Tag Archives: writing

JALT 2012 Featured Speaker Workshop Preview

I was very lucky to be selected as a Featured Speaker at this years Japan Association for Langauge Teaching International Conference on Language Teaching and Learning at ACT City, Hamamatsu. My workshop is titled “Writing for your readers: Tools and approaches” and is really aimed at teachers who want to write graded readers for their own classes or for publication. I will especially focus on vocabulary and cohesion as elements of readability. The workshop will include some personal experiences (including failures–learn from my mistakes, please), useful websites, and some actual writing practice. For more background, please see my article from The Language Teacher.

I have two ungraded texts that I plan to use during the workshop. They are short, but so is our time in Hamamatsu. Ninety minutes will go by quickly. If you are planning on attending my workshop, please take a minute to download the two texts to adapt. Just two pages of A4, including notes and instructions, so it isn’t overwhelming. Of course, I will have plenty of printed handouts at the conference, but if you get a head start by at least reading the original texts, you’ll enjoy the workshop much more.

I’ll be watching this post for comments if you have any questions. If you are really adventurous, you might even consider posting your own adaptations here before Sunday. It would be great to get the discussion started early.

Thanks, and see you in Hamamatsu!

PANSIG 2012 proposals

The JALT PANSIG 2012 call for papers closed yesterday. The conference theme is “Literacy: SIGnals of emergence”, and I think I managed to line up with it reasonably well. The conference is always a good weekend to get together with some old friends and meet some new teachers. The presentations are good and the audience is engaged. This year the conference will be held at Hiroshima University not far from Saijo, so I hope to get a little sight-seeing in as well. Naomi Fujishima is the conference chair so I felt like I had to support her and send in an request to present. Unfortunately,then I got a second idea, too.

The first proposal is based on work I’ve been pursuing over the years using wikis. My writing boss, Marcos Benevides, will be happy to see that I’m taking more of a task-based approach than he might have expected.

The PANSIG conference schedulers only want one proposal per person, but I hope the vetting gods will smile upon me for the second one. It isn’t anything to do with teaching or research, but a response to discussion on the JALT EBM-Net mailing list and recent discussions (sometimes heated) at the last JALT Executive Board Meeting. It’s an attempt to bring together writers and publishers from all of the SIGs to build up shared expertise in publishing by teachers for teachers. I was very lucky to have help from Jim Smiley and Andy Barfield in putting it together. And, Andy agreed to help conduct the session with me if we are accepted. I hope it all works out–it has been ages since I worked with someone else on a conference presentation, so that would be an added plus.

Proposal 1
Title: L2 reading/writing tasks with Simple English Wikipedia

Abstract: Simple English Wikipedia (SEWP) describes itself this way: “Wikipedias are places where people work together to write encyclopedias in different languages.” However, the primary English Wikipedia is far too demanding for most learners to contribute to. Simple English Wikipedia is much more inviting and offers a range of tasks for learners from low to high language proficiency that require students to think and allow them to communicate with native and non-native speakers of English. Participants will actually perform some of these tasks in this workshop and leave ready to try them with students.

Proposal 2
Title: SIG Publications Community Roundtable

Abstract: JALT SIG publications involve a diverse range of writing, editing and publishing where each SIG freely decides its publishing policies. Different editorial teams face many similar challenges in attracting writers, developing writing, and making the writing-publishing activities of the SIG inclusive and sustainable. This workshop is for SIG publications editors/editorial teams to discuss writing for, editing, and developing SIG publications. Please bring samples of your publications to exchange, together with a handout (paper and electronic) listing important information about: your SIG publication(s), writing successes your SIG has had, any challenges it faces, and plans for the future. We will discuss.

Wish me luck. The organizers already rejected my Hiroshima food-based theme suggestion, TepPANsig. I was really hoping for an okonomiyaki visual for the logo, but such is not to be. I hope Hasbro/Mattel doesn’t bust them for using Scrabble tiles.