Monday, January 3, 2011

Uncharted but breathtaking: TESOL 2009

(the following was originally at but was put here in 2011).

Summary (50 words)

Writing teachers, aware of the changing definition of communicative fluency and eager to prepare students for a digital future, will recognize the need for teaching students to respond fluently, quickly and appropriately in writing. This session explores ways to integrate written chat as a medium into standard writing class contexts.

Session description (300 words)

The digital era has redefined communicative fluency, since it is difficult to separate language from the cultures of its users, or the environments that it occurs in. Students generally recognize the value of learning the skills that are associated with functioning effectively in digital environments; for example, learning to upload and edit written work in weblogs, learning to send and respond to e-mails appropriately, and learning to function effectively in chat contexts (Guess, 2008). On the rapidly changing technological frontier, chat, which is often associated with distance learning or with less academic social contexts, is rapidly expanding in every context, including business and diplomacy, and students rightfully expect to need the skills associated with it in their future; among these skills are the ability to respond quickly and appropriately, in writing, to a live and rapid chat stream. But these fluency-oriented skills may be unfamiliar to teachers; teaching semi-formal chat fluency requires, first, getting a measure of operational fluency oneself, not only with the technology and the places where it can be accessed, but also with the conversational nature of chat as a written medium. This demonstration will show how a busy teacher can, first, become more familiar with the medium, then integrate it successfully in a writing class, one which may already have a full schedule of more traditional objectives, and a full docket of essays, research papers, and exams as output.

Introduction, was at
Chat happens: In your Facebook, was at
Kinds of chat, was at
Chat how-to,
was at
Where to chat: Choice of venue for an ESL class, was at
Chat resistance, was at
Chat behavior, was at
Script: TESOL 2009, Denver, was at
Script: NJHE 2009, New Jersey, was at


Guess, A. (2008, Oct. 2). Understanding students who were born "digital". Interview with John Palfrey. Inside Higher Ed. Accessed 10-08.

Guess, A. (2007, Sept. 17). Students' evolving use of technology. Inside Higher Ed. Accessed 10-08.

Leverett, T. (2007). brb: Using chat in an esl/efl writing class. From Teaching writing in online and paper worlds, TESOL 2008.

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