LETTER FROM THE CHAIR
This year, SLWIS enters its 12th year as an interest section. Like it has for many of you, the SLWIS has become my home within TESOL, and it is truly an honor to serve as your chair for the 2016–2017 year. I look forward to a great year of idea sharing and intellectual discussion with the SLWIS community!
First, I would like to give an update following the convention in Baltimore last April. Our SLWIS meetings and special sessions were well attended this year. Our academic session focused on the role of genre in teaching writing, and we were fortunate to have noted scholars in this area, including Christine Feak, Ann Johns, Ahmar Mahboob, and Luciana de Oliveira. We also had three InterSections: one with the Higher Education IS and Intensive English Programs (IEP) IS on aligning writing objectives in higher education across IEPs, first-year writing, and content classes; one with the Refugee Concerns IS and Adult Education IS on teaching writing to adult low-literacy students; and one with Secondary Schools IS on preparing high school students for various postsecondary writing demands. A number of long-standing SLWIS members contributed to these sessions, including Gena Bennett, Colleen Brice, Nigel Caplan, Betsy Gilliland, Ditlev Larsen, and Nancy Overman.
In addition, planning for the 2017 convention in Seattle is well underway. Thank you to everyone who submitted a proposal. SLWIS received 278 proposals, which is an increase of 41 proposals from last year. Each proposal was reviewed by three or more reviewers, many of whom were SLWIS members. The number of slots we are allotted in the program is based on the number of proposals submitted to our IS, so it is important for SLWIS members to continue to submit proposals for various types of presentations. For the 2017 convention, we were allotted 53 program slots in addition to 18 poster sessions.
Research- and practice-oriented sessions remained the most popular this year (together representing 75% of SLWIS submissions), making these the most competitive categories as well. We also received a number of strong workshop, panel, teaching tip, and dialogue (a new type for this coming year) proposals. The overall acceptance rate was approximately 26%, although acceptance rates for dialogues and posters were higher. Thank you to everyone who submitted and/or reviewed proposals!
For those who are planning on attending the 2017 convention in Seattle, I would like to encourage you to apply for travel funding from TESOL. Each year, TESOL awards more than US$50,000 in scholarships and grants to enable members to attend the convention. Of course, the annual convention is not the only way to be involved in SLWIS, and this year we will continue our efforts to make SLWIS a year-round interest section. Some of the ways to be involved in the IS outside the convention include:
Participating in our e-list: Our e-list is a great place to share ideas and resources and to ask questions. The collective knowledge of our interest section members is a great resource!
Participating in online discussions: This year, we will be continuing the online discussion series that we have been hosting the last couple years. In these sessions, an expert in an area of second language (L2) writing leads an interactive discussion with attendees, who join either online or via telephone. Some of the past discussions include topics on writing assessment (led by Deborah Crusan), feedback (led by Dana Ferris), qualities of an effective writing teacher (led by Todd Ruecker), and TESOL’s research agenda (led by Dudley Reynolds), and are archived online. Recently, Ann Johns led a discussion on teaching effective and various summaries. We are currently planning more online discussions for the coming year, so check the e-list for announcements soon!
Interacting with our Facebook page: The SLWIS leadership, especially our diligent community manager Elena Shvidko, posts articles and topics related to SLW via our Facebook page (which currently has more than 5,200 likes!). If you are a Facebook user, make sure you “like” our page to get these posts. The comments are a great place to participate in discussions about SLW.
Writing for SLW News: Our newsletter team, led by Ilka Kostka, publishes two issues of SLW News each year, containing reports of SLW research and teaching, interviews, and reviews of SLW books and materials. The newsletter always welcomes submissions of various types from SLWIS members.
Reviewing proposals for the convention: While this is related to the convention, it is not required that you attend to review. Nonetheless, reviewing proposals is a great way to participate in the IS and to see what kinds of work people in SLW are doing. Each year, TESOL puts out a call for reviewer applications, so check your email for the call for the 2018 convention.
There are also opportunities to join the IS leadership. Our outgoing chair, Silvia Pessoa, will be facilitating the election process this year, and I would encourage anyone who would like to become more involved in the IS to nominate yourself for open positions.
Lastly, I would like to thank all of the contributors to this issue of the SLW News and congratulate the editorial team on another great issue. The newsletter plays an important role in the IS, and I thank you for all of the work you put into making it such a useful resource.
SLWIS Chair, 2016–2017
Ryan T. Miller is an assistant professor in the English Department at Kent State University, where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in L2 reading and writing, SLA, and language teaching methods. His research investigates development of discipline-specific writing skills, genre knowledge, and dual-language involvement and support of reading and its subskills.
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Dear SLWIS members,
The editorial staff at SLW News welcomes you to the October 2016 issue of our newsletter, which is packed with a wide variety of articles. First, SLWIS Chair Ryan Miller reviews SLWIS activities at the TESOL convention in Baltimore this year, gives an update about SLWIS involvement in the 2017 Convention, and describes how members can become more involved in our interest section. The issue also includes a comprehensive review of second language (L2) writing scholarship in 2015, articles about “queering” L2 writing, the impact of negative institutional factors on written feedback, and designing effective academic writing courses, as well as a reflection about working in a writing center with undergraduate L2 writers. There are also reviews of two books: Tutoring Second Language Writers and Writing for Peer-Review Journals: Strategies for Getting Published.
Additionally, we are excited to include an interview with renowned SLW expert Dr. Paul Kei Matsuda. Elena Shvidko, our community manager, interviewed Dr. Matsuda about the notion of expertise in SLW, which is the theme of this year’s Symposium on Second Language Writing. In our Member Profiles section, we also feature three Graduate Student Spotlights. In this issue, Elena talked to Suriati Abas, Marie-Louise Koelzer, and Hussein Meihami to learn more about their work in L2 writing. If you are a master’s or doctoral student interested in contributing to this section of the newsletter, please contact Elena for more information.
In this issue, we would also like to welcome Joel Henge-Hartse to the editorial team. Joel is a lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. Before completing his PhD in teaching English as a second language at the University of British Columbia, he taught in the United States and in China. His work has appeared in the Journal of Second Language Writing, English Today, Asian Englishes, and Composition Studies. Joel will be aiding the rest of the team in reading articles and preparing them for publication. Welcome aboard, Joel! If you are interested in joining our editorial team, please feel free to email me.
Last but not least, I encourage all SLWIS members to consider sharing their teaching and/or research insights with our SLWIS community. Please visit the Submission Guidelines page for more information.
I wish you all an engaging and successful academic year!
Ilka (on behalf of the editorial team)
SLW News Editorial StaffGena Bennett
Joel Heng Hartse
SCHOLARSHIP ON L2 WRITING IN 2015: THE YEAR IN REVIEW
[NOTE: This article has not been copyedited due to its length.]
Even in a relatively small field like second language writing (L2W), keeping up with the current literature can be difficult. Since 2010, the number of publications on second language writing has exceeded 200 per year, and 2015 was no exception. To address this situation, we provide an overview of scholarship on second language writing published in 2015.
Data for this paper come from a search of databases including Educational Information Resources Center (ERIC), Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts (LLBA), ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (PQDT), and Worldcat (an online database that provides access to the collections of 71,000 libraries in 112 countries), as well as a perusal of more than 50 journals that, to a greater or lesser extent, typically publish articles on second language writing. The types of publications that we will address primarily include journal articles, authored and edited books, book chapters, and dissertations.
Instruction has always drawn a great deal of attention in the field of L2W, and it was the most frequently researched topic in second language writing in 2015. There were a total of 95 studies focusing on instruction in 2015, which we further divided into four sub-categories: pedagogical approaches, feedback, computer-assisted teaching, and genre-based instruction.
Pedagogical approaches. The first subcategory in instruction, pedagogical approaches, was the topic of 31 articles, including discussions on process approaches, task-based instruction, reading to write, collaborative writing, concept-based instruction, and focused instruction on language issues.
Process approaches refer to teaching philosophies in which writing instruction should focus on not only the final product, but also on the composing process. From the articles on process approaches, three major themes were identified. The first was teaching writing processes (Abdallah; Al-Jumaily; Lincoln & Idris; Zhou). Abdallah’s book aimed to introduce the essay writing process to Egyptian student teachers, while Zhou’s empirical study evaluated the influence of the process approach on non-English majors in China. Lincoln & Idris further compared the teaching of writing processes to first and second language writers and suggested differentiating feedback to both groups. Al-Jumaily introduced the process approach in an intensive course for English as a Second Language (ESL) learners with the help of a word processing program.
The second group of publications on process approaches looked at specific stages in writing, such as instructor modelling (Wette), scaffolding (Faraj), students’ pre-writing (Fei; Fraser; Nguyen), and the portfolio compiling process (Lam(a)). The last topic explored was writing strategies, including three articles (de Silva; de Silva & Graham; O’Brien) that emphasized the importance of teaching writing strategies to students. All three articles were on writing strategies in an English for academic purposes (EAP) context.
The second most researched pedagogical approach was task-based instruction, with six publications. Task-based instruction emphasizes the use of authentic language and meaningful real-life tasks in teaching students to write in English. Both task characteristics and specific tasks are discussed in this category. Biria & Karimi examined the pre-task planning of Iranian learners and found that such planning improved the fluency of students’ writing. Various influential factors in task-based approaches were identified, including task conditions (McDonough & Fuentes), writing prompts (He & Sun), and task complexity (Adams, Nik Mohd Alwi, & Newton). This category of publications also addressed specific tasks that can be used in writing instruction, such as oral history projects (Lavin, Petree, & Herrington; Sun).
The third most addressed pedagogical approach was reading to write. Articles on this topic explore the relationship between reading and writing instruction, and they suggest that students’ writing performance could be improved through integrated reading and writing instruction. The use of reading in writing instruction was the focus of five articles: three in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) settings (Buechel; Cho & Brutt-Griffler; Mermelstein) and two in ESL settings (Heeney; Ye). Buechel examined young learners’ writing performance in Swiss elementary schools, and Mermelstein’s study demonstrated that a one-year enhanced extensive reading course could help improve learners’ writing abilities significantly. Cho & Brutt-Griffler investigated how integrated reading and writing instruction impacted the reading comprehension and summary-writing abilities of Korean middle school students. Heeney, in her dissertation, presented a case study of reading-to-write strategy instruction in a Canadian university’s English for Academic Purposes writing course. Ye’s book provided an exploration of second language reading and writing in the college writing environment.
Collaboration can be an effective pedagogical method for second language writers, as it provides extra support from both instructors and other learners for their writing process. The fourth most represented pedagogical approach was collaborative writing, with two publications addressing it. One of the articles was about collaboration tools (Mirzaei & Eslami), and the other presented a specific writing workshop (Xu, T.). Topics taken up by similar numbers of publications were concept-based instruction (Fogal; Gene-Gil, Juan-Garau, & Salazar-Noguera) and focused instruction on language topics (AlHassan & Wood; Jing) with two publications on each.
Three other approaches were represented by one publication each. Leis, Tohei, & Cooke looked at the effects of flipped classrooms on English composition writing in an EFL environment, and Nguyen examined the effectiveness of a timed writing technique whereby students regularly wrote as much as they could in seven minutes three times a week for a period of ten weeks. Additionally, Hinkel published a book on curriculum design in L2W.
Feedback. The second most popular subtopic in the category of instruction was feedback, an essential part of learning and instruction, upon which 27 studies focused. Both teacher feedback and peer feedback were discussed in the publications, and three major themes were identified under this topic. The first one addressed students’ view of feedback (Best, Jones-Katz, Stolzenburg, & Williamson; Huang, W.). Best, Jones-Katz, Smolarek, Stolzenburg, and Williamson investigated how students in their program's advanced writing course viewed, responded to, and made meaning from the feedback they received. Other scholars (Capraro; Ho; Huffman; Kim, S.H.; Lee; Rowan; Wang, W) also examined various aspects of peer feedback.
In addition to understanding feedback from students’ perspectives, publications in this category also addressed teachers’ practices and beliefs in providing feedback. Two publications focused specifically on the use of models in providing teacher feedback (Canovas Guirao, Roca de Larios, & Coyle; Chang). In addition to modeling, several other feedback strategies were also present in the literature (Saeed; Shvidko(a); Shvidko(b); Unlu & Wharton).
Apart from the examination of feedback in general, a particular type of feedback, written corrective feedback, received significant attention in 2015. Eleven articles directly explored this type of feedback with topics including effects of WCF (Diab; Hartshorn & Evans(a); Kang & Han; Perez-Nunez), learner engagement in WCF (Han & Hyland), the comparison between direct and indirect WCF (Frear & Chiu), instructors’ strategies for providing WCF (Cunningham; Goins), and research directions for future WCF studies (Bitchener & Knoch; Ferris(b); Shao).
Computer-assisted instruction. Another subtopic within the category of instruction, which was also addressed by a considerable number of scholars, was computer-assisted instruction, with 16 publications. Two major issues were discussed: the evaluation of computer-assisted teaching (Abdallah & Mansour; Kibler; Lavolette, Polio, & Kahng; Leis, Cooke, & Tohei; Lin; Shafiee, Koosha, & Afghari; Tsai; Wu, Petit, & Chen) and the introduction of various technologies. Among the publications on specific technologies, articles on corpus-based studies (Chen, Huang, Chang, & Liou; Luo & Liao; Nurmukhamedov; Quinn) outnumbered publications on other technologies. Other technologies investigated included the use of Wikipedia (King), Google Drive (Slavkov), Blogging (Wu), and films (Murphy) in writing classrooms.
Genre-based approaches. The last category under the topic of instruction was research on genre-based approaches. In two articles on raising students’ genre awareness, Kawamitsu introduced a genre-specific approach to elementary and intermediate writing in Japanese-as-a-foreign-language, and Linares Cálix explored genre-based learning in Spanish speakers studying Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) in Honduras. The instruction of various genres was also discussed in the literature, including creative writing (Arshavskaya; Dai; Lim), narrative writing (Fraser), argumentative essays (Smirnova), descriptive essays (Carter), academic writing (Liu; Tribble), and song writing (Cullen).
The topic of this section is second language written texts. There were 43 publications, including journal articles, unpublished dissertations, and monographs, that focused on this topic. The major categories include argumentation, complexity, lexical issues, bilingual and translingual features, error analysis, writer’s voice, and other textual features.
Argumentation. The first category, argumentation was addressed in six publications. Researchers investigated argument structures (Liu & Furneaux), the use of clausal embedding in argumentative texts (Maxwell-Reid), argument-counterargument structure (Rusfandi), the quality of argument (Stapleton & Wu), and the representation of stance in EFL learner’s argumentative writing (Maclntyre; Jiang).
Complexity. Complexity was the focus of eight journal articles. The major subcategories include syntactic complexity (Ortega; Lu & Ai; Vyatkina, Hirschmann, & Golcher), syntactic and lexical complexity (Mazgutova & Kormos), linguistic complexity and discourse-semantic function (Ryshina-Pankova), epistemic complexity (Wilcox, Yu, & Nachowitz), and the relationship between task/topic complexity and writing complexity (Yang, Lu, & Weigle; Frear & Bitchener).
Lexical issues. Lexical use in L2 written texts is another category that received scholarly attention. The publications in this category include studies on the comparisons of lexical features in EAP students’ writing (Lavallée & McDonough), discourse connectives in L1 and L2 writing (Hu & Li), specifications in the use of modifiers (Wei), deictic expressions in EFL Saudi students’ writing (Hamdan), and the use of demonstratives in Chinese EFL students’ writing (Zhang, J.). In addition, this category includes an edited book on lexical issues in L2 written texts in general (Doro, Pipalova, & Pietila).
Bilingual and translingual features. In the seven publications in this category, researchers mainly examined the textual features of bilingual literature (Wong; Waite; Őri), translingual sensibility in texts (Kellman & Stavans), memoir and auto-fiction of translingual writers (Wanner), code-switching (Derrick), and textual presentation of L1 transfer (He & Niao).
Error analysis. As an effective tool, error analysis is frequently used by L2 writing scholars and practitioners to improve L2 writers’ writing accuracy. Researchers analyzed errors in L2 written texts from varied perspectives: sources of error in the writing of Thai university students (Phuket & Othman), errors in disciplinary (medical sciences and chemistry) writing (Conway-Klaassen, Thompson, Eliason, Collins, Murie, & Spannaus-Martin; Katiya, Mtonjeni, & Sefalane-Nkohla), errors made by Arab EFL learners (Murad & Khalil), and the impact of text genre on error (Moqimipour & Shahrokhi).
Writer’s voice. In this category, three journal articles reported on research on writer’s voice in L2 written texts. Hafner investigated writer’s voice in digital multimodal composition; Hanauer explored how to measure voice in poetry written by L2 learners, and Que & Li looked at the voices of Post-80s Chinese students in their English written texts.
Other textual features. Other textual features is the last category on this topic, including publications that do not fit into any of the aforementioned categories. The textual features examined include grammatical resources in L2 students writing (de Oliveira), Hong Kong students’ use of genre (Maxwell-Reid & Coniam), ecological analysis of the written texts (Poole), South Korean students’ use of formulaic language (Schenck & Choi), Pakistani students’ use of meta-discourse (Asghar), measuring fluency in writing (Van Waes & Leijten), and linguistic features of impromptu test essays in general (Lichon; Weigle & Friginal).
Context is another major topic of publications in 2015. The term context is used in a broad sense in this section to include institutional, educational, and cultural settings where L2 writing and instruction take place, venues where studies in L2 writing can be published, and theoretical contexts, mainly created by synthesis studies, where previous research was reviewed. Within this area, there are 45 publications, including journal articles, monographs, unpublished dissertations, and newsletter articles. The four major categories for this topic are theoretical context, publication context, institutional context, and cross-cultural context.
Theoretical context. Theoretical context is the largest category, with 20 publications. This category was further divided into four subcategories, namely critical reviews, theoretical re-examinations, disciplinary dialogues, and conference reports. The critical reviews included seven publications that provided theoretical and/or methodological reviews of cognitive task complexity (Tabari & Ivey), processes of writing (Valfredini(b)), writing complexity (Vyatkina), written corrective feedback (Wang & Jiang), EAP writing (Xu), theoretical and conceptual development in L2 writing (Maliborska), and translingual literature (Kellman & Lvovich).
The second subcategory under theoretical context is theoretical re-examination, which is the focus of three journal articles. Griffo argued for recontextualizing composition studies to respond to multilingual practices. Razumova re-examined cultural and linguistic belonging with regard to translingualism in contemporary literature. Finally, Nishino and Atkinson examined L2 writing as a sociocognitive process.
Disciplinary dialogue is another subcategory under theoretical context. Among the seven articles in this subcategory, six of them were from a disciplinary dialogue on plagiarism published by Journal of Second Language Writing. Researchers (Flowerdew; Hu; Petrić; Taylor; Weber-Wulff) responded to Diane Pecorari’s article “Plagiarism in second language writing: Is it time to close the case?” Another publication was an open letter from L2 writing researchers to writing studies editors and organization leaders aiming to clarify the relationship between L2 writing and translingual writing (Atkinson, Crusan, Matsuda, Ortmeier-Hooper, Ruecker, Simpson, & Tardy).
The last subcategory, conference reports, includes two articles and one newsletter report, as well as information about two conferences, namely the 2014 Symposium on Second Language Writing at Arizona State University (O’Meara & Snyder; O’Meara, Snyder, & Matsuda) and the 7th International Conference on English Language Teaching at Nanjing University, China (Zhang, Yan, & Liu).
Publication context. The second category, publication context, consisted of two articles. The articles, authored by Hartshorn & Evans (b) and Ferris (a), were both about the newly established Journal of Response to Writing. The authors justified the need for and shared stories about the establishment of the new journal.
Institutional context. The third category, institutional context, was the subject of 11 publications. These publications investigated institutional issues in second language writing teaching and research, including L2 writing graduate studies (McIntosh, Pelaez-Morales, & Silva), ESL writers’ challenges and institutional support (Evans, Anderson, & Eggington), program and curriculum evaluation (Bruce & Hamp-Lyons; Al-Hammadi & Sidek), content teachers’ perception of students’ ability to communicate using English (Annous & Nicolas), writing centers and tutor training (Reichelt; Rafoth; Severino & Prim; Wang & Machado), secondary school practices in meeting Common Core State Standards (Olson, Scarcella, & Matuchniak), and effective instructional strategies for L2 writers in elementary schools (Cole & Feng).
Cross-cultural context. The final category is cross-cultural context, which includes 12 publications. The cross-cultural contexts examined included bilingual creative writing in EFL contexts (Sui; Bokamba), intercultural study of writing (instruction) in EFL contexts (Kim, H.; Vahidnia & Fatemi; Szanajda & Chang), multilingual classrooms (Matsumoto; Roberge, Losey, & Wald), cross-cultural exchange programs (Johnson), teaching writing in the global context (Webb; Butler), and cross-cultural tutoring environments (Eastlund; Kim, E.J.).
The fourth category, with a total number of twelve publications, focused on readers. Here we defined “reader” as focusing on the instructor or another reader of an L2 text. Out of the twelve publications in this category, three sub-categories emerged: teacher development, teacher beliefs, and teacher practices.
Teacher development. This subcategory had two publications emphasizing the role of teacher training, experience, and development in specific L2 writing contexts. Gerard, an ESL specialist, focused on the use of partnerships in improving ESL training at the university in which groups of TESOL students were paired with ELL students for a mutual learning experience, whereas Adjei focused on the use of subordination at a teachers’ College in Ghana.
Teacher beliefs. The two publications in this category addressed differences between teacher practices and teacher beliefs pertaining to novice teachers’ written feedback (Junquera & Payant) and disparities between theory and practice (Salteh & Sadeghi).
Teacher practices. Eight articles focused on teacher variation in the second language writing classroom. Davis & Morely reported on a study that explored the boundaries of acceptability for phrasal re-use. The remaining seven publications looked at book clubs as professional development for L2W instructors (Andrei, Ellerbe, & Cherner), cross-cultural curricular development using a process writing approach in Bhutan (Zangmo, Burke, O’Toole, & Sharp), computational feasibility in ESL instruction (Xue), teacher education and cognition in developing a conceptual understanding of parallelism (Worden), think-aloud protocols in revision and editing (Willey & Tanimoto), EFL instructors’ feedback practices in China (Wang, Z.), and EFL writing instructor cognition (Kim, J.Y).
The fifth category, assessment, included a total of twenty-five publications representing six major sub-categories. These sub-categories included variables that influenced test performance and test results (seven publications), automated writing evaluation (AWE) (four publications), assessment for learning (AfL) (one publication), rating processes (six publications), feedback (five publications), and context (two publications).
Variables influencing test performance and test results. The seven publications in this area, broadly speaking, addressed analytic rubric development and reading-to-write tasks (Shin & Ewert), washback, plagiarism, and outside assistance in pre-sessional writing assessments (Westbrook & Holt), generalizability theory and the effects of genre on writing scores (Bouwer, Béguin, Sanders, & van den Bergh), predictability of EFL writing and Coh-Metrix (Aryadoust & Liu), self-assessment in EFL writing (Belachew, Getinet, & Gashaye), Chinese test-takers’ perceptions of rater impressions (Xie), and test and non-test processes and products (Khuder & Harword).
Automated writing evaluation (AWE). This category included four publications addressing AWE and formative feedback on causal discourse (Sarcicaoglu), the validity of AWE in diagnostic writing (Chapelle, Cotos, & Lee), the development and validation of AWE (Link), and AWE and feedback (Li, Link, & Hegelheimer).
Assessment for learning (AfL). The single publication here, authored by Huang, S. investigated the effects of goal setting for revision in the EFL writing classroom, suggesting that goal setting was potentially beneficial for learning in an AfL-oriented classroom but only when instruction and practice were repeated and scaffolds were concurrently provided.
Rating processes. In the fourth sub-category, rating processes, six publications addressed a wide range of considerations when investigating raters’ processing experiences, such as comparisons between holistic and analytic rating processes in China (Li & He), rubric construction (Janssen, Meier, & Trace), inter-rater reliability and rubrics (Winke & Lim), rating scale design, corpora, and validity (Banerjee, Yan, Chapman, & Elliot), rubric development for reading-into-writing (Chan, Inoue, & Taylor), and instructor perspectives and challenges when designing a data-driven rating scale for reading-to-write tasks (Ewert & Shin).
Feedback. The five publications in this category addressed the following areas: formative peer-assessment in EFL writing (Kuo), portfolio assessment and feedback on self-regulation (Lam(b)), the effect of cognitive diagnostic feedback (CDF) on secondary ESL students’ writing development (Wagner), corrective feedback and its effectiveness in L2 writing (Liu & Brown), and feedback comments for rating scale development in EAP (Jeffrey).
Context. In the sixth sub-category, context, two publications were identified. These spoke to concerns about assessment of academic writing in a pre-sessional EAP course (Seviour) and on designing an EFL writing proficiency assessment program at the postsecondary level (Bernhardt, Molitoris, Romeo, Lin, & Valderrama).
For our purposes, writer is defined as an L2 or multilingual writer using English as their second (possibly third or fourth) language. We focus on how they use and function in English for various purposes. This category includes a total of 56 publications divided into eight sub-categories: L2 writer population (four), multilingualism/bilingualism (nine), translingual writing (five), research publication practices (one), subprocesses, variables that affect composing, feedback, and context.
L2 writer population. The four publications in this category address the following topics: transitional Korean adolescents’ literacy practices (Pyo), negotiated identities of second-generation Vietnamese heritage speakers (Do), challenges faced by Arab students in writing (Rass), and ESL nonresident undergraduate students’ writing performance (Vaughn, Bergman, & Fass-Holmes).
There were nine publications about multilingualism, four of which focused on bilingualism. These articles included the following topics: multilingual students’ perceptions of their academic writing (Morton, Storch, & Thompson), the worlds and literacies of emergent bilingual students in a French-English curriculum (Morphis), the legacy of Eugene Joals as a multilingual poet (Kelbert), a neurolinguistic approach to Samuel Beckett’s bilingual writings (Kager), cognitive writing processes of bilingual users of Facebook (Riley), EFL writers’ written language use and polylanguaging (Ritzau), undergraduate students’ mediational tools when writing across languages (Valfredini(a)), voice construction through a dialogical pedagogy (Canagarajah), and the biliterate writing development of emerging bilingual students (Cano-Rodriguez).
Translingual writing. In the newest category in this section, including a total of five publications, the following topics were addressed: multimodality, translingualism, and rhetorical genre studies (Gonzales); ideological and emotional perspectives of Hebrew translingual writing (Tannenbaum); minority voices of translingual writers (Besemeres); literary translingualism and creativity (Kellman & Lvovich); and the materialist rhetorical lens, daily language, and translingualism (Jordan).
The single publication in the research publication practices category introduces a Romanian perspective on learning publication practices (Bardi). Bardi explored the range of factors that motivate Romanian researchers to publish in high-profile English-medium journals, the main linguistic and non-linguistic hurdles they have experienced, and the strategies they have developed with respect to managing the publication process and improving their ability to communicate research in English.
Writing subprocesses. The seven publications in this category emphasized the following: collaborative pre-writing discussion and L2 writing (Neumann & McDonough), EFL students’ understanding of genre awareness and meaning-making choices in summary writing (Yasuda), ESL students learning to write a synthesis paper (Zhao & Hirvela), writing processes of second language creative writers (Zhao), Malaysian vocabulary knowledge and summary writing practices (Ashrafzadeh & Nimehchisalem), EFL students’ blogging processes and experiences (Chen), and negotiation of written discourse conventions in EFL (Guthrie).
Variables that affected composing. As the largest writer sub-category, the 17 publications addressed a wide range of topics including: writing anxiety among Iranian students (Olanezhad), writing self-efficacy and writing performance among Malaysian students (Jalaluddin, Paramasivam, Husain, & Bakar), collaborative writing activities and writing proficiency among French learners (Bissoonauth-Bedford & Stace), EFL students’ self-regulation and process-oriented writing (Lam(c)), the causes of L2 learners’ self-efficacy and anxiety in writing (Kirmizi & Kirmizi), L2/FL writing for language learning via task complexity (Ruiz-Funes), the effect of alignment on L2 written production (Wang & Wang), first generation immigrant college students in mainstream composition (Yu), causes of L2 writing apprehension in Egyptian students (Abdel Latif), the role of gender in the emotional content of EFL written narratives (Ahmadi-Azad), student perspectives on writing apprehension (Al-Shboul & Huwari), collaborative inquiry as a form of graduate mentoring (Bommarito), the writing processes (fluency, errors, and revision) of L1 and FL writers (Breuer), corpus-based textual analysis of authorial presence markers in argumentative essays of Turkish and American students (Candarli, Bayyurt, & Marti), ESL students’ writing proficiency over three years (Knoch, Roushad, Oon & Storch), ethnographically informed study of graduate students’ negotiation of prior academic writing (Kaufhold), and student motives for participating in group peer-feedback in EFL writing (Yu & Lee).
Feedback. The five articles in this subcategory focused on the following topics: student perceptions of online feedback (Strobl), L2 learners’ interpretation and understanding of WCF (Simard, Guénette, & Bergeron), correlations between language analytical ability and the effects of written feedback (Shintani & Ellis), student differences in L2 learners’ retention of WCF (Rahimi), and EFL Arab learners’ peer-revision of writing on Facebook (Razak & Saeed).
Context. This subcategory accounted for nine publications, looking at the various places and spaces for second language writing: L2 writing of health professionals (Alexander), adolescent ELLs’ stance toward disciplinary writing (Wilcox & Jeffery), writing anxiety in Chinese EFL learners’ (Liu & Ni), college English writing in China (Ren & Wang), argumentative text construction by Japanese EFL writers (Rinnert, Kobayashi, & Katayama), international graduate students’ academic writing practices in Malaysia (Singh), the academic writing of international students (Maringe & Jenkins), written strategies in argumentative writing of Slovenian speakers learning German (Mlakar Gracner), and writing in English in China (Zhang).
We hope that providing an overview of the research conducted in the field of second language writing in 2015 will enable educators and scholars to remain informed about the current trends influencing the writing practices of instructors and students. As we see an increase in publications addressing a myriad of concerns in instruction, assessment, philosophies, theoretical frameworks, and research practices, we are aware of the expansion and inclusiveness of L2W as robust field of inquiry.
Abdallah, M. S. (2015). Writing II for 2nd year EFL student teachers. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED557724.pdf
Abdallah, M.S., & Mansour, M.M. (2015). Virtual task-based situated language-learning with “Second Life”: Developing EFL pragmatic writing and technological self-efficacy. Arab World English Journal, 2, 150-182.
Abdel Latif, M.M. (2015). Sources of L2 writing apprehension: A study of Egyptian university students. Journal of Research in Reading, 38(2), 194-212.
Adams, R., Nik Mohd Alwi, N., & Newton, J. (2015). Task complexity effects on the complexity and accuracy of writing via text chat. Journal of Second Language Writing, 29, 64-81.
Adjei, A.A. (2015). Analysis of subordination errors in students’ writings: A study of selected teacher training colleges in Ghana. Journal of Education and Practice, 6(8), 62-77.
Ahmadi-Azad, S. (2015). Gender differences in emotional content of EFL written narratives. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 6(3), 619-626.
Al-Hammadi, F., & Sidek, H. M. (2015). An analytical framework for analysing secondary EFL writing curriculum: Approaches for writing and preparation for higher education. International Education Studies, 8(1), 59-70.
Al-Jumaily, S. (2015). Improving my students’ writing skill: An intensive course for ESL learners by using process-approach to writing with the assistance of computer word processor. International Journal of English Language Teaching, 2(1), 29-35.
Alexander, F. (2015). Second language writing of health professionals and the transfer of writing knowledge and skills: a narrative study. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Texas A&M University.
AlHassan, L., & Wood, D. (2015). The effectiveness of focused instruction of formulaic sequences in augmenting L2 learners’ academic writing skills: A quantitative research study. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 17, 51-62.
Al-Shboul, Y., & Huwari, I.F. (2015). The causes of writing apprehension through students’ perspective. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 6(3), 535-544.
Andrei, E., Ellerbe, M., & Cherner, T. (2015). “The Text Opened My Eyes”: A book club on teaching writing to ELLs. The Electronic Journal for English as a Second Language, 19(3).
Annous, S., & O’Day Nicolas, M. (2015). Academic territorial borders: A look at the writing ethos in business courses in an environment in which English is a foreign language. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 29(1), 93-111.
Arshavskaya, E. (2015). Creative writing assignments in a second language course: A way to engage less motivated students. InSight: A Journal of Scholarly Teaching, 10, 68-78.
Aryadoust, V., & Liu, S. (2015). Predicting EFL writing ability from levels of mental representation measured by Coh-Metrix: A structural equation modeling study. Assessing Writing, 24, 35-58.
Asghar, J. (2015). Metadiscourse and contrastive rhetoric in academic writing: Evaluation of a small academic corpus. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 6(2), 317-326.
Ashrafzadeh, A., & Nimehchisalem, V. (2015). Vocabulary knowledge: Malaysian tertiary level learners’ major problem in summary writing. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 6(2), 286-291.
Atkinson, D., Crusan, D., Matsuda, P.K, Ortmeier-Hooper, C., Ruecker, T., Simpson, S., & Tardy, C. (2015). Clarifying the relationship between L2 writing and translingual writing: An open letter to writing studies editors and organization leaders. College English, 77(4), 383-386.
Banerjee, J., Yan, X., Chapman, M., & Elliot, H. (2015). Keeping with the times: Revising and refreshing a rating scale. Assessing Writing, 26, 5-19.
Bardi, M. (2015). Learning the practice of scholarly publication in English - A Romanian perspective. English for Specific Purposes, 37, 98-111.
Belachew, M., Getinet, M., & Gashaye, A. (2015). Perception and practice of self-assessment in EFL writing classrooms. Journal of Languages and Culture, 6(1), 1-8.
Bernhardt, E., Molitoris, J., Romeo, K., Lin, N., & Valderrama. (2015). Designing and sustaining a foreign language writing proficiency assessment program at the postsecondary level. Foreign Language Annals, 48(3), 329-349.
Besemeres, M. (2015). Involuntary dissent: The minority voice of translingual life writers. L2 Journal, 7, 18-29.
Best, K., Jones-Katz, L., Smolarek, B., Stolzenburg, M., & Williamson, D. (2015). Listening to our students: An exploratory practice study of ESL writing students views of feedback. TESOL Journal, 6(2), 332-357.
Biria, R., & Karimi, Z. (2015). The effects of pre-task planning on the writing fluency of Iranian EFL learners. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 6(2), 357-365.
Bissoonauth-Bedford, A., & Stace, R. (2015). Building a writing community through learning of French. Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice, 12(2), 7.
Bitchener, J., & Knoch, U. (2015). Written corrective feedback studies: Approximate replication of Bitchener & Knoch (2010a) and Van Beuningen, De Jong & Kuiken (2012). Language Teaching, 48(3), 405-414.
Bokamba, E.G. (2015). African Englishes and creative writing. World Englishes, 34(3) 315-335.
Bommarito, D.V. (2015). The invention of transformative agency collaborative inquiry as graduate-level mentoring. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Arizona State University.
Bouwer, R., Béguin, A., Sanders, T., & van den Bergh, H. (2015). Effect of genre on the generalizability of writing scores. Language Tests, 32(1),83-100.
Breuer, E.O. (2015). First language versus foreign language: Fluency, errors and revision processes in foreign language academic writing. Franfurt am Main: Peter Lang GmbH.
Bruce, E., & Hamp-Lyons, L. (2015). Opposing tensions of local and international standards for EAP writing programmes: Who are we assessing for? Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 18, 64-77.
Buechel, L. L. (2015). Young learner writing performance in Swiss elementary schools –Which teacher variables matter? RELC Journal, 46(3), 275-292.
Butler, D. B. (2015). Developing International EFL/ESL Scholarly Writers. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter GmbH.
Canagarajah, A.S. (2015). “Blessed in my own way:” Pedagogical affordances for dialogical voice construction in multilingual student writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 27, 122-139.
Çandarlı, D., Bayyurt, Y., & Martı, L. (2015). Authorial presence in L1 and L2 novice academic writing: Cross-linguistic and cross-cultural perspectives. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 20, 192-202.
Cano-Rodriguez, E. J. (2015). The biliterate writing development of emerging bilingual students at the word, sentence, and discourse level in a paired literacy program in grade levels 1-5. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Colorado at Boulder.
Cánovas Guirao, J., Roca de Larios, J., & Coyle, Y. (2015). The use of models as written feedback technique with young EFL learners. System, 52, 63-77.
Capraro, F. (2015). Reflections on using peer review in a
second language writing course. SLW News: The Newsletter of the Second Language Writing Interest Section. Retrieved from: http://newsmanager.commpartners.com/tesolslwis/issues/
Carter, K. (2015). Teaching descriptive writing through visualization and the five senses. English Teaching Forum, 53(2), 37-40.
Chan, S., Inoue, C., & Taylor, L. (2015). Developing rubrics to assess the reading-into-writing skills: A case study. Assessing Writing, 26, 20-37.
Chang, C.Y. (2015). Teacher modeling on EFL reviewers’ audience-aware feedback and affectivity in L2 peer review. Assessing Writing, 25, 2-21.
Chapelle, C. A., Cotos, E., & Lee, J. (2015). Validity arguments for diagnostic assessment using automated writing evaluation. Language Testing, 32(3), 385-405.
Chen, M. H., Huang, S. T., Chang, J. S., & Liou, H. C. (2015). Developing a corpus-based paraphrase tool to improve EFL learners' writing skills.Computer Assisted Language Learning, 28(1), 22-40.
Chen, R.T. (2015). L2 blogging: Who thrives and who does not? Language Learning & Technology, 19(2), 177-196.
Cho, H., & Brutt-Griffler, J. (2015). Integrated reading and writing: A case of Korean English language learners. Reading in a Foreign Language, 27(2), 242.
Cole, J., & Feng, J. (2015). Effective Strategies for Improving Writing Skills of Elementary English Language Learners. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED556123.pdf
Conway-Klaassen, J., Thompson, J. M., Eliason, P., Collins, M. R., Murie, R., & Spannaus-Martin, D. (2015). Multilingual and Native English‐speaking Student Writers in Medical Laboratory Sciences (MLS): A Comparative Pilot Study. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 15(4), 139-160.
Cullen, B. (2015). Exploring second language creativity: Understanding and helping L2 songwriters [Kindle DX version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com
Cunningham, M.A. (2015). Using audio screencast for feedback on short written essays. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
Dai, F. (2015). Teaching creative writing in English in the Chinese context. World Englishes, 34(2), 247-259.
Davis, M., & Morley, J. (2015). Phrasal intertextuality: The responses of academics from different disciplines to students’ re-use of phrases. Journal of Second Language Writing, 28, 20-35.
de Oliveira, L. C. (2015). A Systemic-Functional Analysis of English Language Learners’ Writing. DELTA: Documentação de Estudos em Lingüística Teórica e Aplicada, 31(1), 207-237.
De Silva, R. (2015). Writing strategy instruction: Its impact on writing in a second language for academic purposes. Language Teaching Research, 19(3), 301-323.
De Silva, R., & Graham, S. (2015). The effects of strategy instruction on writing strategy use for students of different proficiency levels. System, 53, 47-59.
Derrick, R. A. (2015). Code-switching, code-mixing and radical bilingualism in U.S. Latino texts. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Wayne State University.
Diab, N. M. (2015). Effectiveness of written corrective feedback: Does type of error and type of correction matter? Assessing Writing, 24, 16-34.
Do, T.H. (2015). Negotiated identities of second-generation Vietnamese heritage speakers: Implications for the multilingual composition classroom. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Arizona.
Doro, K., Pipalova, R., & Pietila, P. (2015). Lexical issues in L2 writing. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Eastlund, S.S. (2015). Translating code, not ramming down doors: A cultural-awareness pedagogical approach in an ESL-tutoring environment. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Northern Illinois University.
Evans, N.W., Anderson, N.J., & Eggington, W. (2015). ESL readers and writers in higher education: Understanding challenges, providing support. New York, NY: Routledge.
Ewert, D., & Shin, S. Y. (2015). Examining instructors’ conceptualizations and challenges in designing a data-driven rating scale for a reading-to-write task. Assessing Writing, 26, 38-50.
Faraj, A. K. A. (2015). Scaffolding EFL students' writing through the writing process approach. Journal of Education and Practice, 6(13), 131-141.
Fei, F. (2015). Formulaic language use in the L2 Chinese: The role of pre-writing planning. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Michigan State University.
Ferris, D. (2015a). A catalytic event for response research? Introducing our new journal: Editor’s introduction. Journal of Response to Writing, 1(1), 1-9.
Ferris, D. (2015b). Written corrective feedback in L2 writing: Connors and Lunsford (1988); Lunsford & Lunsford (2008); Lalande (1982). Language Teaching, 48(4), 531-544.
Flowerdew, J. (2015). Language re-use and the notion of culture: A response to Dian Pecorari’s “Plagiarism in second language writing: Is it time to close the case? Journal of Second Language Writing, 30, 109-110.
Fogal, G. G. (2015). Pedagogical stylistics and concept-based instruction: An investigation into the development of voice in the academic writing of Japanese university students of English. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Toronto.
Fraser, M.A. (2015). Drawing as a pre-write strategy in narrative writing for elementary English language learners. Unpublished doctoral dissertation: Northcentral University.
Frear, D., & Chiu, Y. (2015). The effect of focused and unfocused indirect written corrective feedback on EFL learners’ accuracy in new pieces of writing. System, 53, 24-34.
Frear, M. W., & Bitchener, J. (2015). The effects of cognitive task complexity on writing complexity. Journal of Second Language Writing, 30, 45-57.
Gené-Gil, M., Juan-Garau, M., & Salazar-Noguera, J. (2015). Development of EFL writing over three years in secondary education: CLIL and non-CLIL settings. The Language Learning Journal, 43(3), 286-303.
Gerard, J. (2015). A match made in heaven: Improving ESL training at the university through learning partnerships. SLW News: The Newsletter of the Second Language Writing Interest Section. Retrieved from:http://newsmanager.commpartners.com/tesolslwis
Goins, M. (2015). Written corrective feedback: Strategies for
L2 writing instructors. SLW News: The Newsletter of the Second Language Writing Interest Section. Retrieved from: http://newsmanager.commpartners.com/tesolslwis/
Gonzales, L. (2015). Multimodality, translingualism, and rhetorical genre studies. Composition Forum, 31, 302-321.
Griffo, R. (2015). Recontextualizing composition studies: Translingual practice, representation, and an enacted methodology. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Guthrie, B.A. (2015). Negotiated interaction in the learning of written discourse conventions. Unpublished Dissertation. Purdue University.
Hafner, C. A. (2015). Remix culture and English language teaching: The expression of learner voice in digital multimodal compositions. TESOL Quarterly, 49(3), 486-509.
Hamdan, M. (2015). Syntactic and semantic functions of deictic expressions in EFL Saudi students’ writing. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 6(2), 280-285.
Han, Y., & Hyland, F. (2015). Exploring learner engagement with written corrective feedback in a Chinese tertiary EFL classroom. Journal of Second Language Writing, 30, 31-44.
Hanauer, D. I. (2015). Measuring voice in poetry written by second language learners. Written Communication, 32(1), 66-86.
Hartshorn, K. J., & Evans, N. W. (2015a). The effects of dynamic written corrective feedback: A 30-week study. Journal of Response to Writing, 1(2), 6-34.
Hartshorn, K.J., & Evans, N.W. (2015b). The journal of response to writing: A response to a professional need. Journal of Response to Writing, 1(1), 11-18.
He, L., & Sun, Y. (2015). Investigation of the effects of prompt characteristics of Chinese test-takers’ integrated writing performance. Foreign Language Teaching and Research, 47(2), 237-250.
He, X., & Niao, L. (2015). A probe into the negative writing transfer of Chinese college students. English Language Teaching, 8(10), 21.
Heeney, M. (2015). Cognitive modelling: A case study of reading-to-write strategy instruction and the development of second language writing expertise in a university English for academic purposes writing course. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Toronto.
Hinkel, E. (2015). Effective curriculum for teaching L2 writing: Principles and techniques (ESL & applied linguistics professional series). New York: Routledge.
Ho, M. C. (2015). The effects of face-to-face and computer-mediated peer review on EFL writers' comments and revisions. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 31(1), 1-15.
Hu, G. (2015). Research on plagiarism in second language writing: Where to from here? Journal of Second Language Writing, 30, 100-102.
Hu, C., & Li, Y. (2015). Discourse connectives in L1 and L2 argumentative writing. Higher Education Studies, 5(4), 30-41.
Huang, S. C. (2015). Setting writing revision goals after assessment for learning. Language Assessment Quarterly, 12(4), 363-385.
Huang, W. (2015). The influence of learning styles on Chinese students’ attitudes towards peer feedback: Developing a survey tool for peer feedback training. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Washington State University.
Huffman, M. (2015). Getting on the same page: The hermeneutics of peer feedback in composition classrooms. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of New Mexico.
Jalaluddin, I., Paramasivam, S., Husain, S., & Bakar, R. A. (2015). The consistency between writing self efficacy and writing performance. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 6(3), 545-552.
Janssen, G., Meier, V., & Trace, J. (2015). Building a better rubric: Mixed methods rubric revision. Assessing Writing, 26, 51-66.
Jeffrey, R. (2015). Using feedback comments to develop a rating scale for a written coursework assessment. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 18, 51-63.
Jiang, F. K. (2015). Nominal stance construction in L1 and L2 students' writing. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 20, 90-102.
Jing, W. (2015). Theme and thematic progression in English writing teaching. Journal of Education and Practice, 6(21), 178-187.
Johnson, T. M. (2015). Explicit instruction of writing narrative essays: A multiple case study of Chinese students’ perceptions and performance. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Northcentral University.
Jordan, J. (2015). Material translingual ecologies. College English, 77(4), 364-382.
Junqueira, L., & Payant, C. (2015). “I just want to do it right, but it's so hard”: A novice teacher's written feedback beliefs and practices. Journal of Second Language Writing, 27, 19-36.
Kager, M. (2015). Comment dire: A neurolinguistic approach to Beckett’s bilingual writings. L2 Journal, 7(1), 68-83.
Kang, E., & Han, Z. (2015). The efficacy of written corrective feedback in improving L2 written accuracy: A meta-analysis. The Modern Language Journal, 99(1), 1-18.
Katiya, M., Mtonjeni, T., & Sefalane-Nkohla, P. (2015). Making sense of errors made by analytical chemistry students in their writing. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 6(3), 490-503.
Kaufhold, K. (2015). Conventions in postgraduate academic writing: European students' negotiations of prior writing experience at an English speaking university. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 20, 125-134.
Kawamitsu, S. (2015). Introducing genre into Japanese-as-a-foreign-language: Toward a genre-specific approach to elementary/intermediate writing. L2 Journal, 7(4), 63-90.
Kelbert, E. (2015). Eugene Jolas: A poet of multilingualism. L2 Journal, 7(1), 49-67.
Kellman, S. G., & Lvovich, N. (2015). Selective bibliography of translingual literature. L2 Journal, 7(1), 152-166.
Kellman, S. G., & Stavans, I. (2015). The translingual sensibility: A conversation between Steven G. Kellman and Ilan Stavans. L2 Journal, 7(1), 6-17.
Khuder, B., & Harwood, N. (2014). L2 writing in test and non-test situations: Process and product. Journal of Writing Research, 6(3), 233-278.
Kibler, R. L. (2015). Using computer mediation, peer review, and a writing process in a Japanese second language writing class. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Colorado State University.
Kim, E. J. (2015). “I don’t understand what you’re saying!”: Lessons from three ESL writing tutorials. Journal of Response to Writing, 1(1), 47-76.
Kim, H. (2015). An intercultural study of Korean high school students’ Korean and English argumentative essays. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. New York University.
Kim, J. Y. (2015). Korean university teacher cognition in EFL writing instruction. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of New Mexico.
Kim, S. H. (2015). Preparing English learners for effective peer review in the writers' workshop. The Reading Teacher, 68(8), 599-603.
King, B. W. (2015). Wikipedia writing as praxis: Computer-mediated socialization of second-language writers. Language Learning & Technology, 19(3), 106-123.
Kırmızı, Ö., & Kırmızı, G. D. (2015). An investigation of L2 learners’ writing self-efficacy, writing anxiety and its causes at higher education in Turkey. International Journal of Higher Education, 4(2), 57-66
Knoch, U., Rouhshad, A., Oon, S. P., & Storch, N. (2015). What happens to ESL students’ writing after three years of study at an English medium university? Journal of Second Language Writing, 28, 39-52.
Kuo, C. L. (2015). A quasi-experimental study of formative peer assessment in an EFL writing classroom. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Newcastle University.
Lam, R. (2015a). Convergence and divergence of process and portfolio approaches to L2 writing instruction: Issues and implications. RELC Journal, 46(3), 293-308.
Lam, R. (2015b). Feedback about self-regulation: Does it remain an “unfinished business” in portfolio assessment of writing? TESOL Quarterly, 49(2), 402-413.
Lam, R. (2015c). Understanding EFL students' development of self‐regulated learning in a process oriented writing course. TESOL Journal, 6(3), 527-553.
Lavallée, M., & McDonough, K. (2015). Comparing the lexical features of EAP students’ essays by prompt and rating. TESL Canada Journal, 32(2), 30-44.
Lavin, C., Petree, R., & Herrington, S. (2015,
October). Discovering personal histories: An oral history project. SLW News. Retrieved from http://newsmanager.commpartners.com/tesolslwis/
Lavolette, E., Polio, C., & Kahng, J. (2015). The accuracy of computer-assisted feedback and students’ responses to it. Language, Learning & Technology, 19(2), 50-68.
Lee, M. K. (2015). Peer feedback in second language writing: Investigating junior secondary students' perspectives on inter-feedback and intra-feedback. System, 55, 1-10.
Leis, A., Cooke, S., & Tohei, A. (2015). The effects of flipped classrooms on English composition writing in an EFL environment. International Journal of Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Teaching (IJCALLT), 5(4), 37-51.
Li, H., & He, L. (2015). A comparison of EFL raters’ essay-rating processes across two types of rating scales. Language Assessment Quarterly, 12(2), 178-212.
Li, J., Link, S., & Hegelheimer, V. (2015). Rethinking the role of automated writing evaluation (AWE) feedback in ESL writing instruction. Journal of Second Language Writing, 27, 1-18.
Lichon, K. A. (2015). “If I write like a scientist then soy un cientifico”: Differentiated writing supports and the effects on fourth grade English proficient students’ and English language learners’ science content knowledge and explanatory writing about magnetism and electricity. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Southern Methodist University.
Lim, S. G. (2015). Creative writing pedagogy for world Englishes students. World Englishes, 34(3), 336-354.
Lin, M. D. (2015). Collaborative writing in a computer-supported classroom: Mediation, and self assessed beliefs and attitudes about writing. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Toronto.
Linares Cálix, A. L. (2015). Raising metacognitive genre awareness in L2 academic readers and writers. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Groningen.
Lincoln, F., & Idris, A.B. (2015). Teaching the writing process as a first and second language revisited: Are they the same? Journal of International Education Research, 11(2), 119-124.
Link, S.M. (2015). Development and validation of an automated essay scoring engine to assess students’ development across program level. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Iowa State University.
Liu, L. (2015). A study of graduate thesis writing course for English undergraduates. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 6(4), 836-841.
Liu, M., & Ni, H. (2015). Chinese university EFL learners’ foreign language writing anxiety: Pattern, effect and causes. English Language Teaching, 8(3), 46-58.
Liu, Q., & Brown, D. (2015). Methodological synthesis of research on the effectiveness of corrective feedback in L2 writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 30, 66-81.
Liu, X., & Furneaux, C. (2015). Argument structures in Chinese university students’ argumentative writing: A contrastive study. English Text Construction, 8(1), 65-87.
Lu, X., & Ai, H. (2015). Syntactic complexity in college-level English writing: Differences among writers with diverse L1 backgrounds. Journal of Second Language Writing, 29, 16-27.
Lvovich, N., & Kellman, S.G. (2015). Introduction to special issue: Literary translingualism: multilingual Identity and creativity. L2 Journal, 7(1), 3-5.
Luo, Q., & Liao, Y. (2015). Using corpora for error correction in EFL learners’ writing. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 6(6), 1333-1342.
MacIntyre, R. (2015). Where do they stand: The representation of stance in EFL learner’s argumentative writing. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Essex.
Maliborska, V. (2015). An investigation of theoretical and conceptual developments in the field of second language writing. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Purdue University.
Maringe, F., & Jenkins, J. (2015). Stigma, tensions, and apprehension: The academic writing experience of international students. International Journal of Educational Management, 29(5), 609-626.
Matsumoto, Y. (2015). Multimodal communicative strategies for resolving miscommunication in multilingual writing classrooms. Unpublished Dissertation. The Pennsylvania State University.
Maxwell-Reid, C. (2015). The role of clausal embedding in the argumentative writing of adolescent learners of English. System, 49, 28-38.
Maxwell-Reid, C., & Coniam, D. (2015). Ideological and linguistic values in EFL examination scripts: The selection and execution of story genres. Assessing Writing, 23, 19-34.
Mazgutova, D., & Kormos, J. (2015). Syntactic and lexical development in an intensive English for academic purposes programme. Journal of Second Language Writing, 29, 3-15.
McDonough, K., & Fuentes, C. G. (2015). The effect of writing task and task conditions on Colombian EFL learners’ language use. TESL Canada Journal, 32(2), 67-79.
McIntosh, K., Pelaez-Morales, C., & Silva, T. (Eds.). (2015). Graduate studies in second language writing. West Lafayette, IN: Parlor Press.
Mermelstein, A. D. (2015). Improving EFL learners' writing through enhanced extensive reading. Reading in a Foreign Language, 27(2), 182-198.
Mirzaei, A., & Eslami, Z. R. (2015). ZPD-activated language and collaborative L2 writing. Educational Psychology, 35(1), 5-25.
Mlakar Gracner, D. (2015). The written strategies in the argumentative writing in Slovenian as a mother tongue and German as a foreign language: An empirical study. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Univerza v Mariboru.
Moqimipour, K., & Shahrokhi, M. (2015). The impact of text genre on Iranian intermediate EFL students' writing errors: An error analysis perspective. International Education Studies, 8(3), 122-137.
Morphis, E. A. (2015). Becoming writers: Young emergent bilinguals' multiple worlds and literacies in a French-English curriculum. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Teachers College, Columbia University.
Morton, J., Storch, N., & Thompson, C. (2015). What our students tell us: Perceptions of three multilingual students on their academic writing in first year. Journal of Second Language Writing, 30, 1-13.
Murad, T. M., & Khalil, M. H. (2015). Analysis of errors in English writings committed by Arab first year college students of EFL in Israel. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 6(3), 475-481.
Murphy, T. (2015). The use of film in a first year college writing class for ESL students. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Arizona
Neumann, H., & McDonough, K. (2015). Exploring student interaction during collaborative prewriting discussions and its relationship to L2 writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 27, 84-104.
Nguyen, L. T. C. (2015). Written fluency improvement in a foreign language. TESOL Journal, 6(4), 707-730.
Nishino, T., & Atkinson, D. (2015). Second language writing as sociocognitive alignment. Journal of Second Language Writing, 27, 37-54.
Nurmukhamedov, U. (2015). An evaluation of collocation tools for second language writers. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Northern Arizona University.
O'Brien, J. (2015). Consciousness-raising, error correction and proofreading. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 15(3), 85-103.
Olanezhad, M. (2015). A comparative study of writing anxiety among Iranian university students majoring English translation, teaching and literature. English Language Teaching, 8(3), 59-70.
Olson, C. B., Scarcella, R. C., & Matuchniak, T. (2015). Helping English learners to write: Meeting common core standards, Grades 6-12. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
O’Meara, K. D., & Snyder, S. E. (2015, March). The 2014 Symposium on Second Language Writing at Arizona State University. SLW News. Retrieved from http://newsmanager.commpartners.com/tesolslwis/
O’Meara, K. D., Snyder, S. E., & Matsuda, P. K. (2015). Professionalizing the field of second language writing: The 13th Symposium on Second Language Writing (SSLW 2014). Journal of Second Language Writing, 28, 36-38.
Őri, J. (2015). Translingual paratopia and the universe of Katalin Molnar. L2 Journal, 7(1), 84-101.
Ortega, L. (2015). Syntactic complexity in L2 writing: Progress and expansion. Journal of Second Language Writing, 29, 82-94.
Pecorari, D. (2015). Plagiarism in second language writing: Is it time to close the case?. Journal of Second Language Writing, 30, 94-99.
Perez-Nunez, A. B. (2015). The effects of comprehensive written corrective feedback on the revision and acquisition of specific L2 forms. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign.
Petrić, B. (2015). What next for research on plagiarism? Counting the dialogue. Journal of Second Language Writing, 30, 107-108.
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Tony Silva is a Professor of English and the Director of the Graduate Program in Second Language Studies at Purdue University. His academic interests include all facets of second language writing.
Yue Chen is a PhD candidate in Second Language Studies/ESL at Purdue University. Her research focuses on the development of second language writing in China, second language pedagogies, and writing program administration.
Ashley Velázquez is a doctoral student at Purdue University. Her areas of research interest include digital technology and collaboration in L2W classrooms and the racialized identities of L2W instructors.
Kai Yang is a PhD student in the Second Language Studies Program at Purdue University, where he also teaches first-year composition. His research interests include the writing processes of L2 learners, L2 writing instruction, and second language pedagogies.
A CALL TO QUEER L2 WRITING
The social turn in applied linguistics brought with it an
increased awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, etc. (LGBT)
issues in language learning and teaching. However, a survey of second
language (L2) writing literature on the matter and of its flagship
journal, The Journal of Second Language Writing, shows that the field has not kept pace with these important
advances in applied linguistics and TESOL.
Making matters more complicated is the fact that “queering” can be a difficult term to operationalize. This is in part because of how queer theorists have viewed the term, with some arguing that to define queer(-ing) is to strip away its political power (e.g., Sullivan, 2003). Failure to properly define the term, however, limits its ability to be deployed in the classroom in any way that goes beyond merely introducing token queer characters in texts, holding mock marriage and adoption equality debates, watching shows that feature LGBT characters, or making facile statements that the classroom is a “safe place.” Nevertheless, queering will be defined here as the act of facilitating dialogue and critical discussion about sexual identities and their sociocultural relevance in a way that is respectful of individuals’ lived experiences (Nelson, 2006; Paiz, 2015).
The L2 writing classroom is in need of purposeful queering for a number of reasons. First, queering plays a key role in students’ academic lives because it aids students in the acquisition of the academic literacy skills that will enable them to be successful in their studies. For example, by queering our practice students are exposed to, and trained to use, another set of tools to critically engage with texts and the identities presented in them. This may help to facilitate critical thinking and close reading skills (Nelson, 2006). The L2 writing classroom is also a space where students are acculturated to their universities, which necessitates discussion of and practice with skills such as critical thinking, inquiry, and analysis. Finally, Ferris and Hedgcock (2014) stated that it is problematic to view the L2 writing classroom as values free and ideologically neutral, which suggests a possible space for queering L2 writing both in and out of the classroom.
The L2 writing classroom is an ideal site for queering because it is often times a place of sustained and concentrated engagement with students because of a more intensive meeting schedule and/or because of the smaller student-to-teacher ratio. Thus, students can begin to explore their own identities and thoughts on a variety of topics. Because their writing is often seen by a smaller group of people, students may feel more at ease with a controlled “outing” of themselves. For example, at the Sino-American University where I work, I have had one student in a year-long writing course who has consistently written end-of-term papers exploring queer issues in China, often using his own lived experience as evidence. However, in classroom activities, including in peer review of his term papers, he performs a heterosexual identity, referring to his girlfriend at a Beijing university. This performance may be due to worry about ostracization from his more conservative peers. For this student and many like him, classroom compositions may be seen as an important place to perform and explore their LGBT identities.
Queering L2 Writing
Regarding queering L2 writing, there are three possible paths forward, each of which might offer important contributions to practice. First, research is needed for both informing practice and better understanding the phenomena of L2 writing and teaching L2 writing. Despite close links to applied linguistics and its related fields, L2 writing has not kept pace with emerging queer research in these fields. This is evidenced in how difficult it is to find published articles that examine queer issues specifically in the L2 writing classroom, as opposed to in the four-skills second and foreign language classrooms. This absence in the L2 writing literature is problematic for three reasons: 1) It reinforces the primacy of speech, as existing literature focuses mostly on listening and speaking classes; 2) it downplays, through its absence, the potential significance of the writing classroom in student acculturation and future success; and 3) it reifies a potentially latent heterosexist bias in the field of L2 writing, which must be addressed with a concerted research agenda looking at a number of LGBT issues in the L2 writing classroom.
A second possible path to queering L2 writing is teacher training. Un- or misinformed efforts to queer the classroom can actually have a deleterious effect on students’ perception of queer issues and individuals that they may encounter in their daily lives. Misguided efforts can actually reify the normative discourses that they seek to problematize. This means that there is a need for future educators to receive proper training in how to effectively queer their practice. This must take place in the teacher-training classroom, and a more experienced individual must lead it. It must not be left up to the pre- or early-service teacher to queer their own professional development, as they are often balancing other competing professional development and identity acquisition demands. Queering teacher training can also be done by creating additional space in foundational TESOL theory and practice classes for contributions from the growing body of queer literature. Equipping future practitioners to queer their own practice can be furthered by the teacher-trainer modeling in the classroom how to purposefully queer practice by troubling dominant, heteronormative, disciplinary discourses. This may have the added benefit of highlighting how “queer” can go beyond sexuality to impact other aspects of our lives and the inherent variety and ambiguity that may exist within them.
The third part forward is through materials creation, as it is important to keep in mind that textbooks are not values-neutral. They manifest dominant cultural discourses and they provide students with a variety of vetted identity options as an artifact of more conservative review and editorial processes (Paiz, 2015), which makes them very potent pedagogical tools and facilitators of acculturation. Many mainstream publishers have a clear economic imperative to remain conservative in the materials that they publish in order to ensure deeper market penetration. Because of the dearth of mainstream materials that include LGBT-conscious content, teachers must be prepared to queer their own curricular materials. This may mean modeling for students how to carry out a queer reading by revisiting previously assigned readings and seeking to trouble presented identities.
Potential Outcomes of Queering Classrooms
There are a few potentially positive outcomes in queering the L2 writing classroom. Primarily, queering leads to the creation of an educational space that is validating of all identities and equips students to parse queer and nonnormative identity performances that they encounter in their lives. By validating queer identities, students are shown that these identities make up part of the human experience and should be respected and valued. Through careful queering, students can also be shown that identity is never a dichotomy, but rather a complex spectrum that transcends, in this case, sexuality and attraction.
Secondly, queering creates a space where students can engage and experiment with queer and critical discourses that seek to trouble the normative social discourses in which they are embedded. This may allow the practitioner to find new ways that the normative discourses of their disciplines and/or institutions might be challenged and subverted to the benefit of the students. Finally, queering may also lead to students and practitioners alike seeing the L2 writing classroom as not just a queer space in terms of sexuality, but also in terms of linguistic practice. That is, queering the L2 writing classroom may also lead to students and teachers troubling the dominant discourses surrounding the notion of the successful college writer and English language user.
Queering L2 writing is important because of the profound impact that issues identity can have on language learning. Queering must be carried out purposefully and carefully, with attention paid to preparing all practitioners during their professional development. Finally, it is important to keep in mind that it is not only up to LGBT practitioners to queer their practice; straight practitioners must seek to queer their practice as well (Rodriguez, 2007). This must be done in order to create safe spaces inside the classroom and the institution. Also, it shows queer students that they are not alone; they have allies in an otherwise seemingly heterosexist world. Though it may seem challenging, self-identified LGBT teachers are not at any particular advantage when it comes to queering the classroom (see Nelson, 2006; Rodriguez, 2007).
In this piece, I have called for the queering of L2 writing. This is just the beginning, as there are many important questions to be considered, both by individual practitioners and the field as a whole. These questions include ones such as: How do we actually teach our students to think and write through a queer lens? How can queer pedagogy empower students to reflect and challenge their own subjectivities and identities? What are the philosophical, practical, and political impacts of adopting a queer pedagogy? By addressing these questions, the field of L2 writing can make meaningful strides that will benefit students, practitioners, and the wider discipline of TESOL.
Ferris, D. R., & Hedgecock, J. S. (2014). Teaching L2 composition: Purpose, process, and practice (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Nelson, C. D. (2006). Queer inquiry in language education. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 5(1), 1–9.
Paiz, J. M. (2015). Over the monochrome rainbow: Heteronormativity in ESL reading texts and textbooks. Journal of Language and Sexuality, 4(1), 77–101.
Rodriguez, N. M. (2007). Preface: Just queer it. In N. M. Rodriguez & W. F. Pinar (Eds.), Queering straight teachers: Discourse and identity in education (pp. vii–xiv). New York, NY: Peter Lang.
Sullivan, N. (2003). Queer theory: A critical introduction. New York, NY: New York University Press.
Joshua received his PhD in second language studies from Purdue University, where he served as a graduate teaching assistant and coordinator for the Purdue Online Writing Lab. He is currently a language lecturer at NYU Shanghai, where he teaches freshman writing and graduate-level professional writing. His research interests include online writing labs and L2 writing, LGBT issues in applied linguistics, and sociocognitive approaches to second language acquisition.
THE IMPACT OF NEGATIVE INSTITUTIONAL FACTORS ON TEACHER FEEDBACK
As Goldstein (2004) rightly observed, pedagogical practices do not occur “in a vacuum,” but rather in particular sociocultural and institutional contexts; therefore, teachers “need to understand fully the context within which [they] are working” (p. 67). By the same token, teacher feedback is influenced by local institutional environments, “with multiple factors interacting and mediating each other” (Goldstein, 2005, p. 24); therefore, contextual factors should also be on the agenda of feedback research.
Earlier first language and second language (L2) research on feedback (e.g., Connors & Lunsford, 1993; Ferris, Pezone, Tade, & Tinti, 1997; Straub & Lunsford, 1995) focused on teacher responses through a decontextualized lens, examining an informative function of feedback (Hyland & Hyland, 2006) by looking at teachers’ comments as texts (Lee & Schallert, 2008) and leaving the situated aspect of feedback in the periphery. Later research, however, reflected the importance of investigating not only the what component of feedback practices, but also the why of it (Lee, 2008, p. 73). As a result, second language writing scholars embraced contextual factors as one of the pivotal influences on teacher response practices (Cooper, 2009) and attempted to describe feedback as a “socially and politically situated” practice (Lee, 2008, p. 81).
One such study is that of Lee and Schallert (2008), who acknowledged the influence of contextual factors on the level of trust in the teacher-student relationship. In their study, which was conducted in an EFL context, the authors distinguished between sociocultural influences (e.g., the teacher’s background and her beliefs about teaching, and students’ backgrounds and their attitudes toward writing) and program influences (e.g., the teacher’s part-time position in the program, lack of time, the long lessons of the summer course, the English-only instruction), which mostly functioned as constraints in the development of trust between the teacher and the students. Lee and Schallert (2008) also asserted that particular cultural and educational expectations have a notable effect on how students perceive teachers’ comments. In their study, for example, the frequent use of directive forms in the teacher’s feedback was considered an appropriate pedagogical practice in the Korean education system, but it could have had a different effect in a different teaching environment (p. 533).
The impact of contextual factors on feedback practices was also emphasized by Lee (2008), who, similar to Lee and Schallert (2008), conducted her study in an EFL context—Hong Kong secondary classrooms. Lee found that school policies played a major role in determining how writing teachers responded to students’ papers. For instance, the teachers in her study had to comply with the school expectations despite their own beliefs on feedback. In addition, teachers also felt accountable to students and their parents, who viewed a lack of marking as a characteristic of “lazy and irresponsible teachers” (p. 79). Finally, in order to prepare their students for public examinations, the teachers were forced to put a strong emphasis on writing accuracy. It is not surprising that many teachers in Lee’s study “felt disempowered to act against the system” (p. 79). Lee (2008) concluded that in the context where writing teachers’ performance and perceived competence are dependent on the extent to which they corrected students’ errors it was virtually impossible for them to put their philosophies about feedback into practice.
Séror’s (2009) socioculturally oriented study found a different effect of institutional policies. Séror (2009) focused on the relationship between the institutional forces and faculty feedback provided on the course papers of university-level international students. The study suggests that institutional values discouraged professors from “investing in feedback” (p. 217) and viewed providing feedback as “a poor investment of time” (p. 218). According to these values, the professors were expected to invest in research and publication rather than in teaching activities, including feedback. Another institutional policy influenced the feedback that students received on their writing: According to that policy, professors were not allowed to have more than 25% of a classroom’s population “do well” (p. 222). In this situation, L2 learners were likely to fail: All teachers had to do was “put more weight on the mechanics of the paper, with major deductions for not citing things properly” (p. 220). As a result, feedback was often delivered more like a justification of a student’s grade rather than as constructive feedback. Moreover, as Séror (2009) reports, it was easy to point out language issues in students’ writing, and thus easy to justify their poor grades. One professor in the study also explained that by giving students detailed, informative, and helpful feedback, instructors would build students up, so they would become better and better, and eventually their writing would reach the “A” level, leading to more than 25% doing well. This grade distribution policy was the reason for poor feedback, and it obviously did not aim at helping students improve their writing.
As this work illustrates, institutional policies appear to be a powerful factor influencing teachers’ decisions while they respond to student writing. Unfortunately, this effect is oftentimes detrimental, causing instructors to deviate from their beliefs and philosophies. As Séror (2009) powerfully put it,
No matter how good the instructors’ intentions might be, if ideal notions of writing feedback are not supported by the institutional forces that surround these practices, their efforts may well lead to brief, limited, and defensive types of feedback practices, and hence more often to the students’ frustration and misunderstanding than their success. (p. 225)
Therefore, in order to better understand teachers’ feedback practices, contextual factors cannot be dismissed from the picture.
Obviously, there is no quick solution that teacher-training courses can offer with regard to these contextual challenges. What the courses can do, however, is raise teachers’ awareness of the power of institutional constraints and the fact that teachers will have to make a number of pedagogical choices based on the reality around them. Séror (2009), for example, suggested that teachers organize publically available forums where they would share their perspectives on feedback, so that they “no longer feel they have to make these decisions alone in an unsupported way” (p. 224). Along the same lines, Lee (2011) recommended that teachers create professional communities in their local institutions and “involve their colleagues in community of practice” (p. 37).
Teachers, both novice and experienced, should also be encouraged to conduct classroom-based research and share findings with local administrators and other stakeholders. If teachers have empirically proven data that certain principles that they implement in class improve student writing, institutional policy-makers should also be aware of them. In other words, by having received proper professional preparation, teachers need to become advocates themselves and disseminate knowledge supported by theory and practice in order to bring about positive changes in their local institutions.
Connors, R. J., & Lunsford, A. A. (1993). Teachers' rhetorical comments on student papers. College Composition and Communication, 44(2), 200-223.
Cooper, D. J. (2009). Situating teacher written feedback in an EAP classroom: How context influences responding practices (Unpublished master’s thesis, Carleton University).
Ferris, D. R., Pezone, S., Tade, C. R., & Tinti, S. (1997). Teacher commentary on student writing: Descriptions & implications. Journal of Second Language Writing, 6(2), 155–182.
Goldstein, L. M. (2004). Questions and answers about teacher written commentary and student revision: Teachers and students working together. Journal of Second Language Writing, 13(1), 63–80.
Goldstein, L. M. (2005). Teacher written commentary in second language writing classrooms. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
Hyland, K. & Hyland, F. (2006). Contexts and issues in feedback on L2 writing: An introduction. In K. Hyland & F. Hyland (Eds.). Feedback in second language writing: Contexts and issues (pp. 1-19). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lee, I. (2008). Understanding teachers’ written feedback practices in Hong Kong secondary classrooms. Journal of Second Language Writing, 17(2), 69-85.
Lee, I. (2011). L2 writing teacher education for in-service teachers: Opportunities and challenges. English in Australia, 46(1), 31.
Lee, G., & Schallert, D. L. (2008). Constructing trust between teacher and students through feedback and revision cycles in an EFL writing classroom. Written Communication, 25(4), 506-537.
Séror, J. (2009). Institutional forces and L2 writing feedback in higher education. Canadian Modern Language Review,66(2), 203-232.
Straub, R., & Lunsford, R. F. (1995). Twelve readers readings: Responding to college student writing. Creskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
Elena Shvidko is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at Purdue University. Her research interests include second language writing, multimodal interaction, interpersonal aspects of language teaching, and teacher professional development.
AN UNDERGRADUATE'S REFLECTION: FROM A WRITING CENTER TUTOR TO WORKING WITH ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS
I am proud and delighted to say that I have been working as a language and writing tutor at James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisonburg, Virginia for 1 year. I wrote this article as a way of reflecting on my own work and informing others of how impactful reflection is for improving and developing oneself. Tutoring English language learners (ELLs) has been the most efficient way I have combined my passion for helping people through international exchanges of multilingual students and experiencing diversity.
Coming from the hospitality management discipline, tutoring writing was a new experience for me, and it was intimidating even though I have always thought I excelled at writing. Through my reflections on my tutoring, I can see that I have taken the most valuable opportunities available to me to improve my tutoring work and professional development. By training in writing and language disciplines as a means to enhance my skills, I have grown into an expert who is capable of working with ELLs. Throughout my practice, I have also been able to apply Dewey’s principle of “[fostering] a love of learning and a desire for more education” (Rafoth, 2016, p. 5). As I have grown, I have been able to experience and transfer my skills into a tutoring method for language learners.
After taking a three-credit semester course in the fall of 2014, I learned about tutoring writing practices and strategies to best approach clients based on their general concerns and identified needs. My growth as a tutor increased through the process of critically analyzing, addressing needs, and explaining clients’ concerns during 45-minute consultations. At the end of my sessions, when I evaluated my skills as a tutor and whether the client’s concerns were identified and successfully addressed, I constantly thought about how I could improve my practice as a tutor.
As much as I enjoyed helping students at the University Writing Center (UWC) with papers, assignments, and brainstorming, I felt as if I could add more value to my tutoring sessions; I felt as if I was not doing enough. My experiences studying in China and working in Spain helped narrow my interests in working with international students. Remembering the struggle of interpreting, translating, and learning another language increased my empathy for multilingual students who come to an American school for education. As Rafoth (2016) states, ELLs develop their writing education by “[their] want for themselves” (p. 6). The constant battle of learning in another language is overpowered by the thought of being successful in the future. I sympathized with those putting in effort to improve themselves in learning English, and this experience made me want to see if I could do anything more to help them with their education.
After this realization, I trained both at the UWC and English Language Learner Services (ELLS), our language support center. Through seminal readings, observations, and discussions with the ELLS coordinator, I learned more about how to help ELLs. By taking a linguistic approach that looks at all holistic differences between English and the writer’s native language, I became metacognitively aware of when to provide either more language or writing support during each consultation and how to devote personal attention to each learner. Through facilitating rather than controlling the language of each session (Bell & Elledge, 2008), I focused on global concerns that emphasized lower-level structures (e.g., verb tenses and frequent adverbs). This strategy helped the learners establish their language autonomy and understand their needs to improve their writing and language in English.
After this training, my title became “ESL Specialist,” and language learners could seek me out for assistance at both centers so they could receive specialized help from me. I started to become a resource to other writing tutors and gained additional employment as a language tutor at ELLS. At the same time, my confidence as a tutor grew, as well as my ability to adapt and solve problems while working with all students. I started to be more assertive in my tutoring because I was more aware of what I was doing. As a capable guide, each session in ELLS or UWC improved my practice as a tutor and added value.
Although I learned a lot, there were areas in my practice as a language and writing tutor that I noticed could be improved. For instance, ELLs might discern certain grammar rules and explanations, along with exceptions to these rules, that I was not able to successfully explain. Because I was the specialist in both centers, I started noticing patterns and techniques in all language learner sessions. Reflecting on my practice helped me know specifically what I could do to refine my skills and better serve all students.
In the fall of 2015, the coordinator of ELLS and I compiled an electronic exit survey for my clients and a tutor log for me. For all my sessions in which I tutored an ELL, whether in the UWC or ELLS, the student would address their concerns prior to the consultation. While working, I noticed the concerns they addressed were sometimes different or more general than the ones we worked on throughout the consultation. As an example, some students would discuss grammar or organization concerns when they actually needed more specific subject-verb agreement help. I asked them to also complete the presurvey to ask about their confidence on the assignment we’d be discussing prior to working with me. After the consultation, the clients would then take the posttest part of the survey, which helped me elicit information about their confidence and perception of how helpful I was during the session. In correlation with the client’s survey, I recorded my observations in my tutor log. This would note the concerns they addressed as well as what I thought each session identified as a student’s concern. I also recorded what I would like to develop and what I gained from each session. Therefore, looking at the questions in the log, I was able to evaluate and think about my practice after each session.
Looking at the results from the semester’s logs and surveys, there were areas that I wanted to improve, including grammar rules, explanations of verb tenses, and lexical differences between native languages. Through resources, topical readings, and discussions with the ELLS coordinator, I would try to improve these skills. After I felt confident enough, I tried to apply what I learned to future sessions. These consistent reflections and surveying processes improved my professional development and knowledge.
Universal Future Development
With my extensive training, I realized that the questions I continued to have were likely relevant to other tutors. The apprehension tutors that face when approached with a language learner is often discussed between tutors but rarely resolved; my questions and experience could help. The learning centers at JMU provide tutoring to the whole student population in various disciplines including writing, communication, math, science, language, and digital communication. In partnership with the ELLS coordinator, we combined my concerns, questions, and observations into a seminar to inform peer educators on to how to work with linguistically diverse students.
In the spring of 2015, 1 year after I trained to become a language tutor, I cotaught an 8-week seminar addressing my identified concerns as universal topics that peer educators share when tutoring linguistic differences. This seminar was designed to enhance tutor confidence, comfort, and capability when working with ELLs. Through my training in writing and specialization with ESL students, I was able to find resonance with the universal practice of peer education across disciplines. From the place of a peer educator myself, I facilitated discussions about grammar and plagiarism, and provided various examples for tutoring multilingual students. The seminar participants discovered that with language as a main component all disciplines share, there were similarities in cross-disciplinary practices. This recognition expanded all of our thinking as to how to work with language learners in our centers.
I wrote this reflection to serve as an evaluation of my professional development in teaching and tutoring language and writing. There is true value in cross-disciplinary collaboration among various centers because peer educators across campus work with linguistically diverse populations. There are pedagogical differences; however, language serves as a foundation that unites disciplines. My experience has created a major impact on my work and my disposition today. I want continue to help language learners to be successful in their academic pursuits, and if I can help in some way, then I have achieved my purpose. As Rafoth (2016) noted, learning “is driven by curiosity and the desire to discover new things through research and inquiry. It tries to make a positive difference” (p. 6). I strive to make that positive difference. By methodically reflecting on my resources and opportunities, I will continue to serve language learners to the best of my ability and improve my practice for the future.
Bell, D. C., & Elledge, S. R. (2008). Dominance and peer tutoring sessions with English language learners. Learning Assistance Review, 13(1), 17–30.
Rafoth, B. (2016). Second language writers, writing centers, and reflection. In S. Bruce & B. Rafoth, (Eds.), Tutoring second language writers (pp. 5-23). Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.
Kassandra (KC) Collazo is a senior undergraduate at James Madison University working toward the change she wishes to see in the world through her aspirations and academics in hospitality management, international affairs, and Spanish. She works as a language and writing tutor for ESL students and hopes to continue with these skills in her professional life beyond college.
ENRICHING LEARNING, SAVING TIME: DESIGNING EFFECTIVE ACADEMIC WRITING COURSES
Teaching second language (L2) writing is particularly demanding on a teacher’s time, mainly because of the need to provide out-of-class support and read student papers. So what can writing instructors do to cope with these time demands while simultaneously maximizing student learning? You may find that you can create more space for yourself by applying one or more of the following 10 recommendations to the development of your course.
1. Collaborate Across Courses
Many academic institutions, especially those hosting intensive English programs, continue to offer separate reading and writing courses. While institutional constraints may prevent integrated courses, instructors often have the freedom to collaborate with colleagues in a mutually beneficial way. For example, writing and reading instructors can choose to work with the same texts in both courses. Alternatively, reading instructors who seek to build students’ vocabulary can focus on words from the texts used in the students’ writing course. Similarly, instructors in grammar courses can facilitate L2 writers’ performance in writing courses by focusing on constructions salient in academic writing (Hinkel, 2016). This type of collaboration frees up time for writing teachers to deal with other writing-specific concepts and skills.
2. Assign Reasonable Writing Tasks
What can be assessed in a 10-page research paper that cannot be assessed in a 6-page paper, and what can students learn from this assignment? Oftentimes, we continue to design assignments based on past practice rather than on effective pedagogy. Assigning shorter papers with higher expectations for critical thinking and allowing for frequent checks on student progress allows both the instructor and students to engage with writing more deeply and efficiently.
3. Provide Clear Assignment Guidelines
Writing instructors end up spending a lot of time answering emails and clarifying issues individually after class when they fail to provide students with clear instructions for their written assignments. Clear handouts, slides, and materials serve as tools that focus students as they begin the writing task, and they can answer a number of students’ questions before they are asked.
Even the world’s best assignment guidelines do not provide the type of guidance that sample papers do. Engaging students in analyzing sample papers can address myriad questions students may have about an assignment. In addition, when students see that other students just like them have been able to complete the assignment, it increases their confidence, and when they consider both good and bad models, it promotes discussions of writing effectiveness. While some instructors may feel hesitant to draw upon former students’ papers because they worry that their students will simply copy them, there are ways to prevent students from mimicking the examples too closely, including distributing hard copy models in class and collecting them at the end of the class. Beyond textual modeling, “cognitive modeling,” or modeling how an experienced instructor may go about completing a writing task allows novice writers important insights into effective writing (Cumming, 1995) without requiring too much preparation time for the instructor.
5. Maximize Available Resources
Writing center staff can provide help to students throughout the writing process, from understanding the assignment and developing ideas for writing through revising and proofreading, freeing up instructors’ time spent on supporting students outside of class. To make the best use of this resource, it is important to build a relationship with the writing center administrator to discuss the training of the staff and the nature of your L2 student writers’ needs. While this initial conversation may take some time, you may end up with a fruitful collaboration spanning many a writing course. Instructors who work at institutions that do not have a writing center can explore the opportunity to collaborate with a teacher training institution. Preservice teachers studying TESOL, for example, can provide effective writing feedback as part of their coursework assignments.
6. Assign In-Class Writing
Writing instructors often ask that students complete writing assignments solely outside of class, which can make students feel overwhelmed and deny writing teachers the opportunity to observe their students during the writing process. When students write in class, instructors can take notes on practices and strategies they observe and address them, along with issues that are salient in these intermediate drafts, in subsequent classes. Using students’ own processes and drafts as pedagogical material upon which subsequent instruction is based is a way to efficiently localize our teaching and best meet the needs of the particular group of students we are working with.
7. Use Known Texts for Source-Based Writing
One reason why responding to students’ source-based writing takes so much time is because instructors often are not familiar with the source texts that the students have used, so they spend time ascertaining whether the texts were accurately paraphrased and appropriately cited. Using a theme-based approach in which students read common texts allows instructors to more efficiently give feedback. At the same time, this approach allows for students to be able to give one another good feedback on source use as well. Even in a research course in which students choose their own topics for writing, students can read several common texts and branch out from there. In addition, instructors can ask them to submit their additional source texts along with their drafts, and highlight the parts of the source texts that they used in order to save the instructor time. Instructors can go as far as asking students to use different markers to match up their paraphrases, summaries, and quotes with specific passages in the source texts.
8. Optimize Feedback by Prioritizing Concerns
Guidelines for responding to student writing help instructors avoid spending too much time offering feedback on all they notice in a student paper. Providing less but more focused feedback is more effective for improving student writing and saving instructor time (Ferris, 2011). Guidelines may be developed from several principles, including focusing on content more in the earlier drafts and on language use more in the final drafts, limiting how many issues are addressed per draft, and aligning feedback with issues that have been recently taught in class.
9. Use Self-Timing and Goal-Setting Strategies for Feedback
Have you ever started grading and realized—45 minutes later—that you were still working on the same student’s draft? For writing instructors who are still learning to prioritize their feedback, it may help to set a maximum time per paper and time themselves while responding. For instructors who tend to struggle with finding the motivation to write feedback responses, setting goals may help. For example, an instructor can set the goal of responding to five papers a day and reward him or herself when the task is completed. Many instructors also appreciate mixing up more and less challenging papers to avoid grading burnout.
10. Incorporate Self-Assessment
Most L2 writers who have engaged in a variety of text analysis and peer-review tasks throughout the semester or school year are, by the end of the course, adept at self-assessment. Thus, instructors can have students submit their papers along with a self-completed rubric. This practice not only reduces the workload on the part of the instructor, but it also provides a meaningful opportunity for the students to reflect on their development as academic writers.
We hope that drawing upon some of these recommendations will allow you to both save time and maximize the effectiveness of your writing courses, which is important for achieving a good work-life balance. To engage with these recommendations more deeply and to have an opportunity to apply them by designing or revising an effective writing course syllabus, please consider joining us at our Preconvention Institute at the 2017 TESOL International Convention in Seattle, Washington, USA. The session (#13) takes place on Tuesday, 21 March. Register by 1 February.
Cumming, A. (1995). Fostering writing expertise in ESL composition instruction: Modeling and evaluation. In D. Belcher & G. Braine (Eds.), Academic writing in a second language: Essays on research and pedagogy (pp. 375–397). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Ferris, D. (2011). Treatment of error in second language student writing (2nd ed.). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
Hinkel, E. (2016). Practical grammar teaching: Grammar constructions and their relatives. In Teaching English grammar to speakers of other languages (pp. 171–199). New York, NY: Routledge.
Zuzana Tomaš is associate professor of ESL/TESOL at Eastern Michigan University, where she teaches academic writing to L2 writers and works with graduate and undergraduate preservice teachers.
Jennifer Mott-Smith is associate professor of English and ESOL coordinator at Towson University, where she teaches academic writing to L2 and L1 writers.
Zuzana and Jennifer coauthored Teaching Writing (2013), along with Ilka Kostka, published by TESOL Press. Their second book, which will be published by the University of Michigan Press, focuses on teaching effective source use and is scheduled for release in 2017.
AN INTERVIEW WITH PROFESSOR PAUL KEI MATSUDA
Elena: The theme of this year’s Symposium on Second Language Writing (SSLW) is “Expertise in Second Language Writing.” Could you tell us how and why this theme was chosen? How do you personally define expertise in second language (L2) writing?
Paul: Since the first SSLW in 1998, I have been using the term “experts” in referring to the invited speakers. However, at the same time, I have also been struggling with the question of who the experts are, what makes them experts, and, conversely, who are not experts. Defining expertise is especially important these days because some people who have some interest in writing and language but limited expertise in L2 writing seem to be claiming that they have solutions to complex issues that L2 writing experts have been working with. In order to maintain the integrity of the field, it is important to articulate what it is that we know and do.
I don’t think it’s possible to draw a clear line that distinguishes experts from nonexperts because expertise is a matter of degree, but I thought it would be important to reflect on what L2 writing experts know and what they can do to distinguish themselves from other writing and language teachers, researchers, and program administrators. It would also be useful to think about how expertise develops.
In general, I think expertise in L2 writing is a set of knowledge and skills that enables us to work with L2 writers and in L2 writing. The specific set of knowledge and skills may vary depending on the context, and different people need different degrees of expertise. For instance, teachers in the classroom need to be able to teach, but teacher educators need additional knowledge that enables them to mentor other teachers. Teachers who specialize in English for academic purposes (EAP) may need to know about genres and processes in specific disciplinary contexts, but to teachers who teach beginning language learners, it may be more important to understand how to facilitate language development through writing instruction. Beyond these context-specific knowledge and skills, I believe there are certain types of expertise that all L2 writing teachers need to have and continue to develop, which are the kind of knowledge and skills I teach in introductory graduate courses in L2 writing.
In any case, you can’t become an expert in L2 writing instantly. It is something that develops with ongoing engagement, reflection, and practice. I also think it’s useful to conceptualize L2 writers’ development as the development of expertise. I think the term “expertise” gives us a constructive way of seeing what L2 writers are doing, which is developing additional expertise in writing in a new language.
Elena: As one of the founders of the field, you are certainly an expert in L2 writing and someone whom many teachers, researchers, and graduate students look up to. At what point might a professional in our field consider himself/herself an expert? And what would be your personal piece of advice for someone striving to develop expertise in L2 writing?
Paul: Again, there is no clear line between expert and nonexpert status, but here is a list of different levels of expertise that might help illustrate the development of expertise in teaching L2 writing:
Expert Practitioner—an L2 writing teacher who can teach L2 writing well.
A teacher who has been teaching L2 writing courses.
A teacher who can design and teach an L2 writing course.
Community Expert—an L2 writing teacher who can provide leadership within a community of L2 writing teachers.
A teacher who can share course design and teaching strategies with other successful L2 writing teachers both within and outside the program.
A teacher who can mentor other teachers who are learning to teach L2 writing courses in similar teaching contexts.
A teacher who can mentor other teachers who are successful L2 writing teachers in similar teaching contexts.
Field Expert—an L2 writing teacher who can provide leadership nationally and internationally.
A teacher who can mentor other teachers in various teaching contexts.
A teacher who can evaluate courses and programs and mentor other mentors.
Now, anyone can claim to be able to do these things, although not everyone is really good at it. Being able to assess and document the level of success (e.g., through student evaluations, peer evaluations, portfolios, publications, and workshops) is important. External recognition (e.g., teaching awards, publications, invited lectures, workshops, and plenary talks) is also an important element.
Elena: Going off of these skills and your definition of “L2 writing expert,” how did you and your planning committee develop the program for SSLW 2016? And from your perspective, how can the upcoming symposium help professionals in the field develop their expertise in L2 writing?
Paul: We chose two plenary speakers, Alister Cumming and Diane Belcher, who are internationally known experts themselves and who can theorize expertise in useful ways. We will also be offering a series of workshops to help participants develop various types of expertise. We also plan to have some time for reflections at the end of the day to facilitate the discussion of the theme and other salient topics.
Elena: It sounds like it is going to be a great professional event worth attending! Now, speaking more broadly, could you tell us a little bit about your recent professional activities, as well as your future agenda?
Paul: Since the symposium is now an annual event, planning and organizing these events have become a big part of my professional activities. I have also been working to improve and expand second language writing research and instruction outside North America. For this purpose, I have been offering graduate courses, lectures, workshops, and webinars in various countries. I have also been writing and speaking on topics related to professionalization and the development of expertise, from research and publication to mentoring and conference organization.
In addition to my continued effort to engineer the field, I have been thinking and writing about issues such as audience, technology, and classroom assessment, which I believe are important issues but are not well represented.
Elena: Could you please tell us about some recent positive developments in the field?
Paul: The most positive development is that there is a growing number of scholars—especially young scholars—from around the world who identify themselves with the field of second language writing. This is particularly important because a field is as good as the people who align themselves with it and what they do.
In the early years, the field of L2 writing tended to focus on issues that were particularly relevant to North American higher education. I and many others in the field tried to expand the scope to include other levels of education and to include voices from other regions, but it was a slow process at first. Over the last 10 years, I have seen a significant growth of interest in L2 writing research and instruction at different levels of education and in other parts of the world, especially East and Southeast Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania. They have done much to enhance our understanding of L2 writers and writing. In some regions, they have developed different traditions of inquiry—theoretically and methodologically. The emergence of diverse traditions of inquiry is a welcome development because it will help us put things into perspective and avoid intellectual stagnation. I hope we will continue to learn from each other and challenge each other to think beyond our local contexts, but without losing sight of the L2 writers and writing teachers who we work with locally.
Elena: On this positive note, where do you see the field of second language writing in the future, say in 10 to 15 years? What do you hope for?
Paul: I’m not sure how to answer this question, but I do hope that we will continue to develop the knowledge base related to L2 writing, writers, and writing instruction, and that we will continue to provide resources for the wider public.
Elena: Thank you!
Elena Shvidko is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at Purdue University. Her research interests include second language writing, multimodal interaction, interpersonal aspects of language teaching, and teacher professional development.
GRADUATE STUDENT SPOTLIGHTS: SURIATI ABAS, MARIE-LOUISE KOELZER, AND HUSSEIN MEIHAMI
Graduate Student: Suriati Abas
Where are you from, and what are you studying?
I am from Singapore, where I used to be an English language educator and curriculum developer. As a school leader, I spearheaded key language-related projects with a global initiative. They included developing an interdisciplinary curriculum, overseas learning journeys, and journalistic writing projects. I concurrently served as a research activist where I promoted action research to educators to help them inform their own classroom practices. I also conducted workshops, based on language pedagogy and assessment for the professional development of educators. At present, I am a PhD candidate in literacy, culture and language education at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. My exposure to language education has largely been drawn from sharing innovative lesson ideas with educators and school leaders in Australia, New Zealand, Spain, and Singapore. These enriching experiences and school visits have, to a certain extent, influenced my pedagogical view of composition writing in the United States.
What is an “a-ha moment” you experienced recently in either teaching or research?
I frequently use the Forum discussion features on Canvas, a learning management system adopted by Indiana University to build a reflective community of writers and readers that transcends the four walls of the classroom. I typically ask my students to respond to several questions online, prior to the face-to face lesson. I must admit that although my students write in the Forum in an informal writing style, there is always an “a-ha” moment. Firstly, I am able to investigate their “private” literacy practices or those that they often practice, and encourage them to develop their writing skills by adding on the necessary academic literacies (e.g., critical thinking, database searching, familiarity with academic conventions such as referencing, use of formal register, and the ability to manipulate a range of academic genres) to their toolbox. Secondly, by reading the postings, I become more cognizant of the types of scaffolds that my multilingual students will need during the upcoming face-to-face in-class sessions. At times, I turn the responses to their peers’ postings into pockets of language learning to develop the lesson further. On the whole, I would say that Forum discussion can be a useful platform for both prewriting and postwriting activities in a composition course.
What in second language (L2) research excites you right now?
As of now, I am exploring how multiple pedagogies can be purposefully utilized to benefit L2 writers. In essence, I have been actively exploring the following questions: (a) What social practices would I have to put in place to acknowledge the literacies my students have acquired prior to attending my class? (b) How should I honor the home literacies of students to improve their L2 writing skills? (d) What would I have to do to expand what it means to be literate in the 21st century? To this end, I am working on fostering inclusivity, diversity, and equity in the teaching of L2 writing, and have conducted workshops based on these themes for associate instructors from different disciplines on campus, for the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning.
Graduate Student: Marie-Louise Koelzer
Where are you from, and what are you studying?
I am a second-year master’s student in the Teaching English as a Second Language program at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Although I was born in the United States, I grew up in a small village near Munich, Germany. In 2008, I decided to move to my hometown, El Paso, Texas, where I learned English and received my bachelor’s degree in elementary education. However, during my last year of my undergraduate studies, I began to develop a strong desire and interest to teach ESL because I was able to fully relate to students since I encountered similar challenges and frustrations when I had to learn English. At that point, I knew that becoming an ESL instructor would allow me to cultivate my passion for teaching. For this reason, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in teaching ESL.
What is an “a-ha moment” you experienced recently in either teaching or research?
Until graduate school, I had strongly disliked writing because I felt extremely embarrassed of my writing style in English. Compared to a native English speaker, I felt that my writing was not good enough for academic contexts because it was different, simplistic, and monotone. Consequently, writing was very torturous for me, and it became a meaningless literacy skill as I felt I was merely filling a blank sheet of paper with empty words and phrases. However, in my first semester as a graduate student, I began to develop a strong research interest toward digital and multimodal writing practices across technological platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, and iMovie, among others. In my research, I realized that writing can be fun and enjoyable, and it does not have to be a monotone, static, and linear process that primarily engages the learner in filling a blank sheet of paper with words. For this reason, I began to change my attitude toward writing as well as teaching writing, and I perceived it more as a dynamic, creative, and engaging literacy practice.
What in L2 writing research excites you right now?
Currently, I am very interested whether multimodal and digital literacy practices enable ESL students to advance their composition skills in academic contexts. On a daily basis, our students transmit information across technological platforms, such as cell phones and social media, and within these messages, they combine text with symbols, images, video clips, and sounds. Therefore, the act of writing has transformed into a multimodal and digital literacy practice, and it could alter students’ academic writing experiences into a more dynamic, relevant, and enjoyable learning process that may enable them to improve their L2 writing skills. For this reason, as an L2 writing researcher, I am currently investigating whether a multimodal and digital writing approach allows ESL students to advance their composition skills in the classroom, where I particularly focus on ESL students’ development of ideas within expository texts.
Graduate Student: Hussein Meihami
Where are you from, and what are you studying?
I am from Qurveh, Iran. I received my bachelor's degree in teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) in 2012 at Imam Khomeini International University in Qazvin, Iran. In the same year, I started my master's degree in TEFL at Allameh Tabatabai University in Tehran, where I graduated as a top student in 2014. In 2014, I started my PhD program in TEFL at Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran, and I am currently a second-year PhD candidate. My research interests focus on different aspects of teaching L2 writing to L2 learners, such as types of feedback, students with different ethnicities, and students who are studying English for specific purposes (ESP).
What is an ''a-ha moment'' you experienced recently in either teaching or research?
As a teacher of writing courses for ESP learners at various institutes, I have come to understand that the writing quality of ESP learners varies depending on whether they are writing about general topics or whether they are working with topics that require specific topical knowledge. This realization prompted me to investigate the writing quality of ESP learners in terms of complexity, accuracy, and fluency. To do so, I designed a study to examine the effect of topics on ESP learners’ writing quality. The results showed that ESP learners’ writing was more complex, accurate, and fluent when they wrote on a specific topic that required their topical knowledge, as opposed to the topics that required their general knowledge. These findings suggest that the topical knowledge of ESP learners should not be ignored either when their writing ability is tested or when they are taught writing.
What in L2 writing research excites you right now?
I am very much interested in providing corrective feedback on L2 learners' writing based on the Delphi method. This method, first proposed in the 1960’s, is characterized as a method of structuring group communication, leading joint individuals to be in a group to communicate and deal with complex issues. In the future, I plan to design a study in which I will benefit from the principles of Delphi method to teach L2 writing. More specifically, I plan to examine the effects of this new method of teaching L2 writing on the writing performance and writing quality of both English for general purposes learners and ESP learners.
Elena Shvidko is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at Purdue University. Her research interests include second language writing, multimodal interaction, interpersonal aspects of language teaching, and teacher professional development.
Suriati Abas teaches composition courses at Indiana University. She received intensive training in curriculum design, instruction, and assessment from Harvard Graduate School of Education. As a freelance journalist, she has written on a broad range of current issues. Her article, “Food leads to cultural awareness,” is published in the guest column of Herald Times (in March 2014). She also writes articles for several teenage magazines on travel, culture, language, and technology.
Marie-Louise Koelzer is a second-year graduate student in the MA-TESL program at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). She has completed an internship position as a writing and grammar instructor in the Intensive English program at UTSA. For her last year of graduate studies, she decided to dedicate her time to research full time. She is currently working on her thesis, examining how a multimodal and digital approach could enhance ESL students’ composition skills in organizing and describing their ideas in academic texts. Her research interests include multimodality and digital literacies in L2 writing.
Hussein Meihami is currently pursuing his PhD in TEFL at Shiraz University, Iran. He has published research in various applied linguistics journals, such as Scientometrics,Cogent Education, and Asian ESP Journal. His research interests include second language writing, language assessment, sociolinguistics, and discourse studies.
REVIEW OF TUTORING SECOND LANGUAGE WRITERS
Bruce, S., & Rafoth, B. (Eds.). (2016). Tutoring second language writers. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.
Over the last decade, scholarship on second language (L2) writing centers has mainly focused on exploring various aspects of practice, and most of the literature has provided advice and guidance on how tutors can work with linguistically and culturally diverse students. The editors of Tutoring Second Language Writers (2016), Shanti Bruce and Ben Rafoth, aim to “advance the conversations” tutors have about L2 writers and help readers engage with current issues regarding L2 writers in writing centers (p. 3). The book is divided thematically into four parts, with Chapter 1 launching the discussion by drawing on Dewey’s notion of reflection as a means to improve current tutoring practices. Each chapter includes a “Questions to Consider” section, which engages tutors in self-reflection, and references for further reading.
The first part of the book explores writing centers as multilingual and multicultural environments where diversity is fully embraced. In Chapter 2, Frankie Condon and Bobbi Olson at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln recount their writing center tutors’ collective efforts to write a book educating fellow tutors while challenging racist and xenophobic discourse on campus. They illustrate how writing centers can move beyond embracing linguistic diversity and take further responsibility for creating opportunities and support for multilingual writers on campus. In Chapter 3, Michelle Cox explores L2 writer identities and the connotations of labels used to identify L2 writers, suggesting that tutors who understand L2 writers’ linguistic history can improve their practice. In addition to addressing the role of tutors’ identities in tutoring sessions, she offers practical guidance for tutors and writing centers for understanding and acknowledging L2 writers’ multiple identities. The last chapter of Part 1 draws on case study research from the University of Puerto Rico, where English is not the dominant language. Drawing on interview data, Shanti Bruce reports on students’ mixed feelings about learning English and describes ways in which writing centers create a multicultural environment for all students.
The second part of the book focuses on research opportunities in writing centers and demonstrates how tutors can create new knowledge and advance the field through inquiry. In Chapter 5, Kevin Dvorak presents a research project on code-switching, code-mixing, and code-meshing in the writing center, which stemmed from observing the use of a first language (L1) exchange (Spanish) between a tutor and a tutee. In Chapter 6, Glenn Hutchinson and Paula Gillespie introduce their digital video project as not only a tool for tutor training, but also an opportunity for tutor research. Rebecca Day Babcock in Chapter 7 walks readers through specific methods tutors can use for writing center research, such as designing a study, collecting and analyzing data, and presenting the results.
Part three is collection of personal stories related to writing centers and L2 writers. In Chapter 8, Elizabeth (Adelay) Witherite presents a multiple-method qualitative study exploring the ways in which “peer tutors experience and conceptualize social justice issues within the context of tutoring sessions in the writing center” (p.165). In the next chapter, Jocelyn Amevuvor recounts her experience of feeling conflicted about what to do as a tutor when she read a professor’s harsh comments regarding a student’s use of Ghanaian English. Although she decided to help the student revise his paper to meet U.S. academic expectations, she questioned whether her decision reinforced discrimination against Ghanaian English. In Chapter 10, Pei-Hsun Emma Liu describes how a Taiwanese student brought her L1 identity into U.S. academic writing where she successfully negotiated a space without losing her L1 identity. Through the example, the author explores the possibility of empowering L2 writers through the strategy of what she calls “transformative accommodation” (p.181), which allows multilingual writers to negotiate a space that integrates native rhetorical norms with U.S. academic writing conventions. The final chapter, by Jose L. Reyes Medina, is a first-person narrative of his rigorous journey from a struggling English language learner to a writing center tutor.
The last part of the book covers some of the challenges that tutors encounter in their tutoring sessions when trying to help L2 writers meet academic expectations. In Chapter 12, Valerie M. Balester highlights the elusiveness of any definition of critical thinking and argues that teaching it can easily lead to “othering” L2 writers. The author proposes that writing centers move away from an assimilationist approach in favor of an intercultural approach to teaching critical thinking. In Chapter 13, Jennifer Craig explores the challenges that L2 writers face when they learn to write in their own discipline and provides strategies for tutors who are not disciplinary experts. In the final chapter, Pimpaya W. Praphan and Guiboke Seong draw on their experiences as L2 learners and teachers of English in ESL and EFL contexts. They engage with issues and debates about editing L2 students’ papers, and they provide various tutoring strategies for helping L2 writers become self-editors.
One shortcoming of this book, which is one that the editors themselves acknowledge, is its limited focus on the U.S. context. Therefore, writing center tutors in an EFL context might find it less useful than U.S. tutors. Nonetheless, Tutoring Second Language Writers is undoubtedly a timely and important contribution to writing center scholarship. Most important, the authors of the book move away from assuming that writing center tutors and tutees are monolingual English speakers and see writing centers as multilingual and multicultural spaces. By exploring complexities around tutoring L2 writers, Bruce and Rafoth’s book provides a valuable resource for examining our current tutoring practices and preparing readers to work with L2 writers in writing centers. This book will be useful for both new and experienced tutors and helps the reader gain a new perspective on how to work with L2 writers in writing centers.
Hee-Seung Kang is director of the ESL Writing Program at Case Western Reserve University, where she teaches undergraduate writing courses and graduate courses in ESL pedagogy. She is also a member-at-large in the Second Language Writing Interest Section. Her research interests include multilingual students’ academic writing socialization, writing program administration, and teacher education.
REVIEW OF WRITING FOR PEER REVIEWED JOURNALS: STRATEGIES FOR GETTING PUBLISHED
Thomson, P., & Kamler, B. (2013). Writing for peer reviewed journals: Strategies for getting published. New York, NY: Routledge. 190 pages, paperback.
Writing for Peer Reviewed Journals: Strategies for Getting Published by Thomson and Kamler serves less experienced authors by providing writing-for-publication strategies that are grounded in writing theories. Though Thomson and Kamler admit that academic writing is a hard and highly frustrating task, in this book, they are concerned with offering a set of “structured, practical and doable” (p. 2) moves toward writing a “fully-fledged text” (p. 8) for peer-reviewed journals. Rather than just providing a set of simplified steps, they analyze deep layers of discourse and continually remind novice authors to see the text through the lens of its potential audience.
Thomson and Kamler’s volume consists of nine chapters. In Chapter 1, the authors underscore the role of the writer and the writer’s identity in writing for publication process. They foreground the importance of imagining others as well as self in the process of text production and underline the role of writing as a way of positioning oneself in a given field. By providing concrete examples of two early career researchers, they emphasize the importance of having “a vision, which sees both an argument and a place for that argument” (p. 25) in one’s writing. Shifting the focus from the writer to the reader, Chapter 2 highlights the role of audience and the importance of understanding readers’ expectations of the text producers. Drawing on Fairclough’s (1992) model of three-layered interaction in social context (i.e., text, discourse practice, and social practice), this chapter discusses the function of a text as embedded in the larger discourse and social practices of the field and invites authors to think about a range of critical questions as they prepare to write. These questions can help writers familiarize themselves with the discourse community members they are writing for, their expertise and expectations, and how they might see a text connecting to their own work.
In Chapter 3, Thomson and Kamler discuss the importance of identifying the contribution of one’s article to the target discourse community. They encourage emerging authors to articulate their contribution to the field by moving from the knowledge-reporting stage to the knowledge-contributing stage in their writing. In doing so, they suggest writing an abstract, or “tiny text” as they call it, as a critical strategy to show one’s authority over the text. Preparing an abstract, as described, involves four major moves, namely “locate, focus, report, and argue” (p. 61). Chapter 4 canvases a number of abstract writing troubles, including “drowning in detail, trying to say it all, writing without a reader in mind, struggling to find the angle, and being worried about being out there” (p. 70). Thomson and Kamler follow the five-move model of locate, focus, anchor, report, and argue to tackle these challenges
In Chapter 5, the book investigates the actual writing process and ways of dealing with “the empty screen and the terrors of the blank page” (p. 89). The authors discuss three strategies in the writing stage: CARS (create a research space), which refers to showing the gap in the scholarship; OARS (occupy a research space), which is the strategy of positioning oneself as an author in the field; and syntactic borrowing, which involves modeling the syntax of the target published texts. Chapter 6 discusses issues raised after writing a first draft and presents the challenges novice authors encounter in refining, revising, and editing their text. The chapter also explores ways of managing these challenges. Throughout the chapter, Thomson and Kamler use several examples and figures to disentangle four strategies for refining writing: mapping the ground (identifying major arguments), naming the moves (adding headings and subheadings), developing a meta-commentary(making effective moves in the context of the argument), and crunching the conclusion (creating an informative and impressive, yet concise summary of the arguments).
Engaging with reviewers and editors is the focus of Chapter 7, which addresses less experienced authors’ uncertainties with respect to the process of responding to journal authorities’ feedback. According to Thomson and Kamler, dealing with feedback from reviewers and editors requires strategic planning, including getting the help of “publication brokers – supervisors, colleagues, writing mates, writing groups and other academic professionals” (p. 134). Chapter 8 elaborates on the significance of collaborative writing and rules of commitment for this collaboration. Three varying approaches to effective writing partnership, and four of its main features, are discussed and exemplified throughout the chapter. Finally, Chapter 9 wraps up the book by offering three key strategies to scaffold a novice author’s attempts at writing for peer-reviewed journals. These strategies include developing a plan for publishing, creating writing support systems with others, and becoming a journal reviewer to get an insider’s view of the peer-reviewing process.
Although this book was published three years ago, it is still a relevant and valuable read for graduate students and early-career researchers aiming to have their work eventually published in the peer-reviewed journals of their field and looking for hands-on strategies to address the challenges of this process. Overall, the book combines theoretically grounded writing approaches with an array of practical strategies that can be adjusted to one’s individual needs. Drawing on several examples and theories from the fields of education and applied linguistics, this volume can effectively serve readers in the area of TESOL who might use it as a resource for either teaching or self-study. Thomson and Kamler’s extensive experience has distinguished this volume from other publishing guidebooks, as it moves beyond providing a set of dos and don’ts. Instead, it details a series of sequential steps and techniques that support a novice author from predrafting to postsubmission stages of writing for peer-reviewed journals.
Fairclough, N. (1992). Discourse and social change. London: Polity.
Nasrin Kowkabi is a PhD candidate majoring in TESL and a lecturer in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, Canada. Her major research interests are second language writing pedagogy, source-based writing at graduate levels, and sociolinguistic approaches to writing practices. She has been developing and teaching academic writing and research methods courses for international undergraduate students at UBC.
ABOUT THIS COMMUNITY
SECOND LANGUAGE WRITING INTEREST SECTION CONTACT INFORMATION
TESOL’s Second Language Writing IS provides a forum for researchers and educators across grade levels and institutional settings to discuss and exchange information in the area of second language writing.
SLWIS Community Leaders 2016-2017Chair: Ryan Miller
Chair-Elect: Nigel Caplan
Past Chair: Silvia Pessoa
Secretary: Meredith Bricker
Newsletter Editor: Ilka Kostka
Community Manager: Elena Shvidko
External Web Manager: Charles Nelson
Managing Editor: Ilka Kostka
Newsletter Editorial Staff
Development Officer: Deborah
Past Chairs2015–2016: Silvia Pessoa
2014–2015: Todd Ruecker
2013–2014: Gena Bennett
2012–2013: Lisya Seloni
2011–2012: Ditlev Larsen
2010–2011: Danielle Zawodny Wetzel
2009–2010: Christine Tardy
2008–2009: Gigi Taylor
2007–2008: Deborah Crusan
2006–2007: Jessie L. Moore
2005–2006: Christina Ortmeier-Hooper
SLW NEWS: CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
SLW News is soliciting articles on second language writing theory, research, and pedagogy in all ESL/EFL settings.
SLW News welcomes articles that focus on L2 writers and characteristics and text features, classroom materials and practices, placement and assessment issues, writing program administration, teacher development, and other related areas. SLW News encourages submissions related to any educational setting, especially traditionally underrepresented contexts (pre-K–12, 2-year colleges, community programs, international K–12 schools, etc.). In light of the newsletter’s electronic format, authors are encouraged to include hyperlinks.
30 June for the September/October issue and 10 January for the March issue.
General Submission Guidelines
- be no longer than 1,750 words (including teasers, tables, and bios)
- contain no more than five citations
- include a 50-word (maximum 500 characters) abstract and two- to three-sentence author biography
- be accompanied by an author photo (.jpg) that is 90px (width) x 120px (height)
- follow the style guidelines in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition (APA style)
- be in MS Word (.doc/.docx) or rich text (.rtf) format
All tables, graphs, and other images should be submitted as separate .jpg files.
Please direct your submissions and questions to:
Ilka Kostka, SLW News Managing Editor
Please use “SLW News Submission” in the subject line of your email.
See below for more information concerning book reviews and submissions related to specific topics and contexts.
Action Research Projects
SLW News welcomes summaries of classroom-based action research projects. Submissions should include a discussion of the following items:
- statement of the problem
- research design
- proposed solutions
- analysis of results
- final reflections
Please include any relevant classroom materials that emerged from the research.
SLW News welcomes reviews of teacher resource books and student texts dealing with second language writing, teaching, research, and administration. Anyone interested in writing a review for SLW News may choose a recently published book in the field and contact the editor for approval and review copies. Reviews will be considered for publication based on the quality of the reviewer’s evaluation and description of the book as well as the book’s relevance and importance to the field.
- be in APA format
- be 600–900 words in length
- include a 50-word (maximum 500 characters) abstract and a two- to three-sentence author biography
SLW News welcomes CALL-related articles, announcements, reports, and reviews in the following categories:
- Software/Hardware (e.g., organizing systems or integrating software/hardware in learning environments to enhance writing instruction, assessment, or program evaluation)
- Materials Design (e.g., using software such as Flash or MonoConc to design language-learning activities or materials that address specific language-learning goals, including discovery activities, practice exercises, storybooks, quizzes, or games)
- Curriculum Design (e.g., using course management software such as Blackboard or eCollege to design e-courses, e-programs, or hybrids for second language writing)
- Applied Writing Research (e.g., writing computer programs to identify lexicogrammatical features, discourse patterns, or errors/learner variation in writing, i.e., corpus linguistics)
SLW News welcomes submissions focusing on EFL contexts. Topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
- statements of instructional problems
- summaries of research
- literature reviews with pedagogical implications
- book/media reviews
- lesson plans
- handouts and activity sheets
- proposed joint research projects
In order to ensure diversity of interest and coverage of as many areas of instruction in the field of EFL writing as possible, SLW News encourages submissions on the following themes:
- university writing classrooms
- pre-K–12 writing instruction
- learner communities in the writing classroom
- computers and the Internet in the writing classroom
- writing for tests (e.g., TOEFL, IELTS)
- technical writing as a genre in the EFL context
- EFL writing instructors’ professional development
Writing Center Submissions
Given that many ESL/EFL students need (and want) more individualized or in-depth assistance with their writing than instructors can understandably provide, these students look to the writing center for support. This phenomenon has been reflected in the increasing number of writing-center-related sessions at professional conferences, as well as discussions on various e-lists.
To share information on this topic with a wider audience, SLW News encourages submissions highlighting
- administration, and/or
- best practices.
Articles can focus on
- tutor development,
- one-on-one tutorial sessions,
- writing groups,
- workshops, and/or
- other models.