The webinar was hosted by Oxford University Press to introduce the pedagogy behind OUP’s new textbook series, Inside Writing. I explained the stages of the Teaching/Learning Cycle and demonstrated how we use it to teach academic, realistic genres such as product reviews, arguments, summaries, and data commentaries. We even did a successful Joint Construction: collaborative writing with a worldwide audience of over 100 people I couldn’t see interacting via a chat box!
And yes, the piece of paper on the table was my cheat sheet (I don’t get a teleprompter!). It was actually quite easy to tie my book into AWGS because Swales & Feak’s approach to writing is inextricably linked to language (grammar and vocabulary), and they were already using a somewhat functional approach to grammar. In fact, the third edition has a wonderful expanded discussion of old-new information patterns, which I develop in the last unit of Grammar Choices (my students’ favorite part of the book, usually).
We put a lot of thought into how much new terminology to introduce in Grammar Choices, and on the advice of Chris Feak (as in Swales & Feak) and our mutual editor, Kelly Sippell, I tried to stick to terms (technically, a metalanguage) that would be familiar at least to North American readers and especially to those using AWGS. I also wrote an expanded introduction which explains concepts that are a little less frequently used here, as well as a glossary. I was greatly encouraged at the Genre 2012 conference to hear Jim Martin, no less, of Sydney University endorse teaching materials that simplify systemic functional grammar’s daunting metalanguage into familiar terms, so hopefully my attempt to use functional principles with more “traditional” (structuralist) terminology will help writers benefit from the major insights of functional grammar without me having to explain it or them having to learn it!
I just got word that my new textbook, Grammar Choices for Graduate and Professional Writers, has been printed and will be on show at the Symposium of Second Language Writing at Purdue this week (which is also when I’ll get my hands on an advance copy!).
You can also see it here on the University of Michigan Press website and download Unit 1 to whet your grammatical appetite!
Update (9/6/12): I just saw a pile of the books here at SSLW. Makes it all seem rather more real!
Since I last wrote, a very patient typesetter has decoded the multiple layers of corrections and changes made by the editor, development editor, and myself to the “copy” (the marked-up version of the manuscript) and set the text as it will look in the printed book. I then read through everything to make sure nothing had slipped through and everything still made sense. Independently, a proofreader checked for typos, inconsistencies, and other oddities. Then, the editor–the wonderful Kelly Sippell, ESL manager for the University of Michigan Press–reconciled the two sets of proofs and scoured the whole book with her eagle eyes. That led to a bunch of gently worded questions like “are you sure this reference to section 4.11 is correct?” (there is no section 4.11). With those resolved, the book marches on towards final editing and printing, appearing on the shelves some time in September, we expect.
The strangest error we found was in a table of statistics that I’ve used in a data commentary exercise. The table shows how different generations use social media for job hunting. It’s from an authentic source, but I mistyped the labels so that the generations covered were X (18-29), Y (40-47), and boomers (48-65). Yep, I created a missing generation … which includes me! For the record, Generation Y is defined in the report as 30-47. That’s why we have proofreaders to make sure our bread doesn’t fall flat.
My new textbook, Grammar Choices for Graduate and Professional Writers is one step closer to publication! This a picture of the copyedited manuscript (about a ream of paper!), which I have reviewed, revised, rewritten in places, and am now ready to put in a big box and send it to Ann Arbor.
This has been a really fascinating step in the development of the book because it involved a development editor who was not familiar with the project checking every word I wrote and making suggestions and corrections. Quite a lot has been changed at this stage – we found examples that didn’t make sense, exercises which were too hard, and explanations which were rather strange! My students have helped by pointing out questions they couldn’t answer and answers that didn’t fit the questions.
Now, the managing editor will review my comments and make final decisions, and then a typesetter will figure out how to interpret the multiple layers of notes to turn the manuscript into “pages” (basically a PDF proof of the book), which will be checked and revised again before we go to print. And good luck to the typesetter, as you can see!
This is a recording of my session at TESOL 2012 in Philadelphia introducing my forthcoming textbook, “Grammar Choices for Graduate and Professional Students.” Thanks to the ELI’s videographer, Lowell Riethmuller!
If you’re in the great city of Philadelphia for TESOL 2012, please join me for two presentations on teaching graduate writing:
Making Grammar Choices in Advanced Academic Writing (introducing my new textbook, Grammar Choices for Graduate and Professional Writers from the University of Michigan Press). Thursday, 4pm, room 118B.
Preparing for Excellence: Strategies for Teaching Graduate Writing with Chris Feak, Grace Canseco, and Jennifer Greer. Friday, 10am, Marriot Independence Ballroom I.
Our book is written for advanced-level students to help develop critical reading and writing skills along with grammar and vocabulary. We used authentic texts from a wide range of sources and academic disciplines — from linguistics to business to communications to recycling to a whole short story by the great Nick Hornby (“Small Country”). Students also get access to Q Online Practice, which has at least one practice activity for every skill in every unit in the book (about 100 extra exercises). We’ve also written the teacher’s book, and that has answers, tips, alternative assignments (in case you don’t like ours!), and rubrics. Update 11/20/11: The Teacher’s Handbook with Test Generator is now available from your OUP rep (I haven’t seen it yet in print!).
A great deal of planning, writing, and re-writing has gone into the book (Scott and I have been working on this project for over 3 years!), and we hope you like using it! Every reading, every exercise, and every skill box has been looked at by many pairs of eyes (not all of which saw the same thing!) in an exhaustive — and at times, exhausting — process. In the writing assignments, we encourage students to write three drafts of their essays. In our case, we wrote far more than that! Leafing through my copy, I’m very pleased with the product and grateful to the editors who finally got our manuscript into a printable state.
Contact your friendly local Oxford rep for an exam copy! Feedback is most welcome.
This book is aimed at elementary to low-intermediate level students who would like to start preparing for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). However, instead of teaching to the test (types of questions, how to make the best guesses, what to write in the essay, etc.), my books teach the vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation skills needed for the test … and many other situations. This book is structured around vocabulary (the greatest need at this level); the higher level book started with grammar.
I’d love to hear your feedback about the book, and we always welcome suggestions! Just leave me a comment, or contact me directly.