Dana Ferris at BYU

The Linguistics and English Language Department at BYU is sponsoring a lecture series on second language literacy. Today, Dana Ferris was the speaker. It was great to here her speak. She is a very intelligent person with a clear perception of the field. She provided some very helpful insights about teaching. She listed 10 things she feels are the most important in developing literacy.

  1. Extensive reading
  2. Vocabulary Development
  3. Text Selection
  4. Reading Strategies
  5. Reading/Writing Assessment
  6. Peer Response
  7. Teacher Feedback
  8. Grammar Instruction
  9. Written Corrective Feedback
  10. Collaboration Among Faculty

One of the things that I enjoyed about her was her attitude toward working with others. She said we don’t need be prideful and that we don’t need to have a chip on a shoulder. We should be willing to work with English departments and all departments to help ESL student write better. This really stuck out to me. We, as ESL professionals, don’t know everything.

She also brought up some things that teachers do that are “mean.” She said that the high-stakes timed writing is mean. She said that when teachers wait to give feedback until the final draft is “mean.” I agree.

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Ben McMurry

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2 Comments

  • I sure wish I could have been there. Are the sessions being recording for internet sharing?

    In any case, thanks for sharing your summary; keep them up. I especially like what Dana Ferris said about working with others: I want to improve my ability to cooperate with other departments to improve ESL support all over the university.

  • I also really liked what she said about assessment, and how it has to fit objectives for the course. Non-traditional assessments can be the perfect fit for the objectives you are trying to meet. It was a great lecture.

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