Speaker: Rebecca Wheeler (Christopher Newport)
Title: Arcane basics: Stumbling blocks in teaching Academic Writing in Central and South Asia
Abstract: When teaching in a second language environment, one expects to simplify: reduce reading, essentialize content, and tend to sentence complexity and vocabulary. However, my experience as a Fulbright Scholar teaching Academic Writing in Tajikistan and Nepal suggests such adaptation may prove starkly insufficient in developing nations.
This talk reports on experiences teaching writing in university and teacher education classrooms of South and Central Asia. I suggest that even once we get past systemically sanctioned absenteeism, bribery, or Houdini-like cheating, Westerners should expect that conceptual structures we consider basic (e.g., comparison/contrast, super- vs. subordinate) instead present arcane challenges to the learner. In sum, this talk presents a range of lived-experiences that challenge our notions of what constitutes basic knowledge structures and what it is to learn and know.
Lecture Theatre 2, Appleton Tower, 11 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9LE