Paul Kei Matsuda

A Trip to Taiwan

I just came back from a trip to Taiwan, where I visited Tamkang University in Tamsui and Tunghai University in Taichun.

The primary purpose of the trip was to attend the Tamkang International Conference on Second Language Writing. I was invited as one of the plenary speakers along with John Flowerdew and Alister Cumming.

My talk was about the application of sociocultural theory to L2 writing instruction. It seemed to resonate with some of the concerns that people in Taiwan were facing. A lot of people told me that they appreciated the balance between theoretical and pedagogical discussion. I'm planning to present a sequel to it at Asia TEFL next June in Malaysia--with more detailed guidelines for curriculum development.

It was a really well organized conference. Everyone--from undergraduate students to faculty--worked really hard to give all the participants a first-class treatment. Yueh-kuey Huang, the Department Chair and Director of Ph.D. and M.A. Programs in English, really had everything under control. The main conference room on the 10th floor of the building was absolutely gorgeous. The view of the Tamsui River from the window was also great.

My favorite part was the food--appetizers during coffee breaks, lunch boxes and the banquet--yummy! I was also quite impressed by the quality of presentations--both form and content. I hope they will contine to have a conference on L2 writing at Tamkang!

Graduate students at Tamkang and other universities in Taiwan were doing really exciting work. As I said at the closing panel discussion, the number of L2 writing researchers in Taiwan seems to be reaching a critical mass--I felt that L2 writing in Taiwan has come of age. I really look forward to learning more about L2 writing in Taiwan.

Two of the graduate students--Karen Ye and Viola Hsueh--volunteered to escort me throughout the conference. They took really good care of me all day. They even took me to Taipei 101 (the tallest building in the world) and Shiling Night Market. I got to know them quite well and had a lot of fun with them. Thanks, Karen and Viola! I hope we'll have a chance to hang out together again!

On Sunday, Theresa Tseng, Alister, Razika Sonoui, and I went to Tunghai Unviersity, where Alister and I each gave a talk. It was quite serendipitous--we got invited separately by two different people, but it was really nice to spend some time with them. Alister talked about the features of TOEFL ibt test, and I talked about an insider's perspective on writing for scholarly publication. I also met Anthony Kunnan, who happened to be there as a Fulbright Scholar this year. I got to spend a lot of time with Theresa and Kailin Wu, a former Ph.D. student of Bonnie Sunstein and Carol Severino's at the University of Iowa. It was also good to meet Jon Benda--we had been corresponding with each other since the late 1990s, but we never actually had had the chance to meet in person.

I also got to see some familiar faces--Masumi Narita, who is working with me to organize the Symposium on Second Language Writing in Japan next September was there, and we had a productive meeting over lunch; Ho-Ping Feng, who teaches at National Taiwan Normal University; and Billy (Shin-Fan Kao), whom I met at Indiana TESOL when I was still at Purdue.

I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Taiwan--great people, great food, and great conversations. I would definitely like to visit Taiwan again--and again, and again.

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Blogger Jonathan Benda said...

It was great to meet you in person--finally!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006 9:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Tacia said...

I was the student-staff who manipulated the computer in the conference of Tamkang University.

I was so impressed with your achievement as the best L2 writer all over the world, one professor told us student-staff that. What you presented in the conference is really meaningful and useful.

I am also glad that you like Taiwan. You mentioned that you have never been to Taiwan. After reading this journal, I am released that we- Taiwan, Taiwanese and my university, did not disappoint you. ^__^

Sunday, December 24, 2006 3:34:00 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

Jon, it was great to meet you in person, too. Too bad we didnt' get to talk very much. Let's try again!

Thank you, Tacia, for your kind message. I really appreciate all your help with the AV equipment. I hope to see you again soon!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006 10:44:00 PM  

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