rhetoric and composition. Drawing on work from rhetoric, deliberative democracy, activity analysis, cultural studies, and even performance theory, this new public paradigm is showing up in the educational projects of community literacy, environmental rhetoric, and other forms of socially engaged pedagogy. This emerging paradigm sees writing as not merely social but as a public literate act, guided by personal and political intentions in a context where outcomes, not just texts, matter. One problem for educators is how to track the personal growth and transformation of writers in conjunction with the public and transformative potential of their writing.

This paper will draw on a decade of studies in community literacy (where college students must interact with urban communities as well as institutional sponsors), first to argue for the importance of focusing on the personal and public outcomes of such writing. And secondly, to respond to the considerable challenge this could pose, by asking: how does an educator move from a theory-guided support for literate action, to an equally theory-guided account of outcomes in these public, fluidly structured contexts? What might a methodological toolkit for tracking transformational outcomes contain? Finally, I will consider a set of formal and informal techniques developed in our own work that defined and tried to track outcomes in terms of 1) students' insight, meta-cognitive awareness, and their actual transfer of thinking strategies and attitudes to real-life situations, 2) the nature and complexity of the knowledge constructed in these performative literate activities, and 3) transformations in the networks of circulation, norms of discourse, and relationships created by the counterpublic rhetoric of community literacy.

PDF Article Link: Intercultural knowledge building: The literate action of a community think tank

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David Galbraith
, Staffordshire University, United Kingdom

David Galbraith (d.galbraith@staffs.ac.uk) is director of the Centre for Educational Psychology Research at Staffordshire University. His research focuses on the cognitive functions of writing, and the insights these give us about the nature of the writing process.

Constructing Knowledge Objects in Writing

This paper will describe a dual process model of writing, outline some of the empirical evidence on which it is based, and explore its implications for the teaching and learning of writing. According to the model, writing involves two distinct kinds of processing. The first - knowledge-transforming - process involves the creation and manipulation of an explicit mental model in working memory designed to satisfy the writer's rhetorical goals. The second -knowledge-constituting - process involves the dispositional articulation of the writer's implicit understanding of the topic in spontaneous text. Both processes are required for effective writing, but are optimized under opposing conditions. This is the source of a fundamental conflict in writing, which is resolved in different ways depending on the goals prioritized by different writers and on the specific conditions under which particular episodes of writing are carried out.

The main basis for the model is the results of experiments examining the conditions under which different writers develop their ideas through writing (Galbraith, 1992, 1996, 1999; Galbraith, Torrance & Hallam, 2006). These experiments consistently show that low self-monitors (who are assumed to priorities dispositional goals when they write) discover new ideas when they write rough drafts of spontaneous text, but not when they make plans in note-form prior to writing. This is assumed to involve a bottom-up process, in which the writer's implicit understanding of the topic is articulated in spontaneous text, and emerging content is then organized into a coherent mental model of the text. Recent research showing that the new ideas produced by low self-monitors during writing maintain the conceptual coherence of writer's thought support this claim (Galbraith, Torrance & Hallam, 2006). By contrast high self-monitors (who are assumed to priorities rhetorical goals during writing) discover more new ideas when planning in note-form than when they write full text. This is assumed to reflect a top-down process, in which high self-monitors first develop an explicit mental model for the text designed to satisfy rhetorical goals, and then use this to guide the realization of the model in text. Recent research suggests that, although the new ideas produced by this process may satisfy rhetorical goals, they are not conceptually coherent with the writer's existing ideas. There is also evidence that the extent to which ideas are transformed by this form of explicit problem solving is reduced by secondary tasks loading on the spatial component of working memory (Galbraith, Ford, Walker & Ford, 2004).

The paper will conclude by discussing how the model can account for individual differences in the effectiveness of different drafting strategies (Galbraith, Torrance & Hallam, in preparation) and different teaching strategies (Kieft, Rijlaarsdam, Galbraith & Van den Bergh, in press).

Writing as a Knowledge-Constituting Process Effects of Writing on Conceptual Coherence http://www.cogsci.rpi.edu/CSJarchive/Proceedings/2006/docs/p1340.pdf

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Joachim Grabowski
, Heidelberg University of Education, Germany

Joachim Grabowski, professor for psychology at Heidelberg University of Education, studied psychology, linguistics, and German philology. Research focus: language and cognition, particularly oral and written language production, spatial relations, popular knowledge. Presently cordinator of SIG Writing.

Personal homepage: http://www.ph-heidelberg.de/wp/grabowsk/
SIG Writing hompage: http://www.sig-writing.org

Writing, speaking, and memory performance: Scope and limits of the writing superiority effect

We repeatedly showed proof of the writing superiority effect: With adults, the diagnosis of knowledge has a higher content validity in written than in oral mode of recall. This effect has been established for episodic knowledge as well as for geographic or experimentally induced, list-like knowledge. We will first report on two experiments in favor of the replicability and generalizability of the effect. Through careful experimental dissociation, it turns out that some obvious differences between speaking and writing processes (e.g., pacing, physical persistance of the products) do not account for the effect; individual working memory capacity, however, significantly contributes to it. In contrast, working memory performance (for example, listing span measures) does not show similar modality-dependend differences in adults-but in children! Evidence for children's higher cognitive load of writing as compared to speaking has mainly come from French studies. We will report on German studies in which the French results were replicated, and expanded by a developmental perspective as well as by an attempt to seperate children's mental costs for grapho-motoric and orthographic efforts in the written mode.

What happens when we try to integrate both lines of research? Will a restricted automation of writing processes impair memory performance also with adults? Two experiments in which the writing process has been made more difficult (by manipulating the position of keys on a keyboard; by forcing adults to use an unusual handwriting script) show that, expectedly, working memory performance becomes worse. The results will be discussed with respect to the role of writing (as opposed to speaking) in the diagnosis of knowledge and memory capacity as well as in the related processes. It appears that it makes a process difference whether knowledge is retrieved from long-term memory for written language production or for oral language production, respectively.

PDF Article Link: Speaking, writing, and memory span performance: Replicating the Bourdin and Fayol results on cognitive load in German children and adults

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Steve Graham
, Vanderbilt University

Steve Graham is the Curry Ingram Professor of Literacy at Vanderbilt University. His research focuses on identifying the factors that contribute to writing development and writing difficulties, developing and validating effective instructional procedures for teaching writing, and the use of technology to enhance writing performance. He is the current editor of Exceptional Children and the past editor of Contemporary Educational Psychology. He is the author of the Handbook of Writing Research, Handbook of Learning Disabilities, Writing Better, and Making the Writing Process Work. He is also the author of the book, Best Practices in Writing Instruction which will be published early in 2007. Steve also authored Writing Next: Effective Strategies to Improve Writing of Adolescents in Middle and High School, a meta-analysis of writing intervention research for grades 4 through 12 conducted for the Carnegie Corporation of New York and published by the Alliance for Excellence in Education. Steve has received numerous awards including: Career Research Award from the International Council for Exceptional Children, Samuel A. Kirk Award from the Division of Learning Disabilities, Distinguished Researcher Award from the special education interest group of the American Educational Research Association, Don Johnston Lectureship award for Career Contributions to Literacy, and Distinguished Alumni 100th Anniversary Valdosta State University. From 1991 to 2002, he was the third most productive scholar in journals in educational psychology.

What We Know About Effective Writing Instruction

Many youngsters and children do not write well enough to meet grade-level classroom demands. According to the most recent statistics from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, this is a problem for three out of every four students. Surprisingly, writing has not been a key ingredient in the school reform movement. The National Commission on Writing has argued that we currently have the instructional tools needed to teach writing effectively. They did not, however, identify these instructional tools. This presentation brings together findings from diverse methodologies to identify possible elements of an effective writing program. This includes sharing the findings from a meta-analysis of experimental and quasi-experimental writing intervention research for students in grades 4 though 12. This review was funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and released as the report, Writing Next, in 2006. It will also include the findings from two other meta-analyses. One of these analyses involves experimental and quasi-experimental research with younger children, whereas the other includes single-subject design research with students in grades 1 to 12. The presentation will also include a meta-syntheses of the findings and themes from qualitative research looking at the writing practices of exceptional literacy teachers. The intent of this work is to make use of different forms of evidence to identify instructional practices in writing that work.

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Christina Haas
, Kent State University

Christina Haas teaches in the Literacy, Rhetoric, and Social Practice doctoral program at Kent State University. She also edits the research journal /Written Communication.

What is Writing Now?

Coauthor: Pam Takayoshi Kent State University

Technological advances in communication technologies over the past two decades have lead to rich and innovative ways to understand new ways of writing. Most obvious, perhaps, is the rise of what are often called new media texts, or written forms that combine image, video, sound, and animation. This new kind of writing is ubiquitous in modern life in the form of webpages, youtube, blogs, video streaming, etc. Researchers worldwide have explored what writing is in our age of new media.

Our take on the question what is writing now? is somewhat different. Through our ongoing research with young people (between the ages of 12 and 24), we have been struck not only with how rich young peoples writing is in terms of integrating modalities, but also in what is happening to their writing at the level of printlinguistic symbols. In this paper, we focus on three types of new writing that--at this historical juncture at least--are produced with conventional alphabetic and numeric symbols (via keyboard or phone key pad): Instant Messaging, Text Messaging, and Facebook wall posts.

In this paper we will review what is known about recent and fascinating changes in the printlinguistic character of writing, and we will present results from our ongoing studies. Specifically, over the last three years we have been engaged in a long-term project to understand the linguistic and orthographic symbols used by young people as they write using new and emerging technologies. These emerging language forms reveal not the lazy and error-ridden habits of young people (as popular media often has it), but rather a conscious and highly conventionalized new language form. Of particular import methodologically has been the inclusion of young people themselves as co-researchers.

In addition to presenting our results on frequency of non-conventional language forms and innovative uses of conventional symbols, we will also will address theoretical questions about the technological constraints of keyboards and keypads for composing and about the possible contemporary emergence of a new writing system.

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Richard H. Haswell
, Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi

Haas Professor Emeritus at Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi. Haswell continues to slave away at CompPile, an open-access online bibliography of composition and discourse studies, 1939-present, now approaching 100,000 records.

Return of the Outliers: Singularity in College Writing Performance and Growth

For a long time the study of fictional literature has accepted and explored the issue of singularity (e.g., Muir, The Singularity of Shakespeare, 1977; Kawash, Dislocating the Color Line: Identity, Hybridity, and Singularity in African-American Narrative, 1997), but in composition studies the issue tends to be either avoided or disparaged. This is especially so in assessment of student writing. In validating their new essay-writing section of the SAT examination, for instance, the College Board excludes from their statistical analysis "outliers" or students whose performance fell too far to the outside of the scatter plot--students whose performance therefore is declared "extreme," "unexpected," or beyond the pale of the accepted "standard deviations" (Norris, et al., The College Board SAT Writing Validation Study, 2006). My presentation uses its own scatter plots--distributions of stylistic, organizational, and logical-thinking traits in essays written by students at two points in their undergraduate careers. I analyze the essays of statistical outliers and ask how can they be judged "extreme," "unexpected," "non-standard," or "deviant." What turns out unexpected are the findings. Sometimes it is the outliers whose performance matches most closely the kind of writing advance that could be called "standard," at least in terms of what educators expect from undergraduates. Other times performance that may appear extreme can be explained as normal in terms of human growth. I will supply theory helpful in understanding these findings from life-span developmentalists such as Paul John Eakin and discourse philosophers such as Giorgio Agamben. I will also discuss the implications for writing research in terms of methodology, design, and agenda.

PDF Article Link: Researching teacher evaluation of second language writing via prototype theory

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John R. Hayes
, Carnegie Melon University

John R. Hayes is a professor of psychology at Carnegie Melon University. He is interested in integrating the results of empirical studies to create a theoretical and practical understanding of writing processes.

Writing models for beginning and developing writers?

The model of writing processes that I proposed in 1996 (Hayes, 1996) is intended to describe the performance of skilled adult writers. In this talk, I will discuss how this model might be modified to describe the writing process of beginning and developing writers. In particular, I will consider how developmental changes in basic writing skills, representation of audience, meta-cognitive control, genre knowledge, and evaluative skills may suggest models more appropriate for writers at different developmental stages.

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George Hillocks, University of Chicago

Teachers of writing engage their students in many different activities in the hope that the students will improve in their writing. These activities include drafting, journaling, revising, providing and receiving peer feedback, studying exemplary models, studying criteria, learning to apply criteria to writing, and so forth. In addition there is a long standing tradition among many English language arts teachers that the study of grammar helps to improve writing. Many believe that learning to read literature provides an ear for language and thus contributes to improved writing. But do any of these have the effects claimed for them? Are all equally effective?

In an effort to answer such questions observations were conducted in 30 classrooms in five schools located in three states: North Carolina, South Carolina, and Illinois. Each classroom was visited for about one hour on each of two days during each of three visits for a total of about six hours. Observers kept a log of classroom events with the times of each change in activity, goal, or teacher/student relationship (lecture/recitation, discussion, small group work, silent seat work, etc.). Following observations, these episodes were coded for function: instruction, assessment, management, and diversion. The former two of these were coded for general content (writing, literature and reading, grammar, vocabulary) and for type of knowledge (declarative or procedural knowledge). Finally, they were coded for specific writing activity (drafting, journaling, giving and receiving peer feedback, and so forth). This coding made it possible to calculate the percent of time that teachers spent on activities over the six hours of observations. For example, one teacher spent 27% of observed time explaining exemplary models of writing, the activity coded as lecture/recitation, the knowledge coded as declarative. Another spent 19% on lecture/recitation focusing on grammar.

The coding system provides many possible variables which could be regressed against the mean gain/loss scores for each classroom on a pre and post test of writing. Rather than use all the possible variables in a single regression analysis, allowing for what might be a large number of Type I errors, variables were selected on the basis of available research, various theories of writing instruction, and the hierarchical levels of the variables. For example, one regression analysis included the functions including type of knowledge for both instruction and assessment, a group of six variables. Another included the functions of management and diversion and instruction divided by content, writing, literature, grammar, and vocabulary. A third included management, diversion, assessment, and instruction with major content fields, but with writing divided by instruction in declarative knowledge, procedural knowledge, drafting and journaling. A fourth included the same with writing divided by activities common in process instruction: brainstorming, drafting, giving and receiving peer feedback, revising and five other activities.

Each of these models accounts for a relatively large degree of variance in the mean gain/loss score in writing. The most powerful model was the third (management, diversion, assessment, and instruction with major content fields, but with writing divided by instruction in declarative knowledge, procedural knowledge, drafting and journaling) with R2 = .745 and adjusted R2 = .643. In educational research, it is unusual to account for so much of the variance. Further, though it occurs in only 11.48% of observed classroom time, procedural knowledge is the key variable with R2 = .378 and adjusted R2 =.355. ANOVA indicates that all eight variables make significant contributions to the estimate of variance accounted for, p< .01, indicating that Type I errors are unlikely.

What we have is a model of what accounts for a majority of variance in the mean gain/loss scores in writing. It suggests that to increase achievement in writing, teachers need only to increase the percent of time they spend on teaching procedural knowledge to students and to reduce time spent on those classroom activities that have a negative impact on writing achievement. I would argue that, using a simplified version of this coding system, administrators can predict which classes are likely to show gains in writing and which are likely to regress.

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Thomas Huckin
, University of Utah

Thomas Huckin is a professor of English and writing and adjunct professor of linguistics at the University of Utah. His scholarly interests include genre theory, critical discourse analysis, and functional linguistics.

On Textual Silences, Large and Small

Writing conveys meaning not only through the words and images on the page or screen but also through their very absence. In the words of Stuart Hall (1985), "Meaning is relational within an ideological system of presences and absences." Rhetoricians, writing scholars, and discourse analysts are of course well aware of the power of silence; nonetheless, despite several book-length treatments of the subject (Picard, 1948; Dauenhauer, 1980; Jaworski, 1993; Kalamaras, 1994; Montiglio, 2000; Glenn, 2004), it remains an "underexamined rhetorical art" (ibid.). In particular, little has been done in the way of close textual analysis--the kind of analysis that can be readily put to use in writing pedagogy.

In this talk I want to recapitulate the eight years of linguistic/rhetorical work I have done on textual silences, much of it devoted to developing suitable methods for identifying and analyzing such hidden aspects of texts. I will first present a six-part scaled classification ranging in scope from the micro (single word) level to the macro (full-text) level, including lexical silence, presuppositional silence, implicational silence, discreet silence, conventional (genre-based) silence, and topical silence. I will then use several case studies to illustrate each of these types. For examples of topical silence and conventional silence, I will draw on a 100,000 word corpus of 163 newspaper articles and editorials on the topic of homelessness in America, using frame theory (Donati, 1992) to show how such silences skewed particular texts ideologically right or left. For examples of discreet and presuppositional silences (Jalbert 1994), I will use a smaller corpus of 23,280 words in 23 US and international news reports on the July 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. To illustrate the construction of implicational silences, I will apply linguistic pragmatic principles (Grice, Leech) to a corpus of public statements by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Condoleeza Rice leading up to the US invasion of Iraq. I am currently compiling other corpora (on international protests of the Iraq invasion, on international comparisons of national healthcare programs); time permitting, I will bring these into my talk as well.

In keeping with the tenets of critical rhetoric (McKerrow 1989), my studies are all motivated by a desire to interrogate power and promote political consciousness and action in an increasingly globalized world. I believe that by cultivating an awareness of textual silences, writing instructors can enhance their teaching of critical reading skills, argumentation, genre knowledge, and subject-matter knowledge, especially of topics important to civic literacy and civic activism.

Article PDF: Critical discourse analysis and the discourse of condescension

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Roz Ivanic
, Literacy Research Centre, Lancaster University, U.K.

Roz Ivanic is Professor of Linguistics in Education in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University, U.K. and Associate Director of the Lancaster Literacy Research Centre, specialising in research on literacy in post-compulsory education.

Networking across boundaries: Writing for learning on vocational courses

(New Directions in Academic Literacies Research in the UK panel with Theresa Lillis, Mary Lea, and Brian Street)

Researchers in the academic literacies field have shown that, for many students, entering higher education involves a renegotiation of identity, that the education system privileges certain literacy practices over others, and that studying seems to have little in common with the ways of knowing, valuing and communicating which students bring with them from other domains of their lives. This has raised an important theoretical issue for literacy studies: if literacy practices are socio-culturally situated, to what extent are the boundaries between one context and another impermeable?

In this paper I will draw on current research on the Literacies for Learning in Further Education (LfLFE) project to address this question. In this research we are investigating the interface between students' literacy practices in their lives beyond college and those involved in participation, learning and demonstrating learning on a range of college courses. Through a detailed analysis of aspects of literacy practices, I will show how vocational tutors, acting as partner researchers in the LfLFE project, made the writing demands on their courses more resonant with the literacy practices in students' everyday lives and with their imagined futures in the workplace. I will argue firstly that a key factor in mobilising resources across contexts is identification with the identities held out by genres, discourses and practices on college courses, and secondly that literacy practices outwith college are potentially resources for transforming the communicative landscape across the college curriculum.

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Susan C. Jarratt
, University of California, Irvine

Susan Jarratt is a professor in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine, and Campus Writing Coordinator. She has published recently on the transnational identifications of bilingual students.

Pedagogical Memory and the Transferability of Writing Knowledge

(co-authored with Katherine Mack, Alexandra Sartor, and Shevaun E. Watson)

This panel discusses the disciplinary borders students cross over four years of writing experience in college. It presents the results of a multi-phase, qualitative research study of undergraduate student writers at a public, research-one university. In the first phase (2003-04), we interviewed 35 juniors as they were completing a disciplined-based, upper-division requirement and learned that many had internalized the practice of writing as a process and mode of learning but lacked fluency in basic writing terminology. WAC research in from a number of angles helped to explain the failure of pedagogical memory in interview setting (Carroll; Wardle), the form of which (no matter what the content of the questions) interpellates students as individual bearers of "writing knowledge" as a banked resource, ready to hand.

In a second stage (2006-07), we conducted 64 more interviews with upper-division students, refocusing our attention on the contexts of student writing and the interviewees' distinctive accounts of writing development. In other words, we asked some of the same questions, but we listened differently to the answers. Our interpretive strategies in the second stage draw on Thaiss and Zawacki's 2006 study of upper-division writers, specifically their three-part taxonomy of development. Students may begin with a belief that good writing is grounded in the authority of "generic academic" rules, or they may hold a radically relativistic view that teachers all want different things. Some develop a more balanced approach to situated writing tasks: a stance Thaiss and Zawacki call "coherence-within-diversity."

As in the first phase of our research, we found that in our more recent sample some students' memories fit solidly within Thaiss and Zawacki's first category: they rely on widely generalizable writing knowledge and practice--such as distinguishing opinion from argument, and supporting claims with evidence. (A significant number track this knowledge back to their high school writing experiences, claiming first-year composition added little.) When students were asked to repeat a specific task across courses, however, they were better able to distinguish discipline-specific writing practices from general composition fundamentals.

Our findings also suggest a relationship between passion and transfer. Students who found writing in lower-division courses tedious, frustrating, or simply uninspiring, were more likely to think of writing as a general set of academic rules ("be concise") applicable in all situations, and produced little memory of earlier courses. In contrast, students who became engaged in their lower-division writing projects approached their upper-division assignments with a feeling for writing as a mode of invention and inquiry, not just as a medium of communication. These findings suggest that lower-division writing might be more productive of transferable writing knowledge if it were angled toward the disciplines and students' interests rather than toward the production of generic academic discourse.

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Rochelle Kapp
, CHED, University of Cape Town

Bongi Bangeni and Rochelle Kapp are both academics in language development in the Centre for Higher Education Development at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. They have published in the areas of literacy studies, ESL writing and identity and multilingualism.

'At the crossroads': South African students' negotiation of language, home, institutional and disciplinary discourses in a time of transition.

(co-authored with Bongi Bangeni)

Our paper is drawn from a longitudinal case study (2002-4) in which we have tracked the progress of twenty 'at risk' undergraduate Social Science students over the course of their undergraduate degrees at the University of Cape Town, a historically 'white', English-medium institution. Aside from one Chinese student, the students are all 'black', from disadvantaged educational backgrounds and/or speakers of English as a second language. They are nearly all the first in their families, sometimes the first in their communities, to attend university. As a result of increasing access to higher education in the 'new' South Africa, over 50% of the University's student population is 'black'. However, at present, 75% of academic staff members in Humanities are 'white' and many of the dominant institutional academic and cultural practices are still male, 'white' and English in character.

We use post-structuralist and post-colonial theory to describe how students position and reposition themselves in relation to English; institutional and disciplinary discourse practices and in relation to home over the course of their undergraduate years. In their personal lives, our students both absorb and resist the values of the institution and of their disciplinary discourses in response to (often conflicting) pressures from the institution and home. They also use English more and more in their informal, everyday environments. In their quest to construct a place to belong and as part of signaling their identities as 'rainbow' nation 'new' South Africans, they cross ethnic, class and linguistic boundaries. They clearly signal separate 'black', working-class identities and are articulate in their critique of disciplinary and home discourses.

The paper explores the connection between students' shifting notions of self and their writing identities. The critical reflection and boundary crossing evident in their everyday discourse is absent from their writing in their senior years. Through analysis of their essays, we argue that their writing becomes increasingly fluent in reproducing the appropriate content and conventional structure of Social Science discourse, but that their writing stance becomes increasingly deferential and conformist. We show how this identity construction connects to their ambivalent positions as border-crossers.

The paper ends with a discussion of how disciplinary disciplines can make it possible for students from marginalized/ working class communities to enter into the discourse with critical reflection.

PDF Article Link: 'I was just never exposed to this argument thing': using a genre approach to teach academic writing to ESL students in the Humanities.

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Ronald T. Kellogg
, Saint Louis University

Ronald T. Kellogg is Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Saint Louis University. He holds degrees from the University of Iowa (B.S., psychology) and the University of Colorado (M.A. and Ph.D., experimental psychology) and held a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship at Stanford University. His past research has examined attention, long-term memory, concept learning, and cognitive processes in writing. His current work concerns the role of working memory in thought and text production and the effects of writing on memory retrieval. He has authored three previous books and over 50 scientific publications. His teaching includes courses in cognitive psychology, cognitive neuroscience, perception, and language.

Training College-Level Writers through Cognitive Apprenticeship

College graduates are expected to be able to compose effective, extended written texts. Advanced writing skills not only prepare students for today's knowledge economy, they further serve as markers of a successful college curriculum in teaching critical thinking and communication. Because incoming freshmen are often unprepared for the demands that lie ahead, it is critical that the students receive the best available preparation during their undergraduate years. Research in the cognitive science of developing expertise suggests that writers must be trained, as well as instructed, in much the same way that musicians and athletes are trained. It is only through rigorous training that physical and cognitive skills attain high levels of performance and the degree of self-regulatory control required in complex tasks. A cognitive apprenticeship approach to such training is advocated here as a way to optimize college-writing instruction. It stresses the social dimension of writing in that the apprentice must learn by observing the behavior of a model with expertise in a specific discourse community. At the same time, it recognizes that the composition of an extended text occurs privately, inside the writer's mind, where the apprentice's limited cognitive resources are tested and strained. The cognitive demands of serious writing are addressed in part by providing a scaffold that boosts training performance beyond what the apprentice can achieve on his or her own. In addition, the apprentice must deliberately practice writing skills with (1) effortful exertion to improve performance, (2) intrinsic motivation to engage in the task, (3) tasks that are within reach of the individual's current level of ability, (4) feedback that provides knowledge of results, and (5) high levels of repetition. Evidence on the effectiveness of modeling, scaffolding, and deliberate practice is briefly reviewed. The paper then concludes with a discussion of the practical difficulties of trying to train college students using the cognitive apprenticeship model.

PDF Article Link: Improving the Writing Skills of College Students

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Angela B. Kleiman
, State University of Campinas, Brazil

Angela B. Kleiman, Professor, Department of Applied Linguistics, State University of Campinas, Brazil. Ph.D. in Linguistics, University of Illinois. Her main research is in the areas of Reading, Adult Literacy and Teacher Education.

Teacher Education Programs in Brazil: Identity, Agency and Literacy

The aim of my presentation is to discuss results from a 4-year project on teacher education that focuses on the reading and writing practices of primary and secondary school teachers, one of the few Brazilian groups to achieve social and economic mobility through schooling.

Our inter-disciplinary research involves researchers from education, literacy studies and applied linguistics engaged in understanding how schooling and literacy influence changes in agency, identity and social practice in this professional group, who, in the last 20 years or so, has been constantly blamed for their failure to teach others how to read and write. Furthermore, their own ability to read and write is questioned by the media, the government and the university, whenever the country is confronted with a school whose students score at the lowest levels of national and international standardized literacy tests. With the objective of understanding the role of literacy in shaping the professional identity of these teachers, we have studied the dynamics of literacy use in the production of agency in the workplace, the enactment and negotiation of classroom social identities, and the impacts of literate identities and use on institutional relations and social participation.

Our research approach is qualitative and presupposes a situated, power embedded model of literacy that takes into account alternative models, beliefs and practices about reading and writing and literacy, such as those held by our subjects, many of them the first in their families to become acquainted with academic literacy practices. We use ethnographic data from interviews, classroom interaction, reading sessions and written documents whose sources were teachers from cities in highly urbanized S_o Paulo and Minas Gerais, from the river cultures of the Amazon and from rural groups in the semi-arid regions of the Northeast, in order to look at social repositionings involved in the shaping of a new professional identity (Bakhtin, 1981; Holland et al., 1996). We also look at alternative strategies for constructing a literate identity, and have carried out interviews and observed the action of community literacy agents, such as non-trained teachers working in the periphery of S_o Paulo, and hip hop black activists, who use reading and writing for self- and community empowerment. The project combines the ethnographic approach for generating the data with the analysis of discourse practices, and presents evidence for the existence of two types of literacy use and acquisition modes in Brazilian society: one empowering and the other disempowering, based on the teachers' and literacy agents' attitudes towards reading and writing. We have used Bakhtinian theory to explain some of the differences encountered between the two groups and to draw conclusions regarding how to best educate teachers in this particular society.

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Otto Kruse
, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland

Otto Kruse received his doctoral degree in psychology at the Technical University of Berlin and worked in several positions as a psychologist. He specialized in writing counselling when working as a student counsellor at the Freie University of Berlin and initiated several conferences in Germany and Europe on academic writing. He is co-founder of the European Association for the Teaching of Academic Writing (EATAW) and of the Forum for Academic Writing, a Swiss based society. Today, he is professor at the School of Communication, Zurich University of Applies Sciences, Switzerland and Director of the Centre for Professional Writing. His current research focuses on historical aspects of the teaching of writing and on the teaching of writing in the disciplines.

Why German students must write (and how): Tracing the roots of German writing pedagogy back to Humboldt's reform of higher education in Prussia: A historical reconstruction

Two innovations in 1812 make the year a fascinating one for the study of writing. Both resulted from the work of Wilhelm von Humboldt and his group of reformers, and both influenced the teaching of writing far beyond the borders of Germany. One of them was the opening of the first research seminars, to be held at the newly founded Berlin University, which, for the first time, made the writing of research papers a core activity of student learning. The other, no less influential but attracting much less attention, was the creation of a uniform school leaving examination procedure, called the Abitur or Matura, which required no less than eight essays to be written. This contribution will focus on the second development.

The Abitur was introduced by the Humboldt group to ensure the high quality of university studies through the rigorous selection of students. Only student performance, not the status of parents, should be the criterion for admission. Alongside oral examinations, the procedure required essays to be written in Greek, Latin, French, German, mathematics and the sciences. The Abitur thus became not only the first systematic entrance examination for higher education but must also be seen as one of the first attempts at assessing student performanc by writing. To this day, the Abitur is a requirement for admission to university and guarantees access to all university study programs.

The essays required, called the Aufsatz in German, were new to German schools at that time (only interpretations and translations in Latin and Greek were common) and led to the development of a new educational genre which, until today, varies between argumentative, narrative and interpretative modes. The Aufsatz is best characterized as an artificial "think-text", displaying reflective and interpretative skills with little reference to acquired knowledge and no reference to existing discourses.

I will show that both innovations -seminar writing and Aufsatz pedagogy - resulted in writing practices that have persisted largely unquestioned until today. Both have to be seen as the result of a similar teaching philosophy which views students as independent learners and critical thinkers. I will track the development of Aufsatz pedagogy from its beginnings to the present and hope to demonstrate how beneficial historical research is for a deeper understanding of present literacy practices.

PDF Article Link: The Origins of Writing in the Disciplines: Traditions of Seminar Writing and the Humboldtian Idea of the Research University

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Judith A. Langer
, SUNY at Albany

Judith A. Langer, internationally known scholar in literacy learning, is Distinguished Professor at the University at Albany, State University of New York where she is founder and director of the Albany Institute for Research in Education and director of the Center on English Learning and Achievement. Her research focuses on the literate mind; how people become highly literate, how they use writing and reading to learn, and on way in which education can help them become more effectively literate for school and life.

Writing as Critical and Creative Thought

Recently I have been asked by educational colleagues in several developed as well as developing countries to address the topic of critical and creative thinking. It is their concern that even when their students are learning quite well the content they are being taught, they graduate and move into the workplace with limited ability to be change agents, to create new ways to solve existing problems and to create new questions at the horizons of newer knowledge that will move their fields and countries ahead in world markets. Both my work on literary and discursive thinking (1990;1995), my later work on schools that beat the odds (2004; 2002; 2001) and the still later Partnership for Literacy (2005;2003) have moved me to confront these concerns head on. Although all my projects have focused on ways in which writing, reading and discussion can be used to further students' abilities to think about and learn both content and literacy, it has become increasingly apparent that what is meant by literacy and what is meant by thinking are extremely nontrivial questions that lie at the heart of the types of educational reform these (and probably all) countries are seeking.

To address these issues, my talk will have three parts, drawing on my past and present research. It will begin with a discussion of "literate thinking," (in press; 2005) a concept I developed some time ago (1987) but have been refining over the course of the last few years. This will be followed by a discussion of critical and creative thought, including their distinctions, their overlaps and how they occur and interact in life. Last will be an elaboration of these ideas as they occur in the writing students can be asked to do in secondary school disciplinary coursework, with particular examples of the ways in which writing can successfully support both critical and creative thought as well as higher literacy. The critical issue of the ways in which teachers can be helped to conceptualize the role of writing in their students' creative and critical thinking about their subject matter will be interwoven.

Since the in-progress National Study of Writing Instruction (Applebee & Langer, 2006), makes clear the paucity of writing that secondary students are asked to do across the subject areas in the United States as well as the ways in which the No Child Left Behind legislation may have unwittingly reduced the kinds as well as amounts of writing students are asked to do, the talk will end with a discussion of ways in which secondary classrooms as they are typically conceived leave little room for uses of writing as critical and creative thought and limit the development of the abilities so valued in the workplace.

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Mary R. Lea
, Institute of Educational Technology, Open University, UK.

Mary R. Lea (m.r.lea@open.ac.uk) is a Senior Lecturer in Learning and Teaching in the Institute of Educational Technology, Open University, UK. She researches in the field of academic literacies and, most recently, in literacies and technologies in higher education.

Emerging Literacies in Online Learning

(New Directions in Academic Literacies Research in the UK panel with Theresa Lillis, Brian Street, and Roz Ivanic)

Online learning is becoming integral to the experience of increasing numbers of students in higher education across the world. This can range from courses delivered entirely online through to various manifestations of elearning, when students study part of their disciplinary programme electronically, or to simple e mail exchanges between teachers and students. Despite the written nature of the texts produced in these learning environments, little attention has been paid to them as writing. In response, this presentation is concerned with the written construction of meaning making in online learning (cf. Lea, 2000, 2001). Building on the perspective that literacies are central to the learning experience (Lea & Street, 1998), it draws on data from student messages in an online postgraduate course in professional education and argues that we should approach these online textual interactions as sites of academic writing. The presentation will highlight evidence of 'intertextuality' (Bazerman, 2004), 'metadiscourse' (Hyland, 2005) and 'epistemic modality' (Coates, 1987) in students' message postings. In foregrounding these textual features it is possible to unpack the nature of the writing and emerging literacies in online learning and illustrate how student messages are institutionally significant spaces for the negotiation of ownership and authority in the meaning making process.


Bazerman, C. (2004). 'Intertextuality: how texts rely on other texts' in C. Bazerman & P. Prior (eds.) What Writing Does and How it Does it: an Introduction to Analyzing Texts and Textual Practices. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Coates, J. (1987). Epistemic modality and spoken discourse. Transactions of the Philological Society, 1987, 110-131.

Hyland, K. (2005). Metadiscourse: Exploring interaction in writing London. New York: Continuum.

Lea, M. R. (2000). Computer conferencing: new possibilities for writing and learning in higher education. In Mary R Lea & Barry Stierer (Eds.), Student Writing in Higher Education: New Contexts (pp. 69-85). Buckingham: Society for Research into Higher Education/ Open University Press.

Lea, M. R. (2001). Computer conferencing and assessment: new ways of writing in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 26(2), 163-182.

Lea, M. R., & Street, B. V. (1998). Student writing in higher education: an academic literacies approach. Studies in Higher Education, 23(2), 157-172.

PDF Article Link: Academic literacies: A pedagogy for course design

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Ilona Leki
, University of Tennessee

Ilona Leki is professor of English and director of ESL at the University of Tennessee, author of books and articles on second language writing, and co-editor of the Journal of Second Language Writing.

Genre interfaces: Investigating prior and evolving genre knowledge of second language writers

Numerous studies of English language texts written by biliterate students have made claims about contrasts of rhetorics across cultures, but fewer studies have invited the students themselves to voice their own conscious and explicit understandings of the variety of influences that come to bear on their writing in English or their sense of their personal genre repertoires. This presentation reports on empirical research intended first to gauge the type and extent of genre knowledge, both first and second language, of international students newly arrived at a U.S. university and second to trace these students' evolving assumptions about genres by examining how that previous genre knowledge was acquired or developed and is maintained, transformed, abandoned, or expanded in the face of the new sociocultural and educational constraints and affordances of the discourse communities whose unfamiliar and potentially evolving communicative strategies these students may seek to understand.

Data for this study came from surveys of 100 incoming L2 English students and from both synchronic and longitudinal text-based interviews with a subset of that group. Information from the surveys suggests that, despite the emphasis among English as a Foreign Language programs in the last 10 years on communicative methods of language teaching which focus primarily on oral skills, the role of writing in English language education has expanded dramatically, possibly as a result of the inclusion of a writing exam with the TOEFL. However, interviews with the students suggested another effect of the washback from the TOEFL, the development among the students surveyed of consciousness of a genre that might be called an English writing test genre, one which the students describe themselves as having learned in writing classes, which they employ quite purposefully, and which they regard as narrow, though useful, and fairly strictly limited to English writing tests. Yet this constricted view of English writing is counterbalanced for some of the students interviewed by a less consciously elaborated but nevertheless clearly perceived understanding of a variety of other genres and of differences between L1 and L2 preferences for features of those genres.

PDF Article Link: Material, Educational, and Ideological Challenges of Teaching ESL Writing at the Turn of the Century

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Theresa Lillis
, The Open University, UK

Theresa Lillis is a senior lecturer in language and communication in the Centre for Language and Communication at the Open University, UK. She has taught across educational domains, including secondary (high) school, adult, further and higher education, and in face to face as well as distance contexts.

Her research interests are academic literacy, gender and academic writing, and the politics of participation in academia and academic knowledge production. She has published research on student academic writing in higher education in Student writing: Access, regulation, and desire (2001 by Routledge) and articles in the journal Language and Education and Teaching in Higher Education . With colleagues, she has co-authored a teaching text Teaching Academic Writing: A Toolkit for Higher Education (with Caroline Coffin, Mary Jane Curry, Ann Hewings and Joan Swann, Routledge in 2002).

Her principal research area currently is professional academic writing in a global context. With Mary Jane Curry, University of Rochester US, she has co-authored papers drawing on this research in TESOL Quarterly, Written Communication and Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses.

Transformative writing research: issues of theory, method and goal

(New Directions in Academic Literacies Research in the UK panel with Brian Street , Mary Lea, and Roz Ivanic)

The ideology of 'academic literacies' research can be broadly characterised as 'transformative', standing in contrast to the 'normative' ideology implicitly underpinning much writing research where the research aim is to 'identify' and the applicational goal is to 'induct'. A transformative approach to writing research usually involves an interest in questions of identification and induction, but in addition is concerned with: a) locating academic conventions socio-historically and as contested within traditions of knowledge making; b) valuing and exploring the perspectives of writers on the ways in which conventions and practices impinge on their meaning making; c) seeking out alternative ways of meaning making in academia, not least by considering the resources that writers bring to the academy as legitimate tools for meaning making.

In this paper I will draw on two writing research projects to discuss the implications of adopting a transformative writing research ideology for theory building, and for developing methodologies and research goals. I will use data drawn from two contrasting studies, one locally framed and focusing on student writers (Lillis 2001, 2003) and one globally framed and focusing on professional academic writers (Lillis and Curry 2006) to illustrate attempts at a transformative approach and the unresolved tensions that such an approach throws up.

Lillis, T. (2003) 'Student writing as "academic literacies": Drawing on Bakhtin to move from "critique" to "design"', Language and Education, 17, 3: 192-207.
Lillis, T. and Curry, M. J. (2006) 'Professional academic writing by multilingual scholars: interactions with literacy brokers in the production of English medium texts', Written Communication, 23, 1:3-35.

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Andrea A. Lunsford, Alyssa O'Brien, and Christine Alfano
, Stanford University

Cross-Cultural Rhetoric and Intercultural Communication: U.S. and Swedish Students at Work

The recent furor over a series of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammed focused worldwide attention not only on the power of images but also on the violence that can result from miscommunication stemming from narrow perspectives that fail to take into consideration intercultural contexts. Researchers Carl Lovitt and Dixie Goswami label this increasingly important skill intercultural competence and sensitivity. [1] In such a globally connected world--where published words and images give rise to bombing and burnings--teachers need to know how to instruct students in intercultural rhetoric, illuminating how people located in different global contexts perceive, analyze, and produce situated knowledge. Scholars such as Cynthia Selfe and Gail Hawisher [2] have called for studies on how technology can address global needs, and our research project attempts to explore the use of persuasive technologies for producing positive change in global worldviews, improved cross-cultural communication, and a deepened understanding of audience and context to facilitate improved international relations. This proposed session builds on the scholarly literature to present research findings on the design, implementation, and dissemination of a model for cross-cultural learning using persuasive digital technologies.

This special session addresses significant educational problems that are common to the United States as well as many other countries and cultures: the need to foster effective intercultural communication through information and communication technologies (Royster, Villanueva, Mral, Kress [3]); the need to teach and learn how to collaborate effectively in producing knowledge and arguments based on modern rhetorical principles (Fruchter, Lunsford; Ede [4]), and the need to develop intercultural competence through teaching and learning strategies that highlight careful and purposeful listening (Ratcliffe, Booth, Glenn [5]). We will address these problems through a report of a two-year research project we have conducted on Cross-Cultural Rhetoric and Intercultural Communication: U.S. and Swedish Students at Work. We have recently been funded for a third year of research, so by the time of the February 2008 conference, we will have additional findings. Our larger goal is to build meta-knowledge for researchers, scholars, teachers, and students about the critical role that intercultural competence can play in improving global communication and international relations.

1. Lovitt, C. R., Goswami. D: Exploring the Rhetoric of International Professional Communication. Amityville, NY: Baywood (1999); Scollen, R, Scollen, S.W.: Intercultural Communication. Oxford: Blackwell (1995)
2. Selfe, C, Hawisher, G: Global Literacies and the World Wide Web. New York: Routledge ( 1999); Hawisher, G, Selfe, C: Passions, Pedagogies, and 21st Century Technologies. Logan: Utah State UP (1999)
3. Royster, J: When the first voice you hear is not your own. College Composition and Communication 47 (1996) 29-40; Villanueva, V: On the Rhetoric and Precedents of Racism. College Composition and Communication 50 (1999) 645-62; Mral, B: Retorik och nätet. RetorikMagasinet 7 (2000); Kress, G: Literacy in the New Media Age. New York: Routledge (2003)
4. Fruchter, R, Chen, M, Ando, C: Geographically Distributed Teamwork Mediated by Virtual Auditorium, Proc. of SID2003 2nd Social Intelligence Design Symposium, ed. D. Rosenberg, T. Nishida, R. Fruchter, London, UK (2003); Lunsford, A, Ede, L: Singular Texts / Plural Authors: Perspectives on Collaborative Writing. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP (1992)
5. Ratcliffe, K. Rhetorical Listening: A Trope for Interpretive Invention and a Code of Cross-Cultural Conduct. College Composition and Communication (1999) 195-224; Booth, W: The Rhetoric of Rhetoric: The Quest for Effective Communication. London: Blackwell (2004); Glenn, C: Unspoken: A Rhetoric of Silence. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP, (2004)

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Karen Lunsford
, U.C. Santa Barbara

Karen J. Lunsford is an Assistant Professor of Writing at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She employs interdisciplinary approaches to understand the writing practices that people engage in within evolving knowledge ecologies, how argument and argumentation are defined in the ecologies, and what roles technologies play in these practices and definitions.

Scientific Argumentation in Distributed Systems of Publication

As recent initiatives attest, disciplinary and professional norms for scientific publication are rapidly changing. In the European Union and neighboring countries, the Open Access movement has been seeking to enable public access to peer-reviewed articles; in the U.S., a similar impulse has been codified in the proposed Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA). Similarly, granting agencies have been mandating that procedures for sharing research data (often in shared repositories) must be included in grant proposals. For scientists worldwide, therefore, a 'publication' may involve far more than a research article published in an established journal. Rather, a publication may include information presented in a wide variety of technologies more or less connected together in a distributed system--technologies such as an official journal archive, plus a preprint archive, plus a postprint institutional repository, plus a blog, plus a centralized modeling database, and so on. As yet, however, little research has been done on how scientists are negotiating such distributed systems of publication, and particularly how they use them to convey scientific arguments.

This presentation reports on case studies of scientists in different fields (primarily areas of nanoscience) and in different countries (primarily the U.S. and Norway) and their articulations of how they argue within distributed systems of publication. The studies combine discourse-based and text-based interviews with rhetorical analyses of the scientists' recent projects. In examining these topics, these case studies analyze the current processes that are redefining what it means to do scientific research, and what it means to report and record it.

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Charles A. MacArthur
, University of Delaware

Charles A. MacArthur is Professor in the School of Education at the University of Delaware. His major research interests include writing development and instruction for students with learning disabilities, applications of technology to support reading and writing, development of self-regulated strategies, and adult literacy. He is co-editor of The Journal of Special Education. He recently edited, with Steve Graham and Jill Fitzgerald, the Handbook of Writing Research, and the forthcoming Best Practices in Writing Instruction.

The Impact of Technology on Writing in Elementary and Secondary Schools

Questions about the impact of technology on writing can be broadly divided into questions about the effects of technology on producing traditional linear texts and questions about transformative effects of technology on the nature of literacy. Despite broad claims about the impact of technology, empirical research on the cognitive and social effects of technology on writing is quite limited, and the results of the research are mixed. In this presentation, I review research on the impact of new technologies on writing and learning to write. Writing is defined broadly to include creation of hypertext or hypermedia, as well as traditional linear text, but not so broadly as to include video and film production. The review is limited to studies focused on writing, not on reading or the effects of technology on acquiring knowledge. Finally, it is limited to elementary and secondary education. The review begins by considering the effects of technology on producing traditional linear texts, including the cognitive processes involved, the development of skills, and how social interactions in instructional settings modify these effects. Sections address word processing, computer support for writing and learning to write, and assistive technology for struggling writers. The next section reviews the emerging research on composing hypermedia or hypertext. Finally, the review considers the effects of computer-mediated communication as it affects writing, including intercultural communication projects and the use of networked communication in writing classes.

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Paul Kei Matsuda
, Arizona State University

Paul Kei Matsuda is Associate Professor of English at Arizona State University, where he works with doctoral students in Rhetoric/Composition and Linguistics. Founding Chair of the Symposium on Second Language Writing, Paul has published widely on the issue of language differences and writing instruction.

Minding the Home Front: Lessons on Internationalization from Technical Communication Textbooks

(co-authored with Aya Matsuda and Matt Schneider)

Over the last decade, internationalization has become a popular theme among North American writing researchers. Some of the most extensive efforts to internationalize have been made in the field of technical communication, where the benefits of internationalization is most readily apparent to the dominant student population-U.S.-born native speakers of dominant varieties of English. Therefore, studying the internationalization of technical communication can be instructive as other areas of writing research try to internationalize.

In this presentation, we present a study of introductory technical communication textbooks in terms of their internationalization efforts, focusing on four textbooks that showed the greatest degree of success in incorporating international issues. The rhetorical analysis of the textbooks suggests that they tend to construct technical communicators-i.e., textbook users-as U.S.-born native speakers of privileged variety of English, reflecting the myth of linguistic homogeneity (Matsuda, 2006). People from non-U.S. cultures are generally construed as Other, in the roles of collaborators or colleagues, or more commonly, the audience in intercultural technical communication.

We also found that those textbooks focus mostly on cultural issues, while language issues play a peripheral role. Furthermore, when it comes to cultural issues, textbook authors tend to take an egalitarian stance that emphasize the importance of respecting differences. In discussing language issues, however, the authors tend to take a patronizing stance, in which technical communicators (who are generally assumed to be native speakers of dominant varieties of U.S. English) are encouraged to help nonnative English speakers with language deficiencies.

Based on the study, we suggest that the current efforts to internationalize technical communication textbooks focus on external internationalization (i.e., communicating with an international audience) while neglecting the home front-or internal internationalization (i.e., communication by diverse and multinational students). We also argue the importance of recognizing language issues as sine qua non of internationalization, and urge writing researchers to develop a better understanding of those issues as they continue their paths towards internationalization.

PDF Article Link: Second language writing in the twentieth century: A situated historical perspective

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Deborah McCutchen
, University of Washington

Dr. Deborah McCutchen is a Professor in Educational Psychology, Cognitive Studies in Education, at the University of Washington. Dr. McCutchen's teaching and research interests include the psychology of reading and writing, teacher knowledge, and classroom learning. Her research has ranged from basic research on cognitive processes to more recent work on the subject-matter knowledge of teachers. Her work, supported by the National Institutes of Health and most recently by the Institute of Education Sciences, examines the linguistic bases of reading and writing skill.

The Linguistic Basis of Effective Literacy Instruction: Examination of Writing and Reading Achievement in Grades Three Through Five

This paper reports the results of study examining the effects of teacher knowledge on the performance of students struggling with reading and writing. We worked with teachers of grades three, four, and five during a ten-day summer institute focused on various levels of linguistic knowledge that support effective literacy instruction, from the phonemic structure of spoken English and the orthographic conventions of written English (both phonological and morphological) to various discourse structures. We embedded our discussions within broader contexts of effective literacy instruction, examining student work and developing actual lessons. Over the following school year, we followed teachers back to their classrooms (both intervention-group teachers and control-group teachers), observed their teaching, and assessed their students' learning across the school year. To determine whether significant group differences existed on students' Time 1 assessments (after two months of instruction), we specified ANOVA-like two-level models with students nested within teachers. To analyze the effect of teacher-level variables (including treatment effects) on students' Time 2 outcomes (after eight months of instruction), we specified ANCOVA-like, two-level models in which students assessment scores at Time 1 (after two months of instruction) were explicitly taken into account. Compared with their peers in control classrooms, lower performing students in the intervention classrooms showed significantly higher levels of performance at year end on all literacy measures, including spelling, writing fluency, and narrative development, as well as word reading and comprehension. Equally striking was a finding that teachers possessing more knowledge of English phonological and orthographic structure had students who outperformed their peers from other classrooms on measures of spelling, nonword-reading, and narrative development. These findings are especially noteworthy in light of our observation that early writing difficulties may snowball over time, even more so that reading difficulties.

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Heidi McKee
, Miami University, Ohio

Heidi McKee is an Assistant Professor of English at Miami University (Ohio), where she serves as the digital/Internet research specialist on the Human Subjects Institutional Review Board. She is also co-chair of the Qualitative Research Network.

Studying Digital Literacy Practices Across the Globe: Methodological and Ethical Issues for Researchers

(presenting with Jim Porter)

Our ongoing project -- The Ethics of Digital Writing Research - explores how digital technologies impact research in rhetoric, communication, and literacy studies, focusing especially on questions of research ethics. The overall project examines the issues researchers face when studying the cultural and social impacts of digital technologies, or when studying online writing/communication practices, or when using digital technologies as tools for research or venues for publishing. For our presentation at "Writing Research Cross Borders," we will focus on one specific aspect of this larger study: the methodological and ethical issues that arise when digital researchers study and engage participants across international and cultural boundaries.

The Internet and World Wide Web do not respect national boundaries - so researchers working in online environments have increased access to a broad cultural and international participant pool. Working with participants in different cultures (even within the US) or across international boundaries raises distinctive methodological and ethical issues for researchers - and we will catalog and provide examples of these issues as part of our talk. Our methodology is both humanistic (rhetorical case analysis, particularly of published studies) and qualitative-empirical (case study, based on interviews). To date we have conducted 25 structured interviews with professional researchers -- 12 of them either researchers working outside the US or US researchers working with a broad international participant pool. These researchers are studying diverse aspects of digital writing -- for example, the discursive constructions of online communities (e.g., gamers, lgbt youth); the literacy practices of information workers in an outsourcing company in Africa; the use of mobile technologies and text messaging practices of small business owners in India. We plan to conduct another 15-20 interviews by the time of the Santa Barbara conference in 2008.

What we are finding, not surprisingly, is that how a researcher methodologically collects data and interacts with participants in a study cannot be neatly separated out from the ethics of that engagement. What is perhaps more surprising, though, is how digital environments require new ways of thinking about research methodology and ethics and demand new kinds of techniques. Researchers studying the rhetorical dynamic of online communities, for instance, insist that it is important to become an established member of the community *before* conducting a study. Researchers doing that work often take on two roles: one as a regular participant in an online community, the second role as a research conducting an inquiry. (In one case a researcher studying the communication dynamic in a sim world made sure that whenever she was in her researcher role, a bubble appeared over her avatar announcing that she was now "researcher.") We also have learned that US researchers working in/across more than one country or culture have found it difficult to export US-based notions of research ethics. For example, US notions of informed consent are not so easily exportable to non-Western cultures and countries. US-based research principles presume the freedom and free will of the autonomous individual, and also a relatively benign system which places a high priority on free speech. In countries governed by more restrictive systems, research participants can be highly suspicious of the informed consent agreement; they might, in fact, fear government reprisals or, at least, community disapproval. Researchers working in these environments typically forego the US-based informed consent protocol in favor of less formal oral agreements. What we have discovered, in fact, is that researchers invoke differing ethical systems when conducting online research across diverse cultures and countries.

Our presentation will examine three issues in particular involved in doing digital writing/literacy research across international and cultural boundaries: (1) informed consent (and other IRB regulatory principles); (2) the rhetorical dynamic between researcher and participants (particularly differing assumptions about power); and (3) ownership of digital materials.

PDF Article Link: The Ethics of Digital Writing Research: A Rhetorical Approach (Written with James Porter)

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Beverly Moss
, Ohio State University

Border Crossings in African American Women's Public/Professional and Private Literacy Lives

Many of us who study African American public discourse, rhetorics, and/or literacies, especially in sites like African American churches, have drawn connections between those community literacies and other more public literacies such as those promoted in schools. Yet we rarely examine how these "community literacies" play themselves out in other public and professional arenas, particularly for African American women. In this presentation, I will offer preliminary findings from a study which examines how African American women use literacies that cross borders. Specifically, I present on a qualitative study that focuses on African American women in a range of settings-corporate, athletics, community organizations, and academic, among others-and how they use specific types of literacies that cross the public/professional-private and/or community-professional borders.

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Sandra Murphy
, University of California, Davis

The Social Consequences of Writing Assessment: Negotiating Tensions in Design

There are two main themes that run through this presentation. The first is the social nature of assessment. I argue that assessment is an inherently social activity and that we can understand and improve it only by taking into account the social forces that drive it and the particular contexts- social, cultural, economic, and political-in which it operates. The second is the impact that design decisions necessarily have on stakeholders and curricula. I make the somewhat obvious point that consequences in the social world flow from decisions about assessment design. Drawing upon research that colleagues and I have conducted on the impact of writing assessment, I illustrate some of the consequences of particular decisions for teachers, for students, for communities, and for writing curriculum. Finally, I discuss the idea of design tensions in writing assessment and propose that assessment designers need to explicitly identify potential tensions and contemplate their resolution.

Design tensions arise when means, ways, and values come into conflict. In the assessment arena, they arise when there is competition for limited resources, when the multiple stakeholders in the social context of a writing assessment want it to serve different purposes, when stakeholders hold different values or visions of the ultimate goal, and when stakeholders at different levels of the system grapple with issues of power and control. One example is the tension between the need for efficient, cost-effective assessments and the need to create assessments that are aligned with contemporary views on literacy. Another is the tension between assessment designed for learning and assessment designed for accountability. The research presented includes studies of both local and large-scale portfolio assessment projects as well assessments with more traditional formats. I conclude with an argument for an integrated, systemic, value-sensitive approach to writing assessment design that pays attention to the needs, experience, and values of multiple stakeholders.

PDF Article Link: Some consequences of writing assessment

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Mike Palmquist
, Colorado State University

Studying the Extended Writing Classroom: Reflections on Assessing the Impact of Social Networking Tools for Writers

This presentation will present the results and discuss the implications of a two-year study that followed the work of teachers and students in writing courses as they used an instructional writing environment. The study involved 10 instructors and more than 400 students in 20 classes taught in the spring and fall semesters of the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 academic years. To contextualize the study, I will briefly discuss the theoretical assumptions and design considerations that informed the development of an instructional writing environment that, in the last year, has been used to support more than 800 classes at 20 college and universities in the U.S. and abroad. The Web-based environment, which has supported writing instruction for more than 35,000 writers and writing instructors since its public release in December 2004, offers composing tools, commenting tools, blogging tools, an ePortfolio system, and a course-management system. It is freely available for use by writers and writing instructors.

Drawing on interviews with teachers and students, analysis of email messages sent through the environment, and written work created by students and instructors as they used the environment (course materials, drafts, forum posts, blogs, notes, and so on), I will discuss key findings from the study. The discussion of results will focus on student interaction with instructors and classmates, shifts in student and instructor attitudes about the environment as changes were made to it over the course of the study, reactions of students and instructors to the environment's social networking tools, and their use of those tools.

I will conclude the presentation by reflecting on the challenges - conceptual, methodological, and analytical - facing researchers who attempt to study writing classes that rely heavily on information technology to extend learning and teaching beyond the classroom.

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Sylvie Plane
, IUF de Paris, France

Sylvie Plane is professor of French linguistics. Her reseach currently focuses on the variants in way to consider the constraints imposed by writing's production.

Do texts need an author? Production of text between constraints and freedom

This presentation will focus on the concept of the author, first by evoking the constraints that weigh on the production of text, then by determining among these constraints the ambivalent part played by the text itself.

_ From the writer to the author Our analysis deals with the opposition between the writer and the author. For the psycholinguist, the writer is the cognitive subject who produces a text, and whose activity of production can be modelled. On the other hand, according to the tradition of the literary studies such as they were founded at the XIXø century, the author is a singular being, who create a singular work. Behind these dissensions one recognizes ideological oppositions and fundamental divergences between the theoretical and methodological apparatuses of two disciplines of research. We choose to be located at the interface between these two ideas of the subject and of the text production, by paying attention to the treatment of the constraints inherent in the act of writing.

Text production is indeed an activity subject to psycholinguistic and linguistic constraints. These constraints are distinguished from each other by the degree of freedom which they offer and by the authority by which they are imposed. Thus, the constraints related to the limits of the cognitive apparatus of the writer and in particular of his working memory can be circumvented only with difficulty; on the other hand the constraints imposed by the language, by the genre, by the medium employed or by the text itself allow a broader range of treatments. To solve the oppositions mentioned above between writer and author we consider the writer to be a generic entity subjected to the whole of the constraints imposing itself on the text production, and the author to be the singular subject who finds tricks to treat these constraints and to exploit in particular the space of freedom that the language and the text leave him.

_ The author and the text: partners and adversaries The relationship between the text and its author is far from being simple and peaceful, because the text's production does not result from a simple fitting together of linguistic segments. It also proceeds from a complicated mechanism of confrontation and collaboration between the text and its author.

Two series of phenomena show how these relations are complex: on the one hand the phenomena of "reprise-modification" and reformulation. These phenomena show how any discursive production progresses at the price of tiny readjustments. They also point to the gap between intention and formulation, and emphasize the need for and the difficulty in providing a first substrate which will be used as point of support for the generation of the text, even if this first point of support is turns out to be necessarily unsatisfactory; on the other hand the phenomena of self-genesis of the text, in which we are more particularly interested. By observing these phenomena we can see how the text, and mainly the beginning of a text, tend to program what will follow. The work of the author then consists of exploiting the program which the text proposes to him without being overly constrained by this program.

These series of phenomena will be illustrated in examples taken from texts written by beginners (texts of young students) and published texts (texts of authors).

PDF Article Links: Singularités et constants de la production d'écrit

L'écriture comme traitement de contraintes

Médium d'écriture et écriture littéraire

Quels modèles pour analyzer la production d'écrit sur traitement de texte? Les contraintes comme outil d'analyse et d'intervention

Stratégies de réécriture et gestion des contraintes d'écriture par des élèves de l'école élémentaire: ce que nous apprennent des écrits d'enfants sur l'écriture

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Sondra Perl
, CUNY Graduate Center

Sondra Perl is Professor of English & Urban Education at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York where she coordinates the Ph.D. in Composition and Rhetoric. She is also the director of the Holocaust Educators Network, CUNY, and a visiting professor in Austria under the auspices of the Austrian-American Educational Cooperation Association in Vienna. Perl has received many awards and honors including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Carnegie Foundation Professor of the Year award. Her recent work includes On Austrian Soil: Teaching Those I Was Taught to Hate (SUNY Press, 2005) and Writing True: The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction (Houghton Mifflin, 2006). Her most recent article is entitled "Storytelling as Scholarship" and can be found in the spring 2007 issue of English Education.

Telling It Slant: Where Narrative Inquiry Meets Writing Research

My early work on composing (Perl, 1979, 1980) has led me to pay attention to the way we construct our voices -- as teachers, scholars, researchers and writers. For this conference, I am posing the following questions: Where is the writer in the research? Does narrative inquiry have a place in the world of writing scholarship? If so, what does it add? If not, why not? An advocate for narrative and story-telling as ways of knowing, I am interested exploring the merits of human science as described by Max van Manen (1990) for designing and reporting research. I will suggest that a human science or narrative approach has particular relevance for cross-cultural contexts and will use my experience working with teacher-researchers in Austria as an example of the ways narrative allows for deeper understanding when engaging in post-Holocaust dialogue.


Perl, S. The Composing Processes of Unskilled College Writers. Research in the Teaching of English, December 1979, 317-336.

Perl, S. Understanding Composing. College Composition and Communication, December 1980, 363-369.

Van Manen, Max. Researching Lived Experience. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1990.

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Jim Porter
, Michigan State University

Jim Porter is a Professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University, where he also co-directs the WIDE Research Center (Writing in Digital Environments).

Studying Digital Literacy Practices Across the Globe: Methodological and Ethical Issues for Researchers

(presenting with Heidi McKee)

Our ongoing project -- The Ethics of Digital Writing Research - explores how digital technologies impact research in rhetoric, communication, and literacy studies, focusing especially on questions of research ethics. The overall project examines the issues researchers face when studying the cultural and social impacts of digital technologies, or when studying online writing/communication practices, or when using digital technologies as tools for research or venues for publishing. For our presentation at "Writing Research Cross Borders," we will focus on one specific aspect of this larger study: the methodological and ethical issues that arise when digital researchers study and engage participants across international and cultural boundaries.

The Internet and World Wide Web do not respect national boundaries - so researchers working in online environments have increased access to a broad cultural and international participant pool. Working with participants in different cultures (even within the US) or across international boundaries raises distinctive methodological and ethical issues for researchers - and we will catalog and provide examples of these issues as part of our talk. Our methodology is both humanistic (rhetorical case analysis, particularly of published studies) and qualitative-empirical (case study, based on interviews). To date we have conducted 25 structured interviews with professional researchers -- 12 of them either researchers working outside the US or US researchers working with a broad international participant pool. These researchers are studying diverse aspects of digital writing -- for example, the discursive constructions of online communities (e.g., gamers, lgbt youth); the literacy practices of information workers in an outsourcing company in Africa; the use of mobile technologies and text messaging practices of small business owners in India. We plan to conduct another 15-20 interviews by the time of the Santa Barbara conference in 2008.

What we are finding, not surprisingly, is that how a researcher methodologically collects data and interacts with participants in a study cannot be neatly separated out from the ethics of that engagement. What is perhaps more surprising, though, is how digital environments require new ways of thinking about research methodology and ethics and demand new kinds of techniques. Researchers studying the rhetorical dynamic of online communities, for instance, insist that it is important to become an established member of the community *before* conducting a study. Researchers doing that work often take on two roles: one as a regular participant in an online community, the second role as a research conducting an inquiry. (In one case a researcher studying the communication dynamic in a sim world made sure that whenever she was in her researcher role, a bubble appeared over her avatar announcing that she was now "researcher.") We also have learned that US researchers working in/across more than one country or culture have found it difficult to export US-based notions of research ethics. For example, US notions of informed consent are not so easily exportable to non-Western cultures and countries. US-based research principles presume the freedom and free will of the autonomous individual, and also a relatively benign system which places a high priority on free speech. In countries governed by more restrictive systems, research participants can be highly suspicious of the informed consent agreement; they might, in fact, fear government reprisals or, at least, community disapproval. Researchers working in these environments typically forego the US-based informed consent protocol in favor of less formal oral agreements. What we have discovered, in fact, is that researchers invoke differing ethical systems when conducting online research across diverse cultures and countries.

Our presentation will examine three issues in particular involved in doing digital writing/literacy research across international and cultural boundaries: (1) informed consent (and other IRB regulatory principles); (2) the rhetorical dynamic between researcher and participants (particularly differing assumptions about power); and (3) ownership of digital materials. PDF Article Link: The Ethics of Digital Writing Research: A Rhetorical Approach (Written with Heidi McKee)

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Paul Prior
, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Paul Prior (Associate Professor, English) has pursued situated studies of literate activity and worked to develop theoretical frameworks drawing on activity theory and dialogic semiotics (https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/pprior/Prior/home.html).

Flat CHAT? Reassembling literate activity

Since the 1980s, theories and research on genre and on literacy learning/development have, in various ways, been converging on the need to locate writing within some kind of social context (e.g., discourse communities, communities of practice) and on some flavor of a Vygotsky-inspired account of learning. Recent versions of cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT; see, for example, Cole, 1996; Engeström, 1987;Tuomi-Gröhn & Engeström, 2003; Wertsch, del Rio, & Alvarez, 1995) appear to offer both a social unit (durable activity systems) and an expanded notion of learning/socialization as distributed among people, artifacts, and environments. Known best for his work on the sociology of science and technology, Latour (2005) has offered a general critique of sociological thinking for its reliance on predetermined social groupings and has reasserted the principles behind a flat rhizomatic ontology (actor-network theory). This talk will explore ways of articulating Latour's call for a flat sociology with CHAT, whose durable activity systems are often anchored in well-established institutions. Extending earlier work on the laminated, chronotopic character of literate activity (Prior, 1998; Prior & Shipka, 2003) and on semiotic remediation practices (Prior, Hengst, Roozen, & Shipka, 2006), the talk will sketch a possible flat CHAT framework for writing research. It will consider how such an approach might meld with recent turns to the multimodal/semiotic and recent developments in genre theory, particularly the emergence of genre system approaches (Bazerman 1994, 2004; Devitt, 1991; 2004; Swales, 2004). The talk will conclude by suggesting how reassembling literate activity along these lines challenges both dominant constructions of writing and disciplinary borders of writing research.

PDF Article Links: Chronotopic Lamination: Tracing the Contours of Literate Activity, Paul Prior and Jody Shipka

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Yves Reuter
, Université Lille, France

Yves Reuter a enseigné au collège, au lycée et en formation d'enseignants avant d'entrer à l'université. Directeur du laboratoire de didactique THEODILE il est aussi président d'honneur de l'Association Internationale pour la Recherche en Didactique du Français et a publié de nombreux ouvrages et articles.

Defining Writing in a "Didactic" Framework

My talk will be organized around the presentation of three claims arising out of the multiple theoretical and empirical research projects that I have carried out in France over the past thirty years in the domain of the "didactics" of French. The term "didactics" should be understood as the research discipline that analyzes content (knowledge and know-how) in its status as the object of teaching and learning, here with reference to the school discipline that is French (which includes teaching writing).

The first claim can be formulated as follows. Although there are numerous models of writing activity, variable in relation to research disciplines, it is still possible to position them along a continuum between two extremes: the first, more grounded in philosophy or in some branches of psychology, is that of the abstraction that unifies writing around certain structural traits; the second, more grounded in sociology and ethnography, underscores instead the contextualization and the resulting diversity of writing practices. I will try to show why, in didactics, we can only try to articulate these antagonistic conceptions.

The second claim exposes the way in which, in didactics, contextualization of writerly practices can be thought only in its school- and discipline-specific dimensions, in contrast with extra-scholastic practices. This brings us, as a consequence, to think about many difficulties as not so much writing problems (in general) but as tributary problems related to disciplinary modes of writing practice, these modes linking back to the specific ways of seeing the world, to particular concepts in play, to situations, to the exercises used...

The third claim, founded on multiple research projects about learners' difficulties, from primary school to the university, poses the value of the notion of tensions in order to think about writing practices and problems encountered in exercising those practices. Writing is thus conceived of as the management of tensions, in diverse forms, as related to different situations and written genres. This carries with it, however, the key consequence of isolating ourselves from current dominant theories in order to privilege an approach to texts and writings that emphasizes the forms of stability (or instability) they institute.

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Rebecca Rickly
, Texas Tech University

Rebecca J. Rickly is an associate professor at Texas Tech University. At the center of her work is what she calls "applied rhetoric," which includes such diverse applications as technology, feminisms, methods and methodologies, literacy study, and administration.

Present Tense, Past Perfect: Research Methods Graduate Training in Technical Communication and Composition/Rhetoric

Stephen North has argued that the primary way we make knowledge in a discipline is through research. One of the most pressing issues in Technical Communication (TC) and Composition/Rhetoric(C/R) programs is how we prepare graduate students to "make knowledge" in their fields via the understanding of/ability to apply research methods. In her keynote address at the 2005 CPTSC, Rachel Spilka bewailed the inconsistent, inadequate preparation of graduate students in research methods, which manifested itself as non-rigorous applications of methods in CPTSC and STC grant proposals by faculty. Similar laments have been made in Composition as well. Knowledge is made in our fields primarily through research, and the preparation of graduate students in research methods is an issue that we're beginning to see as vital-and under-researched-in TC and C/R.

Most graduate programs in writing studies offer at least one course in research methods (often an overview, and often the only required course in research methods students will take), and I begin my presentation by reporting on the state of programmatic preparation garnered via a thorough analysis of PhD program websites in TC and C/R, building on initial work done by Kim Sydow Campbell. Using a relational database to gather and store information, we're able to see how similar programs prepare graduate students to make knowledge based on coursework preparation.

Simply knowing what is read and produced in required methods courses, however, might not give us an idea of how prepared students feel after taking this course-how confident they are to apply the methods they've studied in conducting actual research. Once we've established the state of programmatic preparation, my focus will move to the attitudes of new faculty concerning how satisfied they are with their preparation in research methods coursework, and how confident they feel they are to conduct research based on the training they've received. Junior faculty in TC and C/R with less than three years on the tenure track are being surveyed, and a preliminary survey indicates that a large portion of "training" that they deem most valuable did not come from coursework, but rather self-sponsored learning (say, while conducting dissertation research) or learning from co-researchers or colleagues. This result is troubling, signifying that perhaps we aren't doing enough to prepare faculty to feel confident in conducting, analyzing, and representing research in their fields.

As technology has become more complex, as cultures and globalized contexts have become more accessible, our programs of study have naturally responded with more content courses-leaving less opportunity for students to gain experience with research methods. Is one course sufficient to prepare students to make knowledge in our field? And do graduate students feel prepared to make knowledge as a professional based on that one course? By examining these questions from a variety of angles, the professional nature of writing disciplines will be interrogated, and, more importantly, we will have a baseline-a starting point-for an important dialogue about what the required methods course should do, and how we might better prepare our graduate students to conduct good research in our field in this course.

Works Cited

Campbell, K. S. (2000). Research methods course work for students specializing in business and technical communication. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 14, 223-241.

North, S.M. (1987). The making of knowledge in composition: Portrait of an emerging field. Upper Montclair NJ: Boynton/Cook.

Rickly, R. (2005). Methods course requirements in Composition, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication. Unpublished survey, open January-March 2005.

Spilka, R. (2005). Keynote Address. Presented at the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication, Texas Tech, Lubbock, Texas.

PDF Article Link: Messy Contexts: The Required Research Methods Course as a Scene of Rhetorical Practice (will appear in a work edited by Danielle DeVoss and Heidi McKee).

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Gert Rijlaarsdam
, University of Amsterdam

With Martine Braaksma, Marleen Kieft, Michel Couzijn, Tanja Janssen, Mariet Raedts, Elke Van Steendam, Talita Groenendijk, Anne Toorenaar, & Huub Van Den Berg.

The yummy yummy case: Learning to write--Observing readers and writers

The Yummy Yummy Case is a short lesson series of four lessons, where students (Grade 7) learn to write a letter of complaint, without any instruction but significant student progression. In this lesson series students write, act as readers, observe readers, abstract qualities of effective texts, revise their first versions. We will present some film clips showing students at work, and then present various studies on the effects of observation as learning activity in writing. These activities vary from observing readers to experience the effect of the text the learner wrote to observing learners doing tasks instead of practicing (learning to write without writing). Genres involved are argumentative letters, instructions, argumentative essays, synthesis texts, letters of application. Participants involved are students from grade 7 to Freshmen (Business School).

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Jacqueline Jones Royster
, Ohio State University

Linking Archival Research to Contemporary Practice

My current project seeks to document the socially conscious writing practices of African American women writers and to examine the extent to which these practices might be labeled transformative rhetorics. I focus mainly on twentieth century writers in order to interrogate more fully metaphors that position them as crusaders for social justice, a metaphor for which there is ample evidence but that at the same time has a limited capacity to explain the broad array of rhetorical actions that the writers actually exhibit. The project incorporates archival work as I seek to situate this twentieth century group within the context of African American nation-building efforts with the goal of bringing critical perspective to the continuities of their active participation in this social, political, and cultural work. Equally important is my intention also to link historical practices to contemporary practices by laying out, to the extent defendable, a meta-schema for literacy action among this group. At the conference, my focus will be on sharing the methodologies that I am using to develop a meta-schema and on sharing one or two examples of the results.

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David Russell
, Iowa State University

David R. Russell is professor of English at Iowa State University, specializing in Rhetoric and Professional Communication. His research interest is on writing in the academic disciplines and professions, drawing on activity theory and genre theory.

Writing Research in International Perspective: Texts, Contexts, and Generalizability

The participants at this conference represent the tremendous diversity of writing research in the world today. Amid that great diversity, what unites us as researchers? Surely some object of research, writing. Yet the very object of research is slippery. Writing in the most fundamental sense might be defined as marks on surfaces made by humans to affect human activity. The marks (texts) may be on paper, cathode ray tubes, mountains, fields or living skin; they may be alphanumeric or pictographic, still or animated, permanent or evanescent. But the second part of this definition is even more problematic, for writing affects human activity in vastly diverse ways. Marks on surfaces mediate between people, activate their thoughts, direct their attention, coordinate their actions, provide the means of relationship. Texts are given life through activity, through contexts of use. And to study them without studying their contexts (as has often been norm in much cognitive, text linguistic, and literary research) is to separate writing from its very being.

In this paper I will sketch out elements of a theory of context based on a synthesis of Vygotskian activity theory and a theory of genre as social action growing out of Alfred Schutz's phenomenology. It has been developed by many North American writing researchers over the last two decades to provide a principled way of analyzing written texts in their human contexts. I will illustrate it with examples from research I have been involved in to represent, for pedagogical purposes, certain contexts of writing that students may enter, using web-based interfaces.

I will end by suggesting ways that this theoretical approach and methodology address the problem of generalizabilty of research results, which the great diversity of writing research at this international conference raises in a particularly salient way.

Article Links:

Russell, David R. and Yañez, Arturo. (2003). 'Big Picture People Rarely Become Historians': Genre Systems and the Contradictions of General Education,' In Charles Bazerman and David R. Russell (Eds) Writing Selves/Writing Societies Research from Activity Perspectives. Fort Collins, Colorado: The WAC Clearinghouse and Mind, Culture, and Activity.

http://www.public.iastate.edu/~drrussel/drresume.html or

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Tony Silva
, Purdue University

Tony Silva is a Professor in the Department of English at Purdue University, where he teaches courses for ESL students and ESL teachers and directs the ESL Writing Program. He also co-edits, with Ilona Leki, the Journal of Second Language Writing and co-hosts, with Paul Kei Matsuda, the Symposium on Second Language Writing.

A Synthesis of the Results of Basic Research on Second Language Writing: 1980 to 2005

This presentation will focus on describing and synthesizing the results of basic empirical research done between 1980 and 2005 on second language writers, their composing processes, and their written texts. Altogether, 193 studies were examined. Studies were limited to those in published form-books, book chapters, and journal articles. Not included were conference proceedings and ERIC documents. Additionally, studies in which writing was the medium, but not the focus were also excluded, as were studies in assessment.

A discussion of findings regarding the characteristics of second language writers will focus on second language variables, first language variables, transfer, psychological and sociological variables, and demographic variables, with special attention paid to second language writing ability, second language proficiency, and second language writing development. A discussion of findings regarding second language writers' composing processes will focus on revision, planning, general composing process issues, formulation, translation, and restructuring, with special attention paid to the findings on revising. A discussion of findings regarding second language writers' texts with regard to grammatical issues will focus on parts of speech/form classes, sentence elements, sentence processes, functional element classes, sentence qualities, and mechanics, with special attention paid to verb forms and lexical issues. A discussion of findings regarding second language writers' texts with regard to textual/discoursal issues will focus on cohesion, organizational/rhetorical patterns, and modes/aims, with special attention paid to the findings on lexical cohesion and narratives. Some generalizations about the entire body of second language writing research with regard to breadth, depth, and sustained programs of research, will also be presented.

PDF Article Link: On the Philosophical Bases of Inquiry in Second Language Writing: Metaphysics, Inquiry Paradigms, and the intellectual Zeitgeist

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Peter Smagorinsky
, University of Georgia

Research on Composition, 1984-2003

This talk will cover the edited volume sponsored by NCRLL that reviews composition research from 1984-2003. This book is designed as the third review in the series that also includes Braddock, Lloyd-Jones, and Schoer's (1963) Research in Written Composition, a review of writing research covering the first writing studies in the early part of the century through 1962 and Hillocks's (1986) Research on Written Composition: New Directions for Teaching, a volume that reviewed writing research from 1963-1983. This volume continues the tradition established by these archival reviews but is distinct in several key ways. Most critically, it covers far broader territory. Braddock et al. and Hillocks were primarily concerned with school writing instruction. The field has expanded considerably since 1983, necessitating coverage of not only primary, secondary, and post-secondary composition research, but also teacher research, family and community writing, writing in the workplace, studies in rhetoric, second language writing, and histories of composition. Because no individual has the breadth to write about such diverse fields of study, the book is edited, with each author serving as a topic specialist. Because the expertise is distributed, the project is less polemical than its predecessors. Braddock et al., for instance, provided a severe critique of research methods and insisted on a "scientific" approach for composition studies. Hillocks maintained this emphasis, and further argued for particular methods of teaching writing and against others. The new volume is less partial, serving instead to cover their fields without serving to advocate any particular method or paradigm. This talk will review some of the issues that have informed the development of this project for readers in the new millennium.

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Graham Smart
, Carleton University

Graham Smart is an Associate Professor in the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies at Carleton University. He has studied writing in a variety of workplace and academic settings. His book Writing the Economy: Activity, Genre and Technology in the World of Banking was published by Equinox in 2006.

Intertextuality and the Social Construction of Argumentation in Environmental Discourse: The Case of Climate Change

As debates over the global environment have intensified in public and political forums over the last twenty-five years, the study of socially constructed argumentation in environmental discourse has become an important area of interdisciplinary scholarship (Cantrill & Oravec, 1996; Cook, 2004; Cooper, 1996; Drysek, 1997; Herndl & Brown, 1996; Killinsworth & Palmer, 1992; Lifton, 1994; Macnaghten & Urry, 1998; Muir & Veenendall, 1996; Myerson & Rydin, 1996; Rydin, 2003). To contribute to this line of research, I have begun to examine the discursive field (Bourdieu, 1984; Foucault, 1999; Liepins, 1998) jointly created by various social actors-environmental activists, scientific organizations, business corporations, faith communities, think-tanks-as they advance arguments about the reality and implications of climate change in efforts to influence public opinion and government policy. My paper reports on the initial phase of this research project: a study of two competing discursive positions regarding climate change: the 'discourse of scepticism' and the 'discourse of mitigation'. First, I present a conceptual framework for representing and analyzing argumentation within a multi-actor discursive field, drawing on theories of discourse (Dryzek, 1997; Fairclough, 1992; Gee, 1999), on activity-based genre theory (Artemeva & Freedman, 2006; Bazerman & Russell, 2003; Bazerman, 2004; Bhatia & Gotti, 2006), and on theories of intertextuality (Bauman, 2004; Bazerman, 2004; Devitt, 1991; Fairclough, 1992). This conceptual framework is augmented by Maarten Hajer's (2005, 1995) "argumentative discourse analysis," an approach that provides a way of examining the socio-political construction of argumentation by opposing "discourse coalitions" of social actors. I then discuss the results of an analysis of some 800 texts produced by a range of social actors, focusing on the role of intertextuality in socially constructed arguments over climate change.

PDF Article Links: Storytelling in a Central Bank: the Role of Narrative in the Creation and Use of Specialized Economic Knowledge

Mapping Conceptual Worlds: Using Interpretive Ethnography to Explore Knowledge-Making in a Professional Community

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Melanie Sperling
, University of California, Riverside

Melanie Sperling is Associate Professor of Education at UC, Riverside, and co-editor of Research in the Teaching of English. Interests include classrooms as contexts for literacy learning, and the social and cultural nature of literacy.

Linking Research with Practice for Writing and Literacy Education

What does it mean for English education research, in particular research in the area of writing and literacy education, to influence, inform, or have implications for practice? For that matter, what counts as research in writing and literacy education, and what counts as writing and literacy practice in the context of the English or language arts classroom in current times? In this presentation, I address these questions, reporting on a project that I have been involved in that seeks to understand the field of English education, and writing and literacy, as it exists today, as it contrasts with the past, and as it looks to the future. The project draws on published research literature in English education, on my experiences serving for a number of years as co-editor of the journal Research in the Teaching of English, and most particularly on a number of interviews with leading English educators in the field today in which we discussed issues related to the above questions. Interviewees were chosen for their wide recognition as leading researchers or theorists in the field, their strong commitment as researchers to informing classroom practice, and the diversity of perspectives that they represent. The interviews, along with the other sources of information, helped to suggest what kind of research in the field is exemplary, and why; what writing and literacy issues, problems, and questions are most urgent for today's researchers to address; and what challenges lie ahead for writing and literacy researchers and practitioners. On the basis of this project, I suggest who benefits from our work and how so, and, indeed, whether we need to re-imagine the field of English, and writing and literacy, education.

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Clay Spinuzzi
, University of Texas Austin

When everyone is on the border: Writing for net work

The Industrial Revolution led to a particular configuration of work in which long-term relationships flourished; workers held long-term or lifelong jobs, maintained steady contacts with other organizations and with the public, and built up considerable expertise. They fulfilled clearly defined roles and developed strong working relationships. These characteristics foregrounded "vertical" expertise (Engeström, Engeström & Kärkkäinen 1995) in which learning happened within a particular domain: a particular activity, discipline, field, or trade carried out in a particular setting.

But these stable settings have been destabilized by recent changes in work: downsizing, automation, flattening of work hierarchies, increasing numbers of relationships between companies, continual reorganization, the breaking down of "silos" or "stovepipes" in organizations, and perhaps most importantly, the increase in telecommunications (phones, faxes, Internet connections), which has made it possible to connect any point to any other, within or across organizations. One result, Nardi et al. say, is that "many corporations operate in an increasingly distributed manner, with workers, contractors, consultants, and important contacts such as those in the press located in different parts of the country or across the globe" (p.206; cf. Zuboff & Maxmin 2004). Such organizations are interpenetrated: anyone can link up with anyone else inside or outside the organization, and consequently any work activities can be intersected. Another result is that constant flux leads to constant learning across boundaries: "vertical" expertise is accompanied by "horizontal" expertise (Engeström, Engeström & Kärkkäinen 1995) characterized by learning across boundaries, including organizations, activities, disciplines, fields, trades, and settings. Such learning is characterized positively, as lifelong learning (Zuboff & Maxmin 2004; Drucker 2003) - and negatively, as continual deskilling and reskilling (Haraway 1991; Ehn 1989).

Let's call this "net work": coordinative, polycontextual, cross-disciplinary work that splices together divergent work activities (separated by time, space, organizations, and objectives) and that enables the transformations of information and texts that characterize such work. In this presentation, I'll examine the persuasive, self-mediational, and coordinative writing skills that are demanded by net work, and I'll discuss the implications for us as researchers.

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Patricia Lambert Stock
, University of Maryland, College Park, The National Writing Project, Michigan State University

Conducting the Scholarship of Teaching: Spanning Boundaries and Blurring Genres

Patricia Lambert Stock is Visiting Professor in the University of Maryland, College Park, Visiting Scholar in the National Writing Project, the University of California, Berkeley; and Professor Emerita in Michigan State University. She has written a number of books and articles about literacy teaching and learning, teacher research, the scholarship of teaching, writing centers, and contingent faculty in higher education. Her published work has been recognized with the James Britton Award, the Richard A. Meade Award, the Janet Emig Award, and the CCCC Outstanding Book Award.

For the past 30 years, I have participated in what have been described as the North American teacher research movement in K-12 education and the scholarship of teaching movement in post-secondary education. In these contexts, I have been engaged in an on-going study of what I have called--borrowing my terms from the new historicists Stephen Greenblatt and Catherine Gallagher--overlooked and under-valued genres of practitioner research. The first two chapters of this evolving study drew attention to two genre in which I have observed scholar teachers conduct and publish the findings of their inquiries: the "anecdote" (Stock, 1993) and the "workshop" (Stock, 2001).

In this presentation, I will report on what figures as a third chapter in this developing inquiry. In this study, one among a set of studies underway within the National Writing Project (NWP), I am exploring the nature, sources, conduct, and impacts of what is called the teacher inquiry workshop in the NWP. Simply put, in teacher inquiry workshops, NWP summer institute fellows and teacher consultants engage participants in teaching practices, framing the engagements as inquiries. In the process, workshop leaders circulate productive teaching practices for peer review and community use and involve colleagues in "re-search" grounded in those practices.

To conduct this inquiry, over the past three years, I have worked primarily as a participant observer of teacher inquiry workshops in four geographically diverse National Writing Project sites, and in local, regional, and state-level conferences. I have also conducted observations in classrooms at all levels of instruction of teacher consultants who have adapted practices they experienced in these workshops to serve their own, various curricular goals and requirements. In addition, I have conducted interviews and focus group discussions with teacher consultants and NWP site directors from across the country. In another avenue of inquiry that I have been able to pursue because I have been associated with the NWP in a variety of ways for the past twenty-five years, I am "revisiting" workshops that have influenced my teaching and research. This strand of work has added a historical dimension to my current study of the teacher inquiry workshop and provided me additional data sets for examination and cross-examination (i.e., interviews, e-mail exchanges, documents of various kinds produced at the classroom, school, school district, state, and professional levels).

In this presentation, I will draw attention to observations I have made about this genre of the teacher inquiry workshop, which my research leads me to regard as a distinct genre that has developed within the National Writing Project. Among those observations will be this one: The conduct and publication of the teacher inquiry workshop are often not discrete activities. In this genre, the conduct, publication, and pilot-test application of research are fluid, mutually-dependent, integrally-realized activities, accomplished dialogically and dynamically in interpretative communities of practicing teacher researchers. Furthermore, the all at once, altogether conduct and publication of research accomplished in this genre is neither accidental nor a flaw of the work. It is, in fact, intentional, generative, and demonstrably productive.

Works Cited Gallagher, C. & S. Greenlbatt. 2000. Practicing New Historicism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Stock, P. 1993. "The function of anecdote in teacher research," English Education. 25:4 (173-187). Stock, P.L. 2005. "Practicing the scholarship of teaching: What we do with the knowledge we make," College English. 68:1 (107-121). Stock, P.L. 2001. "Toward a theory of genre in teacher research: Contributions from a reflective practitioner," English Education. 33: 2 (100-114).

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Brian Street
, King's College, London University, UK

Brian Street (Brian.street@kcl.ac.uk) is Professor of Language in Education at King's College, London University and Visiting Professor of Education in both the Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania and in the School of Education and Professional Development, University of East Anglia. Prof. Street undertook anthropological fieldwork on literacy in Iran during the 1970s and taught social and cultural anthropology for over twenty years at the University of Sussex before taking up the Chair of Language in Education at King's College London. He has written and lectured extensively on literacy practices from both a theoretical and an applied perspective. He has a longstanding commitment to linking ethnographic-style research on the cultural dimension of language and literacy with contemporary practice in education and in development and has recently extended this to research on social dimensions of numeracy practices. He is currently involved in development projects in South Asia on using ethnographic perspectives in training literacy and numeracy teachers and in offering support to tutors in academic literacy and also in a Widening Participation Programme for EAL students in the London area as they make the transition from school to university.

Academic Literacies in a Widening Participation Programme in London

(New Directions in Academic Literacies Research in the UK panel with Theresa Lillis, Mary Lea, and Roz Ivanic)

I will report on an Academic Literacy Development Programme, at King's College London which drew upon the academic literacies approach to student writing signaled in all of the papers for this panel. Critiques of the approach have argued that it has remained located in theory and research and needs to be worked through more in practice (Lillis, 2006). This paper takes up that challenge in describing a Programme that was intended to provide educational opportunities for "A" level students from the local area in London who were still in the process of learning English as an additional language.

A team of tutors conducted sessions based on some of the theoretical principles developed from the academic literacies model (Lea & Street, Lea & Stierer, Jones et al) combined with recent work on multimodality and genre (cf., Kress, 2003, Kress & Street, 2006; Van Dijk, 1997). In these sessions students were required to interact with different categories of text that we defined as different genres and modes. We defined genres as types of text, both spoken and written, such as student discussions, written notes, letters, academic essays. etc. We wanted to help students be more aware of the different language and semiotic practices associated with the requirements of different genres in academic contexts. In one of the early sessions attention was drawn to the shifts evident in classroom practice from free flowing thoughts / ideas to some explicitness in discussion with others, to taking notes, making presentations using overhead projector slides and finally, providing a page of written text based upon the discussions and overheads. In their educational histories, students had not always been made explicitly aware of the distinctive features of each of these genres/ modes. I will consider the implications of this approach for the broader discussions regarding academic literacies being addressed in this panel.

Jones, C, Street, B and Turner, J 2000 Student Writing in the University: Cultural and Epistemological Issues John Benjamins: Amsterdam.
Kress,G 2002 Literacy in the New Media Age Routledge: London.
Kress, G and Street, B 2006 'Multi-Modality and Literacy Practices' Foreword to Travel notes from the New Literacy Studies: case studies of practice. edited by Kate Pahl and Jennifer Rowsell Multilingual Matters; Clevedon pp vii-x.
Lea, M and Stierer, B 1999 New Contexts for Student Writing in Higher Education (Open University Press/ Higher Education Research Association: Buckingham.
Lea, M. R., & Street, B. V. (1998). Student writing in higher education: an academic literacies approach. Studies in Higher Education, 23(2), 157-172.
Lea, M. and Street, B. 2006 "The 'Academic Literacies' Model: Theory and Applications" Theory into Practice Fall Vol. 45, no 4 pp. 368-377.
Lillis, T 2006 in GANOBCSIK-WILLIAMS, L 2006 Ed. Teaching Academic Writing in UK Higher Education; theories, practices and models. Palgrave Macmillan; Basingstoke.
Scalone, P., & Street, B. (2006). An Academic Language Development Programme (Widening Participation). In C. Leung & J. Jenkins (Eds.), Reconfiguring Europe: the contribution of applied linguistics (pp. 123-137). London: Equinox.

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John M. Swales
, University of Michigan

John Swales is Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at the University of Michigan. His latest book-length work is "Research Genres: Explorations and Applications". Extracts can be found at the Cambridge University Press website.

Research Writing for International Audiences: Problems and Prospects

The current strong trend whereby scholars and researchers with English as an Additional Language (EAL) are expected to publish in Anglophone international journals is both spreading and intensifying. Countries that have recently adopted this policy include Spain, Taiwan, Malaysia and Sri Lanka; in China, salary supplements are now offered to those who publish in high impact ISI journals (Cargill & O'Connor, 2006). While the causes of this phenomenon are somewhat unclear, the consequences are fairly obvious: Increased competition, increased emphasis on "hot" international topics such as global warming or nanotechnology at the expense of local priorities, and increased anxiety among EAL researchers.

Certain constituencies in the world community of academic writing teachers, materials producers and researchers have begun to respond to the EAL challenge. In January 2007, the first conference on "Publishing and Presenting Research Internationally" was held in Tenerife, and the title of the biennial conference of the British Association of Lecturers in English in April 2007 was "EAP in a globalizing world: An academic lingua franca".

In this paper, I evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the current research base for helping people write for publication. There are, for example, considerable differences in the amount of information we have about the texts produced by and for different disciplinary communities (Hyland, 2000). There are some studies of the processes of getting published, and much more information available today (often on the web) than even a few years ago, raising questions about whether there are any "occluded genres" (Swales, 1996) left. I discuss the contributions that content-area specialists can make, such as John Benfield, the ex-editor of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery. And there are issues about the best way to exploit specialized electronic corpora, such as those constructed for workshops for post-doctoral fellows in perinatology in Detroit and for graduate students in political science at Waseda University, Tokyo.

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Chris Thaiss
, U.C. Davis (with Tara Porter and Erin Steinke, U.C. Davis)

Chris Thaiss directs the Writing Program at the University of California, Davis. His most recent book (with Terry Myers Zawacki) is Engaged Writers and Dynamic Disciplines: Research on the Academic Writing Life. (cjthaiss@ucdavis.edu)

The International WAC/WID Mapping Project: Objectives and Current Results

Writing instruction in the disciplines is widespread around the globe, but no comprehensive overview of the diverse ways this instruction is delivered and administered at different institutions within and across national contexts is readily available.

The International WAC/WID Mapping Project (http://mappingproject.ucdavis.edu), begun in 2006, is building a database of scholars and programmatic initiatives worldwide focused on student writing in disciplines in higher education. This research seeks to find commonalities and differences in objectives and practices, as these are influenced by traditions, policies, and local structures. What terms, teaching practices, and organizational structures can we find mutually helpful while also honoring differences in languages, traditions, and policies?

By early 2008, the Mapping Project will be able to begin to report on the two main components of its work: (1) a statistical survey of some 2500 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada that is the first effort of its scope in twenty years, since the study conducted by McLeod and Shirley; (2) a preliminary survey of institutions of higher education in Europe, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Africa, and Central and South America, this survey conducted with the help of such cross-national groups as the European Association of Teachers of Academic Writing (EATAW) and the European Writing Centers Association (EWCA), as well as many individual scholars and teachers.

The presentation will report statistical results of the U.S./Canada study (more than 1100 respondents) on such concerns as number and longevity of existing WAC/WID programs, components of these programs, sources of funding, importance of new technologies, and administrative structure. From the preliminary study of initiatives worldwide, data from some 150 to 200 respondents will cover such topics as scope of writing in disciplines in given institutions, writing support services such as academic writing centers, staff/faculty development initiatives, and dedicated writing courses. Because one goal of the international research project is to build a network of scholars and institutions, the presentation will also describe the recent merger of the WAC Clearinghouse and the International Network of WAC Programs and its value in building (1) a database of program models from many places across different countries and (2) a network of writing researchers.

Part of the session will be in a workshop format that will enable discussion by participants of the survey questions, methodology, and near- and long-term objectives. Thus, the session should contribute data to the project and contribute to our mutual understanding of the challenges we face in our work as teachers and administrators.

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Liliana Tolchinsky
, University of Barcelona

Written Representation of Nominal Morphology by Chinese and Arab Children Learning a Romance Language

The goal of the study is to trace the process of becoming literate in Catalan as a second language in a bilingual (Spanish/Catalan) environment. Five to eight-year-olds from different language backgrounds (varieties of Chinese, Arabic, and non-peninsular Spanish) and differing degrees of literacy instruction in their home countries, but similar time of residence in Spain participate in the study. In this presentation we will focus on the relationship children establish between the spoken and the written representation of some aspects of nominal morphology; specifically, number inflection and locative derivation, and on how they make use of the written information available in order to represent morphological changes. The children carry out a number of individual semi structured tasks designed to evaluate both comprehension and production of change in number inflections (un cotxe 'det-sg car'; uns cotxes 'det-pl + cars) and in locative derivations (pastis 'cake'; pastisseria 'bakery'), and also participate in classroom activities specially designed to evaluate the same morphological aspects. The different strategies children use for speaking, writing, and reading their own written productions in both the individual tasks and the classroom activities were analyzed. Special attention was paid to the use they make of the written information available, in order to represent inflectional and derivational morphology. Results show that, irrespective of children's language background, comprehension preceded production of both correctly inflected nouns and derived nominals; but the written representation of changes in inflectional morphology (from singular to plural or from plural to singular) preceded the written representation of changes in derivational morphology (from base to derivate or from derivate to base). With age -and increasing previous literacy experience- children tend to use less the available written information and to spell by themselves in spite of task-inadequacy and in spite of the hard work that writing by their own means requires. Findings will be discussed in the light of linguistic and cultural interpretations; we will moreover focus on some phenomena of theoretical and educational value, such as the nature of generalization processes.

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Mark Torrance
, Staffordshire University, UK

Mark Torrance is senior lecturer in psychology at Staffordshire University, UK. His research explores the cognitive and educational psychology of text production.

Where Do Writers Look When They Pause?

Writing tends to proceed as a series of bursts of inscription bounded by pauses. Pause location seems to follow the syntactic and rhetorical structure of the text, but little is known about what functions pauses at these different locations serve. Some pauses, or some parts of some pauses, are associated with writers reviewing what they have written. Writers may look back in their text to detect surface-level errors or to assess whether what they have written is coherent and is likely to achieve the author's goals. Writers may also read back to support generation of the next part of the text by, for example, refreshing memory about the rhetorical or syntactic frame that is currently in operation or identifying prompts to cue search for more ideas.

In my paper I will report research that combines eye tracking and keystroke logging to explore where writers look when they pause. I will present findings that indicate a relationship between pause location (at character, word, sentence, and paragraph boundaries) and both how far back writers look in their texts and the kind of reading activity in which they engage. I will also present more fine-grained illustrations of how text analysis based in Rhetorical Structure Theory (Mann and Thompson, 1988) might combine with analysis of writers' eye movements to suggest hypotheses about the planning processes that occur during relatively short, mid-sentence pauses. Taken together, these analyses will, I hope, indicate the value of studying writers' eye movements in developing a theory of the cognitive processes that underlie text production.

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Gary Troia
, Michigan State University

Gary A. Troia is an associate professor of special education at Michigan State University. His research interests include the connections between oral language and literacy in typical and atypical learners. His recent work examines factors that influence teachers' adoption of innovative writing assessment and instruction practices, and how the interplay of these factors and practices affects student performance.

Levels of Language in Assessment and Instruction: Lessons from Longitudinal Studies Grades 1 to 7 (presentation with Virginia Berninger and Scott Beers)

Writing motivation, in terms of students' attitudes, values, beliefs, and goals, has a significant influence on writing achievement. However, much remains to be discovered about how this relationship unfolds over time, is affected by writing experiences, and is differentiated by general and context-specific motivation measures. This presentation will report findings from a study conducted with nearly 750 students in grades 4 through 12 in two states that was designed to examine the connections between general and contextualized writing motivation, frequency and types of writing experiences, and writing performance reported by teachers and measured independently through trait scoring.

PDF Article Links: Research in Writing Instruction: What We Know and What We Need to Know

Effective Writing Instruction Across the Grades: What Every Educational Consultant Should Know

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Luuk Van Waes
, University of Antwerp, Belgium

Prof. Dr. Luuk Van Waes (luuk.vanwaes@ua.ac.be) is a professor in Business and Technical Communication at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. His main research areas are: writing processes, writing and digital media, tools and methods for writing research, business and technical communication and online writing centers. Recently he co-edited two books in the Elsevier's series on Studies in Writing: 'Writing and Digital Media' and 'Writing and Cognition'.
More information: http://webh01.ua.ac.be/lvanwaes/.

Observing writing and analyzing revisions with Inputlog

(with Mariëlle Leijten and Nico Verlinden)

The use of computers as writing instruments has not only had a profound effect on the writing practice and the attitudes towards writing, it has also created new possibilities for writing research. In the field of cognitive writing research especially, keystroke logging programs have become very popular. In this presentation we describe a logging program, called Inputlog (downloadable as freeware for researchers from: www.inputlog.net).

Inputlog 2.0 consists of four modules: (1) a data collection module that registers digital writing processes on a very detailed level and registers the input of keyboard, mouse and speech recognition programs (i.c. Dragon Naturally Speaking); (2) a data analysis module that offers basic and more advanced statistical analyses: text, pause and revision analysis; (3) an integrate module that allows merging with other process data; (4) a play module that enables researchers to review the writing session.

In the presentation we focus on the automatic analysis of online revisions. In the validation process of this module we observed writers while they were writing texts related to different tasks. The revisions were both analyzed automatically and coded manually (using online video observation). We present the different perspectives from which the revisions were analyzed (e.g. level, operation, spread, clustering and distance) and we critically compare the results of these automatic analyses with the results of the human coding. In the final part of the paper problems of identification and interpretation of online revision behavior will be discussed. - PDF Article Link: Writing with speech recognition: The adaptation process of professional writers with and without dictating experience

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Kathleen Blake Yancey
, Florida State University

'The Things They Carried': A Synthesis of Research on Transfer in College Composition

Kathleen Blake Yancey directs the graduate program in rhetoric and composition at Florida State University. With Barbara Cambridge, she directs the International Coalition on Electronic Portfolio Research.Her latest book is the edited Delivering College Composition: The Fifth Canon.

Across the U. S. post-secondary landscape, the idea of transfer as an institutional mechanism is becoming increasingly common, as we see in state-wide institutional articulation in states like Arizona and Florida. For compositionists, however, another, more fundamental sense of transfer is as intellectual practice: the ability of students to take what is learned--about composing processes, about texts and ways to create them, about rhetorical situations and framing--and use it to good effect in other writing situations--in other classes, in other programs, in other institutions, in the workplace, and in other parts of life itself. And more recently, with the proliferation of electronic genres like text-messaging and instant messaging, we have evidence of the effects of writing practices that students transfer into school.

A preliminary review of the research on transfer as intellectual practice suggests that we can make claims about what students do and do not "transfer" from one composing site to the next. A search of the database Compile, for example, yields 211 studies employing a diverse methodological set and rhetorical settings ranging from the classroom to sites of workplace literacy. Likewise, an informal review of more recently published scholarship (Compile ends at 1999) suggests that the "question" of transfer is motivating an increasing number of both theoretical and empirical studies, although they do not speak in unison on its efficacy. In The End to Composition Studies, for example, David Smit argues that there is no evidence that students transfer what they learn from one setting to the next, while Nancy Sommers and Laura Saltz, citing the findings of the Harvard Study of Writing in a recent CCC article, claim that students transfer rhetorical understandings (e.g., their role as novices) as well as practices that facilitate their development as composers. Hilgers et al. document considerable student transfer of practice if not of conceptual schemata in their writing across the curriculum program, while Michael Carter and Anne Beaufort, respectively, propose new frameworks that might facilitate the transfer Smit claims is impossible.

Despite this interest in transfer and despite its significance as a disciplinary matter, there has been to date no synthesis of research on the "transfer" question in composition. In this talk, I'll begin to address this absence, first by defining transfer and then sharing findings from a CCCC-sponsored study of research on the efficacy of transfer in college composition. In addition, I'll identify questions intended to focus a new generation of research on the topic.

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Terry Myers Zawacki
, George Mason University

Terry Myers Zawacki directs the George Mason University WAC program and the writing center. Her publications include the co-authored Engaged Writers and Dynamic Disciplines: Research on the Academic Writing Life and articles on assessment, feminist composition, and learning communities.

A Transnational Conversation: Extending the Research on the Academic Writing Life (with Chris Thaiss)

In the first part of this session, the speakers will revisit the research they presented in Engaged Writers and Dynamic Disciplines: Research on the Academic Writing Life, their study of the writing and assignment practices of faculty across disciplines and students' perceptions of how they learn what their teachers expect and the discipline requires. They will describe their methodology, summarize the data, and discuss their conclusions. Their presentation of data is organized by 1) findings from interviews with faculty informants from fourteen disciplines: what they say about themselves as writers in the academy, the assignments they give, and their expectations for student writing; and 2) findings from students in focus groups, on surveys, and in proficiency essays: what they say about themselves as academic writers, how they read teachers' assignments and expectations, and how they understand, if they do, the discourses of their disciplines.

The second part of the session will be interactive, with the speakers leading a discussion on ways that their research might be modified and extended to gather meaningful WID data from institutions with different demographics and academic structures, with particular attention to those international institutions represented at the conference. To begin the conversation, which will be led by Chris Thaiss, Terry Zawacki will describe interview data she has collected to date from 1) interviews with predominantly international students about their experiences writing for the American academy and 2) writing center sessions and focus groups on how less experienced writers interpret disciplinary expectations.


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Last Updated February 21, 2008
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