Language and Sociocultural Theory, Vol 4, No 2 (2017)

Exploring the social nature of L2 writing: Insights into the division of labor of an EAP writing task

Subrata Kumar Bhowmik
Issued Date: 13 Sep 2017

Abstract


Using an activity system framework this study examined the social nature of the writing processes by investigating the division of labor in the writing processes of 31 ESL learners. The study involved one of the four major writing assignments in a required first-year composition course for ESL students at a North American university. Data was collected from: (a) A semi-structured interview with each participant, (b) process logs kept by all participants, (c) classroom observation notes, and (d) class materials. Findings indicate that L2 writers used various context-specific affordances derived from division of labor to accomplish their writing task. The study arrived at these findings by creating taxonomies of people who were part of their writing process and examining the influence that these people had on their writing. The findings show that people related to L2 writers within the social space in both academic and non-academic capacities mediate them in non-trivial ways. This mediation renders not only positive but also negative effects on the production of L2 texts. Implications for L2 writing pedagogy and research are discussed.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 )

DOI: 10.1558/lst.26454

References


Alavi, S. M., and Taghizadeh, M. (2014). Dynamic assessment of writing: The impact of implicit/explicit mediations on L2 learners’ internalization of writing skills and strategies. Educational Assessment, 19 (1): 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1080/10627197.2014.869446


Atkinson, D. (2002). Toward a sociocognitive approach to second language acquisition. The Modern Language Journal, 86 (4): 525–545. https://doi.org/10.1111/1540-4781.00159


Atkinson, D. (2003). L2 writing in the post-process era: Introduction. Journal of Second Language Writing, 12 (1): 3–15. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1060-3743(02)00123-6


Atkinson, D., Churchill, E., Nishino, T., and Okada, H. (2007). Alignment and interaction in a sociocognitive approach to second language acquisition. The Modern Language Journal, 91 (2): 169–188. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2007.00539.x


Atkinson, D., and Connor, U. (2008). Multilingual writing development. In C. Bazerman (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Writing: History, Society, School, Individual, Text, 515–532. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.


Bhowmik, S. K. (2016). Agency, identity and ideology in L2 writing: Insights from the EAP classroom. Writing & Pedagogy, 8 (2): 275–308. https://doi.org/10.1558/wap.26864


Brice, C. (2005). Coding data in qualitative research on L2 writing: Issues and implications. In P. K. Matsuda and T. Silva (Eds), Second Language Writing Research: Perspectives on the Process of Knowledge Construction, 159–175. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.


Casanave, C. P. (1995). Local interactions: Constructing contexts for composing in a graduate sociology program. In D. Belcher and G. Braine (Eds), Academic Writing in a Second Language: Essays on Research and Pedagogy, 83–110. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corporation.


Casanave, C. P. (2003). Looking ahead to more sociopolitically-oriented case study research in L2 writing scholarship (But should it be called ‘post-process’?). Journal of Second Language Writing, 12 (1): 85–102. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1060-3743(03)00002-X


De Guerrero, M. C. M., and Villamil, O. S. (1994). Social-cognitive dimensions of interaction in L2 peer revision. The Modern Language Journal, 78 (4): 484–496. https://doi.org/10.2307/328586


Engeström, Y. (1987). Learning by Expanding: An Activity-Theoretical Approach to Development Research. Orienta-Koncultit: Helsinki.


Engeström, Y. (1999). Activity theory and individual and social transformation. In Y. Engeström, R. Miettinen and R. L. Punamäki (Eds), Perspectives on Activity Theory, 19–38. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511812774.003


Engeström, Y. (2001). Expansive learning at work: Toward an activity theoretical reconceptualization. Journal of Education and Work, 14 (1): 133–156. https://doi.org/10.1080/13639080020028747


Goffman, E. (1981). Forms of Talk. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.


Goldstein, L. (2006). Feedback and revision in second language writing: Contextual, teacher and student variables. In K. Hyland and F. Hyland (Eds), Feedback in Second Language Writing: Contexts and Issues, 185–205. New York: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139524742.012


Ivanič, R. (1998). Writing and Identity: The Discoursal Construction of Identity in Academic Writing. Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins. https://doi.org/10.1075/swll.5


James, M. A. (2010). Transfer climate and EAP education: Students’ perceptions of challenges to learning transfer. English for Specific Purposes, 29 (2): 133–147. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esp.2009.09.002


Kitade, K. (2015). Second language teacher development through CALL practice: The emergence of teachers’ agency. CALICO Journal, 32 (3): 396–425. https://doi.org/10.1558/cj.v32i3.26637


Krapels, A. R. (1990). An overview of second language writing process research. In B. Kroll (Ed.), Second Language Writing: Research Insights for the Classroom, 37–56. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139524551.007


Lantolf, J. P. (2000). Introducing sociocultural theory. In J. P. Lantolf (Ed.), Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Learning, 1–26. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Lantolf, J. P., and Genung, P. B. (2002). ‘I’d rather switch than fight’: An activity-theoretic study of power, success, and failure in a foreign language classroom. In C. Kramsch (Ed.), Language Acquisition and Language Socialization: Ecological Perspectives, 175–196. London: Continuum.


Lantolf, J. P., and Pavlenko, A. (2001). (S)econd (L)anguage (A)ctivity theory: Understanding language learners as people. In M. P. Breen (Ed.), Learner Contributions to Language Learning: New Directions in Research, 141–158. Harlow: Pearson Education.


Lantolf, J. P., and Poehner, M. E. (2014). Sociocultural Theory and the Pedagogical Imperative in L2 Education. Vygotskian Praxis and the Research/Practice Divide. New York: Routledge.


Lantolf, J. P., and Thorne, S. T. (2006). Sociocultural Theory and the Genesis of Second Language Development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Lave, L., and Wenger, E. (1991). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511815355


Lei, X. (2008). Exploring a sociocultural approach to writing strategy research: Mediated actions in writing activities. Journal of Second Language Writing, 17 (4): 217–236. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jslw.2008.04.001


Matsuda, P. K. (1997). Contrastive rhetoric in context: A dynamic model of L2 writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 6 (1): 45–60. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1060-3743(97)90005-9


Miles, M. B., and Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis: An Expanded Sourcebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.


Norton, B. (2000). Identity and Language Learning: Gender, Ethnicity and Educational Change. Harlow: Longman/Pearson.


Prior, P. (1997). Literate activity and disciplinarity: The heterogeneous (re)production of American studies around a graduate seminar. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 4 (4): 275–295. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327884mca0404_5


Prior, P. (1998). Writing/Disciplinarity: A Socio-Historic Account of Literate Activity in the Academy. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.


Prior, P. (2006). A sociocultural theory of writing. In C. A. Macarthur, S. Graham and J. Fitzgerald (Eds), Handbook of Writing Research, 54–66. New York: The Guilford Press.


Prior, P., and Shipka, J. (2003). Chronotopic lamination: Tracing the contours of literate activity. In C. Bazerman and D. R. Russell (Eds), Writing Selves/Writing Society: Research from Activity Perspectives, 331–362. Retrieved 15 February 2010, from http://wac.colostate.edu/books/selves_societies/selves_societies.pdf.


Riazi, A. (1997). Acquiring disciplinary literacy: A social-cognitive analysis of text production and learning among Iranian graduate students of education. Journal of Second Language Writing, 6 (2): 105–137. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1060-3743(97)90030-8


Roozen, K. (2009). ‘Fan Fic-ing’ English studies: A case study exploring the interplay of vernacular literacies and disciplinary engagement. Research in the Teaching of English, 44 (2): 136–169.


Roozen, K. (2010). Tracing trajectories of practice: Repurposing in one student’s developing disciplinary writing processes. Written Communication, 27 (3): 318–354. https://doi.org/10.1177/0741088310373529


Russell, D. R. (1997). Rethinking genre in school and society: An activity theory analysis. Written Communication, 14 (4): 504–554. https://doi.org/10.1177/0741088397014004004


Russell, D. R., and Yaňez, A. (2003). Big picture people rarely become historians: Genre systems and the contradictions of general education. In C. Bazerman and D. R. Russell (Eds), Writing Selves/Writing Society: Research from Activity Perspectives, 331–362. Retrieved 15 February 2010, from http://wac.colostate.edu/books/selves_societies/selves_societies.pdf.


Shrestha, P., and Coffin, C. (2012). Dynamic assessment, tutor mediation and academic writing development. Assessing Writing, 17 (1): 55–70. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.asw.2011.11.003


Tesch, R. (1990). Qualitative Research: Analysis Types and Software Tools. New York: The Falmer Press.


Thorne, S. L. (2003). Artifacts and cultures-of-use in intercultural communication. Language Learning & Technology, 7 (2): 38–67.


Trimbur, J. (1994). Taking the social turn: Teaching writing post-process. College Composition and Communication, 45 (1): 108–118. https://doi.org/10.2307/358592


Villamil, O. S., and de Guerrero, M. C. M. (1996). Peer revision in the L2 classroom: Social-cognitive activities, mediating strategies, and aspects of social behavior. Journal of Second Language Writing, 5 (1): 51–75. http://dx.doi:10.1016/S1060-3743(96)90015-6


Villamil, O. S., and de Guerrero, M. C. M. (2006). Sociocultural theory: A framework for understanding the social-cognitive dimensions of peer feedback. In K. Hyland and F. Hyland (Eds), Feedback in Second Language Writing: Contexts and Issues, 23–41. New York: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139524742.004


Wertsch, J. V. (1991). Voices of the Mind: A Sociocultural Approach to Mediated Action. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


Yang, L., Baba, K., and Cumming, A. (2004). Activity systems for ESL writing improvement: Case studies of three Chinese and three Japanese adult learners of English. Angles on the English-Speaking World, 4: 13–33.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.





Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email: info@equinoxpub.com

Privacy Policy