Paul Kei Matsuda Visited BGSU to Speak About Language Assessment

  • A photo of Paul Kei Matsuda with afternoon presentation attendees.

The University Writing Program (UWP) and T/ESOL Program collaborated to bring Paul Kei Matsuda, one of the biggest scholars in T/ESOL and Rhetoric and Writing Studies, to BGSU. Paul Kei Matsuda is Professor of English and Director of Second Language Writing at Arizona State University. His research centers around second language writing, a transdisciplinary field of inquiry that integrates theoretical and methodological insights from both language studies and writing studies. Paul is Founding Chair of the Symposium on Second Language Writing and Series Editor of the Parlor Press Series on Second Language Writing. Former President of the American Association for Applied Linguistics, he has also served as the founding chair of the CCCC Committee on Second Language Writing and the chair of the Nonnative English Speakers in TESOL (NNEST) Caucus. His forthcoming book is entitled Second Language Writing: History, Identity, Pedagogy, and Professional Development. He has been invited to present keynote and plenary talks as well as lectures and workshops in various countries and regions, including: Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Denmark, Germany, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and throughout the United States.

During his visit on November 9-10, 2022, Paul had informal meetings with Rhetoric & Writing Studies, TESOL Certificate, and Linguistics minor students. Additionally, he also met with the T/ESOL and Writing Studies faculty.

On November 10, Paul delivered two presentations at BGSU. His first presentation was titled Facilitating Language Development in Writing: Feedback and Assessment. Second language writers are writers who are writing or learning to write in a language they are actively learning. In the age of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the idea of teaching students to write in a new language has become a sensitive issue, although this is not a new issue by any means. This presentation explored the questions of whether, to what extent, and how to help facilitate students’ language development in the context of classroom writing. The presenter also discussed practices that are not only unhelpful but harmful, and suggest an alternative set of practices that can facilitate students’ language development in the long run.

His second presentation was titled Making Writing Assessment Inclusive and Equitable. In this workshop, participants learned how to make writing assessment more inclusive. The participants explored some of the common writing assessment practices and consider their impact on students with various levels of writing experience and language development. The audience then considered principles of equitable and inclusive assessment practices. Finally, attendees examined a sample assessment rubric and discussed in what ways the rubric recognizes students’ varied strengths and resources while encouraging further development.

Michelle Tram Nguyen, a Ph.D. student in Rhetoric & Writing Studies, reflected on Paul’s visit in the following way:

“It hits different when you have the opportunity to talk to and learn about a subject of study with someone who has been doing the prominent work during the last twenty years!” That is what I feel when I had a chance to participate in Dr. Paul Kei Matsuda’s research presentation, teaching workshop, and also a chit chat over lunch with graduate students on his recent visit to Bowling Green State University. Paul, indeed, has his way to make things much more accessible, fun, and helpful for the audience when he discusses hard topics like grammar and writing assessment. Starting his presentation on providing grammar feedback in writing instruction by saying: “Grammar is important, but it also not that important” (with a soft voice, and a smile), Paul successfully covered almost all conversations and arguments surrounding this topic. Finding your way somewhere in the between, providing your students with truly meaningful grammar feedback for learning and growing, rather than focusing too much on correction, grading, ranking is my key take-away from what Paul has shared in the presentation. In another teaching workshop on writing assessment, I had the opportunity to review, reflect and re-organize my understanding of the issue of assessment in the writing classroom. I have learned how significant it is to strengthen the alignment between assessment practices with the students and the learning outcomes. Practicing “Assessment of Learning, Assessment for Learning, Assessment as Learning” is what I wrote down in my note as one of the most important lessons for me that day. Also, I was so happy to share with Paul a little bit about what I have been working on for my dissertation research project. Although I could not articulate very well my answers for some of his questions, Paul’s questions and comments helped me realize what I missed, and how I could make it clearer in my upcoming work. Overall, I greatly appreciate the chance to meet Paul in-person, and I have learned so much from him.

Updated: 01/25/2023 04:48PM