SD Regional: Insightful yet Powerful Plenary Address

May 19th, 2015 | By | Category: Conferences, Regional
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author pic of Soo Min Lee

Soo Min Lee

By SOO MIN LEE

—Dr. Kate Kinsella’s plenary speech, “Disrupting Classroom Discourse: Preparing Students and Teachers for Higher Ed and Workplace Register Demands,” was very inspiring and appropriate.  As a novice ESL teacher and a doctoral candidate in TESOL at Alliant International University, this inspiring yet very sharp speech made me question myself: “Did I do my job appropriately in my reading and writing classes? Did I treat my students as future scholars?”

I, as an ESL instructor who has taught academic writing, have tended to point out that academic writing is a fundamental skill for learners to perform well at a college or workplace.  However, until learners’ proficiency level reaches high-intermediate or advanced, it is quite challenging for them to accomplish what it means to write properly for the academic register.  Students need support from instructors besides reading texts and grammar. Teachers should not be presenting only grammar, but they should be guiding learners by modeling and supporting “classroom use of precise and academic oral language” consistently, according to Dr. Kinsella. In other words, educators should use academic vocabulary rather than everyday language, so that students will notice the difference between daily spoken language and academic writing and be able to apply academic vocabulary to their own compositions. The handout that Dr. Kinsella provided contains very practical and versatile materials for instructors, so I will use them in my classes.

I was one of the CATESOL Education Foundation Regional Conference Stipend awardees, and I happened to volunteer at the registration booth before the plenary address. I am thankful that not many people came late, so I managed to attend Dr. Kinsella’s plenary speech. Even though it lasted only an hour, after her insightful presentation I already felt “Powered Up.” I appreciate the chapter coordinator for this great and special opportunity.

Soo Min Lee is a doctoral candidate in TESOL at Alliant International University.

 

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