Monday, April 25, 2011

Upcoming Conferences - next 3-4 years

TESOL 2013
Dallas Convention Center
Dallas, Texas, USA
March 20-23, 2013

TESOL 2014
Oregon Convention Center
Portland, Oregon, USA
March 26-29, 2014

TESOL 2015
Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
March 25-28, 2015


  • 2013 Dallas, Texas March 17-20 [submitted]
  • 2014 Portland, Oregon March 22-25
  • 2015 Toronto, Ontario March 21-24


SSLW - try to go to at least one of these

2012: Purdue University, USA, Sept 6-8 2012 [deadline May 1]
2013: People's Republic of China, October
2014: Arizona State University, USA, Dates TBD

AILA 2014 - August 10-15 in Brisbane, Australia
(Deadline April 2013)

BC TEAL 2012 - Capilano University May 4-5 [attended]
TESL Canada 2012 - Kamloops, BC -  Oct 11-13 [presented]
CSSE/ACLA 2012 - Waterloo - May 31 - Jun 2
ACLA allegedly in Victoria in Spring 2013! [Deadline Nov 2012]
IAWE 18 - Hong Kong and Guangzhou, December 6-9, 2012 [May 30 deadline]

Notes on Minimal Risk

just for my reference.

Minimal Risk Review

If your study qualifies for Minimal Risk Review, you may submit the application anytime, but we ask that you avoid the deadline dates listed above.

Please refer to the Guidance Notes for criteria on Minimal Risk projects, paying careful attention to the exceptions (if your research is incorrectly categorized it will be redirected to Full Board Review, which lengthens the turnaround time).

Minimal Risk is defined in the Tri-Council Policy Statement as follows: “if potential subjects can reasonably be expected to regard the probability and magnitude of possible harms implied by participation in the research to be no greater than those encountered by the subject in those aspects of his or her everyday life that relate to the research then the research can be regarded as within the range of minimal risk.”

NOTE: all phases of my study seem to fit this.

The BREB retains the right to decide to put any application submitted for minimal risk review forward for full board review. The applicant will be notified of a change. There is no deadline for applications that meet minimal risk criteria.

Types of studies that may be considered for minimal risk review include (but are not limited to):

· Questionnaires or interviews with competent adults that do not cover topics that could be considered sensitive

Saturday, April 23, 2011

George Steiner on Holy Saturday

There is one particular day in Western history about which neither historical record nor myth nor Scripture make report. It is a Saturday. And it has become the longest of days. We know of that Good Friday which Christianity holds to have been that of the Cross. But the non-Christian, the atheist, knows of it as well. This is to say that he knows of the injustice, of the interminable, suffering, of the waste, of the brute enigma of ending, which so largely make up not only the historical dimension of the human condition, but the everyday fabric of our personal lives. We know, ineluctably, of the pain, of the failure of love, of the solitude which are our history and private fate. We know also about Sunday. To the Christian, that day signifies an intimation, both assured and precarious, both evident and beyond comprehension, of resurrection, of a justice and a love that have conquered death. If we are non-Christians or non-believers, we know of that Sunday in precisely analogous terms. We conceive of it as the day of liberation from inhumanity and servitude. We look to resolutions, be they therapeutic or political, be they social or messianic. The lineaments of that Sunday carry the name of hope (there is no word less deconstructible).

But ours is a long day’s journey of the Saturday. Between suffering, aloneness, unutterable waste on the one hand and the dream of liberation, of rebirth on the other. In the face of the torture of a child, of the death of love which is Friday, even the greatest art and poetry are almost helpless. In the Utopia of the Sunday, the aesthetic will, presumably, no longer have logic or necessity. The apprehensions and figurations in the play of metaphysical imagining, in the poem and the music, which tell of pain and of hope, of the flesh which is said to taste of ash and of the spirit which is said to have the savour of fire, are always Sabbatarian. They have risen out of an immensity of waiting which is that of man. Without them, how could we be patient?

Real Presences

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The sad realization that my study is actually about grammar

...may be upon me. Probably a sociological look at a reified "correct grammar" rather than a deep look into what grammar is (I hope?), but hey: writing is full of grammar. Grammar is a contentious thing in L2 writing. For many students, it's the only thing.

If I stay at the sentence level, 'grammar' is -- maybe along with vocabulary -- kind of the only game in town. Discourse-level features? Elusive.

But remember the "can able to" example and the argument that grammar is ideological:

"I didn't want to jeopardize my case for pluralizing academic writing by extending it to
the controversial terrain of grammar. But a combination of developments in theoretical discourses, social changes, communicative advances, and pedagogical rethinking (reviewed in this article) tell me that now is the time to take my position to its logical conclusion. The moment is ripe to extend my argument of pluralizing English and academic writing into the “deep structure” of grammar."

...thus saith Canagarajah (2006).

Seidlhofer briefly mentions writing/speaking

"Since the intention is to capture a wide range of variation, a corpus of spoken ELF is the first target, at one remove from the stabilizing and standardizing influence of writing"

Ah but this is exactly what is so confounding and interesting about looking into writing. That present progressive -- does writing every fully stabilize and standardize? Maybe sorta, but maybe not!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ideas off the top of my head

Bias toward writing - it's official and educated and real
only official language is written down
standard language is written language
then how do you keep it up?
nothing about writing actually makes it standard
the mere idea of writing as a thing is what made us think it was standard
the appropriation of writing as a 'learned' technology by educational institutions
so now whatever the educational establishment says is good writing is good writing
and that has been exported along with english
english and education and 'western values' or whatever have been exported from the center to the periphery
the same emphasis about what grammar is acceptable, what good writing is, etc, are maintained
but when a project to appropriate english writing for local institutional purposes is undertaken
e.g. when writing in English becomes a vehicle for local ("un-english")ways of being, identity, etc
then there is a struggle between local norms -- "this is what is right for us" -- and center/international norms -- "we need to fit in with what is right for everybody"

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Social phenomena as "myths"

It's pretty common to hear things in our field referred to as "myths" in the sense of "stuff that common sense says is real/true, but actually isn't." Some concepts that have been called myths are the native speaker, English as an international language, the idea of "a language" itself, and, most notable to me currently, standard language, specifically "Standard Written English."

This might be really naive, but aren't socially constructed phenomena real, rather than myths, because they're socially constructed? Because the social world is a real world that we live in? Even if almost nobody can conclusively state every single rule of Really Truly True Real Standard English, don't the facts of a million teachers with red pens, a thousand "whoms," and a general vague sense held by almost everyone who has gone to school that there is such a thing as a standard language make it at the very least an important thing to be reckoned with?

I don't think most people would disagree, in fact, that these are "important things to be reckoned with." I just don't think it's very helpful to use the word "myth" to describe them.

I remember when, as an undergraduate, I learned in a sociology class that race was socially constructed. I felt like I had just learned an amazing secret that hardly anybody else had access to. "Race isn't even real," I'd say, as if that somehow settled things. It took me a little while longer to realize what real meant.