Attending TESOL 2018: Focus on Second Language Writing

The 2018 TESOL Convention in Chicago is only a few weeks away, and I am happy to see a lot of helpful suggestions on conference attendance offered by my fellow TESOL bloggers. A couple of years ago, I also wrote a blog on how to make your conference attendance a helpful and unforgettable experience. Today, I’d like to address my blog specifically to those conference attendees who are interested in issues related to second language writing as well as those who would like to get involved in the professional and social life of the Second Language Writing Interest Section (SLWIS).


Every year, the SLWIS steering committee organizes many exciting sessions and meetings to offer conference attendees a wide range of professional and social opportunities.

 SLWIS Open Meeting

  • Time: Wednesday March 28, 6:45–8:15 pm
  • Location: N135

The meeting is open to all SLWIS members as well as those who would like to learn more about this interest section and get involved in one or more capacities. It’s a great opportunity to engage in the life of this interest section, find future collaborators, and get connected with the SLWIS professional community.

The Friends of Second Language Writing Social

  • Time: Wednesday March 28, after the Open Meeting
  • Location: TBA

This informal event is a great opportunity to socialize with the members of the SLWIS community, meet established SLW scholars, visit with old friends, and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere over a drink and snacks after a long conference day.

Networking Sessions

This year, the Steering Committee of the SLWIS organized two networking events. Both sessions have an informal format to allow attendees to learn about a particular topic through engaging in a conversation with each other.

Session 1: Tips for Writing a Successful L2 Writing Conference Proposal

  • Time: Thursday March 29, 3:00–3:45 pm
  • Location: Expo Hall
  • Organizers: Betsy Gilliland, Hee-Seung Kang, Soo Hyon Kim, Elena Shvidko
  • Abstract: Getting a proposal accepted at TESOL has become more competitive every year. Join experienced proposal reviewers for a discussion of how to write a high quality second language writing-related proposal for next year’s conference. The presenters share tips and provide feedback on ideas.

Session 2: How to Get a TESL/SLW Academic Job in Today’s Market

  • Time: Thursday March 29, 4:00–4:45 pm
  • Location: Expo Hall
  • Organizers: Aylin Atilgan, Ilka Kostka, Veronika Maliborska, Sandra Zappa-Hollman
  • Abstract: SLWIS leaders exchange information about the academic job market in the United States, Canada, and Europe with SLW graduate students. The session advises on applying for academic jobs, creating an application portfolio, interviewing, and establishing a research agenda.

SLWIS/Bilingual Education Intersection: Teaching Writing from a Biliteracy Perspective in K-12 Education

  • Time: Thursday March 29, 1:00–2:45 pm
  • Location: E353a
  • Presenters: Tanita Saenkhum, Yvonne Freeman, David Freeman, Mark Chapman, Mariana Castro, Maria E. Brisk, Aida Walqui
  • Abstract: The session explores the complex issues surrounding teaching writing in a new or additional language, aiming to promote biliteracy in today’s bilingual programs. Panel members explain current research and theories, institutional and local challenges, and successful examples of biliteracy practices for the bilingual classroom.

 Academic Session: Researching, Teaching, and Assessing Argumentation

  • Time: Friday March 30, 9:30–11:15 am
  • Location: N137
  • Presenters: Tanita Saenkhum, Alan Hirvela, Silvia Pessoa, Ann Johns, Atta Gebril, Lia Plakans
  • Abstract: The panel discusses the current state of argumentation in L2 writing, highlighting its important role in different academic disciplines and addressing its various dimensions of difficulties L2 students encounter. Through successful examples, speakers—established L2 writing scholars—delineate ways in which argumentative writing can be researched, taught, and assessed.


You can find other conference sessions on various topics related to SLW by going to TESOL 2018 and selecting “Full Schedule” under “Agenda.” From there, you can type “second language writing” in the search bar or select the “Track” tab on the left and check the “second language writing” box.


Whether or not you will be at the convention, you can stay connected with other attendees through social media by using hashtags #TESOL18 and #myTESOL18 and by joining the TESOL Convention event on Facebook. I also encourage you to stay tuned with other SLWIS fellow attendees via SLWIS Facebook page.

Hope you will have a great experience at the TESOL 2018 Convention in Chicago!

About Elena Shvidko

Elena Shvidko
Elena Shvidko is an assistant professor at Utah State University. She received her doctorate in second language studies from Purdue University and her master’s degree in TESOL from Brigham Young University. Her work appears in TESOL Journal, System, Journal on Response to Writing, TESOL interest section newsletters, and TESOL's New Ways series. Her research interests include second language writing, multimodal interaction, interpersonal aspects of language teaching, and teacher professional development.
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