Symposium Themes and Speakers

Writing Centers

Writing in the Graduate and Undergraduate Curriculum

The Use of Corpora in the Research and Teaching of Writing


Friday, February 24

9:30 - 9:50 Michiko Nakano:   KEYNOTE ADDRESS
Coming soon.
9:50 - 10:30 Alison Stewart:  "Creating Writing Communities in the Japanese Undergraduate Classroom"
One of the problems commonly facing Japanese undergraduates who may be considering writing their graduation thesis in English, or continuing their academic studies abroad, is their relative lack of experience in writing long research papers. This presentation describes a writing course taught at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies that is intended to prepare students for these aims and focuses in particular on a six-week long project in which students co-author a research paper of 3,000 words. Feedback from the students and interview data are used to consider the advantages and disadvantages of collaborative writing, followed by a discussion of the feasibility of using such a project elsewhere.
10:30 - 11:10 Malcolm Field:   "Writing for Science, Technology and Design Students: Meta-components"
Having taught academic writing for a number of years in Japan, I have found that, over and above the fossilized grammatical errors that appear in the students' compositions, the main barrier to a smooth comprehension of their work is the structural weakness. Many of the problems seem to be rooted in their first language culture and unless addressed from this context, second language learning strategies and drills will not alone be enough to help a prospective reader better appreciate a writer's intention. In other words, unless the meta-skills are taught (and can be applied to a first, second or third-language text) students will continually struggle to produce suitable academic essays.

The process of teaching writing, therefore, should be twofold: In one course students are presented with the meta-skills, and in another parallel course, the students work on their linguistic skills (which may not only be focused on writing). The meta-skills should be discussed through a scaffolding process that moves the learner through brainstorming (thinking maps and essay outline maps), thinking questions (purpose, question, information, bias, implications, outcomes, etc), subject characteristics and persuasion maps. In this process, essential logic forms, such as subjectivity versus objectivity, truth, strength and weakness, are addressed. This process should be underpinned by the simple, but highly effective, 3-step writing process (TS, SS, CS, and Introduction, Body, Conclusion). Once the meta-components are addressed, the linguistic components become easier to identify. Finally, getting students to reflect on the learning process and consider whether they have effectively utilised the components presented in the course/s should be through peer-editing.
11:10 - 11:50 Chris Sheppard:   "Using Questionnaires as Content: The Evaluation of a 1st and 2nd Year Writing Course"
Many have commented on the inability of Japanese university students to logically organize their writing into longer papers. The reason for this is very simple. They have never been taught how even in their first language. This paper offers a practical solution to teaching first and second year students to produce academic writing using published questionnaires.

There is need for Japanese students to be taught English academic writing. Firstly, it improves their Japanese academic writing ability. Secondly, such instruction enables them to develop an extended argument logically, therefore improving their critical skills. Finally, it improves their English skills through the use of the language.

The course used a top-down content-based process approach. One of the keys for students to produce good writing is to have content to communicate. Without content, the writing becomes a mechanical exercise, which, at best, is not communicatively focused. One of the problems, however, with using a content-based approach with first and second year university students is that they are not yet well versed in the content matter of their chosen specialty. So, it is difficult to draw on the major.

To overcome this problem, questionnaires developed in the field of social psychology were used. The students collected the questionnaire data from Japanese university students, and compared their results with those of American university students supplied with the questionnaires. The results were then reported.

The writing process followed in the classroom will be described here from a curriculum design perspective, providing both rationale and the results of each step. Finally, the entire process will be evaluated based on the students' attainment of the course goals.
11:50 - 12:10 Sean Wray:   "Academic Writing for SILS students: A Materials Development Perspective"
Coming soon.
12:10 - 13:00 LUNCH BREAK
13:00 - 14:00 Yukio Tono:   "How Can Corpora Be Used to Improve Second Language Teaching/Learning?"
In this talk, I will first introduce the fundamental concepts of corpora and their historical development and applications in human language technology and relevant fields. Then I will discuss the potentials of using corpora in second language teaching/learning research. Finally, I will focus on learner corpus research and its methodological and pedagogical implications for second language acquisition (SLA) research.
14:00 - 14:40 Kiyomi Chujo:   "Japanese-English Parallel Corpus in the ELT Classroom"
Technology has afforded us many exciting advances, including Japanese-English parallel corpus applications. The corpus-based lexico-grammatical learning activities we have developed allow learners to understand the target language in a rich context and to formulate and test their own hypotheses about language behavior. Learners support each other using pair work and carefully designed worksheets, and the discovery aspect of these exercises are a powerful motivator. After a brief overview of the case study, I am going to demonstrate some of these corpus-based activities including some parallel corpus applications for writing instruction.
14:40 - 15:00 BREAK
15:00 - 15:40 Samuel Henderson:   "Closing the Circle: Using Learner and Target Corpora to Build Writing Proficiency"
Although traditional corpora are well-established as language learning tools, we are only beginning to understand the pedagogical power and pitfalls of learner corpora. Just as target corpora provide unparallelled insights into the target language, learner corpora can provide learners with such insights into their own language use. Used well, learner corpora have the potential to greatly improve learners' ability to guide themselves and each other to writing fluency.

This presentation will focus on ways of integrating learner corpora into data-driven learning. Particular attention will be given to the potential of course management systems, particularly the Moodle platform, in allowing the development of web-based course-specific learner corpora. Sample activities integrating learner and target corpora will be presented. Logistical, ethical, and affective difficulties will also be discussed.
15:40 - 16:00 Laurence Anthony:   "Introducing Corpus Linguistics into the Technical Writing Classroom with AntConc"
Many teachers of technical writing have become interested in corpus linguistics as an effective method for finding relevant vocabulary items, common phrases and example sentences in the learner's target field. Corpus linguistics techniques are particularly useful when investigating language usage in an English for Specific Purposes (ESP) context, where subject specific dictionaries and usage guides may be unavailable.

To date, most reports on corpus linguistics have discussed its use in materials development. There are, however, far fewer reports on the successful application of corpus linguistics by students in the classroom. Clearly, if students can be taught how to analyze target texts using concordancers and other corpus linguistics tools they can apply these skills when writing research articles, documentation and so on, long after the writing course has finished. One of the problems that have prevented corpus linguistics being successfully introduced into the classroom is the lack of suitable software. Many of the software tools currently available have been designed for researchers, and therefore, either include a wide range of features rarely needed by most learners, or only support a very limited number of features sufficient to perform a unique task. In addition, the design of the graphical user interface (GUI) has been less of a concern in many cases, resulting in overly complex or rudimentary interfaces that lack the familiar feel of a modern windows based application.

In this paper, I will describe how corpus linguistics techniques can be easily introduced to learners in the classroom using a freeware corpus analysis toolkit called AntConc. This software was originally developed by the author for use in the technical reading and writing program at Osaka University, Japan. As the software has been designed specifically for use in the classroom, it has a very intuitive, easy-to-use interface that even learners with no computer experience can quickly adapt to. Since its release in 2002, AntConc has undergone many revisions and improvements based on feedback from teachers and students around the world. The latest release offers a powerful concordancer, word and keyword frequency generators, tools for cluster and lexical bundle analysis, and a word distribution plot. Using these tools, I will first explain the most important techniques used in corpus linguistics and offer suggestions on how these can be easily explained and demonstrated in a classroom context. I will then discuss some of the common problems encountered by students when using corpus linguistics tools in the classroom, and show how these can be overcome. Finally, I will talk about the current limitations of AntConc, and explain how I will address these in the future.

16:00 - 16:20 Victoria Muehleisen:   "Designing the SILS Learner Corpus"
The School of International Liberal Arts attracts students from a wide range of linguistic and educational backgrounds, from students who have never left Japan and students who had only English as a foreign language in China and Korea before coming to Japan, to students who have received most or all of their education in an English medium school, including native speakers of English. All of these people study together at SILS in classes with the same requirements, creating a challenge for the writing program which must prepare all of them for college-level writing tasks.

The SILS Learner Corpus is being created to help us better understand the abilities and needs of SILS students so that we can develop a curriculum better suited to our situation. The corpus should also should prove to be a valuable resource for researchers interested in the ways variables such as first language or age of first instruction influence the development of skills in second language writing. This presentation will describe how we are setting up the corpus, the types of data we are collecting, and some of the uses we imagine for it. We will also demonstrate the database program using data collected in a pilot study this past fall semester. Finally, as the corpus is still at an early stage of development, we will also welcome suggestions from symposium participants about ways we can improve the data collection system before we expand to a full-scale project in April 2006.
16:45 - 17:45 Panel Discussion on Technology and Writing
Technology, from electronic dictionaries to computers and the Internet, is increasing the range of resources available for writers, as well as the variety of purposes for which people write. Is technology changing the nature of writing, and if so, how? How is new technology changing the way we teach writing? What future technology developments do we envision?

Saturday, February 25

9:30 - 10:10 Sharon Zuber:   "Shifting to the Center"
Writing Centers play a vital, pedagogically sound role in the teaching of writing. Based on the philosophy of helping students become better writers—not just focusing on individual papers—writing centers strive to help students become their own best editors. In this presentation, Prof. Zuber will talk about the shifts in methods of teaching writing that gave birth to writing centers with a focus on the dynamics of the tutoring session. These shifts provide the theoretical foundation for the one-on-one consultations that are at the heart of any writing center.
10:10 - 11:10 Paul Rossiter and Tom Gally:   "Product and Process in a Fledgling Writing Center"
The University of Tokyo's Critical Writing Program is taking a two-pronged, product-and-process approach to the development of writing curricula specifically appropriate for novice writers in a Japanese university context. Through pilot courses in intensive academic writing taught to first- and second-year undergraduates, we are testing and expanding product-oriented curricula, including the "First Moves" textbook recently published by the university and an in-progress supplement that focuses on grammatical, stylistic, and rhetorical issues frequently encountered in English written by native speakers of Japanese. At the same time, we are experimenting with the use of graduate teaching assistants in one-on-one tutorials and other formats to explore new process-oriented approaches.
11:10 - 12:10 Saori Sadoshima, Yuko Hamakawa, Sachiko Yasuda, and Writing Center Tutors:   "Introducing the SILS Writing Center"
Since its inception in April 2004, the SILS Writing Center has faced some of the most crucial questions that surround "the idea of a writing center ". What exactly is a Writing Center? What is it supposed to do? How does it fit into the mainstream curriculum of the School?@In this presentation, the SILS Writing Center staff will together report on the initial stages of creating the Center and present interview data from students, peer tutors and members of the faculty on their understanding of the Writing Center activities to the present. Finally, a discussion will follow on future possibilities and challenges of the SILS Writing Center.
12:10 - 13:00 LUNCH BREAK
13:00 - 13:40 Carol J. Shabrami:  "Teaching Academic Writing Across the Graduate Curriculum "
For over 30 years, Stanford University has offered foreign Master's and Ph.D. students a series of writing classes specifically designed to assist them in preparing academic proposals, conference papers and presentations, journal articles, dissertations and abstracts. The speaker will discuss the initial writing proficiency evaluation process as well as the nature of referrals of students from their academic advisors or department heads as they progress through the graduate curriculum. The general methodology used in the writing classes, which are comprised of students majoring in science, engineering, social sciences and the humanities, at each proficiency level as well as adapting writing classes specifically for international law students and for professional business and academic contexts will also be presented.
13:40 - 14:20 Mark Jewel and Anthony P. Newell:   "Academic Writing Programs in Practice: USA & Australia"
Coming soon.
14:20 - 14:40 BREAK
14:40 - 15:20 Yasunari Takada:   "Critical Writing as a New Paradigm for Critical Thinking"
Description: The goal of the Critical Writing Program in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tokyo is to develop a new system for English education in Japan based on the recognition that a paradigm shift has occurred in the form of knowledge that students are expected to acquire. No longer can students be passive receptors of knowledge; rather, the current globalized postmodern era requires that they be critical and communicative producers of knowledge. Because the act of writing is essential to successful knowledge production, a central role in this new paradigm is played by critical writing. A concomitant goal of CWP is to establish a program for training and fostering nonnative teachers of English critical writing.
15:20 - 16:00 Christine Tardy:   "Learning to Write through Others' Words: The Importance of Textual Interactions in Genre Learning"
To succeed in an academic environment, students must learn to control a variety of written genres, ranging from lab reports to term papers to theses and dissertations. While the process of genre learning is often difficult in one's native language, it can be even more complex in a second language. One resource that supports second language (L2) writers in this process is the texts encountered through reading and in classroom activities. As writers interact with texts, they build both formal and rhetorical knowledge of various genres. This paper illustrates some of the specific strategies that L2 writers use as they draw upon texts to expand their genre knowledge.

I will first present a multidimensional model of genre knowledge and then focus specifically on "textual interactions" as a rich resource for building genre expertise. I will illustrate how four graduate student L2 writers used this resource in developing their understanding of academic and professional genres in a writing classroom, in their disciplinary content courses, and in their scholarly research. The paper will conclude with a discussion of pedagogical strategies for facilitating genre learning through textual interactions in the advanced academic writing classroom.
16:00 - 16:20 BREAK
16:20 - 17:20 Panel Discussion on Individualizing Writing Instruction
In a process approach to teaching writing, the focus is on students becoming better writers rather than merely correcting specific papers. Is there a danger of not putting enough emphasis on the final product? What are the best strategies to individualize the teaching and evaluation of writing? Does our knowledge of the diversity of written genres, and an emerging emphasis on students developing critical thinking and constructing arguments, demand more individualization? How can we give more individualized feedback without "teacher burn-out"?
18:00 - 20:00 RECEPTION



There are many restaurants just a short walk away from the symposium building, but since the lunch break each day is only about 50 minutes, you may want to bring your lunch with you. Hot water, coffee and tea will be available, and there will be a classroom in which you can eat.

Languages of the Symposium

The sessions on Friday morning and afternoon and Saturday afternoon will be in English only. However, the Saturday morning sessions on writing sessions will be presented in a bilingual format. The presentation introducing the SILS writing center (which provides tutoring for both Japanese and English writing) will be in Japanese, with an English summary. The presentations other Saturday morning sessions will be done mainly in English but with Japanese language summaries.


Waseda University, Nishi-waseda Campus, Building 19

All symposium sessions will be held on the Second Floor of Building 19 on the Nishi-Waseda campus. Building 19 is a large white building set back from the street, and it is also known as the Nishi Waseda Building. A sign out front identifies it as the building of the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies. It is next to the main library, Building 18, also known as the Center for Scholarly Information. The offices of the School in International Liberal Studies are also found in Building 19. When you get to building 19, take the elevator or stairs to the second floor and follow the signs to the reception area, outside room 203.

Note:On the the first day of the symposium, February 24, the campus gates of Waseda will be locked due to the entrance exam period. However, Building 19 is outside the campus gates.

Please print out the some of the maps below to bring with you.

Directions from Waseda Station (Tozai Line) Use the number 3 exit, following the signs pointing toward the Toyama campus. Walk along Waseda Dori toward the east, straisght through the first intersection, along the edge of the campus. Youll pass West Gate No. 3, and Buildings 29-6 and 29-7, and then turn down the large street toward the north side of the campus. Building 19 and the library on are the left side of that road. Its hard to describe well in words, but you can see it on the map.

Directions from Takadanobaba Station (Yamanote Line, Tozai Line, Seibu Shinjuku Line) From the Yamanote platform, use the Waseda exit. From the Tozai platform, follow directions for the JR lines. From the Seibu Shinjuku platform, I think the exit is also labeled as the Waseda exit. Go out of the station toward the west, and directly in front of the station youll see a bus for Waseda . Take this bus and get off at the second stop, which is the Nishi-waseda stop. The bus will let you off close to Building 29-6 on the map.

Directions from Toden Arakawa Line Waseda station is quite close to Building 19. See the maps above.