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Moving Beyond Traditional Peer Feedback to Build Intellectual Communities: A Contribution to the ChatGPT Debate

Friday, March 31, 2023 14:30to16:00

Reporting findings from an ethnographic study of the literate lives of a group of multilingual writers, this presentation will highlight the significance of discursive collaborations formed in organic writing communities. Collaboration in writing can be understood as two different phenomena. First, teachers can invite students to write together, edit each other’s work, and provide peer feedback. Alternatively, collaborative writing could be understood as building writing communities motivated by certain social, cultural, and/or political agendas.

Whereas in the former approach what is emphasized is the physical act of co-writing, in the latter the focus is on creating an intellectual community that aims to support its members discursively as well as linguistically. Such intellectual partnerships can be formal and structured (for instance, membership in a poetry club), but they could also be less regulated or less visible (for example, learning from a relative-mentor or occasional encounters with local artists and writers). Although in most forms of collaborative writing discursive and linguistic interactions are interwoven, a change in emphasis can lead to writing pedagogies with different characteristics.

In this talk, Amir Kalan, PhD, Assistant Professor at McGill University, will illustrate examples of how his research participants benefited from intellectual alliances and discuss the implications of his findings for teaching writing in the age AI and with the availability of ChatGPT and similar programs and applications.

This talk will be delivered in English.

About Amir Kalan, PhD, Assistant Professor at McGill University

Amir Kalan is Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education (DISE) at McGill University. In his work, he attempts to create a sociology of writing that can help educators and researchers better understand sociocultural, political, and power-relational aspects of writing. He is particularly interested in learning about the experiences of minoritized and racialized students in multicultural and multilingual contexts.

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