Call for a Special Issue of Writing & Pedagogy

CALL FOR PAPERS Writing & Pedagogy, Vol. 7(2), Summer 2015, Special Topic Issue

Orality and Literacy in the 21st Century: Prospects for Writing Pedagogy

Twenty-five years ago, Comprehending Oral and Written Language (Horowitz and Samuels, 1987, Academic Press) was published. Chapter One of that book began with the following statement, which still holds:

In the next century it will be virtually impossible to pursue the study of written language and literacy without attention to oral language…. Speculations are that 100 years from now, not only will there be a mingling of research perspectives, but since features associated with oral and written language and social-psychological factors associated with language processes are constantly in a state of flux, our very object of study will also change dramatically. The lexis, grammar, and larger structures of oral language and written language may become alike, with the norm being a writing that is largely indistinguishable from speech. (p. 1)

 We are soliciting contributions for a special topic issue on “Orality and Literacy in the 21st Century: Prospects for Writing Pedagogy.” The issue will address attributes of orality and literacy that are gaining heightened attention world-wide and that we believe will significantly influence the nature of classroom instruction in writing. Scholarly examination of oral and literate cultures and spoken-written expression and their cognitive representation will influence the pedagogical practices that are advanced in the 21st century in educational policy, teacher education, and classroom learning and teaching.

The special topic issue will include articles in the categories of critical essay, empirical research, pedagogical reflections, technology-focused or internet-focused articles, and reviews of books to be published in the period from Summer 2013 to Summer 2015. We are seeking articles relevant for any level of education or type of writing pedagogy or practice, such as the following topics and areas of inquiry:

  • The evolving nature of orality and literacy, historically and culturally – How are changes in orality and literacy reshaping writing pedagogy? How have the oral and written dimensions of language, whether primary or second languages, been characterized by scholars and how might different perspectives have influence on pedagogical practices in writing?
  • The functions of oral vs. written communication among individuals and/or in given social groups or communities – Are the functions of the oral and written dimensions of language changing within specific cultures or social-contextual settings, and if so, how are these changes influencing writing pedagogy?
  • Interactions of oral and written expression and knowledge development within different academic disciplines – How is spoken language used to support writing tasks, genres, and writer-reader goals of different academic disciplines? How do oral and written modes of communication interact in contrasting types of knowledge domains, such as in science versus history?
  • Ways in which forms of speaking influence writing – How do speech styles and genres work as precursors to writing, and how do they strategically enter into and follow writing? How do discussions influence motivation and processes of writing and the products that are produced by learners? How can students in classrooms progress from spontaneous utterances to more planned discourse?
  • Spoken versus written input to writing – What is the comparative value of spoken versus written feedback or other kinds of contributions on students’ writing?
  • Linkage of oral and written competence across languages or dialects – How might students’ oral or written competence in their primary language be used to support or enrich writing in another language? How can writing pedagogy incorporate bilingual or bidialectal competence?
  • The role of the body in oral versus written expression – How do the mouth, ear, eye, hand, or larger human body contribute to the production of written discourse, such as through incorporation of specific features of oral language, gestures, or overall performance? How do visual and manual processing contribute to writing when writers use specific tools such as pen, computer, or hand-held devices? How should connections between mind and body be studied or employed in writing pedagogy?
  • Timing and prosody of speech and writing – How do timing and prosody through features such as intonation units, punctuation, and utterance/sentence length differ in speech versus writing? How are the rhythmic elements of language and discourse conveyed in writing? How might these be taught to developing writers?
  • Voice in speech and writing contexts – How is voice conveyed in specific speaking and writing contexts? How do writers adjust voice to geographic space or social-situational contexts? How can voice be defined and developed in the writing curriculum?
  • Audience awareness or interaction in speaking versus writing – How is audience incorporated into acts of speaking versus writing, and what are the pedagogical implications?
  • Cognition and consciousness in speech and writing – How does written language influence cognition and consciousness differently from speech, and what are the implications for teaching and learning how to write for cognitive development? In what ways are differences in speech and writing as modes of meaning and thinking incorporated into educational curricula?
  • Methods of oral and written discourse analysis – What methods, including with technologies, may be useful for the analysis of spoken and written discourse, and how can they be applied to writing pedagogy?

 Contributions to this issue may come from researchers and practitioners from a range of disciplines, such as Rhetoric and Composition, Communication, Psychology, Culture Studies, Linguistics, Education, Media and Information Technology, as well as from those interested in writing in specific disciplines. A range of methodologies are welcomed, including quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method empirical studies as well as historical or issues-centered analysis and pedagogical description and critique. Contributors may suggest an issue or topic that is not listed but that may be germane to the theme of this special issue.

For articles in all categories other than book reviews, interested potential authors should send their email and postal addresses along with a provisional title and draft article or detailed abstract, summary, or outline of contents by email or hard copy by post to the guest editor. For best consideration, submit this by 31 January 2014. Also send a 75-100 word biographical statement that includes highest degree and where from, current institutional affiliation and job title, and major achievements. For book reviews, please notify the guest editor of relevant books to appear in the period of Summer 2013 to Summer 2015 and whether you would like to be considered as a possible reviewer of a specific book or books, for which the reviewer would receive a free copy. If you wish to be considered as a reviewer, also send email and postal address along with a 75-100 word biographical statement that includes highest degree and where from, current institutional affiliation and job title, and major achievements.

Guest editor contact information:

Professor Rosalind Horowitz

Discourse and Literacy Studies

Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching

College of Education and Human Development

The University of Texas–San Antonio

One UTSA Circle

San Antonio, Texas 78249-0654


Potential contributors will be notified within 2 months of submission of a decision about their proposed contribution and, if positive, given feedback towards a first or revised draft. Both the guest editor and the other editors of the journal will work closely with selected authors to aid in producing a unique and memorable issue on this important topic.

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