Learning to Write in Post-Colonial Uganda: Reflections by a Multilingual Writer/Tutor/EAP Instructor

Esther Namubiru is an English and writing instructor and the 2019 Stearns language diversity faculty fellow at George Mason University. She enjoys learning about how to teach reading and writing while helping students develop their confidence in their own linguistic and cultural identities. Having been an international multilingual student from Uganda, and now working as a multilingual instructor, Namubiru is dedicated to the success of multilingual and international scholars.

 

Learning to Write in Post-Colonial Uganda: Reflections by a Multilingual Writer/Tutor/EAP Instructor

As an international student from post-colonial Uganda, I came to the United States of America already knowing and using English because it is a lingua-franca in my country. It is learned and used alongside other local languages in the region. I learned English in my classes and used it at home, so it was easy for me to write and speak in this language as I moved from one schooling system to another. However, it was not until I began traveling and learning in a different educational and cultural system that I realized how little I actually understood about this language and its relationship to writing, reading, my mother-tongue, my political and cultural history, my identity as a Ugandan international student in an American college, and a multilingual instructor of English for Academic Purposes. Through moving from one academic system to another and interacting with this language in writing and reading contexts, I realized the extent of my underlying assumptions and ideologies regarding what it means to be an English-language user and writer.

1891 map illustrating both the geography and colonial ideologies prevalent during the colonial scramble for Africa.

The writing center is bound to receive international students like me – students from post-colonial societies where English functions alongside other languages but often with fraught political, cultural, educational, linguistic, and historical dynamics. These dynamics impact the way writing and reading are understood and enacted by international students. Some writing center scholarship has begun to explore these dynamics, particularly culture and its influence on language norms, to understand how they impact students’ willingness to apply methods like peer-tutoring which are commonly used in Western academic contexts (Miller, 2002). For example, Miller noted that methods like peer-tutoring were met with skepticism when they were proposed at a new writing center program in a Kenyan university. Both the faculty and students challenged the method due to their perceptions of power in the teacher-student and student-student relationship and their understanding of who was considered a qualified student-writer and could conduct a strong peer-tutoring session (Miller 2002, p. 8). However, if the writing center is to succeed in working with international students from post-colonial contexts like Kenya and Uganda, writing tutors and administrators have to first understand these international students’ unique experiences with the English language, reading, and writing. How do these students perceive reading, writing, and language in their post-colonial context? In light of the colonial history in these contexts, how is English incorporated, perceived, and used in the local education system alongside the students’ own languages? In countries like Uganda where foreign education systems are being used in private and international schools (Ssentanda, 2013), how are students and families who can access these schools adjusting to the different pedagogies related to reading and writing in English?

In this essay, I try to answer some of these questions by sharing the way I learned to read, write, and speak English as a student in post-colonial Uganda and an international student in Kenya. I describe some of the ways I was taught English grammar, essay-writing, and feedback-processing within different post-colonial local and international contexts. I also describe how language itself has played a role in my identity-formation as an international student and my ability to interact with and appreciate my fellow peers and instructors. My experiences are not representative of other foreign students’ journeys (even those with a similar background). Instead, they are meant to start a conversation about the need to appreciate the unique factors and experiences that influence international students as they learn writing and reading in American educational systems. Continue reading “Learning to Write in Post-Colonial Uganda: Reflections by a Multilingual Writer/Tutor/EAP Instructor”

Writing Center Journals Editorial Round Table || IWCA Collaborative @ CCCC 2019, March 13, 4-5pm, Wyndham Pittsburgh University Center

Writing Center Journal Editorial Round Table

Join WLN Co-Editor, Lee Ann Glowzenski, & WLN Blog Editor, Brian Hotson, for an Editorial Round Table with the four major journals in the field of writing center studies: Writing Lab Newsletter, The Peer Review, Writing Centre Journal, and Praxis.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Wyndham Pittsburgh University Center
Schenley 5-6
4:00 – 5:00 pm

From the conference program:

“This is a roundtable that brings together representatives from the four major journals in the field of writing center studies. Each person will talk for a few minutes about their particular journal’s mission and philosophy and will share recommendations for publication. Attendees will have an opportunity to speak with journal representatives in a Q and A format in the second half of the roundtable. This is a great opportunity for prospective authors to learn about publishing trends in the field of writing center studies and to meet some of the editors who help to shape these academic conversations”

IWCA Collaborative @ CCCC 2019 schedule now available

2019 IWCA @ CCCC Collaborative

Event Details

March 13, 2019

Wyndham Pittsburgh University Center, 9:00am – 5:00pm

 

Download the schedule as a pdf:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LinN2OmnKvQZifcPw-m35qx7lX7q2HaKLzT54qVUJJE/edit?usp=sharing

Contact IWCACollaborative2019@gmail.com with any questions.

 

Registration now open || 7th CWCA/ACCR conference >> Writing Centre Multiverse | Vancouver 2019

Writing Centre Multiverse | Vancouver 2019

Emily Carr University of Art & Design
May 30-31, 2019

> REGISTER TODAY! <

Keynote:
Deanna Reder, Simon Fraser University
Plenary:
Steve Marshall, Simon Fraser University

Conference Fees

Before April 13, 2019, 11:59PM (Early Bird)
Conference registration fee: $125
Conference registration fee for students: $75

After April 13, 2019
Conference registration fee: $150
Conference registration fee for students: $100

In Remembrance of Christina Murphy

Christina Murphy

 

By Steve Sherwood, Director, TCU Center for Writing; Joe Law, WAC Director, Wright State University and professor of English (retired); Bonnie Devet, Professor of English / Director of the Writing Lab Department of English College of Charleston; Pam Childers, endowed chair as Director of the Writing Center at the McCallie School in Chattanooga (retired)


One of the greats in our field has died, and a lot of those who loved and admired her found out only recently about her passing. 

Steve Sherwood:

Dr. Christina Murphy, the inaugural director of Texas Christian University’s Writing Center and the author or coauthor of a number of notable and award-winning works about writing centers, died on October 13, 2018, of a brief illness.

After directing TCU’s William L. Adams Center for Writing from 1988-1996, she left TCU to become the chair of the English Department at University of Memphis and later accepted positions as Associate Dean of William Patterson University and Dean of Marshall University.  Nevertheless, she continued to contribute to writing center scholarship and to maintain friendships with a number of writing center professionals.

Continue reading “In Remembrance of Christina Murphy”

CfP || The Writing Center Journal Special Issue: Transatlantic Writing Centers

The Writing Center Journal seeks contributions for a special issue, co-edited with Katrin Girgensohn from Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Germany, focusing on the transatlantic writing center conversation. Originally created in the United States to address US-based educational concerns (Boquet, 1999; Lerner 2009), writing centers have now expanded globally, as has accompanying scholarship (Bräuer, Carlino, Ganobcsik-Williams, Sinha, 2012). Christiane Donahue has identified a tendency among US theorists towards “‘othering’ countries that have different, complex, but well-established traditions in both writing research and writing instruction” (2009). We recognize this othering tendency in the writing center community, as well. Because the first writing centers outside the US were established in Canada in the 1960s and 1970s (Graves, 2017) and in Europe in the 1990s (Bräuer, 2002), they have a decades-long sustained engagement in writing center studies–with both reformulations and novel practices emerging (e.g., Scott, 2017). Study of transatlantic writing centers, which have evolved in their own right, thus has much to offer our increasingly globalized writing center community.

CfP & Conference ||Northern California Writing Centers Association (NCWCA) >> April 5-6, 2019, San Jose State University

Northern California Writing Centers Association (NCWCA), April 5-6, 2019, San Jose, CA
San Jose State University is pleased to host the 2019 NCWCA Conference.
Visit our website to review the CFP and submit a proposal: sjsu.edu/ncwca.
Proposals are due January 14, 2019 by midnight PST.

CfP & Conference || Pacific Northwest Writing Centers Association / Two-year College English Association of the Pacific Northwest, April 26-27, 2019

Dear Writing Center Colleagues in the Pacific Northwest and Beyond,
Join us April 26-27 in beautiful Yakima, Washington for the 2019 joint conference of the Pacific Northwest Writing Centers Association / Two-year College English Association of the Pacific Northwest.

The extended deadline for proposals is December 21. PNWCA has some scholarship funding for tutors to attend and share their work — check out the www.pnwca.org website for more details.

Please reach out to us with any questions. The Call for Proposals can be found here: http://pnwca.org/joint-conference-2019-cfp.

We’re looking forward to reading your proposals!

Many thanks from your PNWCA Co-Chairs,

Karen Rosenberg, Ph.D.
Director, Writing and Communication Center
Affiliate Faculty, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
University of Washington Bothell
Misty Anne Winzenried, PhD
Director / Odegaard Writing & Research Center
Affiliate Assistant Professor / Department of English
University of Washington Seattle

CfP & Conference || CWCA/ACCR The Writing Centre Multiverse: Vancouver 2019 >> Emily Carr University of Art + Design, May 30 & 31, 2019

6th Annual CWCA/ACCR Conference

The Writing Centre Multiverse: Vancouver 2019

Emily Carr University of Art + Design

May 30 & 31, 2019

We are excited to share the CFP for our annual Canadian Writing Centres Association Conference, which will take place at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design on May 30 and 31, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Our theme this year is “The Writing Centre Multiverse,” and we welcome proposals that explore how Writing Centres navigate, respond to, and negotiate the multiverse we all inhabit – in our spaces, our practices, and our research.

Proposals are due by January 10, 2019

For more information, or to submit a proposal, please visit our website: https://cwcaaccr.com/2019-cwca-accr-conference/

“Pastel Watercolour” Created by Kjpargeter – Freepik.com

CfP and Conference || 2019 CWWTC/RMWCA Tutor Con >> February 15-16, 2019 Auraria Campus, Denver, CO

2019 CWWTC/RMWCA Tutor Con

February 15-16, 2019

Auraria Campus

Denver, CO

CFP ends 12/7/18.

The University of Colorado Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and Community College of Denver are pleased to host the 2019 Tutor Con, a joint conference of the Colorado and Wyoming Writing Tutors Conference (CWWTC) and the Rocky Mountain Writing Centers Association (RMWCA).

The theme for the 2019 Tutor Con is “Interdisciplinarity, Diversity, and Collaboration.” The conference begins on February 15, 2019, with interactive workshops both for tutors/consultants and professionals/administrators. On February 16, 2019, Dr. Tobi Jacobi, Director of the Center for Community Literacy, Research and Outreach in the Department of English at Colorado State University, will deliver the keynote address before a full day of presentations and special sessions.

The deadline for registration is January 18, 2019. Learn more at either cwwtc.org or rmwca.org. Contact the conference chair at Justin.Bain@ucdenver.edu.

Nothing makes me happier than making others happier: Bellin College’s new Student Success Center

Dr. Adam Sprague is an Assistant Professor and Student Success Center Coordinator at Bellin College.

 

WLN Blog: Tell me a bit about your background, and how you got started in writing center work?

Adam: As a new graduate student in the English program at Washington State University, I was quickly met with imposter syndrome and felt a bit lost trying to think of what I wanted to do with my career. Despite focusing my thesis on multimodality, I worked closely with the Writing Center Director there and enjoyed my time tutoring in the center. I excelled at tutoring almost immediately and was soon asked to begin mentoring at-risk reinstatement students at the college. The initiative I put forth toward organizing and leading these sessions led to me being awarded The Harold and Jeanna Rounds Olson Fellowship for Writing Across the Curriculum Award, a competitive, university-wide award given to a single student for their contributions to the university each year.

Adam working with a student in the Success Center

Still, I continued down the path of researching multimodality as a doctoral student at Bowling Green State University (BGSU). There I taught Composition, as well as English as a Second Language courses, but it was what happened outside of the classroom that reignited my passion for tutoring.

To this day, the most rewarding experience I had as a tutor was visiting with an entire family who relocated from Japan to Bowling Green, Ohio. Though there were many language barriers and challenges along the way (as the family spoke nearly no English whatsoever), I particularly wanted to help the mother of the family who broke down into tears because she could not figure out how to communicate effectively enough in English to obtain a library card to be able to check out children’s books and DVDs for her young daughter and son. After months of work, I still tear up thinking about the image of her crying tears of joy, library card in hand, with two very happy children.

Continue reading “Nothing makes me happier than making others happier: Bellin College’s new Student Success Center”

WLN Webinar #2 || Scholar’s Journey to Publication >> video and slides

Interested in publishing in the WLN? Miss the seminar?

The second the WLN webinar, Scholar’s Journey to Publication, hosted by Elizabeth Kleinfeld, Sohui Lee, and Julie Prebel, was attended by over 20 eager writers, both in the US and internationally.

This event covered strategies for drafting an article for WLN, including how to find time to write, how to understand the lit review process, and how to find or start a writing group.

If you couldn’t attend, a video recording is available, as are the slides from the presentation.

If you have any questions, please use the reply form below. Thank you!

 

CfP || The Fall 2018 edition of The Dangling Modifier is now inviting submissions!

The Dangling Modifier is a newsletter/online journal written by peer writing tutors for peer writing tutors. The newsletter, first launched in 1994 at Penn State University under the direction of Dr. Ron Maxwell, serves as an opportunity for peer tutors in writing to have their thoughts and experiences in the writing center published for an international audience.

Part of The DM’s charm? All selected submissions (and their writers!) are tutored through synchronous, digital sessions with a panel of student consultants. We don’t want to use the word “editors,” here, since that’s not the work we’re setting out to do. The goal for each published piece in each edition is for writers and their preliminary readers (our team of student consultants) to have meaningful conversations about their work and their writing before the editions go live. We want to extend our discourse on writing, revision, and reflection beyond our classrooms or writing centers and into a space that centers tutor-knowing and tutor-experiencing by pairing together our writers with consultants who assist in that reflection process.

Every fall, the newsletter is hosted by Penn State University under the supervision of Dr. Karen-Elizabeth Moroski (me), and in the spring, the newsletter travels! Recent hosts include Michigan State University and Wittenberg University. If your university might be interested in hosting during Spring 2019, let Karen know (kxm5044@psu.edu).

To learn more about The Dangling Modifier or to view this fall’s CFP, check out our website. Submissions are due November 12th.

Inkshed and Canadian Writing Centres

Margaret Procter retired in 2012 as University of Toronto Coordinator, Writing Support since 1994.

 

Original Inkshed Newsletter masthead

How does a country invent a new discipline? The answer for Canada would have to involve the organization commonly called Inkshed (otherwise the Canadian Association for the Study of Language and Learning). It brought university teachers together in person and online from 1982 to 2015 to discuss how students learn to use texts, write with their own voices, and interact to develop ideas. In the process, Inkshed gave Canadian writing-centre faculty a way to think about their particular kind of teaching and helped them become growth points in the emerging discipline of writing studies. As a new writing-centre director in the 1990s, I found a community in Inkshed conferences, listserv exchanges, and newsletters. I learned from Inkshed what writing instruction could be, and gained encouragement by seeing others navigate the issues I also faced.

Inkshed no longer offers conferences or creates newsletters, but it still exists as an active publishing house, extensive online archives of newsletters and email, and many intense memories. When Inkshed took shape in the 1980s, Canadian universities had only a weak tradition of teaching writing. Where first-year composition existed, it was usually grafted onto a literature course to show students correct essay structure and grammar. A few engineering and business schools required courses on workplace genres, also emphasizing  correctness. Some universities had writing centres offering individual tutoring, but they tended to be hidden in back rooms and seen as charitable measures for underprepared students. Continue reading “Inkshed and Canadian Writing Centres”

CfP || CWCA/ACCR conference — The Writing Centre Multiverse: Vancouver May 30-31, 2019

The Writing Centre Multiverse: Vancouver May 30-31, 2019

For our 2019 conference, the Canadian Writing Centres Association/L’Association canadienne des centres de rédaction welcomes proposals on any writing-centre-related subject, but particularly invites proposals that explore how Writing Centres navigate, respond to, and negotiate the “multiverse” we all inhabit—in our spaces, our practices, and our research.

How, for example, do any of the following multis inform, enrich, and/or limit our work in the context of our own institutions? How do they intersect or overlap with practical, political, and/or personal concerns around training, pedagogy, administration, decolonization, or wellness? How do we as writing centre practitioners respond to, negotiate, or resist, any or all of these?

Continue reading “CfP || CWCA/ACCR conference — The Writing Centre Multiverse: Vancouver May 30-31, 2019”

CfP || Writing Programs in the Former Soviet Union

Ashley Squires is Director, Writing and Communication Center, New Economic School, Moscow.

 

When I arrived in Moscow in 2013 to begin my job as Associate Director of the Writing and Communication Center at the New Economic School, it was with a sense of purpose and adventure. I felt that the work I was doing—teaching communication and critical thinking skills to Russian students—would be challenging and urgent. But I could not have guessed that my time here would overlap with the emergence of writing and writing pedagogy as a genuine academic discipline in a place where it hadn’t previously existed.

The WCC at NES is usually considered to be the first American-style writing center in the Russian Federation. Founded in 2011, it coincided with the creation of an American-style liberal arts program at the New Economic School and the Higher School of Economics. The latter university, which, like NES, was founded in the years immediately after the fall of the Soviet Union, began its own writing center in the very same year. Since then, between 14 and 16 writing centers have popped up across the country (the number depends on how we define an “active” writing center). However, the NES WCC remains the only writing center that, in the American mode, primarily serves the needs of students, especially undergraduate students.

Though inspired by American writing centers and Anglophone writing pedagogy, Russian writing programs are taking new forms. Many of them were founded with money distributed as part of Project 5-100 (Проекта 5-100), a state-sponsored effort to raise the international profile of Russian universities by encouraging faculty to publish in international venues. This has created the conditions for writing to emerge as a genuine discipline focused as it is on raising the general level of scientific communication, not only in English but in Russian as well. Interesting new approaches and research projects are emerging in this environment, and parallel efforts are ongoing in Central Asia and other parts of Eastern Europe. But across such a vast territory, scholars need help finding one another, and the West as yet knows little about the work being done here.

In cooperation with the WAC Clearinghouse, I am looking to bring attention to this important work and to increase the possibility of collaboration across borders. We are seeking proposals for contributions to an edited volume that will cover the history and current practice of writing programs throughout the former Soviet Union. This collection seeks to address the following questions:

  • How are teachers, students, researchers and administrators in the region working to further progressive writing pedagogy?
  • What ideas about writing and writing instruction—both new and old, foreign and domestic— inform, assist or complicate this work?
  • How does writing shape knowledge and practice within specific regional cultures, academic or otherwise? How might writing function as a bridge or barrier?
  • How is writing being used as a learning tool, within disciplines, within the university, or at a national or international level?

Possible submissions might include:

  • Studies of past language / educational practices in the region and the impact these practices have on contemporary writing pedagogy.
  • Analyses of institutions (writing centers, language departments, universities) and the forces, both internal and external, with which stakeholders must contend in reforming writing pedagogy.
  • Analyses of the region’s unique cultural, economic and political challenges, and how these challenges affect the teaching of writing.
  • Stories of success (or failure) in attempting to incorporate methods and materials from other countries’ research traditions.
  • Analyses of international collaboration efforts, the challenges faced and knowledges produced.
  • Research studies (either qualitative or quantitative) that test the feasibility of various teaching methods.
  • Stories or studies which understand local experience through broad theoretical concepts (translingualism; World Englishes; genre studies, activity systems and communities of practice; writing to learn and WAC/WID theory; academic literacies, etc.).

The deadline for proposals (200-300 word abstracts) is October 31, but we will continue to look at submissions after that point. Final essays will be due in late Spring of 2019. To submit an abstract or ask a question, contact Ashley Squires at asquires@nes.ru.

 

Music || Stamp+Ink: Writing Center fundraiser, IWCA Conference, Friday, October 12, 7-8pm

A few years ago, Scott Whiddon (Associate Professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and Communication, Transylvania University) and Graham Stowe (Assistant Professor of English, Canisius College) became friends because of writing centers and a shared love of music.  Both are songwriters, guitar players, active musicians, and writing center directors. For the past few years, they’ve played various writing center gatherings as Stamp+Ink, performing at spaces such as The Carson McCullers Center (Columbus, GA), the Burns-Belfry Museum (Oxford, MS), and Gallery 5 (Richmond, VA).  Along the way, Whiddon and Stowe recorded a digital album called Beautiful Scenes and are releasing it as a fundraiser for undergraduate and graduate student scholarships.

Continue reading “Music || Stamp+Ink: Writing Center fundraiser, IWCA Conference, Friday, October 12, 7-8pm”

New Associate Blog Editor – Anna S. Habib, Associate Director of Composition, George Mason University

Please welcome to the blog our new associate editor for the Middle East and North Africa, Anna Habib – editor.

 

Anna S. Habib is the Associate Director of Composition, at both the George Mason University home campus and at the branch campus in Songdo, South Korea & coordinator and instructor in the Graduate Writing Across the Disciplines courses for INTO Mason, Mason’s pathway program for graduate and undergraduate international students.

Anna Habib

Anna S. Habib was born in Beirut, Lebanon, during the civil war to a Lebanese father and American mother. When she was four years old, her family fled to the neighboring island of Cyprus where she grew up in a community of refugees from surrounding countries. As a bi-cultural, bi-national child from a post-colonial context, she grew up with English, Arabic and French as native languages and Greek as a second language. These intercultural, translingual experiences inspired her to pursue a BA in English with a concentration in Cultural Studies, and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction at George Mason University. She graduated from the MFA program in 2006. Her thesis, which she hopes to continue working on someday, is titled “A Block from Bliss Street: Growing up as a child of the Lebanese civil war.” She is currently pursuing her PhD in Writing and Rhetoric also at Mason, where she served as the Associate Director of the Writing Center for five years until she transitioned to her current position as Associate Director of Composition for Multilingual Writers.

Her research and publications have focused on the experiences of multilingual writers adapting to the expectations of the U.S. academy, faculty perceptions of writing by multilingual students,  and designing writing courses that are attuned to the diverse needs of this population. She is currently working on an auto-ethnography that aims to explore and theorize individual experiences of trauma and displacement.

Continue reading “New Associate Blog Editor – Anna S. Habib, Associate Director of Composition, George Mason University”

New Associate Blog Editor – Stephanie Dreyfürst, Director, Academic Writing Center, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

Please welcome to the blog our new associate editor for Europe, Dr. Stephanie Dreyfürst – editor.

 

Dr. Stephanie Dreyfürst, Director, Academic Writing Center,
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

I became interested in genre during my studies of German literature of the early Enlightenment period and have been doing research about historical genres as part of my job as director of the Writing Center at Frankfurt’s Goethe university.

Stephanie Dreyfürst

I began working in the writing center universe during my PhD in 2009 when I had the honour to open up the first German speaking writing center at this institution. In 2018, I founded the (now English speaking) Academic Writing Center at Frankfurt. Continue reading “New Associate Blog Editor – Stephanie Dreyfürst, Director, Academic Writing Center, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt”

SAVE THE DATE || Next WLN Webinar

WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship is proud to announce our second webinar: “WCA as Hero: A Scholar’s Journey to Publication.”

This event, covering strategies for drafting an article for WLN, including how to find time to write, how to understand the lit review process, and how to find or start a writing group, will be held on Friday, October 26, 2018, 3:00pm to 4:00pm E.S.T. and is hosted by WLN Associate Editors Elizabeth Kleinfeld, Sohui Lee, and Julie Prebel. There will be opportunities for Q & A.

The webinar is FREE but please R.S.V.P. at https://csuci.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_n1vum5cSTgibyetzc6_79A.

 

We look forward to talking to you!

Elizabeth, Sohui, and Julie