UConn`s Tenth Annual Conference on the Teaching of Writing

UConn's Tenth Annual
Conference on the Teaching of Writing
"Writing as Translation"
Co-sponsored by the Aetna Chair of Writing,
the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute,
and the UConn First-Year Writing Program
The Student Union
University of Connecticut, Storrs
Friday, March 27, 2015
8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Program Overview
Registration and Breakfast
Session 1
Session 2
Lunch & Keynote Address (Keynote begins at 12:30)
“Teaching Writing as Translation: A Translingual Approach”
Session 3
Session 4
Reception & Closing Roundtable (Roundtable begins at 4:30)
“Changing the Terms: Disciplines, Differences, and Writing”
Sessions and Descriptions
Session 1 (9:00-10:15)
Writing Across Languages
Chair: Erick Piller
Jelena Runic (University of Massachusetts Lowell) and Cynthia DeRoma (UConn)
Translating the Self in a Multilingual Classroom: Implications for Academic Integrity and
Teaching of Writing
Discourse of plagiarism in L2 writing has attracted a number of scholars over the past decade
(Keck 2014, i.a.). Nevertheless, while much research has been devoted to quantitative studies
and comparisons between native and non-native speakers of English, much less is known
about specific teacher responses regarding this phenomenon. Moreover, the university
administration leaves it to the instructor to decide on how to follow the code of academic
integrity. In this presentation, we first evaluate current views on plagiarism in light of our
own experience in the first-year writing programs at the University of Connecticut and
University of Massachusetts Lowell. We then propose a number of specific teacher responses
to inappropriate textual borrowing.
Jonathan Hall (York College, CUNY)
Found in Translation: Disciplinary Boundary Work between Rhetoric and Composition
Both rhetoric and composition and second language (L2) writing use the term “writing” as a
central organizing concept–but is something getting lost in disciplinary translation? For
rhetoric and composition “writing” usually entails the holistic interplay of writing, reading,
and thinking, while L2 writing tends toward a close focus on production of text per se. I will
analyze this complex translation of key terms–in both directions–between these disciplines
using the concept of “boundary-work,” arguing that in juxtaposing the ways in which
“writing,” as an object of study, is conceived and constructed under varying disciplinary
assumptions, something new might be found in translation as well.
Alice B. Emery (Gateway Community College)
Identity, Voice and Imagination in Multilingual Writers
B (SU 312)
Translating Writing Genres
Chair: Eleanor Reeds
Theresa Vara-Dannen (University High School of Science and Engineering, Hartford,
The Half-Flipped Writing Classroom
In a “flipped” class, students access lectures online and come to class to do their homework.
However, in teaching Writing through Literature courses, we want a truly engaged class
discussion, not a lecture. In my "half-flipped" classroom, my students discuss their reading,
but write their papers in class.
First generation and non-English speaking students need support as they write, and I find that
the best way to support them is in the classroom.
This “half-flipped” class:
 reduces student anxiety.
 acclimates students to writing on demand.
 clears away any obstacles that might have stopped them at home.
 makes procrastination almost impossible.
Kris Nystrom (Coginchaug Regional High School, Durham, CT)
Translating Argumentative Writing as a Constructivist Activity
Following unfortunate models in popular media and government, students often conflate
argumentation with argument. Now may be a sensible time to translate argumentative writing
as a constructivist genre. Instead of speaking and writing to oppose one another, students
build off one another’s ideas. Instead of debating interpretations, students focus on
discovering new perspectives. Instead of contending one idea over another, students construct
additional views generated from the claims of literary and cultural critics. The results are
clear: richer and deeper discussions, stronger writing, and extended explorations into ways
texts enrich our understanding of ourselves and our world.
Anne Porter (Providence College)
Translating Authority in an Online Essay Contest
When writers cite, they implicitly invite the reader to acknowledge the credibility of
those they reference. This process, however, can be complicated by power differentials
between writers, readers, and sources. As Canagarajah (2002) suggests, scholars from
'peripheral' global locations often feel compelled to cite authorities from the 'center.' In this
presentation, I show how eight winning essayists (seven of whom hailed from the Global
South) issued various challenges regarding what counts as authority in an online forum (a
2009 World Bank essay contest), and I suggest that these writers' unconventional citation
practices reveal useful rhetorical opportunities for students of writing.
Moving Boundaries
Chair: Ruth Book
Laurie A. Britt-Smith (University of Detroit Mercy)
Of Course You Care!: Translating the Assumptions of Civic Engagement in Theory and
Although the work of rhetoric has always included appeals that call for action in the cause of
societal improvement, we need to be aware of the risks we are asking students to take when
exploring such dangerous cultural cross currents. As instructors we need to be aware of how
these risks are translated and negotiated by our students. This presentation will demonstrate
a pedagogy based on civic engagement theory and will discuss the assumptions and ethics of
such an approach, and the tensions that exist between instructor expectation and student
willingness to engage in work that exposes so much of their political, ethnic, spiritual, and
class identity.
Brian Hentz (UConn)
The Rhetorics of Sustainability: Writing Our Way Through Uncertainty
Sustainable development has gained significant traction of late, largely in response to a range
of interconnected phenomena in the external environment (e.g., global aging, international
free trade agreements, climate change) that have heightened uncertainty and challenged
industry leaders to rethink “business as usual.” Writing opportunities across the business
school curriculum offer students opportunities to think through the complexities that underpin
sustainable development. In this presentation, I will discuss how I develop writing-to-learn
opportunities and assignments to help both emerging (undergraduate) and seasoned (MBA)
professionals challenge their own understandings of sustainability as a monolithic, unified
Vanessa Surjadidjaja (UConn)
Evolving Ideas from Interdisciplinary Examples: Incorporating the STEM Fields in FirstYear Composition Courses
Composition courses and their instructors, such as those in First Year Writing (FYW)
programs, often times encounter students with varying academic interests and goals in mind.
Thus, the concepts we introduce to our students, whether those focusing on comparative
literature or engineering in the near future, need to incorporate conventional, theoretical texts
alongside more relatable subjects. With a focus on integrating topics in the STEM fields to
composition courses, this presentation brings to attention how courses in FYW programs have
the potential to further accommodate to the interdisciplinary characteristics of their students
and their interests.
Linking Education and First-Year Writing:
Piloting a Full-Year Reading and Writing Initiative for Education Majors
Tanya Sturtz, Darrell Hucks, and Kate Tirabassi (Keene State College)
This panel will discuss a pilot program offering first-year Education majors an opportunity to
take linked courses across the full academic year: an Education course focused on reading and
research and a first-year composition course focused on a semester-long research project.
Faculty who team-teach these courses will share resources that they have developed to help
their students transition from high school to college-level reading, research, and writing and
discuss what students have said about their learning in this program. The first-year writing
coordinator will provide an overview of the history and future of this pilot program at Keene
State College. E (SU 325)
Language and Power in First-Year Composition:
Translating Sociolinguistics, Subjectivity, and Critical Consciousness
Chair: Laura Wright
Alex Way, Elizabeth Francese, and Edie-Marie Roper (Washington State University)
This panel argues that composition pedagogies should challenge current institutional language
ideologies and constraints by foregrounding language and power in the first-year writing
course. Specifically, the panel members demonstrate how their three assignments-a code
translation assignment, an autoethnography and a personal narrative-emphasize the subject,
ideologies in language, and critical consciousness in student writing. Responses to the
panelists’ assignments give voice to students and teachers who are struggling with
complicated subject positions related to diversity in backgrounds, cultures, and languages. As
teachers we can use linguistic diversity and different forms of narrative to transform
institutional attitudes about effective pedagogy.
Session 2 (10:30-11:45)
Negotiating Our Words
Chair: Laura Wright
Alex Gatten (UConn)
Preserving the Jiao between the Self and Writing
Hilarie Ashton (CUNY Graduate Center)
Translation(al) Movement: ASL for All Writers
Saveena Veeramootho (University of Maine)
An International Graduate Teaching Assistant’s Perspective: Translating between Identities
This presentation is based on a case study of an international graduate teaching assistant
teaching a section of English 101, a First Year Writing class. She presents mostly three identities
in the classroom: a graduate student, a teacher and an international student and teacher. These
various identities are expressed in varying ways in class such that a balance is achieved among
them. This balance, taking the form of a persona created along the seams of these identities,
emerges to allow the teacher to better connect with both her domestic and international students.
Brian Aneskievich (UConn)
Using the Up-Goer Five Text Editor in a Writing-Intensive Course: ‘Translation’ from the
Complex to the Commonplace
Many professionals find themselves at the interface of knowledge production and the endconsumer in need of understanding it. This often requires translating highly technical, fieldspecific terminology to a broadly accessible form comprehendible by the layperson while
retaining information integrity. For a university senior’s-level course on writing, students were
challenged to use the Up-Goer Five on-line text editor to re-write part of a scientific
article. Individually and then in groups, students went through an iterative, peer-reviewed rewriting process. Although the text editor limit of the 1000 most-commonly used words is more
extreme than may be used in writing lay documents, students appreciated the challenge to write
for more universal understanding while preserving the scientific intent. The editor’s ease of use,
suggestions for disallowed words, and prior writing examples make it adaptable to numerous
and diverse learning environments.
(SU 312)
Geographies of Writing
Chair: Steven Mollmann
Jordan Pailthorpe (Emerson College)
A New Way of Writing: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Using Games and Game Design in the
First-Year Writing Classroom
This presentation guides the reader through the process of analysis and discovery, reproducing
the mindset of a student as they discover the power of games as text and the ways in which the
modality provides an innovative approach to teaching rhetorical writing. Therefore, based on
personal classroom practices, I provide specific lessons on how to position both analog and
digital games as rhetorical texts and use them as launching points for writing projects.
Chris Featherman (Northeastern University)
Multimodal Translation as a Pedagogical Resource in FYW Classrooms
This presentation explores the role of multimodality in a translingual approach to composition.
Multimodal linguistic landscape projects from a first-year writing course are shared as examples
of translation work in which the language of spaces and places are documented in digital
images, analyzed as discursive practices, and revised by tagging, marking up, or remixing those
images. With language practices viewed as spatio-temporal codings, it is argued that students’
revisions become creative disruptions of the ideologies inscribed in landscapes. The presentation
concludes with reflections on multimodal translation as a pedagogical resource and the
translingual turn in writing studies.
Katharine Dougherty and Emily Kilbourn (Ridgefield High School)
Translating World Film into Writing
We present what is not, but could be, lost in translation when writers view world films as texts
that offer them multiple perspectives from which to pursue inquiry. Writers can use world films
to distance themselves from the accessible apprehensions of story and character and move
toward provoking and explorable territory. Because easy cultural alliances are scarce for new
world film viewers, they find themselves widening their engagement incrementally to a world
view. They grow plucky. Their writing moves from report and observation to implications in
which from their new vantage points they may claim to be stakeholders. We use the study of
film elements and a film progression to open a path through world film for first year writers.
Feedback Loops
Chair: Melissa Bugdal
Bethany Ober Mannon (Penn State University)
What Do Graduate Students Want from the Writing Center? Translating Tutoring Practices to
Support Thesis and Dissertation Writers
Lauren Short (University of New Hampshire)
A Tale of Two Centers: Observations from Writing Centers Across State Boundaries
Deepti Dhir and Titcha Ho (Baruch College, CUNY)
Situating the Place of Multilingual Writers: Moving Beyond Google Translate in a Diverse
Writing Center Context
At Baruch College Writing Center, we have recently been exploring how to better address the
needs of our significant population of multilingual writers. Grammar is often cited as an issue
from students who come to the Writing Center. The problem is sometimes complicated when
second language writers utilize high-level academic vocabulary with the help of Google
Translate or a thesaurus without fully understanding word usage. In trying to address some of
these concerns, the Center turns to the current research in translingual writing and
translanguaging, which value students’ native languages. Our role is to allow room for more
varieties of English that incorporate student’s linguistic backgrounds. Our presentation will
cover initiatives such as our new “Translanguaging Write In” workshop.
Technologies of Teaching
Chair: Eleanor Reeds
Amy Nocton (RHAM High School, Hebron, CT)
Lost in (Your, Her, His, Their) Thoughts: Translation, Blogging, and the Spanish Classroom
This year, I have been working with my RHAM High School ECE Spanish students on blogging
in both Spanish and English. The students and I write first in Spanish and then translate our
work into English. Additionally, students post their work to a blog. While many language
teachers discourage students from translating their work, especially from a student’s native
language into the non-native language, I am discovering that students working in the reverse are
becoming more metacognitive about their own language learning processes and are embracing
how slippery the art of translation, in any form, is.
Ruth Zenaida Yuste Alonso (UConn)
Translating Images: Fostering Writing in the Foreign Language Classroom through Image
The fear to express oneself in a foreign language is typically present in the classroom. While
words tend to be an inevitable source of anxiety, images seem to be less intimidating for
students. This presentation seeks to discuss the role of images in language instruction and its
effective implementation through professor Jorge Vega’s Integral Method for image analysis in
order to foster communication in the language classroom. The presenter will share some
practical examples to illustrate the method from a double perspective, as a French student and
then as a Spanish instructor, and point out the translation fundamentals underlying in this imageword transformation.
Becky L. Caouette (Rhode Island College)
Translating Texts into… Texts? Considering Multimodality and Visual Rhetoric in the FYW
Recent changes to the “WPA Outcome Statement for First-Year Composition” reflect a larger
conversation in Composition: a conversation about the role of technology, multimodality, and
visual rhetoric in the writing classroom. In this presentation, I will speak about my initial forays
into this world—a world I was not, strictly speaking, educated for or trained in. Students in my
FYW courses consider the textual opportunities offered by the larger college campus, and
design texts that other programs, organizations, or departments might find useful.
Kelin Loe (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
Translating Description Across Time and Discpline
Ancient Greek educators considered description a difficult and dynamic rhetorical strategy. By
examining handbooks that detail a set of rhetorical exercises, I found their conception of
description to be a complex, affective connection between bodies. I will compare this ancient
conception of description with the inconsistent, limited one I’ve found in contemporary firstyear writing handbooks. Understanding description can build an engaged, critical practice to
support our students as they write their experience. Ancient description starts a shared discourse
around description, an important move to make as MFA candidates and graduates share the
responsibility of writing research and instruction.
E (SU 325)
Deciphering Practice
Chair: Erick Piller
Tiffany Smith (EO Smith High School) and Jason Courtmanche (UConn)
Translating Theory into Practice, Research into Pedagogy
For eight years, UConn English Education majors taking Advanced Composition for
Prospective Teachers have collaborated with EO Smith High School sophomores on a literacy
project that translates composition theory into teaching practice. Students read two novels in
common and each of the undergrads mentors several high school students, helping them to think
about their reading, generate ideas for writing, and then providing them with responses to their
written work as they draft essays on each novel. UConn’s Jason Courtmanche and EO Smith’s
Tiffany Smith have conducted a research study on the benefits of this collaboration and will
share their preliminary findings.
Lucy R. McNair (LaGuardia Community College)
ENG 101 / “Lost & Found in Translation”
Session 3 (1:45-2:45)
(SU 304A)
Experience and Connection
Chair: Emma Burris-Janssen
Alexis F. Piper (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Imagination, Empathy, and Translation in the Writing Classroom: Re-Conceiving Critical
Thinking as an Act of Translation
Courtney Patrick-Weber (Bay Path University)
Cultural Postmemory and Teaching Empathy: Why We Need to Embrace Trauma Writing in the
FYC Classroom
Patricia Bizzell (College of the Holy Cross)
Historicizing Attitudes Toward Transitioning into English: Insights from Autobiographical
Literature courses including texts that provide insights into the multilingual experience allow
multilingual students to lead, if they wish, in interpreting course material. I will discuss three
examples: Mary Antin’s joyful memoir of seamless transition into “The Promised Land” of
American English and culture; Anzia Yezierska’s novel Bread Givers, in which protagonist Sara
Smolinsky’s transformation into a “person” is capped by marrying her English teacher; and Eva
Hoffman’s account of acute psychic dislocation, torn between English and Polish, in her memoir
Lost in Translation.
B (SU 312)
Translating Personal Experience: Narrative, Utility, and Intellectual Professionalism
Chair: LTC Sean D. Cleveland (USMA)
Cadet Joseph Carrannante (USMA)
Translating Personal Experience: Narrative, Utility, and Intellectual Professionalism
Cadet Joseph DiGennaro (USMA)
Translating Failure: A Rosetta-Stone for Success
Cadet William Grodeski (USMA)
Translating Self Reliance: Contextualizing the Individual in Collaborative Ideation
Translating the Work of First-Year Writing:
Civic Engagement, Learning Communities and Disciplinary (Dis)Integration
Jennifer DiGrazia, Diana Schwartz, and Elizabeth Stassinos (Westfield State University)
Translating Practices: Integrating
Writing Center Tutor Training into First-Year Writing Courses
Melissa Bugdal, Nellie Binder, and Kyle Piscioniere (UConn)
This panel analyzes the ongoing process by which writing center course embedded tutors rearticulate tutor training to fit the needs of first year writers. Panelists will address the process of
translating one-to-one practices of a peer-tutoring model into a small group model. Fellows
utilize their writing center training to consider which best practices of a peer-tutoring approach
do or do not translate to a fellows context, as well as future sites of translation to consider. The
presenters will also invite the audience to consider the ways that writing center practices can be
integrated into various classroom settings. E (SU 325)
Farther Away from Home than Ever Believed:
The Tensions Between and Coercion of Non-Standard Englishes and Academic Registers
Cristina Migliaccio (St. John’s University), Robert Mundy (Pace University), and Anna
Sicari (St. John’s University)
For many institutions, writing competence requires proficiency in Standard English. Yet, that
standard is often a blunt instrument that silences other Englishes. How should the composition
classroom respond to student writing that incorporates local dialects? Exploring what is lost
when vernaculars are flattened into Standard English for “success,” this panel will consider the
composition instructor’s role in supporting students’ right to their own language. This panel
seeks to foster conversation about what the composition instructor can do, especially when
working with a diverse body of students, to navigate issues of language in the academy.
Session 4 (3:00-4:00)
(Re)imagining, (Re)positioning, and (Re)evaluating Student Knowledge:
A Writing Pedagogy for the Globalized Classroom
Blaise Bennardo (Queensborough Community College, CUNY; Suffolk Community
Shyam Sharma (Stony Brook University), and Raquel Corona (Queensborough
Community College, CUNY)
Translating Lived Experience Through English and Dance Collaborations
Aliza Atik, Aviva Geismar, and Benjamin Miller (Queensborough Community College,
C (SU 325)
Lost and Found in Translation: The Challenges and Benefits
of Content-Based ELL Writing Courses
Heather Barrett, Amy Bennett-Zendzian, and Holly Schaaf (Boston University)
In this panel, we argue for the value of content-based ELL writing courses. Our papers focus on
such courses we have built around specific topics: Gothic Tales from Around the World,
Revisiting Fairy Tales, and Unique and Universal Languages. Collectively, we explore the
challenges inherent in translating content typically reserved for NES writing courses to ELL
classrooms. At the same time, we argue for the benefits of this translation process as it
encourages ELL students not only to apply their grammar skills in new ways but also to develop
critical thinking skills that are just as vital to their success.
D (SU 312)
How to Empower Students to Be 21st Century Thinkers
Barbara Laurain and Phil Harak (South Windsor High School, South Windsor, CT)
The Common Core has placed emphasis on concrete skill building to bolster what are perceived
as 21st century skills. However, research from Framework for 21st Century Learning suggests
that curriculum which helps students master the multi-dimensional abilities required of them in
the future includes blending of specifics skills content knowledge, expertise and literacies. This
realization begs the questions: what are these effective pedagogical strategies and what are the
implications of sequencing and scaffolding instruction to empower students to engage critically
in translating a text? Since students progress throughout their school years in linear thinking, our
presentation asks the question: what role does non-linear thinking play in the development of
those multi-dimensional abilities of creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem
solving and communication and collaboration?
The act of translating texts on complex levels necessitates a wider range of strategies than just
tracking plot development and characterization. Students need to engage in the text through both
non-linear and non-verbal means in order to render a narrative that includes multiple voices,
ambiguous literary forms and interpretive angles.
This presentation will include three specific sections: non-linear thinking in shapes, sizes and
colors; juxtaposing visual and poetic texts to articulate the development of thinking from
concrete to abstract; and re-casting, re-telling and re-claiming non-fiction as a compliment to
Beloved as the primary text. Participation and discussion of each section will allow participants
to understand the underlying concepts of each focus as well as see ways of adapting them to
their own classrooms.
Closing Roundtable (4:30-5:30)
Please join us for a reception and closing roundtable, facilitated by Professor Bruce Horner (University of
Louisville), to celebrate this conference's ten-year anniversary and discuss and imagine some futures for
writing. Refreshments will be served in Room 304B at 4:00pm and the roundtable will follow in the same
room beginning at 4:30pm. The roundtable is titled “Changing the Terms: Disciplines, Differences, and