Matching Items (7)

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Scaffolding in the Center: Training Tutors to Facilitate Learning Interactions with L2 Writers

Description

Writing centers are learning settings and communities at the intersection of multiple disciplines and boundaries, which afford opportunities for rich learning experiences. However, navigating and negotiating boundaries as part of

Writing centers are learning settings and communities at the intersection of multiple disciplines and boundaries, which afford opportunities for rich learning experiences. However, navigating and negotiating boundaries as part of the learning is not easy or neutral work. Helping tutors shift from fixing to facilitating language and scaffolding literacy learning requires training. This is particularly true as tutors work with second or subsequent language (L2) writers, a well-documented area of tension. This mixed methods action research study, conducted at a large university in the United States (US), centered on a tutor training intervention designed to improve writing tutors’ scaffolding with L2 learners by increasing tutors’ concrete understanding of scaffolding and shifting the ways tutors view and value L2 writers and their writing. Using a sociocultural framework, including understanding writing centers as communities of practices and sites for experiential learning, the effectiveness of the intervention was examined through pre- and post-intervention surveys and interviews with tutors, post-intervention focus groups with L2 writers, and post-intervention observations of tutorials with L2 writers. Results indicated a shift in tutors’ use of scaffolding, reflecting increased understanding of scaffolding techniques and scaffolding as participatory and multidirectional. Results also showed that post-intervention, tutors increasingly saw themselves as learners and experienced a decrease in confidence scaffolding with L2 writers. Findings also demonstrated ways in which time, common ground, and participation mediate scaffolding within tutorials. These findings provide implications for tutor education, programmatic policy, and writing center administration and scholarship, including areas for further interdisciplinary action research.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Exploring teachers' writing assessment literacy in multilingual first-year composition: a qualitative study on e-portfolios

Description

This project investigated second language writing teachers’ writing assessment literacy by looking at teachers’ practices of electronic writing portfolios (e-WPs), as well as the sources that shape L2 writing teachers’

This project investigated second language writing teachers’ writing assessment literacy by looking at teachers’ practices of electronic writing portfolios (e-WPs), as well as the sources that shape L2 writing teachers’ knowledge of e-WPs in the context of multilingual First-Year Composition (FYC) classrooms. By drawing on Borg’s (2003) theory of teacher cognition and Crusan, Plakans, and Gebril’s (2016) definition of assessment literacy, I define L2 teachers’ writing assessment literacy as teachers’ knowledge, beliefs and practices of a particular assessment tool, affected by institutional factors. While teachers are the main practitioners who help students create e-WPs (Hilzensauer & Buchberger, 2009), studies on how teachers actually incorporate e-WPs in classes and what sources may influence teachers’ knowledge of e-WPs, are scant. To fill in this gap, I analyzed data from sixteen teachers’ semi-structured interviews. Course syllabi were also collected to triangulate the interview data. The interview results indicated that 37.5 % of the teachers use departmental e-WPs with the goal of guiding students throughout their writing process. 43.7 % of the teachers do not actively use e-WPs and have students upload their writing projects only to meet the writing program’s requirement at the end of the semester. The remaining 18.7 % use an alternative platform other than the departmental e-WP platform, throughout the semester. Sources influencing teachers’ e-WP knowledge included teachers’ educational and work experience, technical difficulties in the e-WP platform, writing program policies and student reactions. The analysis of the course syllabi confirmed the interview results. Based on the findings, I argue that situated in the context of classroom assessment, institutional factors plus teachers’ insufficient knowledge of e-WPs limit the way teachers communicate with students, whose reactions cause teachers to resist e-WPs. Conversely, teachers’ sufficient knowledge of e-WPs enables them to balance the pressure from the institutional factors, generating positive reactions from the students. Students’ positive reactions encourage teachers to accept the departmental e-WPs or use similar alternative e-WP platforms. Pedagogical implications, limitations of the study and suggestions for future research are reported to conclude the dissertation.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Second Language Writing in Intensive English Programs and First Year Composition

Description

The study develops a better understanding of what is valued in L2 academic writing in IEP and FYC programs through a comparative case study approach, identifying the assumptions and underlying

The study develops a better understanding of what is valued in L2 academic writing in IEP and FYC programs through a comparative case study approach, identifying the assumptions and underlying values of program directors and instructors in both types of instructional settings. The goal of the study is to understand more about second language writing pedagogy for international students in these programs, as well as to provide university administrators with a better understanding of how to improve writing instruction for multilingual students, who have become a key part of the U.S. higher education mission. Data include program-level mission statements, course descriptions and objectives, curricular materials, as well as interviews with teachers and program directors. Major findings show that there is a tension between language-focused vs. rhetoric-focused approaches to second language writing instruction in the two contexts. IEP instruction sought to build on students' language proficiency, and writing instruction was rooted in a conception of writing as language organized by structural principles, while the FYC program emphasized writing as a tool for communication and personal growth. Based on these findings, I provide recommendations for improving graduate education for all writing teachers, developing more comprehensive needs analysis procedures, and establishing administrative structures to support international multilingual students.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Exploring Identities of Second Language Writing Teachers

Description

This qualitative study examines second language (L2) writing teachers’ identities. The study explores L2 writing teachers’ narrated identities (i.e., the teachers’ perceptions of themselves), enaction of these identities (i.e., students’

This qualitative study examines second language (L2) writing teachers’ identities. The study explores L2 writing teachers’ narrated identities (i.e., the teachers’ perceptions of themselves), enaction of these identities (i.e., students’ perceptions of those teachers; those teachers’ classroom behaviors), and identity enaction’s positive impacts on students. In order to investigate these issues, I conducted interviews with three L2 writing teachers of first-year composition in the United States (U.S.), along with student interviews and classroom observations. Findings showed that there were 10 narrated identities of these L2 writing teachers. All of these narrated identities were enacted except for one. The findings also indicated that there were positive impacts on students from enaction of these identities when that enaction involved certain teaching practices. Enaction of L2 writing teacher identity had a positive impact when it involved the teacher paying attention to L2 writers’ needs, showing empathy toward L2 writers, and avoiding overemphasis on L2 writers’ language issues. Enaction of writing teacher identity had a positive impact when it involved the teacher providing an enjoyable writing experience, focusing on content knowledge learning, and focusing on writing issues over language issues. Enaction of language teacher identity had a positive impact when it involved the teacher providing language help. Enaction of freedom teacher identity had a positive impact when it involved the teacher providing guided freedom. Enaction of American teacher identity had a positive impact when it involved the teacher focusing on U.S. academic experience. Enaction of general teacher identity had a positive impact when it involved the teacher displaying positive attitudes towards teaching in general. Enaction of individual coach identity had a positive impact when it involved the teacher providing individualized help.
These findings suggest that L2 writing teachers can maintain positive L2 writing teaching practices. L2 writing teachers can make their teaching practices more informed by seeking out teaching resources and insights from various disciplines as pedagogical content experts in L2 writing. They can also teach L2 writers by addressing L2 writers’ needs with positive emotions, providing guided freedom and individualized help, and understanding L2 writers’ educational backgrounds.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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Exploring teacher knowledge in multilingual first-year composition

Description

This project examines how writing teachers of multilingual students conceptualize their pedagogical practices. Specifically, it draws on work in teacher cognition research to examine the nature of teacher knowledge and

This project examines how writing teachers of multilingual students conceptualize their pedagogical practices. Specifically, it draws on work in teacher cognition research to examine the nature of teacher knowledge and the unique characteristics of this knowledge specific to the teaching of second language writing. Seeing teacher knowledge as something embedded in teachers’ practices and their articulation of the goals of these practices, this project uses case studies of four writing instructors who teach multilingual students of First-Year Composition (FYC). Through qualitative analysis of interviews, observations, and written feedback practices, teachers’ goals and task selection were analyzed to understand their knowledge base and the beliefs that underlie their personal pedagogies.

Results from this study showed that while participants’ course objectives were primarily in alignment with the institutional goals for the course, they each held individual orientations toward the subject matter. These different orientations influenced their task selection, class routines, and assessment. This study also found that teachers’ understanding of their students was closely tied with their orientations of the subject matter and thus must be understood together. Findings from this study support a conceptualization of teacher knowledge as a construct comprised of highly interdependent aspects of teachers’ knowledge base.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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A sociocultural approach to the study of L2 writing

Description

Using a sociocultural framework, this dissertation investigated the writing processes of 31 ESL learners in an EAP context at a large North American university. The qualitative case study involved one

Using a sociocultural framework, this dissertation investigated the writing processes of 31 ESL learners in an EAP context at a large North American university. The qualitative case study involved one of the four major writing assignments in a required first-year composition course for ESL students. Data were collected from four different sources: (a) A semi-structured interview with each participant, (b) process logs kept by participants for the entire duration of the writing assignment, (c) classroom observation notes, and (d) class materials. Findings that emerged through analyses of activity systems, an analytical framework within Vygotskian activity theory, indicate that L2 writers used various context-specific, social, and cultural affordances to accomplish the writing tasks. The study arrived at these findings by creating taxonomies of the six activity system elements - subject, tools, goals, division of labor, community, and rules - as they were realized by L2 writers, and examining the influence that these elements had in the process of composing. The analysis of data helped create categories of each of the six activity system elements. To illustrate with an example, the categories that emerged within the element division of labor were as follows: (a) Instructor, (b) friends and classmates, (c) writing center tutors, (d) family members, and (e) people in the world. The emergent categories for each of the six activity system elements were then examined to determine if their effects on L2 writing were positive or negative. Overall, the findings of the present study validate arguments related to the post-process views that an explanation of L2 writing processes solely based on cognitive perspectives provides but only a partial picture of how second language writing takes place. In order for a more comprehensive understanding of L2 writing one must also account for the various social and cultural factors that play critical roles in the production of L2 texts.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Investigating agency in multilingual writers' placement decisions: a case study of the writing programs at Arizona State University

Description

This yearlong project examines how multilingual undergraduate writers--including international visa students and U.S. permanent residents or citizens who are non-native English speakers--exercise agency in their first-year composition placement decisions. Agency

This yearlong project examines how multilingual undergraduate writers--including international visa students and U.S. permanent residents or citizens who are non-native English speakers--exercise agency in their first-year composition placement decisions. Agency is defined as the capacity to act or not to act contingent upon various conditions. The goal of the project is to demonstrate how student agency can inform the overall programmatic placement decisions, which can lead to more effective placement practices for multilingual writers. To explore the role of agency in students' placement decisions, I conducted a series of four in-depth interviews with eleven multilingual writers between Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 in the Writing Programs at Arizona State University. To triangulate these placement decisions, I interviewed some of the multilingual student participants' academic advisors and writing teachers as well as writing program administrators. Findings showed that when conditions for agency were appropriate, the multilingual student participants were able to negotiate placement, choose to accept or deny their original placement, self-assess their proficiency level as deciding to choose a writing course, plan on their placement, question about placement, and finally make decisions about a writing course they wanted to take. In the context of this study, conditions for agency include the freedom to choose writing courses and information about placement that is distributed by the following sources: advisors' recommendations, other students' past experience in taking first-year composition, the new student orientation, and other sources that provide placement related information such as an online freshman orientation and a major map. Other findings suggested that the academic advisor participants did not provide the multilingual students with complete placement information; and this affected the way the multilingual students chose which section of first-year composition to enroll in. Meanwhile, there was no formal communication about placement options and placement procedures between the Writing Programs and writing teachers. Building on these findings, I argue for improving conditions for agency by providing placement options, making placement information more readily available, and communicating placement information and options with academic advisors, writing teachers, and multilingual students.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012