加入写作中心在中国起步的浪潮 (宋凌珊) (Part 2 of 5, Writing Centers in China)

宋凌珊是密西西比学院写作中心的副主任。她也教授写作课与学生辅导的训练课程。凌珊的研究领域包括写作中心理论与实践、ESL辅导、文化研究与国际合作。她目前的研究项目致力于写作中心在中国的推广与建立。凌珊还同时兼任美国东南部写作中心协会的外事协调员、写作中心基督徒协会的TESOL代表、密西西比写作中心协会秘书、以及2018中国高校英文写作中心国际学术研讨会策划委员会成员。

[Joining the Momentum of Writing Center Establishment in China]

写作中心在美国的学术界已经有长远的历史并具有规模,然而在中国情况却有所不同。在中国的高校中,“写作中心”是过去十余年才开始引进的概念。在过去12年,从2006-2017年,有一小撮中国高校走在了建立写作中心的前沿,开始提供针对于英文写作的辅导。2017年6月9-11日,位于中国苏州的一所中英合办大学­­—西安交通利物浦大学举办了有史以来第一次的中国写作中心会议,这对于在中国的写作中心具有里程碑意义。

宋凌珊

写作中心在中国的建立进程是令人振奋的,可是迄今为止还没有学术研究专门针对中国现有的写作中心,也未开始探讨这些写作中心能够建立起来的关键促成因素。换言之,这些写作中心是如何开始的?关键因素有哪些?2017年9月-11月我开始了一项初始研究,致力于研究在中国内地现有的写作中心:这些写作中心存在哪些共性?考虑了哪些国情和本土因素?这些共性是否可以为将来其他写作中心的建立提供可参照的模型?

尽管每个写作中心有自己的特色,但我发现过去十年中美高校之间合作的蓬勃开展给写作中心在中国的建立提供了历史性的契机。“全球化”、“使中国高等教育与世界接轨”的概念深入人心,敦促中国高校与海外的大学开展两种形式的合作:1)与海外的大学合作成立交换学生项目;2)鼓励教师出国到合作院校访学。

例如,中国第一个写作中心(成立于2006年)就是得益于西安外国语大学与位于美国俄亥俄州的鲍林格林州立大学之间一个长期合作的交换项目。在西安外国语大学教授吴丹的一篇文章中,她介绍了中国第一所写作中心的建立并且强调说“西安外国语大学写作中心是借鉴了鲍林格林州立大学写作中心的模型,但是拥有自身的特色”(139)。另外,根据吴丹教授的研究,“这种模型【借鉴美国写作中心但是针对中国国情和地方特色作出调整】已经开始在全国的范围内被采纳。”北京师范大学珠海分校写作中心也借鉴了同样的模型。这个于2016年9月建立的写作中心就借鉴了几所海外大学的经验,包括波斯顿学院。 Continue reading “加入写作中心在中国起步的浪潮 (宋凌珊) (Part 2 of 5, Writing Centers in China)”

Joining the Momentum of Writing Center Establishment in China (Part 2 of 5, Writing Centers in China)

Lingshan Song is the Assistant Director of the Writing Center at Mississippi College (MC). She also teaches freshmen composition courses and the tutor training course at MC. Her research interests include writing center theory and practice, ESL tutoring, cultural studies, and international collaboration. Her ongoing research projects involve advocating for writing centers in China and supporting writing center establishment there. Lingshan also serves as Outreach Coordinator on the Southeastern Writing Center Association (SWCA) board, TESOL Representative for the Association of Christians in Writing Centers (ACWC), Secretary of Mississippi Writing Centers Association, and Member for the International Symposium of English Writing Center in Chinese Universities planning committee.

[加入写作中心在中国起步的浪潮]

While writing centers have a long history in American academia and are well established in the U.S., in the past decade, writing centers have just started revealing their values to higher education institutions in China. In the past twelve years, from 2006-2017, a batch of Chinese higher institutions have started writing centers to provide tutoring for English writing. Another important step in writing center development was the inaugural conference of Writing Center Association of China, held from June 9-11, 2017 in the Sino-British university, Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University, located in Suzhou, China.

Lingshan Song

With the exciting progress of building writing centers in China, there is yet to be a study about existing writing centers in China and their contributing elements commonly observed. In other words, how did these writing centers get started? What elements are essential to their establishment? I conducted preliminary research from September to November 2017, aiming to investigate existing writing centers in mainland China and discover commonalities among them and explore possible models for future writing center establishments in China, considering local adaptations.

Despite local adaptations, I found that as international partnerships prosper between U.S. universities and Chinese universities in the past decade, it has created a historical timing for writing center establishment in China. The “globalization” concept, bringing China’s education more in line with international practice, urges Chinese higher institutions to form international partnerships with oversea universities in two forms: 1) by developing exchange student programs with partner universities; 2) sending faculty to partner universities as visiting scholars. Continue reading “Joining the Momentum of Writing Center Establishment in China (Part 2 of 5, Writing Centers in China)”

Writing Centers in China | The Writing Center @BNUZ School of Design | Part 1 of 5

Over the next few months, we will be posting on writing centre work in China. Contributing are 杨雪 Xue (Rachel ) Yang, Beijing Normal University, Zhuhai School of Design; 宋凌珊 Lingshan Song, Writing Center Assistant Director, Mississippi College; Jessie Cannady, Module Convenor Writing Centre, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University; Brian Hotson, Director, Academic Learning Services, Saint Mary’s University; and Julia Combs, Writing Center Director,  Southern Utah University.

杨雪 Xue (Rachel ) Yang is the writing center coordinator at Beijing Normal University, Zhuhai, School of Design.

中文版

We first came up with the idea of establishing our own Writing Center in Spring 2015. We were facing an ever-increasing number of students enrolled who had to grapple with higher expectations in English competency. The program we build at the School of Design focuses tremendously on a globalized education which internalizes its doctrine in preparing students to be more active and engaged global participants through its ever more internationalized guiding themes, curriculum framework, teaching staff, study environment, and exchange program. A heavily IELTS-driven English language curriculum has therefore been introduced. 2+2 program students are required to pass the official IELTS test before the end of their sophomore year so that they can transition smoothly to a collaborative overseas program. 4+0 program students are asked to prove their English proficiency through IELTS as well since starting from the third year, all their design-related major courses will be instructed by lecturers/professors sent from Germany, where English is the main and only teaching language in class. At this point they will have no help from teaching assistants anymore. 4+0 program students will also need the IETLS score report for them to receive the bachelor’s degree from the German university side.

From this description, you can get a sense of how English language proficiency is a matter of life or death for students in our program.

Nearly every instructor in our English language team has some education background in a foreign country, and thus we are considerably excited and revitalized by the Writing Center idea. I did my master’s degree at Boston College which has a writing center that I took huge advantage of. The BC writing center is a sub session within an overarching learning center, which centers on tutoring that covers over 60 subjects, ADHD & Learning Disability Support Services, and writing support. “Writing support” is similar to what we have here at the School of Design Writing Center.

The Writing Center officially launched in September 2016, and we called it the “beta” trial version. We were the first on-campus writing center at our university, basically with no prior experience to build on. Thus, the format of the tutorial, size of student populations we intended to serve, and what kind of tutors we wanted to hire were all tricky problems we encountered. There is no perfection in your first try. What matters is that you do try. Bearing in mind this belief, we decided that the tutorial should follow the format of an ESL writing assistance session. These writing appointments focus on not only helping students formulate their writing ideas, structure and flow of papers, but also checking for their grammatical mistakes. Students are asked to come prepared with drafted writing pieces and attempted problems. Student population size is another thing that is hard to predict. The writing center aims at serving sophomores of international cooperation programs, accounting for over 450 students in total. However, this writing appointment service is on a completely voluntary basis, making the visits tricky to predict. We later agreed on providing 10 available sessions to the students and seeing how things go as time went on. As for recruiting tutors, we soon abandoned the idea of hiring student tutors. Back in early 2015, we did hire some senior student tutors from the School of Foreign Language to help our students with IELTS reading and listening, but it did not end up well. One of the challenges was it was extremely difficult to recruit sufficiently qualified tutors with a proper sense of responsibility and another was that the student tutors’ schedules varied to a great degree which caused unnecessary trouble for scheduling writing appointments.

Throughout the past 10 months, we have accrued concrete records of the Writing Center visits and plan to use these data for further adjustment of scheduling, which parallels the “big data” trend in the Internet environment where information is being densely analyzed for manifold purposes. Through browsing our visit tracking book we can easily see the pattern of student visits: which weeks are the peak visiting periods, which time during the day is mostly preferred, which student groups like to take advantage of this service the most, and which tutors are most frequently booked by the students. Continue reading “Writing Centers in China | The Writing Center @BNUZ School of Design | Part 1 of 5”