Later this summer, I plan to do a big series of posts on second language issues in a writing classroom. The goal is to confront the lack of training that monolingual English-speaking instructors in freshman compositions classes at English-speaking universities receive before they are sent into the classroom. The only formal training I was offered at my institution (which is known for it’s excellent teaching apprenticeship program) was a one hour orientation in the Writing Center, and it was possibly the most informative hour of my entire training as a college instructor. Everything else I’ve learned has been from independent inquiry and hands on experience. During this series, I will be addressing second language issues through the lens of privilege as well as offering up practical information that can be immediately applied to your classroom, reflecting both my own limited experience and the best research available on the isubject.
My experience, as I said, is limited. Therefore, I am soliciting potential guest bloggers to participate in this series. In particular, I am interested in the following:
1) Instructors who specialize in ESL education, either at the secondary or post-secondary level.
2) College and graduate (and perhaps high school) students who did not grow up speaking English and who attend/have attended English-speaking universities in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, etc.
3) English speaking students who have attended college or graduate school in a country where English is not the dominant language. This does not include single semesters or years in a study abroad program, where an unusual amount of support is typically available for students who do not speak the dominant language of the university. I am thinking more along the lines of people who, for whatever reason, wound up going to medical school in Mexico (I know someone who did this, so that’s the example I have in my head).
4) Academics who work at a university at which the dominant language is not the one they grew up speaking.
Basically, I’m looking for some experts along with some students/academics who can speak first-hand about the “fish out of water” experience of trying to learn/work in a second language, including what classroom techniques were most helpful/problematic for you.
If you think you might have something to contribute, send me a brief summary of what you think you might want to write about or what sort of experience you might be able to share to firstname.lastname@example.org. If possible, include a link to your blog (if you have one). I will help with editing the posts before they go up, so don’t worry if you are not a confident or experienced writer. Guests are welcome to post under a pseudonym if anonymity is a concern for you.
As far as exposure goes, the regular readership of this blog has been doubling every week since I began regularly posting. I have seen traffic levels peak at over 2,000 hits in a single day. While certainly not a high profile blog even by feminist/social justice blogger standards, I can guarantee you a modest level of exposure if you are looking to promote your own blog/writing.
This series probably will not happen until later in the summer, as there are a lot of materials I need to get ready.