All posts by Martha Kein

Weekly Response: Selfe’s "The Movement of Air, the Breath of Meaning: Aurality and Multimodal Composing"


Selfe is arguing that FYW and Composition courses need to include other modes of communication besides writing. I am most certain that they contain discussion and often presentations. Many colleges now use CMS that allow for digital reading and writing, videos, tweets, linked readings, and online references. I understand her argument: that students now create aural compositions. If they are doing this on their own, do they need more in-class instruction? Why teach them what they already know? It seems that their writing skills are significantly weaker than their media skills. I have noticed that while students write electronically, compose in mixed media, and read tweets and texts, they lack the ability to read deeply and write clearly. Therefore, that is where teachers should be focusing their efforts in the classroom. Can we use pieces of other modalities? Sure, but they should not be the focus.

I wonder if Selfe had had less instruction in writing, whether the CCCC would have published her article? Would she have been able to digest and synthesize as much research, if the research material was in the form of podcasts or digitally remixed media? From her works cited, it seems she relied heavily on the written word. Should colleges deny or dilute formal writing instruction because it isn't popular or fun or cool?

The history of aurality she presents is admittedly "selective," meaning she only talks about the historical events that support her theory and omits those that don't. I agree that there is a place for aural composing. Perhaps there should be a class by that name. First Year Writing is called "writing" for a reason.

Selfe quotes Dunn who suggests that Composition teachers think writing isn't one way of knowing, but the only way. Such a silly generalization. How many Comp teachers did Dunn survey? While it is indeed one way of many, it is the way that students struggle most in, and will likely need instruction in.

Our HUM 101 and 102 courses at NJIT are subtitled "Writing, Speaking, Thinking." We read silently and aloud, discuss, present, and write. We compose for paper and electronic reading, and focus on the writing process. We think critically about texts and ideas, discuss in small and large groups, and learn different "genres" of writing and why we use them. We take researched essays and turn them into electronic and spoken presentations. Talking is important, of course. But again, most of the students are at least accomplished speakers one-on-one or in small groups. Their writing skills lag far behind, so that is where we emphasize instruction.

Dangerous! Don't "resist the literacy practices of the dominant culture" as Selfe suggests (624), or you will remain outside of it. Learn the literacy practices of the dominant culture and use them to your benefit. Then, and only then, can you change the rules and culture.

I disagree with much of what she says, and I firmly support English-Only education not out of racism but out of inclusion, opportunity, and enfranchisement.  It's important socially, civically, and financially. To enable school children in America to NOT speak English should be a crime.

Warning! Rant: Selfe advocates that composition teachers should "encourage students to deploy multiple modalities in skillful ways- written, aural, visual- and that they model a respect for and understanding of the various roles each modality can play in human expression, the formation of individual and group identity, and meaning making." This would then be a content course and not necessarily a writing course. How much do you want to cram into one year of writing instruction? Why is it that every time anyone thinks freshmen need to learn a skill they try to lump it into Composition, which is usually only 2 semesters of FYW instruction? Need to learn public speaking, don't create a class in the department, just tell FYW to handle it. Aural comp--FYW! How about composing in digital environments--give it to the FYW instructors. End Rant

Of course oral tradition has strong historic and social importance and is a valuable component of composition. Don't try to lump it into written composition, though. Give it its own course.

OK--the quote on page 629. So if the suppression and neglect of other modalities have dampened  human potential, then how did the emergence of all the new multimedia genres develop in the last few decades? Shouldn't print have squelched them?

Oooo, compose a PSA...I'm going to make a lesson out of that. The students in 102 have to make a poster to present at the end-of-year research showcase. I'll have  each group compose a PSA for their project and upload it to their eportfolios. I like it!! (643) I'm glad to have found something useful in this article.
As teachers of rhetoric and composition, our responsibility is to teach students effective, rhetorically based strategies for taking advantage of all available means of communicating effectively and productively as literate citizens. (644)
Really? I wonder if my department would agree with the word "all."

I understand Selfe's point. She doesn't want rigid teachers who value writing and only writing. However, I need to understand where in the curriculum she intends to place teaching of aural works and aural history and tradition. For many schools, and many students, composition instruction lasts only 2 semesters, and that isn't enough to produce accomplished writers.

Weekly Response: Yancey’s "Made Not Only in Words"

Yancey poses thought-provoking questions about writing at the beginning of this paper.

In the first "quartet" of her address to the CCCC, she talks about all the writing that is going on outside of school, and how the public is awakening to writing as the public awoke to reading during the industrial revolution. She references shifts in monetary allotment from schools to students, and how this changes education. She then discusses changes in writing, and that literacy is now screen based and media oriented.


In quartet 2, Yancey discusses the FYW course at college and how by changing it to be a gateway instead of a gatekeeping course, colleges could produce more graduates. What should FYW look like then? Print, digital, images, screens? Yancey examines the options and finds we are already expecting more than just print from students, and that electronic writing is already happening. This article is dated, though, 2004. She states that less than 30% of instructors were using CMSs. I suppose it is much higher by now.

Quartet three contains Yancey's call to action:
At this moment, we need to focus on three changes: Develop a new curriculum; revisit and revise our writing and develop a major in composition and rhetoric.
She focuses on a proposed new curriculum for the 21st century which includes changing the process model and the "tutorial" model. She gives a long list of tasks that students are NOT asked to do in a FYW course, but should be to become active and thoughtful members of a "writing public." She proposes that students learn to circulate and "remediate" (KUWP ISI '15, #clmooc) their writing and then analyze and reflect upon the process. She then says something I've been waiting for some reasonable soul to pronounce all semester. Instead of trashing FYW and calling for its demise because it can't create good writing, good digital literacy, good grammarians, good researchers, or good writers, she says:
And if you are saying, but I can't do all this in first-year composition, I'm going to reply, "Exactly." First-year composition is a place to begin;
Finally....Thank you, Yancey! She continues in quartet 3 to discuss delivery vs. invention, and why they should not necessarily be separate; and the concept of "now" in digital writing.

The fourth quartet talks about technology and how it is still outside of the curriculum, similar to how assessment is divorced from the curriculum. She suggests that writing curriculum must change now to include the way students write outside the classroom, and then points to larger social and political implications.

This is a great article, though over a decade old. Some of what she called for has already been widely accepted. Yancey may be one of my favorites from this class.

Weekly Response: Wiley’s "The Popularity of Formulaic Writing"

Wiley has some good points. I understand that she is not happy with the formulaic nature of Schaffer's pedagogy in her program that teaches the multi paragraph essay. She suggests, per Collins, that teachers should use the formula as a strategy, not a formula per se. I would hope that teachers could use the formula, but add more to it, so it isn't exactly a recipe.
"To develop as writers, students must develop a repertoire of strategies for dealing effectively with various writing tasks presented to them in different situations. They must also learn to make choices about genre, content, structure, organization, and style; and they must learn to hone their judgments about the effects of the choices they make as writers." Yes, but using Schaffer's program doesn't precluded teaching situational writing also.
Schaffer's program is a nine-week curriculum. It would be used as only a part of class, and other genres and strategies would be used before, after, and in conjunction with this method. A class meets all year, not just 9 weeks. To teach in the classrooms that Wiley mentions, poorly administered, overcrowded, and disadvantaged, this formula can be a lifeline to students who don't know where to start. Just because Schaffer doesn't offer a "what to do next" in her program doesn't invalidate the program. Teachers and districts can certainly figure out that there is more to do once students have a framework for a multi paragraph essay. She says, "To be fair, there is nothing in Schaffer's curriculum guide to preclude teachers from encouraging exploration." Exactly. If teachers are using the program as a crutch and don't know how to teach nor inspire their students to reach for more, I don't think that is a weakness of Schaffer's program. Further, Wiley makes the claim, "Yet the teachers who would be attracted to the guide are typically those who don't know how to encourage such exploration." If we are talking about poor teachers here, I don't know why that reflects on Schaffer's program. Poor teachers will do a poor job with or without Schaffer's program. The program should not be evaluated based on how the worst teachers will use it. Rather, will the worst teachers' students benefit more with or without the structured program? I bet "with" is the right answer. Also, after discussing the disadvantaged school systems and the unprepared students, why would the teacher, poor or expert, be to blame if he/she finds a method that can help students succeed at writing tasks and gain confidence in their abilities?

Wiley finds flaws with using the Schaffer system:
However, this strategy won't necessarily be helpful in other situations, such as when students must submit an autobiographical essay with their college applications. The formulaic approach would make their writing sound mechanical and simpleminded. It is also less helpful in situations where reflective, speculative, or argumentative writing is called for. Here writers might need to develop longer chains of reasoning through which they explain their positions on an issue, why something occurred, or why they took a specific action.
I agree with Wiley. The strategy won't work in other situations. It shouldn't. It is a strategy for writing multi paragraph essays about literature. Once the students have learned that strategy, or concurrently as they are learning it, they should move forward, outward, and onward to genres, audience, critical thinking, and exploration of their own writing.

As in Fister's article, Wiley trashes a practice because it doesn't provide enough expertise; it doesn't succeed in teaching students to become writers. There are so many ways to write, and so many different expectations, that no one method is going to teach writing for all occasions. Donald Murray might spend a year with a student who would become a great writer of stories and narratives. What would that student do when faced with a multi paragraph academic essay in response to literature? There is nothing wrong with using formulas, strategies, and methods that contradict each other. It helps the writer experience different styles and expectations, just like "real-life" writing. Further, I think many of these scholars think that every student should end by loving writing and being an exploring, expressive, and enthusiastic writer. I don't think that expectation is realistic. As great as my science teachers were, I will never have an interest, passion, or curiosity for science. I did need enough basic knowledge to pass science classes, though. Often, it is useful to give struggling students tools for success.  Students who have passion for writing will certainly move beyond the formulas and strategies when given the opportunity. Because the formula curriculum lasts only 9 weeks, there is plenty of time to give them that opportunity, to encourage students to develop as writers.

Weekly Response: Fister’s "Why the Research Paper is Not Working"

I agree and disagree with Fister. She is right that the research paper doesn't work. In HUM 101 we just finished doing a research paper, and the results are somewhat disappointing and just as Fister says: no one can cite sources correctly, and students skim the surface of the sources they read anyway, picking quotes out after the paper is written. Further, the students seem to be able to do "everyday research" much better than academic research. She suggests that we should scrap the formal research paper in freshman year because the students don't like it and aren't successful with it. Hmmm, maybe we should also scrap first year sports, as many students are uncoordinated and not star athletes when they first try a new athletic endeavor. Ridiculous, of course, but the comparison makes sense. 

While I agree that the results of the FYW research paper assignment are not stellar, I do not agree that it is a reason to scrap it. Her advise that we should assign topics the students are interested in of course makes sense. I think most institutions do that by now, no? We did at NJIT. In my class, the students were allowed to chose a brand, product, or issue of interest. We walked through all the steps of the research paper from brainstorming and idea generation, to preliminary research, proposal, annotated bibliography, drafts, writing center visits, revisions, presentations, and final drafts. (Linear in some cases, I know, and recursive in others. But how to teach to 27 freshmen at a time? My best advise: get the administration to cap the class at 18. I digress....)

I agree with Fister about the sillyness of worrying about the details of the citations. It is daunting for them. I review how to do in-text citations, and I explain that there is only one way to do them correctly in MLA format, i.e. parenthesis, name, page, parenthesis, period. When it comes to citing the actual sources in the annotated bibliography and the works cited page of the report, I tell the students to use easybib.com and not worry about trying to write the citation themselves. That seems to take the fear out of it for them, and they do fine.

The papers I received were, for the most part, not as awful as Fister suggests. We talked about the research and how it was similar to looking for a dress or a car online. The most difficult task of the project seemed to be the annotated bibliography, as no one had ever heard of such a thing. We used a template and samples, and just about everyone got it right on the second try. Will they ever have to write an annotated bibliography again? Probably not. Will they have to struggle with a new format and new genre and figure out how to do it properly for a professor or boss? Most definitely. It didn't kill them to complete the exercise.

The research presentations were much better than the actual papers, and gave them each a chance to be the experts in the room, talking about something they not only care about, but also know about. I like the whole project. They are far from expert researchers and writers after their first try, but I wouldn't take this first try away from them.

P.S. Fister's article looked like it was 3 pages, but after following all the links (some of which didn't work) it was much longer and more in-depth. I appreciate the thoroughness of her article which, at first glance, looked flimsy.

Weekly Response: Yancey’s "Looking Back as We Look Forward: Historicizing Writing Assessment"

Yancey reviews the history of writing assessment and describes three waves: testing, holistic scoring, and portfolio and program assessment. She asks what we can learn from writing assessment. That is a question we are addressing in our FYW program now in the Writing Committee meetings. Further, Yancey discusses the different realms of educators and testing specialists.

In the first wave, Deiderich seems overly confident in the assessment professionals' abilities to quantify good writing. Educators, on the other hand, were more concerned with validity than reliability and efficiency. However, it took 20 years for their concerns to create change in the system.

The second wave, spearheaded by White at Cal State in the 70's, included an actual writing test to evaluate writing. Of concern was cost, reliability, and efficiency, but he and his team managed to create an acceptable test. The test, however, was a measurement of more than just writing. It was correlated to wealth and parental education, not just writing. Therefore, the second wave had struggles and challenges that lead to the third wave.

The third wave is marked by collecting and scoring multiple drafts of writing: portfolio assessment. In this method of portfolio assessment, faculty read the portfolios in community and have to negotiate the standards and outcomes of the assessment practice. In this wave, writing assessment became recognized as a field. Also, questions emerged regarding who holds the "power" in assessment and how does it help to shape identity in students. I like the discussion of "fictionalizing" and "narrativizing." I find I struggle with this sometimes when grading. It is difficult to tune it out.

Yancey theorizes on what the fourth wave will look like. I think the fourth wave will indeed be electronic portfolios that are visual as well as textual, hyperlinked, and multimedia. I see that happening already.

Weekly Response: Straub’s "The Concept of Control in Teacher Response"

This article concentrated on explaining the difference in teacher comments on writing assignments, and how facilitative comments allow students to maintain more control over their writing than directive comments.  (The examples were very useful.) I felt that the author flip-flopped a couple times, seeming to feel that facilitative comments are superior to directive comments, and then explaining that teachers will have different styles and ways of using directive comments that are appropriate for certain teachers and in certain settings. Straub clearly prefers facilitative comments, but didn't want to be directive in telling teachers how to comment.

It was in the end notes that Straub best explained the difference between facilitative and directive responses.
In directive commentary, the teacher says or implies, 'Don't do it your way; do it this way.' In facilitative commentary, the teacher says or implies, 'Here's what your choices have caused me to think you're saying-if my response differs from your intent, how can you help me to see what you mean?'
I tend to like a mix of both, when I use comments at all. (I prefer conferences or rubrics.) My students would not appreciate completely facilitative responses. They want to be told what to do to "fix" the paper; they want clear instructions. However, giving them only directives does not teach them to think and become better writers.

Weekly Response: Yancey’s "Writing Assessment in the Early 21st Century"

Yancey gives background about how writing was assessed leading up to the last decade or so.  The questions asked are thought-provoking--who should be in charge of assessment, administrators or teachers? What are we assessing? How? I think sometimes the "testing" folks and the teachers don't really stop to think about these things. It's like a machine that just rolls, and no one stops to ask questions about why is it rolling and in what direction and who's driving??

One thing I love about this class is that it's so relevant to everything I'm doing right now. The Writing Committee at NJIT was just tasked with reading the most recent WPA Outcomes Statement. We were asked to write a response to the statement taking into consideration our department, our current syllabi and pedagogy, and our student population. So cool to have just done that and now read about how and why it came about, and what has happened since. I am certain that no one else on the committee except the director has read any of the scholarly articles regarding assessment that we have in this class. There is no one in the department with a background in Composition. Interesting. Yancey says some schools use them as-is, while others adapt them. We have never used the outcomes (or even acknowledged their existence as far as I know), but we're hoping to use them as a guide for a new NJIT Outcomes Statement as we rewrite the curriculum for our FYW program. Am I a nerd, or is that kind of exciting?


We use the St. John's model at NJIT. We evaluate portfolios to evaluate both the students and the program, but I don't think we do a great job of it. St. John's realized through assessment of the program that they need to focus on research skills.  We do, too, but I'm not sure how we came to that conclusion as a department. The University of Kentucky model seem a bit complex, but it lead to solid program assessment and action items for improvement.

The local vs. national question is interesting and, it seems, a little silly. You need both, of course. The question shouldn't be framed as either/or, but how to balance the two. National, though, should be evaluated carefully, if it is handed down by the government.

The portfolio situation is true at the micro-level of NJIT. While Yancey says programs differ as to whether they allow students or teachers or departments to decide what is included in portfolios, whether it's final work or all drafts and notes, and whether it's electronic or print, we differ by class sections. The department requests that certain items be included in the portfolios. Most adjuncts comply, but the tenured folks do as they please, rarely complying with requests of the department. This makes assessment difficult, because there is no consistency among the FYW program final deliverables for evaluation.

Yancey, in note 6, seems to advocate for keeping the decision making regarding outcomes and assessment of outcomes in the hands of the educated professionals, and not in the hands of the federal government. I would agree with her. It seems the more involved the government gets, the less education our children receive.

Weekly Response: Bean’s "Using Rubrics to Develop and Apply Grading Criteria"

This was a great reading. I'll respond to it with my own experiences with holistic grading, norming sessions, and rubrics.

When Bean talked about the controversy surrounding what professors actually want, it reminded me of some of the other articles we read about evaluating student writing. First, we need to decide what wer're looking for: voice, organization, content, grammar and spelling...? 


Essex County College: When I was at Essex, we were looking only for organization of the 5 paragraph essay in the exact structure taught in class, and grammar. Then, we would grade the paper holistically, with the student's name hidden, and have a second reader also score the paper holistically.  The sum of the two scores would be calculated and become the grade.  There were a number of problems with this system.  First, some papers were not bad, but didn't have the exact structure taught in class, so they were marked down. Next, the grammar was often stilted and confused, even when correct, so the grader didn't really consider whether the grammar was technically correct or not. The sentence could have subject and verb agree, but be so awkward in every other way; yet, it was difficult to mark down for awkwardness. Further, the illusion of hiding the student's name on each paper was absurd. These were handwritten essays. By midterm and final, I could certainly tell by the handwriting as well as the voice in the writing who the author was. Even as a second reader, reading students I didn't know, I could often tell by the handwriting, voice, and common errors the gender, nationality (foreign or American), and race (ELL or Ebonics) of the authors. Some common errors would also lead me to what first language the author spoke. I understand the theory behind hiding the names, but it didn't work in practice at all.

NJIT: At NJIT we have norming sessions every semester before we evaluate 500+ randomly selected student essays to check our FYW course effectiveness. The norming sessions are as Bean describes, only sometimes much worse. Depending on who shows up to the sessions, it can be a slightly argumentative discussion of which papers are better and why, and whose criteria are more important and "scholarly" than others'. When certain stuffed-shirts attend, there is less discussion, because those people tend to think their opinions are more important and informed than others. Some groveling attendees agree and defer, while others can't be bothered engaging in discussion which becomes argument with said individuals, and therefore the "norming" sessions become an exercise in listening to a select few and letting them decide our criteria for the day.  No matter the agreed upon criteria, we all try to grade each line item with a 2 or 3 on our 4 point scale.  Why? Incentive. Each essay gets evaluated twice. If any essay has grades with more than a 1 point spread, they go back in the communal pile for a third reading. Lots of these essays increases our time on task, and no one wants to stay late. Further, once you have evaluated a paper, your name is attached to it. If many of your papers are put in for third readings, people hate you by the end of the day and forever after.

Rubrics in HUM 101: I started using rubrics this semester to evaluate students' essays (projects). I love rubrics! They make evaluation easier, more precise (although Bean doesn't like the illusion of precision, sorry Bean), and reduce the need for end comments. I make my own rubrics on the Rubistar website. I let it generate a standard rubric; then I edit it. I may have included the link elsewhere in this blog, but it is worth posting again.  http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php
My rubrics are always grid based and task specific, and I have a different one for each project. The rubrics are available online when each project is assigned.

Brainstorming: I LOVE Diederich's 1974 experiment with the rubric grading where there was so little agreement among readers' scores. Just love it.  I'd like to do a version of that study now, using  a rubric to evaluate across the HUM 102 research paper that soon all NJIT second semester freshmen will have to write. If everyone is theoretically writing the same assignments, shouldn't the grading be consistent? I wonder if I could get some professors to use a rubric I create to score their students' essays? Could we get a random sample of say 100, and have them all graded by different professors? I know 5, maybe 6, who would likely be willing. I wonder if I could get a research grant? If I had a grant, I could offer a small incentive to the professors. NJIT just gave out research grants last month. I could apply for one for next year. Interesting. Not sure how this works, will have to investigate. What if I got permission to look at 200 essays online (free) and had Kean U grad students grade them?  Might be less red tape and a lower required incentive. Less politics, too. Now we're getting somewhere....Thesis?

Action Item - Bean's left-brain, right-brain Grading: Cool. Going to try it.  Grade the paper holistically first, and then evaluate the parts. Go back and calculate the rubric score later, and then norm it with the other papers in the class. It would take slightly more time, but it seems worth it if the grading is more consistent.

Weekly Response: Matsuda’s "Teaching Composition in the Multi Lingual World"

Matsuda discusses the role of second language writing in composition studies. He realizes that teaching English in college continues to evolve as student populations change, and he talks about how writing for ESL is separated from writing for native speakers, which may not be the correct choice. Then he says the "myth of linguistic homogeneity" (37) has not been properly addressed among those who teach writing to first language speakers.

Second language writing (L2 Writing) "refers to writing in any language that the writer did not grow up with, including the third, fourth, fifth language, and so on." (38). There are other acronyms too, such as ESL, ESOL, and ELL. All seem to carry a stigma. Generation 1.5 is a new label for ELL who are not foreign.


Sometimes students were put in ESL courses when they didn't necessarily belong there. It was either a political or economic decision on the institution's part. In the 1990's, ESL became recognized as a discipline, and there was much discussion and scholarship. Now, with colleges striving for diversity and the amount of foreign students at an all time high, L2 writing issues are debated at the forefront of composition studies.

Some schools are developing separate sections of FYW for second language writers. Matsuda suggests that placement in such sections should be optional. Other schools with less diversity may place L2 writers in a basic English class. Matsuda disagrees with this approach because these courses often don't count towards graduation. They force the student to pay for extra classes and can be a source of embarrassment as well. Writing centers often have a large amount of L2 writers, but Matsuda contends that some professors and most peer tutors are not prepared to help L2 writers. This is an issue that NJIT is actively addressing.

There are issues that the author feels still need to be addressed:
What version of English should be the norm?
Assessment and placement of students.
How to handle grammar issues.
Do we need to develop our American students to write more like the rest of the world?
Composition scholars must determine how to internationalize the field.

About half of my FYW students at NJIT are ELL in some way. Almost all of my students at Essex were ELL.  I speak and write in other languages, so I understand the struggle of trying to be understood in a language that is not comfortable or intuitive. Unfortunately, it is difficult to teach this type of facility with language. My personal experience (and I don't assume I can speak for anyone else but myself on this point) is that immersion and practice are the only strategies that ever improved my grasp of foreign languages, especially writing. From all we have read this semester, it seems there is no consensus on how to teach writing to anyone, much less on how to teach L2 writers.

LINK to draft of my final project.

Weekly Response: Harris & Silva’s "Tutoring ESL Students: Issues and Options"

The article "Tutoring ESL Students" came at a great time. The Writing Center staff and ESL Department at NJIT just held a seminar on the same topic! It was interesting to see which topics seemed to be universal concerns. Deciding between global and local problems in students' writing was discussed. Dealing with content before grammar was also covered. There was a lengthy discussion in the seminar and the article about how ESL students often want an editor and/or want to focus on "correctness" and rules. It makes sense. That's what I want when I write in a foreign language. I am usually confident in my ideas, but I'm not sure if I expressed them correctly and clearly for a native language reader to understand my meaning as I intend it to be understood.


The article covered how to prioritize, looking for patterns (which covered cultural differences as well), recognizing differences, whether ESL writes compose differently, how to confront errors and adjust expectations, setting goals for a tutoring session, resisting the urge to "tell," deciding what aspects of grammar to focus on, and encouraging proofreading.

I liked the section that offered further reading for tutors. It would have been nicer if they had offered it in the format of an annotated bibliography. It seemed a little messy in terms of using it as a resource. Just a nit-picky stylistic preference. (Paper or plastic?)

I also enjoyed the part where Harris and Silva talked about the cultural differences and expectations of the students. Some students want teachers to be "tellers," some have different ideas about what to expect from a tutoring session, some need more or less personal space and eye contact, some need to be asked direct questions, and some may continue to write with conventions that are considered incorrect in American culture, for example digressions or indirect language.

At the NJIT seminar, some of the examples of language differences were so interesting. One tutor covered errors that African students make and why they make them, (for example two boy. Why do we need to say boys? Doesn't the word two already clarify that there is more than one boy?) We talked about the lack of articles in China and India. (I read book.) We discussed the formal and informal verbs and words in romance and other languages (tu vs. Lei). One woman told of her frustration when she had to take a trip to Vietnam and asked a student to teach her how to say hello. He asked, "To whom? Male, female, older or younger?" His rhetorical situation always included evaluating the recipient of the language. This concept would also guide how quickly one "gets to the point" and whether direct or indirect language will be used.

The conclusion of the article was the basis for the NJIT seminar:
ESL instructors and writing center people need to keep interacting with and
learning from each other.