Writing & Pedagogy, Vol 8, No 2 (2016)

L1 and L2 adolescents’ perspectives on writing within and across academic disciplines: Examining the role of agency in writing development

Jill V. Jeffery, Kristen C. Wilcox
Issued Date: 11 Nov 2016


To investigate a diverse sample of adolescent writers’ experiences with disciplinary writing, this study compared 66 adolescents’ perceptions of writing through an analysis of interviews as part of a national study. Grounded in a social constructivist framework that stresses the role of agency in the development of writing competence, the study aims to examine factors – including language background and prior writing experiences – that are associated with adolescents’ perceptions of their writing development. The study asked: How do L1 and L2 adolescents’ perceptions of writing development compare? To what extent, if at all, is agency implicated in patterns of variation? Results of the comparative analysis suggest that varying affordances and constraints, and combinations of these, relate to adolescents’ expressed agency toward writing. Affordances include opportunities to select personally relevant subjects and to develop writing through feedback and revision processes; constraints include the use of highly structured writing scaffolds, formulas, and tightly constrained topics. Implications for differentiated scaffolding of writing instruction that might affectively and cognitively engage diverse adolescent learners are discussed.

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DOI: 10.1558/wap.28750


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