WAC and Second-Language Writers: Research Towards Linguistically and Culturally Inclusive Programs and Practices
Pub Date: 2014
ISBN 13: 978-1-6023550-5-7
Publisher: WAC Clearinghouse
Conditions of Use
This anthology is distributed by a clearinghouse who produce materials for college teachers in any discipline who incorporate Writing Across the read more
This anthology is distributed by a clearinghouse who produce materials for college teachers in any discipline who incorporate Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC). The book is a wide-ranging resource for teachers of second languages learners who emphasize writing in their courses. Topics include case studies of individual L2 writers; demonstrations of lessons highlighting particular skills such as summarization or choices in stance taking; surveys of the types of reading L2 students do and of the types of programs used in home countries of international students; studies of successful syllabi in writing intensive ESL courses; and examination of issues specific to community college writers, graduate student workshops, and ESL students in various embedded as well as for-profit programs. The volume presents a varied and well rounded set of concerns. But because it includes so many chapters, it would be strengthened by the addition of a index.
The chapters present accurate coverage of the current concerns in WAC. It addresses obstacles that the researchers encountered in their studies, and fairly represents each set of findings--which are most often qualitative--with no discernable error or bias in the presentation.
WAC is a movement that began in the 1970s, with its application to second language learners having developed in the 1990s. So while this book is a snapshot of current practices, it also covers a topic that will only become more relevant over time, due to the increase in globalization of post-secondary students. Whether the L2 is English, Spanish, or Chinese, the need to assist second language writers in mastering writing skills in their intended disciplines is likely to persist. This volume provides good background on the motivation and challenges for WAC/WID programs, and when used in graduate teacher-training courses would provide a good basis to complement more hands-on books of L2 writing tasks (e.g., Swales and Feak’s Academic Writing for Graduate Students: Essential Tasks and Skills: A Course for Nonnative Speakers of English or Dana Ferris’s Teaching ESL Composition: Purpose, Process, and Practice.)
The language is clear throughout, but scholarly in style. While the copious technical terminology is necessary and well defined, the book is best aimed at graduate courses.
Terminology that is introduced, defined, and re-used throughout the chapters includes WAC, WID, ESOL, L2, “difference as deficit”, “difference as resource”, correction of errors vs. framing assignments as “writing to learn.” Considering the range of authors included, the work is well focused, and edited to present a thematic unity.
As an anthology, the book’s four front and back-matter essays and 18 chapters offer a good variety of topics. The chapters are divided into sections covering 1) the strengths and coping strategies of L2 students, 2) faculty concerns and expectations of L2 writers, and 3) suggestions for incorporating WAC practices and pedagogies. So depending on the type of institution (community college, university department, or intensive English program) and the type of student (grad, undergrad, or preservice teacher), chapters can easily be assigned independently or in different orders to meet the goals of the instructors and the students involved.
The sections are clearly separated into studies focusing on learners and studies examining faculty expectations. But despite the clearly labeled sections, the size of the portions is uneven, and there is no built-in transitional prose between readings. So while the forward and introduction make the thematic connections of the volume clear, these points are not as obvious to readers of individual chapters--not to mention readers who may work with only a subset of the readings.
The chapters consist of research articles with un-numbered subsections, which gives less information to readers about their progress through the text than may be desired. The handful of charts and figures are clear and appropriate to the chapters that they illustrate, though not all tables are consistently formatted.
The volume is well copy edited and free of grammatical errors.
The chapters cover contributions that deal overtly with instructor expectations of default writing styles, which might be assumptions influenced by class, race, and privilege. There is also coverage of how best to teach students from Generation 1.5, those “multilingual, immigrant learners who were born and educated outside the United States and who enter the US educational system while in the process of learning English” (p. 130)—typically Spanish speakers in the U.S. Also under consideration are the ways that foreign language pedagogy can differ when taught outside the home country of native speakers (illustrated here with English in China, Beirut, and Sweden) as well as aspects of “native speakerism” (p. 356) whereby some learners express a preference for feedback from native L1 speakers. In short, the book successfully addresses and avoids incorporating cultural bias in its presentation.
This would be a helpful text for graduate TESOL writing courses, as well as a great faculty resource for writing courses and curriculum development sessions in any number of departments.
This text covers the subject of WAC with L2 English student writers comprehensively. One of its greatest strengths is the range of contexts and read more
This text covers the subject of WAC with L2 English student writers comprehensively. One of its greatest strengths is the range of contexts and methodologies the chapters include: undergraduate and graduate students from multiple countries; international and immigrant students; universities in the U.S. and abroad, as well as community colleges and for-profit colleges; WAC and WID; writing and reading courses; perspectives from faculty and WAC directors in addition to L2 English students; and a mix of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods methodologies. The other great strength of the text is that it provides pragmatic recommendations to instructors and administrators to support inclusiveness and instruction of L2 English students. The text does not include an index or glossary, but I suspect that students would find what they need well enough from the table of contents.
The content is extensively researched and makes reasonable conclusions from the data. It does include bias but in a positive manner: it advocates for WAC pedagogy and inclusivity at the course and institutional levels, as the title indicates.
All of the studies have been conducted since 2009, though most were more recent. The research, conclusions, and recommendations are not likely to be obsolete in the near future. Many studies draw on similar framework which indicate the relevance of certain foundational principles for WAC, and while new chapters would need to be inserted to update content, updates will probably not be necessary for some time. It would be relevant for graduate students in a TESL/TEFL or Rhetoric and Composition program, as well as current composition instructors looking for professional development.
The text is clear and professional, defining relevant terms as necessary for the audience.
The text is consistent in the terms and framework that it employs. The editors note in the opening that they would use the term “L2” when referring to non-native speakers of English, but also point out that they didn’t require this from contributing authors who did, in fact, also use the terms MLL, ELL, and NNES. Many of the chapters are also consistent in their framework, referencing much of Leki's work in the field as their foundation.
This text has clear chapters which each have headings and subheadings. The editors added references in each chapter to other book chapters, which is very useful for drawing connections without being overly self-referential. The text is also divided into units about 1) research on L2 writers, 2) faculty concerns & expectations, and 3) WAC approaches, which is an effective way to read about various perspectives.
The progression of chapters is logical, first covering research on student perspectives, then on faculty perspectives from a range of disciplines, and finally on WAC directors and programmatic approaches. This works to provide context on the successes and challenges of students before moving into teacher practices and concerns. Ending with WAC programmatic concerns and recommendations moves to the larger picture and concludes with successful models to consider.
All interface features are clear and don’t distract or confuse the reader.
While the text is free from grammatical errors, it did have several typos, though they did not interfere with meaning.
The text’s goal is to make universities more inclusive of L2 English speakers, and so it is not culturally insensitive or offensive. It highlights a common faculty and student view of “difference-as-deficit” and advocates instead for a “difference-as-accommodation” or “difference-as-resource” model. It also includes chapters which provide models and recommendations for adapting curriculum to be more inclusive of its increasingly global population. The studies are also conducted with students and instructors from around the world. These models and suggestions are useful for a range of audiences: language instructors, writing instructors, instructors of writing-intensive courses, WC directors, and teachers-in-training.
This edited collection provides a good coverage of topics within WAC, with chapters being grouped in three larger sections. The first section focuses read more
This edited collection provides a good coverage of topics within WAC, with chapters being grouped in three larger sections. The first section focuses on the learners and their experiences in WAC courses; the second section addresses the points of concern of the faculty who work with L2 students, and the last section includes descriptions of several collaborative initiatives which incorporate WAC. Although the volume does not have a glossary/ index, it does include three additional sections – Foreword and Introduction at the beginning and Afterword at the end that help the reader navigate this collection of case studies. While the former two sections help to contextualize the volume in terms of the main theoretical and methodological advances that have been already made in the field introducing the types of questions that warrant additional discussion and how the present volume contributes to that discussion, the final section provides a comprehensive synthesis of the works included in the volume. All important concepts and terms are introduced at the beginning of the volume, so the reader is prepared to read individual essays from different sections of the books.
The content is accurate. But my concern is that this text provides very little specific information on how to address L2 students’ real needs and challenges in WAC when their proficiency is too low to be able to “negotiate” any meaning. What type of feedback would be culturally and linguistically appropriate for different groups of learners? I am thinking about the target audience of this volume. If it is mostly intended for WAC/ composition/ L2 writing instructors, they will probably have some answers to those questions based on their previous experiences, training, and scholarship. If this collection is hoping to reach more of the content instructors (professors in specific disciplines), these practical concerns will not be addressed beyond the very general statements of the “need to be aware of…” and “should take into considerations…” nature. In this respect, chapters written by Ives et al. (chapter 8), Lancaster (chapter 12), Fredericksen & Mangelsdorf (chapter 14) and a few other chapters in this collection will be most appreciated by the readers as they offer specific recommendations that can be adapted in other pedagogical contexts.
The content is up-to-date and the volume covers the most urgent issues that are relevant for and currently being discussed across several disciplines/ areas of study – WAC, second language (L2) writing and writers, and composition-rhetoric studies. Because the volume is a collection of individual case studies conducted in/ featuring various pedagogical contexts, I do not think it would be possible to implement any changes/ updates, nor that this collection would require any updates in general.
The language is very accessible and the terminology used in each chapter is explained and contextualized. The content in each chapter is easily accessible to individuals with limited knowledge of WAC/ L2 writing practices.
The text is consistent in terms of the terminology and the main approach to understanding the complex relationship between WAC and L2 writing practices. The majority of authors refer to the same body of research in their introductory/ literature review sections, which makes it easy to understand the individual position articulated in each chapter as well as to establish connections across chapters. In addition, the editors included multiple cross-references in each chapter to identify those connections more explicitly and to emphasize the overlapping themes across the volume. Personally, I found those cross-references a bit distracting, as they were too excessive in several chapters and interrupted the overall flow of the ideas in the text.
It is easy to read this text in smaller sections (as individual chapters) that can be assigned at different points in a course. The content of each chapter is also organized in manageable units that are clearly marked to guide the reader through the text. The three-fold focus of this volume on students’ and faculty experiences, as well as on curriculum development issues makes it a good secondary resource to supplement course readings in a number of applied linguistics and TEFL/TESL courses, including those on L2 pedagogy (and, specifically, L2 writing development), intercultural rhetoric, and L2 course design and curriculum development.
Each chapter is organized into sections. For case studies (those mainly included in sections 1 and 2), the authors follow a typical format for presenting empirical research by providing the background for the study, discussing the methodology employed to collect data, reviewing the results, and discussing the implications of those results for teaching/ learning to write across disciplines. Chapters that feature descriptions of programs and practices are also organized in a logical, clear fashion by discussing the background literature, presenting the problem, describing the implemented steps, and then discussing the results/ challenges/ implications.
I did not experience any navigation problems when reading this volume. I read both the e-version as well as several chapters that were printed out. The text is not interactive, so there is virtually no difference in using e-version over the hard copy. The tables were not formatted consistently, and this is obvious in both versions of the text. Also, the text in a few chapters (in sections 1 and 2) would include a random numeral following a sentence. I initially thought that was supposed to be a reference to an end note, but the numbers were not consistent.
The text has a few syntactic errors.
The text is culturally sensitive and includes references to examples that feature a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Several authors in this volume explicitly advocate for the need to consider L2 students’ native cultural practices and patterns when working with them in WAC courses.
In my opinion, the second and third sections of this volume are the strongest in terms of presenting detailed accounts of the methodology employed to collect data and the discussion of the results and implications, often supplemented with specific suggestions and “lessons to learn.” Several case studies included in the first section either lack methodological rigor or the authors chose to not include important information about how the data were elicited and coded, which made it difficult for me to evaluate some of the conclusions the authors made based on the data.
Table of Contents
- Front Matter
- A Note to Readers, Michelle Cox and Terry Myers Zawacki
- Foreword: Multilinguality Across the Curriculum, Jonathan Hall
- Introduction, Michelle Cox and Terry Myers Zawacki
- Section I. Learning from/with L2 Students: Student Strengths, Coping Strategies, and Experiences as They Write Across the Curriculum
- Chapter 1. Adaptive Transfer, Writing Across the Curriculum, and Second Language Writing: Implications for Research and Teaching, Michael-John DePalma and Jeffrey M. Ringer
- Chapter 2. Developing Resources for Success: A Case Study of a Multilingual Graduate Writer, Talinn Phillips
- Chapter 3. "Hey, Did You Get That?": L2 Student Reading Across the Curriculum, Carole Center and Michelle Niestepski
- Chapter 4. Bridging the Gap between ESL Composition Programs and Disciplinary Writing: The Teaching and Learning of Summarization Skill, Qian Du
- Chapter 5. On Class, Race, and Dynamics of Privilege: Supporting Generation 1.5 Writers Across the Curriculum, Kathryn Nielsen
- Chapter 6. Writing Intensively: An Examination of the Performance of L2 Writers Across the Curriculum at an Urban Community College, Linda Hirsch
- Section II. Faculty Concerns and Expectations for L2 Writers
- Chapter 7. Negotiating "Errors" in L2 Writing: Faculty Dispositions and Language Difference, Terry Myers Zawacki and Anna Sophia Habib
- Chapter 8. "I don't know if that was the right thing to do": Cross-Disciplinary/Cross-Institutional Faculty Response to L2 Writing, Lindsey Ives, Elizabeth Leahy, Anni Leming, Tom Pierce, and Michael Schwartz
- Chapter 9. Let's See Where Your Chinese Students Come From: A Qualitative Descriptive Study of Writing in the Disciplines in China, Wu Dan
- Chapter 10. English is Not a Spectator Sport: Privileged Second Language Learners and the For-Profit ESOL Classroom, Marino Fernandes
- Chapter 11. Making Stance Explicit for Second Language Writers in the Disciplines: What Faculty Need to Know about the Language of Stancetaking, Zak Lancaster
- Chapter 12. In Response to Today's "Felt Need": WAC, Faculty Development, and Second Language Writers, Michelle Cox
- Section III. WAC Practices and Pedagogies Transformed
- Chapter 13. Developing Writing-Intensive Courses for a Globalized Curriculum through WAC-TESOL Collaborations, Megan Siczek and Shawna Shapiro
- Chapter 14. Graduate Writing Workshops: Crossing Languages and Disciplines, Elaine Fredericksen and Kate Mangelsdorf
- Chapter 15. Teaching Writing in a Globally Networked Learning Environment (GNLE): Diverse Students at a Distance, Jennifer Lynn Craig
- Chapter 16. Campus Internationalization: A Center-based Model for ESLready Programs, Karyn E. Mallett and Ghania Zgheib
- Chapter 17. Reconstructing Teacher Roles through a Transnational Lens: Learning with/in the American University of Beirut, Amy Zenger, Joan Mullin, and Carol Peterson Haviland
- Chapter 18. Writing Histories: Lingua Franca English in a Swedish Graduate Program, Thomas Lavelle and Alan Shima
- Afterword: Writing Globally, Right Here, Right Now, Chris Thaiss
- Notes on Editors and Contributors
About the Book
In WAC and Second-Language Writers, the editors and contributors pursue the ambitious goal of including within WAC theory, research, and practice the differing perspectives, educational experiences, and voices of second-language writers. The chapters within this collection not only report new research but also share a wealth of pedagogical, curricular, and programmatic practices relevant to second-language writers. Representing a range of institutional perspectives—including those of students and faculty at public universities, community colleges, liberal arts colleges, and English-language schools—and a diverse set of geographical and cultural contexts, the editors and contributors report on work taking place in the United States, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
About the Contributors
Terry Myers Zawacki is associate professor emerita of English at George Mason University. She has published on writing in the disciplines, writing assessment, WAC and L2 writing, writing centers, and writing fellows. She serves on the editorial boards of Across the Disciplines, The WAC Journal, and the WAC Clearinghouse. She also is lead editor of the WAC Clearinghouse International Exchanges on the Study of Writing series.
Michelle Cox is a Multilingual Specialist at Dartmouth College and former director of Bridgewater State University's WAC program, which she launched in 2007. She has published on WAC and second-language writing as well as on composition pedagogy, identity theory, and faculty development. She serves on the editorial boards of Across the Disciplines and the WAC Clearinghouse, where she edits the pages on WAC and second-language writing.