Second Language Writing Interest Section

Letters from the Past Chairs

Nigel Caplan, SLWIS Chair, University of Delaware, USA,

Dear SLWIS colleagues,

The Second Language Writing Interest Section (SLWIS) continues to be a vibrant home for research and practice into second language (L2) writing concerns. We were well represented at the annual TESOL convention, with a lively academic session (on the myths of the five-paragraph essay) and three substantive InterSections (with Teacher Education, Elementary Education, Materials Writers, and Video/Digital Media ISs) as well as almost 100 other sessions on L2 writing. Representatives of the interest section also participated vigorously in conversations about the future of TESOL’s constituent groups, a process which has continued throughout the spring and summer. Though the final shape of the new “communities of practice” is still under discussion by the TESOL Board of Directors, we are confident that SLWIS will remain an important source of community and information for our members.

One indicator of the strength of our IS is the record number of proposals we received for the 2018 Convention in Chicago: almost 300! Due to the limitations of time and space, our acceptance rate was under 20%. Thank you to everyone who submitted and reviewed proposals. Your contributions are greatly appreciated. In addition, our email list has more than 2,000 members, and I hope you will continue to use it to share ideas, opportunities, and questions about teaching and studying L2 writing. We are also planning webinars so that we can provide and participate in continuous professional learning throughout the year.

I’d like to end by thanking our newsletter coeditors, Ilka Kostka and Elena Shvidko, for all the work that goes into producing this important publication. Ilka has been assiduously editing the newsletter for 2 years, and Elena was recently appointed as coeditor, having previously edited the Graduate Student Spotlights section. If you have an idea for an article for SLW News, please contact the editors. Finally, we are gearing up for SLWIS leadership elections. Please look out for emails with the nomination process and consider joining our team as we look ahead to a new future for SLWIS. Thank you for supporting this community, and I wish you a successful academic year. Enjoy the newsletter!

Nigel Caplan
SLWIS Chair, 2017–2018

Ryan Miller, SLWIS Chair, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, USA,

This year, SLWIS enters its 12th year as an interest section. Like it has for many of you, the SLWIS has become my home within TESOL, and it is truly an honor to serve as your chair for the 2016–2017 year. I look forward to a great year of idea sharing and intellectual discussion with the SLWIS community!

First, I would like to give an update following the convention in Baltimore last April. Our SLWIS meetings and special sessions were well attended this year. Our academic session focused on the role of genre in teaching writing, and we were fortunate to have noted scholars in this area, including Christine Feak, Ann Johns, Ahmar Mahboob, and Luciana de Oliveira. We also had three InterSections: one with the Higher Education IS and Intensive English Programs (IEP) IS on aligning writing objectives in higher education across IEPs, first-year writing, and content classes; one with the Refugee Concerns IS and Adult Education IS on teaching writing to adult low-literacy students; and one with Secondary Schools IS on preparing high school students for various postsecondary writing demands. A number of long-standing SLWIS members contributed to these sessions, including Gena Bennett, Colleen Brice, Nigel Caplan, Betsy Gilliland, Ditlev Larsen, and Nancy Overman.

In addition, planning for the 2017 convention in Seattle is well underway. Thank you to everyone who submitted a proposal. SLWIS received 278 proposals, which is an increase of 41 proposals from last year. Each proposal was reviewed by three or more reviewers, many of whom were SLWIS members. The number of slots we are allotted in the program is based on the number of proposals submitted to our IS, so it is important for SLWIS members to continue to submit proposals for various types of presentations. For the 2017 convention, we were allotted 53 program slots in addition to 18 poster sessions.

Research- and practice-oriented sessions remained the most popular this year (together representing 75% of SLWIS submissions), making these the most competitive categories as well. We also received a number of strong workshop, panel, teaching tip, and dialogue (a new type for this coming year) proposals. The overall acceptance rate was approximately 26%, although acceptance rates for dialogues and posters were higher. Thank you to everyone who submitted and/or reviewed proposals!

For those who are planning on attending the 2017 convention in Seattle, I would like to encourage you to apply for travel funding from TESOL. Each year, TESOL awards more than US$50,000 in scholarships and grants to enable members to attend the convention. Of course, the annual convention is not the only way to be involved in SLWIS, and this year we will continue our efforts to make SLWIS a year-round interest section. Some of the ways to be involved in the IS outside the convention include:

  • Participating in our e-list: Our e-list is a great place to share ideas and resources and to ask questions. The collective knowledge of our interest section members is a great resource!
  • Participating in online discussions: This year, we will be continuing the online discussion series that we have been hosting the last couple years. In these sessions, an expert in an area of second language (L2) writing leads an interactive discussion with attendees, who join either online or via telephone. Some of the past discussions include topics on writing assessment (led by Deborah Crusan), feedback (led by Dana Ferris), qualities of an effective writing teacher (led by Todd Ruecker), and TESOL’s research agenda (led by Dudley Reynolds), and are archived online. Recently, Ann Johns led a discussion on teaching effective and various summaries. We are currently planning more online discussions for the coming year, so check the e-list for announcements soon!
  • Interacting with our Facebook page: The SLWIS leadership, especially our diligent community manager Elena Shvidko, posts articles and topics related to SLW via our Facebook page (which currently has more than 5,200 likes!). If you are a Facebook user, make sure you “like” our page to get these posts. The comments are a great place to participate in discussions about SLW.
  • Writing for SLW News: Our newsletter team, led by Ilka Kostka, publishes two issues of SLW News each year, containing reports of SLW research and teaching, interviews, and reviews of SLW books and materials. The newsletter always welcomes submissions of various types from SLWIS members.
  • Reviewing proposals for the convention: While this is related to the convention, it is not required that you attend to review. Nonetheless, reviewing proposals is a great way to participate in the IS and to see what kinds of work people in SLW are doing. Each year, TESOL puts out a call for reviewer applications, so check your email for the call for the 2018 convention.

There are also opportunities to join the IS leadership. Our outgoing chair, Silvia Pessoa, will be facilitating the election process this year, and I would encourage anyone who would like to become more involved in the IS to nominate yourself for open positions.

Lastly, I would like to thank all of the contributors to this issue of the SLW News and congratulate the editorial team on another great issue. The newsletter plays an important role in the IS, and I thank you for all of the work you put into making it such a useful resource.


Ryan Miller

SLWIS Chair, 2016–2017

Sylvia Pessoa, SLWIS Chair, Carnegie Mellon University, Qatar,

Dear SLWIS Community,

I hope that this message finds you well. It was good to see many of you in Toronto for a vibrant convention that included a variety of interesting sessions. For our academic session on theory-informed practice in second language writing, we were very fortunate to have established experts in our field such as John Swales share activities that can inform our teaching of academic writing. Our InterSections with Adult Education, Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL), and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) were also very well received and included long-standing SLWIS members such as Ann Johns, Deborah Crusan, and Ken Hyland. Thank you to all our outstanding presenters and engaged presentation attendees.

The upcoming convention in Baltimore is a special one as TESOL will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. I really hope to see many of you there so we can all join in the celebrations and make the most of out the convention. For TESOL 2016, 237 proposals were submitted and we were able to accept 53 (up from 48 last year), in addition to nine poster sessions and two roundtable sessions. This means that the overall acceptance rate was approximately 27%. Thank you to all our proposal reviewers and to all who submitted proposals.

We always like to offer the convention attendees a balance of different types of sessions to attend, and we also seek to increase the diversity of presenters and include presenters from outside the United States. In some institutions, the support to attend TESOL is granted only if one presents at the convention. We continue to encourage presenters from outside the United States to attend TESOL and apply for TESOL’s financial support to do so.

Although attending the international TESOL Convention is very important to stay connected with the organization and with colleagues, there are other ways to do so. In the SLWIS, we are always interested in involving membership outside the convention. In order to do this, we have begun to strengthen our online presence via social media while also offering webinars. In May 2015, our past chair Todd Ruecker organized a very active and well-attended webinar on the qualities of a second language writing teacher. This topic emerged from one of our discussions on the SLWIS e-list, which focused on the role and status of native- and nonnative-English-speaking teachers. We thank our friends and colleagues in the NNESTIS for their leadership and for engaging our membership in such an important discussion. While many interesting and engaging discussions happen organically on our e-list, webinars offer an opportunity to engage with a topic in more detail, so we will continue to offer webinars for our membership. We welcome your suggestions for topics.

Our newsletter is also another way that helps us stay connected. Thank you Ilka and the rest of your team for putting together your first issue, and thank you to all the contributors. Enjoy this issue and see you all in Baltimore, or earlier this fall in Auckland, New Zealand, for the Symposium of Second Language Writing!

Silvia Pessoa

2015–2016 SLWIS Chair

Todd Ruecker, SLWIS Chair, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA,

Dear SLWIS Members,

I hope that this message finds you well. It was good to see everyone in Portland for a vibrant conference with a variety of interesting sessions. Our annual meeting had strong attendance, and we had some productive discussions about the future of the IS based on the results of the membership survey we conducted last fall. In particular, we are interested in involving membership outside the convention. In order to do this, we have begun to strengthen our online presence via social media while also looking to offer a webinar or two this next year. To this end, I will be approaching some members who submitted workshop proposals for the Toronto convention about the possibility of turning these into webinars.

For the upcoming convention in Toronto, we had 264 proposals, continuing our trend to increase this number every year. Research- and practice-based presentations continued to be by far the most popular type of submission, and we had a number of strong workshop proposals in response to our call for more of these. We are allotted program slots based on the number of submissions, so it’s important to keep increasing our numbers so SLW has more space in the program. This year we were able to accept 48 proposals (up from 46 last year) in addition to six poster sessions and two roundtable sessions. This means the overall acceptance rate was around 21%, a number that increased to 33% for roundtable exchanges and 46% for poster proposals.

Because I sought to balance research- and practice-based presentations along with workshops, teaching tips, and discussion groups, the research- and practice-based categories were the most competitive. Each proposal was reviewed by three people; thanks to the volunteer labor of a large number of reviewers. Although the decision has been received with mixed feelings among our members, I continue to support TESOL’s decision to have reviewer training and would like to see annual required norming for reviewers to ensure that every proposal gets a fair review. While the process has improved, there were a number of proposals that had two high-scoring reviews along with one very low one, something that speaks to the value of having three reviewers as well as improving the norming process.

I invite you to continue to stay active on the e-list this fall, sharing resources with one another. Our outgoing chair, Gena Bennett, will be facilitating the election process, so I encourage people to nominate others or themselves for open positions. Recently, our excellent new community manager Elena Shvidko created an SLWIS Facebook page, so if you are on Facebook, I encourage you to get online and connect in that space.

Finally, I would like to thank Margi Wald and the rest of the newsletter team for putting together another great issue. Creating this resource is labor intensive but, as evidenced in our survey results, an important service to the SLW community at TESOL.

Todd Ruecker

2014–2015 SLWIS Chair

Gena Bennett, SLWIS Chair, Kailua, Hawaii, USA,

Dear SLW-IS Community,

Thank you! This year we had a record number of proposals submitted—nearly 250—with 100 volunteer reviewers. Based on reviewer feedback and your discussion during the Dallas convention regarding topics of interest, I have forwarded a recommended 46 concurrent sessions, six poster sessions, and two roundtable sessions to the central office for Portland. The 2014 TESOL convention will be packed with valuable SLW sessions!

I'd especially like to thank our chair-elect, Todd Ruecker, for his invaluable idea for creation of a Google doc where members could share and collaborate on proposal ideas. You will see the fruits of this work in Portland, as several proposals submitted from collaboration on the Google doc were accepted as sessions. I hope that in the future we can continue to collaborate on such a prolific and global level.

You may remember that this year we have been tasked by the TESOL central office with updating our Governing Rules. The Steering Committee worked hard in Dallas to update the rules to best represent our IS. We will be calling for a vote on the changes in the coming months. Exact copy of the updated (proposed) Governing Rules will available for review during the actual vote. While most of the changes were relatively minor (the addition of sections by the TESOL central office that all ISs must now include), the "major" changes are summarized here:

  • "Webmaster" has been changed to "community manager." This is a terminology change the central office has requested of all ISs;
  • The office of historian has been retired. Due to the technological advancements making documentation widely available (e.g., Google Docs) and lack of duties completed in the past several years, the position no longer seems necessary to/for the running of the IS;
  • A managing editor position with subsequent associate editor positions was created for the newsletter. This will allow the newsletter to have a broader, more inclusive range of content.
  • The office of secretary is proposed as an elected rather than appointed position. This will allow more members the opportunity to express interest in serving in this position and becoming more involved in the IS.

Although we are still 6 months from convention time, SLWIS is still busy engaging in the second language writing community. Chair-Elect Todd Ruecker is conducting a survey about the current work and future directions of our IS; the survey will provide input from our members about what we're doing well, what could be improved, and what new initiatives we might consider. Past-Chair Lisya Seloni is preparing the SLWIS election ballot; please consider serving in one of the open positions! Many of you will also be gathering in China later this month to explore “Represented, Underrepresented, and Unrepresented Voices in the L2 Writing Global Context.” As always, the IS listserv is "open," and we look forward to continuing dialogue.

Lisya Seloni, SLWIS Chair, Illinois State University, Illinois, USA,

Dear SLWIS Friends,

As we celebrate our 8th year as an interest section in TESOL, it’s a great pleasure to serve as the chair of SLWIS during the year 2012–2013. Just like for many of you, SLWIS has been a safe academic environment and an important intellectual resource for me with its supportive and committed community of practitioners. Therefore, it’s not only a great honor to work in this capacity, but also a humbling experience to learn with you and from you. No leadership is successful without its dedicated team of mentors. I would like to extend special thanks to each and every member of the steering committee as well as past chairs. I would like to give special thanks to Ditlev Larsen and Danielle Zawodny Wetzel for their outstanding leadership skills and mentoring. In this letter, I will provide a brief overview of what we achieved at the 2012 TESOL International Convention; give an update on the new proposal review process; talk about next year’s convention in Dallas; and invite all of you to continue to make SLWIS an active venue for intellectual collaboration, knowledge construction, and dissemination.

This year we had many exciting sessions in Philadelphia. There were around 70 presentations related to second language writing (42 of them being SLWIS slots), including 1 colloquium on the methodological complexities in second language writing research and 1 academic session on multilingual scholars across disciplines. Our InterSections were enriched by the collaborations done with CALLIS, ESPIS, MWIS, and NNESTIS. While our sessions provided engaging talks, we also had a chance to catch up with wonderful colleagues and friends and make new ones at the Friends of Second Language Writing event. In summary, this year was no exception in providing rigorous and quality dialogues around many important second language writing issues.[1]

In our business meeting, we discussed common areas of interest for next year’s convention and talked about the new proposal review process that TESOL has launched this year, among many other things. I’d like to give a brief update on the new proposal process for those of you who were unable to attend the convention in Philadelphia. This year, TESOL asked interested proposal reviewers to fill out an online application that involved selecting their interest areas as well as the number of proposals they wanted to review. The potential reviewers were also asked to take an online or on-site training on how to read and evaluate TESOL proposals. The new system had an automated matching system, which matched reviewers with proposals. As a result of this matching process, each proposal was reviewed by a minimum of three reviewers. Thanks to the assistance of the Central Office, many personal e-mail exchanges with leaders, and your individual support in our e-list community, we managed to successfully adjudicate proposals for TESOL’s 2013 International Convention.

I am happy to report that SLWIS received a total of 205 proposals this year, one of the highest numbers of proposals we have received as an IS. This year, the number of proposals received earned us 44 sessions plus 5 poster sessions for the 2013 TESOL International Convention in Dallas. I want to send a hearty thanks to those of you who took time to send proposals and share your work with us. Gena Bennett, chair-elect for 2012–2013, has also been diligently working on putting together an academic session for next year. In Dallas, it looks like we will continue the tradition of having outstanding sessions. I would also like to sincerely thank those of you who have taken the time to complete the reviewer training and constructively evaluate multiple proposals.

Let me end this letter by telling you a bit about my own fascination with second language writing discipline, SLWIS more specifically. I began drafting this letter while I was thousands of feet off the ground, on my way from Istanbul, Turkey, to Normal, Illinois. I wrote the rest at my kitchen table in the midst of preparing for a new academic year. As I think about all the academic journeys we take and all the different places we are engaged with scholarship while trying to compose a meaningful academic life, I regard my engagement with SLWIS as one of the most enriching ones. The sessions and the dialogues with many colleagues every year provide a renewed fascination and encouragement on various issues revolving around second language writers and writing processes. I believe that many of you have come to share my feelings on this. Therefore, just like our past chairs did, I would also like to encourage each and every one of you to continue to get involved and make your research and teaching stories heard through multiple venues such as our e-list, the newsletter, and the TESOL Resource Center or simply by contacting one of the leaders. I would also like to continue to find ways to develop our understanding of the field and continue national and international collaborations by building new networks of communication and information exchange. So please also feel free to put forward any recommendations you have to improve our IS in any possible ways. The leadership team is here to address your needs as a community of teacher-scholars and help move our collective vision forward.


Lisya Seloni

1. If we missed you this year, please visit the TESOL 2012 section of our website to get an overview of the academic sessions and other academic-related events organized by SLWIS. I would like to thank Charles Nelson, who has been diligently updating the SLWIS website to make sure that all resources and information are available in a timely fashion.

Ditlev Larsen, 2011-2012 Chair, Second Language Writing IS,

As SLW enters its 7th year as an interest section, I am honored to serve as your chair for 2011-12. I would like to thank all previous chairs and all other members of the leadership team, including the steering committee, who have contributed to making SLW such a vibrant and effective interest section. You all deserve credit. So do our almost 2,000 members, for making it such an engaging and friendly professional community. I also extend a special thanks to our outgoing chair, Danielle Zawodny Wetzel, for helping me ease through the transition from chair-elect.

With the 45th Annual TESOL Convention in New Orleans behind us, SLW can look back at another successful conference. We hosted 43 sessions including several research-oriented and practice-oriented sessions, four colloquia, two workshops, and of course our special sessions: two InterSections in collaboration with Secondary Schools IS and Non-Native English-Speaking Teachers IS and our Academic Session focusing on placement and assessment issues (see TESOL 2012 Updates in this newsletter). As usual, our annual open meeting was well attended and provided an opportunity for participants to brainstorm ideas for proposal topics of interest for the 2012 convention. Among those topics, L2 writing in K-12, ESL/L2 support in the writing center, and as always assessment issues seemed to generate most traction.

Also of note from the meeting is the discussion of TESOL’s decision to eliminate the individual interest sections’ booths in the exhibit hall at this year’s convention in favor of two shared booths in the TESOL Resource Center, where each of the 21 interest sections would have only one or two 2-hour time slots during the entire convention. Already last year, when the idea was in the works, we as an interest section spoke out strongly against it because we have traditionally staffed our booth fully throughout the convention and used it as a meeting, networking, and recruiting spot. At the meeting our membership unanimously agreed that we should keep pushing strongly to get our individual booth back. After seeing the change in action in New Orleans, several other interest sections were also dissatisfied with the limited exposure, so the debate is continuing, and there is a chance that individual booths will be brought back next year for those interest sections that want one. Our leadership team will work hard make that happen.

Finally, at this year’s conference we once again hosted our special event and social hour, “An Evening with Friends of Second Language Writing,” at Ralph & Kacoo’s in the French Quarter. As usual, everybody had a great time and a chance to reconnect with old friends and colleagues as well create new contacts. We hope to be able to continue this event in 2012.

The proposal review process for next year’s conference has been completed, and SLW received 171 proposals (one more than last year but still short of the record 200 received two years ago). Given the lingering economic woes that affect all areas of the educational system, it is great that we have been able to keep our number of proposals constant. It will ensure a strong SLW presence again next year in Philadelphia. As you may know each interest section receives a number of slots on the program proportionate to the number of proposals received. Even though we are one of the youngest, only 4 of the 21 interest sections received more proposals than we did—a testament to our engaged membership and to the importance of L2 writing within TESOL.

Several of our members took time out of their summer to help adjudicate proposals, and I would like to thank them all for their contribution to this important service to SLW and TESOL:

Kyung-Hee Bae
Kathy Barnard
Gena Bennett
Karen Best
Beth Burnham
Nigel Caplan
Karen C. C. Chang
Tony Cimasko
Deborah Crusan
Angela Dadak
Kira Dreher
Qian Du
Estela Ene
Doug Flahive
Jan Frodesen
Meg Gebhard

Lynn Goldstein
Heidi Grosch
Jennifer Haan
Helena Hall
Christina Hankwitz
Harry Harris
Colleen Khallad
Andrew McCullough
Karyn Mallett
Kate Mangeldorf
Angel Miller
Ryan Miller
Jessie Moore
Jennifer Mott-Smith
Lucie Moussu
Susan Olmstead-Wang

Silvia Pessoa
Patrick Randolph
Christine Rosalia
Todd Ruecker
Tanita Saenkhum
Lisya Seloni
Tony Silva
Catherine Smith
Christine Tardy
Margi Wald
Cynthia Walker
Wendy Wang
Danielle Zawodny Wetzel
Jennifer Shade Wilson
Ann Wintergerst
Saihua Xia

Our interest section truly is a great professional community to be part of, and it is a privilege for me to have the chance to serve as your chair. I look forward to a year of seeing our members’ continued engagement with our interest section through discussions on our e-list and contributions to our newsletter in the form of articles, reviews, or reports on any issue pertinent to L2 writing.

Let me know if there is anything I can do to enhance your experience with SLWIS.

Best wishes,


Danielle Zawodny Wetzel, 2010-2011 Chair, Second Language Writing IS,

Dear SLWIS Members,

This year marks the fifth anniversary of our interest section. In 5 years, we have grown from 29 members in 2005 to 2,261 members in 2010. We have seen a community of practitioners and scholars form a presence within TESOL that is focused and effective. We have also been led by some remarkable people, including our outgoing chair, Chris Tardy, whom I thank for her careful work for our IS and for her mentoring of new SLWIS leadership.

For those of us who were able to attend the 2010 TESOL Convention in Boston in March, we experienced a full schedule of SLWIS sessions--so full that it became impossible for anyone to attend all of the sessions. Several members remarked how they were thrilled with the variety of sessions but also dismayed at the number of sessions they could not attend because of scheduling conflicts. In addition to the regular sessions, we also had five special sessions, including four InterSections and one Academic Session about exploring connections between reading and writing. Our business meeting was well attended, and participants expressed interest in exploring developmental issues for teaching writing, particularly across schooling contexts, as well as placement and assessment issues. Other topics were raised as well, and some of those were distributed to our membership through our email distribution list. At the meeting, we also reviewed some revisions to our Governing Rules document and then heard both Christina Ortmeier-Hooper and Paul Matsuda discuss a new Conference on College Composition and Communication position statement on second language writing and writers (NCTE, 2009) that TESOL can adopt over the next year.

We received a total of 170 submissions for next year's TESOL convention. This total decreased somewhat from last year's total number of just over 200 submissions. However, if we consider how the global economy has constrained some of our conference travel budgets, we might view this lower number as a consequence of economic hard times rather than a consequence of decreased interest.

If you or a colleague you know would like to attend the 2011 convention but cannot fund the travel to New Orleans, consider applying for special travel grants and awards through TESOL. While attending a leadership meeting at the 2010 convention, I learned that the grants and awards were not paid out fully last year because so few participants applied for them.

Several people reviewed proposals for the 2011 convention, and I thank them for helping me complete a vital process that can be difficult to manage over the summer months. These reviewers were

Rosa Bahamondes
Diane Belcher
Chung-Chien Chang
Martha Christiansen
Deborah Crusan
Angela Dadak
Luciana C. de Oliveira
Kira Dreher
Norman Evans
Karen B. Fields
Doug Flahive
Meg Gebhard
Lynn Goldstein
Jennifer Greer
Matthew Hammill
Harry Harris
John Hedgcock
Alan Hirvela
Amanda Kibler
Ditlev Larsen
Paul Matsuda
Ryan T. Miller
Thomas Mitchell
Jessie Moore
Jennifer Mott-Smith
Amina Nihlawi
Christina Ortmeier-Hooper
Silvia Pessoa
Allison Petro
Talinn Phillips
Bevin Roue
Todd Rueckers
Gladys Scott
Tanita Saenkhum
Chris Tardy
Gigi Taylor
Emily Thrush
Paige Ware
Saihua Xia
Youngjoo Yi
Maria Zlateva

Our community benefits from the service of its members. We are only as good as the voices who contribute. Please consider increasing your involvement, perhaps by contributing to the newsletter, consulting with colleagues through the e-list, submitting teaching materials to the TESOL resource center, or simply sending me an e-mail with comments or suggestions for how we might continue to grow and improve. I enjoy hearing from you.

I do thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve our interest section. It is a privilege!


National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). (2009). CCCC statement on second language writing and writers. Retrieved from

SLWIS Newsletter 2010 Volume 5 Number 2: Table of Contents

Chris Tardy, 2009-2010 Chair, Second Language Writing IS, ctardy<AT>

It has now been 4 years since the TESOL board approved the addition of the Second Language Writing Interest Section, and it's exciting to see how much the IS has grown in that short time. At TESOL 2009 in Denver, the SLWIS offered 58 sessions, InterSections with Applied Linguistics and NNEST, and an Academic Session on contexts of second language writing. We also continued the traditions of staffing our IS booth with well-known second language writing scholars and hosting our third annual SLWIS social evening, giving members the opportunity to catch up with old friends and to make new ones.

Those of you who were unable to attend the 2009 convention will be able to get a glimpse of these events through the special reports in this newsletter and by visiting the IS’s Web site at Thanks to Charles Nelson for revamping this webspace and turning it into an excellent resource! I would also like to give a special thanks to Gigi Taylor, chair of the SLWIS in 2008-09, for her outstanding leadership throughout the year and preparation for the convention.  A unique characteristic of the SLWIS is the active participation of and the strong sense of community among members. This year’s business meeting was again well attended and gave opportunities for participants to discuss areas of interest for future conventions. As the IS grows, a small group of SLWIS members is in the process of designing a survey of the TESOL membership to assess how our IS can contribute to TESOL in new ways, speaking to our mission of serving a broad population of the TESOL membership. Erik Johnson, Shawna Shapiro, Todd Ruecker, Gigi Taylor, and I will be working throughout the year on this project and look forward to sharing our findings at the 2010 convention.  The SLWIS now has over 1,800 active members and all signs point to continued growth and activity. Submissions to the SLWIS for the 2010 TESOL convention in Boston numbered just over 200—our greatest number of submissions since the IS was established. I would like to sincerely thank the following members for lending their expertise in reviewing these proposals:   

Kyun-Hee Bae
Tara Bartlett
Bradley Baurain
Sophie Bearen
Annette Bradford
SoYoung Baeks
Cherry Campbell
Pisarn (Bee) Chamcharatsri
Karen C.C. Chang
Cate Crosby
Deborah Crusan
Angela Dadak
Norman Evans
Lilian Faraq Allah
Doug Flahive
Jan Frodesen
Sue Lantz Goldhaber
Lynn Goldstein
Helena Hall
Havry Harris
Andrea Hellman
Alan Hirvela
Raylene Houck
Suzanne House
Sunny Hyon
Angela Yi-ping Hsu
Atsushi Iida
Erik Johnson
Kyung Min (Kay) Kim
Sharlene Kiuhara
Ditlev Larsenn
Alice Lee
Joan Li
XiaoMing Li
John Liang
Alene Litvinskaya
Kate Mangelsdorf
Paul Kei Matsuda
Sharon McCulloch
Hedy McGarrell
Grazzia Mendoza
Jessie Moore
Mary Muchiri
Amina Nihlawi
Silva Pessoa
Talinn Phillips
Lisa Ponzetti
Terry Pruett-Said
Margaret Redus
Laurel Reinking
Tanita Saenkhum
Lisya Seloni
Roxanna Senyshyn
Shawna Shapiro
Tony Silva
Sheryl Slocum
LuAnn Sorenson
Ivan Stefano
Emily Thrush
Yi-Ting Tu
Danielle Zawodny Wentzel
Mark Wolfersberger
Achara Wongsothorn
Ana Wu
Saihua Xia
Youngjoo Yi 

As the days of summer draw to a close (at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere), I know that many of us are looking forward to beginning new projects, new classes, and new collaborations. I hope that you'll be able to make use of and contribute to the SLWIS community in various ways in these endeavors—through the electronic discussion list, Web site, newsletter, or TESOL's online resource center. If you have ideas of new ways in which the IS can help members connect or reach out to new members, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Gigi Taylor, 2008-2009 Chair, Second Language Writing IS, .

Welcome to the new year of the Second Language Writing Interest Section! I'd like to open this newsletter by thanking our members for such enthusiastic participation over the past year, with special thanks to our Past Chair Deborah Crusan for her energetic leadership and to our officers and steering committee members for their tireless efforts.

As we move into our fourth year, we have a great deal of success to look back on. Although the New York City convention format was a day shorter than usual, the SLWIS was impressively represented on the program, hosting 35 sessions, including papers, workshops, poster sessions, reports, colloquia, demonstrations, and Discussion Groups on such topics as assessment, error correction, assignment design, teacher preparation, research, effective feedback, coherence, voice, verb tense, literacy development, world Englishes, publishing, and more. We also hosted an InterSection with the Teacher Education IS entitled "Nurturing Prospective Second Language Writing Teachers." We collaborated with the CALLIS on an InterSection entitled "Paradigms of Plagiarism" and with the Applied Linguistics IS on the "Textual Coherence and Learning Writing" InterSection. In addition, we hosted an Academic Session on "Writing Centers, Language Acquisition, and Global Contexts" with scholars from the United States, Japan, and South Korea, and once again we hosted a standing-room-only Evening With the Experts.

As I reflect on our success, I must say that perhaps the most gratifying aspect, for me, of the SLWIS is the lively and genuine sense of community we have. Our membership spans the globe, spans the educational spectrum, and spans a tremendous range of research and teaching interests. But we show up and we talk to each other. We ask questions, we listen carefully, we respond thoughtfully, and although we may not always agree with each other, we respect the value of each contribution and we make a concerted effort to be counted among the contributors. I have attended conferences of other professional organizations where the superstars give their presentations and then cloister themselves away with their famous colleagues, rarely engaging with other participants. I have seen rank-and-file participants at other professional conferences stand back in awe-struck silence when their professional idols pass by and have heard them doubt their own ability to contribute anything of value because they are not famous themselves.

We are different.

Once again this year, our leading scholars generously shared their time by staffing the exhibition booth to promote interest in the SLWIS and by attending another enormously successful social event for the IS membership. Once again, our scholars, teachers, administrators, graduate students, and community members generously shared their professional insight through conference presentations, through engaging conversations at our social, and through very energetic participation in the SLWIS business and planning meeting. And once again, the SLWIS has submitted a record number of proposals for TESOL's 2009 convention in Denver.

Thanks to all of you, the vitality of the Second Language Writing Interest Section continues to increase. I hope that over the next year, each of you will feel welcome and encouraged to keep the conference energy alive through thoughtful posts to the electronic discussion list, through submissions to the SLWIS newsletter, and through interesting projects with your colleagues. We look forward to hearing all about it!

With best wishes for the coming year,


Deborah Crusan, 2007-2008 Chair, Second Language Writing IS, deborah.crusan<AT>

Dear SLWIS Members,

I write this in the hope that you are refreshed and ready to head back to the second language writing classroom armed with ideas and innovations gleaned from your reading this summer.

We have a great deal of news. First, in our second year as an interest section, the Second Language Writing Interest Section (SLWIS) successfully exemplified second language writing at the 41st Annual TESOL Convention and Exhibit in Seattle. The IS presented a full schedule including our very well-attended two-part Academic Session: "Shifting Boundaries in ESL/EFL Writing Instruction," with Dana Ferris and John Hedgcock and "Responding to Students When Teaching with Technology" with Maggie Sokolik and Paige Ware and our equally well-attended InterSection: "Second Language Writing/Materials Writers: Using Corpus Findings to Develop Writing Materials" facilitated by Kelly Sippell and Margi Wald. Panelists included Gena Bennett, Pat Byrd, Jan Frodesen, and Diane and Norbert Schmitt.

We also presented three colloquia, four demonstrations, three posters, one report, one video theater, four workshops, twenty-one papers, and eleven Discussion Groups. And, we cohosted an InterSection with the Higher Education IS on writing support for graduate students. See Convention Updates in this issue of SLW News.

These numbers are amazing as we are such a young IS; however, they can be even better. Some of you might not be aware of the procedure used for deciding how many presentation slots will be allotted to each IS. Generally, each IS is awarded presentation slots based on the number of proposals received by that IS. These slots are used for colloquia, demonstrations, reports, workshops, and papers. Each of these formats represents a different amount of time, so we have to carefully choose the best proposals and strike a balance between different types of presentations. Please remember this procedure when you next submit a proposal (for TESOL 2009), taking care to send your proposal to the Second Language Writing Interest Section. The more proposals we receive, the more slots we'll be awarded at the convention. Let's work together to make our presence at the convention as great as it can be.
While I'm mentioning proposals, I would like to extend a sincere thank you to those who volunteered to adjudicate proposals for TESOL 2008.

Denise Alvarez
Kyung-Hee Bae
Subarna Banerjee
Barbara Dobson
Donna Evans
Norman Evans
Katya Fairbanks
Dan Fichtner
Tatjana Glusac
Anam Govardhan
Jennifer Greer
Alan Hirvela
Jim Hu
Mark Labinski
Ditlev Larsen
Ilona Leki
Hedy McGarrell
Jessie Moore
Lucie Moussu
Herbert Pierson
Margaret Redus
Gigi Taylor
Stephanie Vandrick
Don Weasenforth
Sara Weigle
Jennifer Shade Wilson
Mark Wolfersberger
Hongmei Wu
Youngjoo Yi
Sandra Zappa-Hollman

Thanks again to all of our proposal readers. They provide an incredibly valuable service to the IS.

Possibly the most exciting event at TESOL 2007 was our Special Event. The Second Language Writing IS hosted "An Evening With the Second Language Writing Interest Section: Answering the Needs of Second Language Writers and Their Teachers" on Thursday, March 22, 2007.  

The Second Language Writing Interest Section used this event to introduce itself to TESOL and introduce what the SLWIS sees as vital concerns for all TESOL professionals involved in second language writing teaching and research. Our fundamental goals for this event were

  • To introduce the newest IS to TESOL
  • To create a friendly and informal environment in which those concerned with second language writing can network, explore, and share

The evening brought together scholars, teachers, administrators, and publishers interested in second language writing in a relaxed, social atmosphere so that those in attendance could mingle and discuss pressing second language writing issues. See the TESOL 07 photos on the SLWIS web page at

The session provided participants with the opportunity to discuss second language writing and writers from the multiple and diverse perspectives of a group of scholars whose collective experience of researching and teaching second language writing  spans a wide spectrum of interests.

The forum also initiated discussion about institutional policies concerning second language writers and how participants might effect change at their institutions if change is needed; it is our hope that the event facilitated ongoing discussions centered on these issues.

Because the event was such a success, many IS members have asked for a repeat session at TESOL 2008 in New York City. Please watch the newsletter and the e-list for details as they become available and as we gear up for New York City.

All the best,


Jessie Moore Kapper, 2006-2007 Chair, Second Language Writing IS, jkapper<AT>

In the last year, our interest section has reached many milestones. After our official recognition in June 2005, C hr istina Ortmeier-Hooper spearheaded our efforts to have an identifiable presence at TESOL 2006. At the convention, the Second Language Writing IS hosted an outstanding academic session (“Broadening Perspectives on Second Language Writing”), an intersection with SPL-IS, and eight discussion groups. We also had a constant presence at our IS table in the exhibitors hall, with several new members volunteering an hour or two of their time. Equally significant, by the convention, our membership had surpassed that of a few older interest sections, speaking volumes about the need for this IS.

This year, we are witnessing the continued growth of the SLW-IS, and I invite you to participate in its development.

In Seattle in 2007, we will add 35 slots for papers, demonstrations, colloquia, and workshops, as well as an additional InterSection, to our already strong presence. If you missed the deadline for these events, watch for information from past chair, C hr istina Ortmeier-Hooper , on how you can participate in one of twelve discussion groups. You'll hear more exciting news about our activities at TESOL 2007 in the coming months, but for now, I encourage you to make plans to attend the convention in Seattle , March 21-24, 2007.

Of course, members have many additional opportunities to participate in the SLW-IS. I hope you will:

  • Contribute to the SLW-IS Newsletter,
  • Participate in SLW-IS e-list discussions,
  • Run for a SLW-IS leadership position, and
  • Seek other members to collaborate on teaching, research, or scholarship projects.

Watch the SLW-IS e-list for calls to contribute to future issues of this newsletter. Our esteemed editor, Margi Wald, invites submissions on second language writing theory, research, and pedagogy in all settings. She also frequently solic its book reviews for upcoming issues.

If you are missing these and other announcements on the SLW-IS e-list, check your subscription options on the TESOL website. Log into the site, using your Member ID and password, and click My Profile. Choose Edit Profile at the bottom of your profile window and click “Join Your IS E-List(s)” to receive all SLW-IS messages. For more details, click here .

Later this year, e-list subscribers will receive information about the upcoming elections for 2007-2008 leadership positions. Open positions will include the Discussion Electronic-List Manager and the 2007-2008 Chair-Elect. Watch for details and consider nominating yourself or other members who you think would make a positive contribution to the SLW-IS.

Finally, I invite you to network and collaborate with other members. One goal of the SLW-IS is to provide forums for partnerships among SLW scholars, teachers, and researchers. Our interest section received over 150 proposals for TESOL 2007. While we will see only a fraction of these papers and colloquia in Seattle , I encourage you to partner with other members to build on these exciting projects and to consider submitting short articles about your work to this newsletter.

Thank you for your support of TESOL's newest interest section! Please contact me if you would like to be more actively involved in the interest section, or if you have suggestions for its development, as we continue to grow.

Best wishes,


Christina Ortmeier-Hooper, 2005-2006 Chair, Second Language Writing IS, ortmeier<AT>

From my desk, I can see the snowy branches testifying to yet another New Hampshire winter, and this year's TESOL convention in Tampa looks all the more inviting. It is hard to believe that this will be the inaugural year for the new Second Language Writing Interest Section (SWLIS) at TESOL. The past year has brought together a great many wonderful colleagues and supporters from throughout the L2 writing world, and I would like to thank all of you who supported the creation of this Interest Section through petitions, letters of encouragement, and a great deal of hard work. The establishment of a formal L2 writing group at TESOL is an important step as the field continues to grow and flourish.

In July 2005, the TESOL board approved the addition of a new Interest Section (IS) on writing. As Jessie Moore Kapper, our incoming chair, has eloquently noted, “The Second Language Writing IS provides a space to build bridges in our discussions on writing—between academic levels, across settings, and over oceans.” As we look forward to the TESOL convention in March, the presence of the SLWIS is beginning to take shape. In Tampa , discussion groups sponsored by the SLWIS will cover topics including “Alternative Placement Methods for Second Language Writers,” “Issues in Technologies for L2 Composition Classrooms,” and “Crossing Bridges With Second Language Writing Partnerships.” We will also be holding our first Academic Session, entitled “Broadening Perspectives on Second Language Writing.” This session will be a chance to take stock of where L2 writing has been as a discipline, to share current research and trends in the field, and to discuss the future of L2 writing studies. It will also be a chance to share the work of L2 writing specialists with the larger TESOL audience.

As these topics suggest, the new SLWIS provides a forum for researchers and educators to discuss and exchange information in the area of second language writing. Specifically, our goals are

  • to increase awareness of the significance of writing in teaching ESL/EFL
  • to encourage and support the teaching of writing to ESOL students at all levels
  • to provide a forum to discuss issues of writing assessment and the placement of second language writers
  • to disseminate and promote research on second language writing

The hope is that SLWIS will facilitate communication about writing across teaching levels and settings. Recent research on the scope of second language writing scholarship suggests that most of the field's nationally (within the United States ) and internationally circulated scholarship is produced by scholars in postsecondary education at research-intensive institutions. Other contexts for writing (pre-K through 12, 2-year colleges, community programs, international K-12 schools, etc.) often have much larger populations of ELL/EFL writers, but scholars, particularly teacher-researchers, in these settings do not often receive support for researching and writing.

In light of that, the new SLWIS provides us with the opportunity to initiate more research and scholarship in these underrepresented contexts by supporting new collaborations and partnerships across levels and by providing a forum for discussing shared experiences. Indeed, the SLWIS will hopefully bring teachers, teacher-researchers, and second language writing specialists together, from across nations, across institutions, and across grade levels, to discuss the unique needs and concerns of ESL/EFL writers. Along with the Symposium on Second Language Writing and the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) Committee on Second Language Writing, the SLWIS at TESOL hopes to broaden the scope of L2 writing research and to help teachers and administrators further their understanding of second language writers.

The Tampa convention will also be an opportunity to introduce new and current TESOL members to the SLWIS. We will also begin to set our agenda for 2006-07, which will include an increased number of SLW sessions at TESOL 2007. These sessions will provide a new venue for the many promising L2 writing researchers and educators who are eager to share their insights, and I hope that many of you will consider submitting proposals for TESOL 2007 in Seattle , Washington .

People at TESOL are interested in second language writing issues, and I hope that you will consider adding the SLWIS to your membership, joining the SLW e-list, and attending our open meeting on Wednesday, March 15, 5-7 p.m., in Tampa . We also encourage TESOL members to stop by our booth in the convention hall. Join us in charting the future for this new IS. I look forward to seeing you in Tampa !

Best wishes,