It has been a busy autumn quarter for WRD visiting assistant professor Jason Schneider. After becoming the Coordinator for the TESOL Graduate Certificate in July 2013, Schneider has had a full schedule, including teaching first-year writing undergraduate and graduate students, helping students plan their class schedules, building a relationship with an international university, and organizing a faculty-led lecture workshop on multilingual writers.
In his new role as TESOL coordinator, Schneider helps students plan their coursework around their teaching interests and post-graduation plans. His experiences teaching English abroad and in the U.S., and researching Chicago’s immigrant community, contribute to his insight on the ESL field. He says the TESOL Certificate is an essential part of training for any composition instructor and that having the skills to work with ESL students is indispensable, no matter where you are teaching.
Schneider recently traveled to Huaqiao University in the Chinese province of Fujian on July 4-6. During his two-day trip, he explored Huaqiao’s two campuses and met with members of Huaqiao’s English department. He had productive meetings with faculty, during which he learned about the English Department, including its course offerings and areas of specialty, and the faculty’s strong interest in the teaching of writing. Also, he got to share a wonderful lunch with Chinese colleagues in the faculty lounge. Following Schneider’s visit, WRD Department Chair Pete Vandenberg traveled to Huaqiao on October 27-29. He gave a talk to students and faculty about the discipline of rhetoric and composition in the American university. Vandenberg hopes the relationships he and Schneider developed at Huaqiao will create future opportunities for WRD faculty and students. He also hopes to share more details about these opportunities after the new year.
In between meetings with students and his international trek, Schneider organized the workshop “Academic Writing in the Global Classroom: A Conversation with WRD Writing Instructors” on October 22, as part of DePaul’s International Education Week. Speakers at the lecture included WRD instructors Margaret Poncin and Justin Staley. Past students of the first-year writing courses for multilingual writers, WRD 103x/104x, included students Abdullah Aljaber, Sheryl Liu, and Leila Mukhametalina. The instructors spoke about their experiences teaching academic writing to international students, but the majority of the time was spent listening to the students talk about taking the WRD x classes and succeeding as multilingual writers at DePaul. Schneider said, “All of the WRD faculty members and graduate students in attendance learned a great deal from listening to these students.”