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Please cite as: Ortega, L. (2009). “Context” in L2 Writing Pedagogy and Research: Emergent and Dynamic. Paper presented in the invited Academic Session.

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Presentation on theme: "Please cite as: Ortega, L. (2009). “Context” in L2 Writing Pedagogy and Research: Emergent and Dynamic. Paper presented in the invited Academic Session."— Presentation transcript:

1 Please cite as: Ortega, L. (2009). “Context” in L2 Writing Pedagogy and Research: Emergent and Dynamic. Paper presented in the invited Academic Session of the L2 Writing Interest Section “Contexts of Second Language Writing,” Christine Tardy convener. The TESOL Convention, Denver CO, March 28. Copyright © Lourdes Ortega, 2009

2 “Context” in L2 Writing Pedagogy and Research: Emergent and Dynamic Lourdes Ortega University of Hawai‘i at M ā noa Christine Tardy, Colloquium Convener TESOL, Denver March 28, 2009

3 =Experience Context L2 writing

4 Context matters Social circumstances Linguistic circumstances Personal circumstances Different things with words With different people In different places At different times WE DO… We experience We become writers WE WRITE

5 Different understandings of “context”

6 “Context” = “experience” Externally documented Lived Post-process era (Matsuda et al., 2003) Sociopolitical turn (Casanave, 2003)

7 “Context” = “experience” raw/given perceived/constructed etic emic general particular homogeneous variable inherited~birth made~history

8 Context as dynamic & emergent influence RESEARCH

9 CognitivismSociocognitivism Socioculturalism Reality = socially constructed Subjective interpretations matter Subjective interpretations are socially influenced Social = source of learning Contexts = processual, emergent, distributed Language/text = center Cognition = internal site of learning Non-linguistic context = container, with separable influences that create “Individual Differences” Social context, external or lived? Textual-linguistic analyses Ratings of writing quality Think-alouds Interviews Microgenetic method Discourse analysis

10 Feedback, for example [L2 graduate student’s free writing, cited with permission:] […] I did not think I was weak in my grammar but when I got comments from a lot of professors about my grammar, I still feel I’m not legitimate academic writer. Their comment make me to think I’m not academically appropriate, but still need to go to ESL English classes to fix my grammar. I feel often I’m a long-term patient in a hospital to get a 10 year long surgery. [...]

11 [college EFL student journal to her writing teacher, cited with permission:] "I know my writing is better now than to compare to the beginning of this year and the middle of it too. Because you wrote many thank you and happy like comment in my writing journal before now. After winter you stop praising too often. Then you gave some negative feedbacks, which means I should know the right, academic way to write”

12 Feedback in L2 writing, always a social act (Goldstein, 2004; Hyland & Hyland, 2006)

13 [same ESL graduate student’s free writing:] [My other weakness is] Academic voice. I’m getting into post- modernism. But I don’t have post-modernist’s academic voice in my writing. So, I really wish I can get their voice in my writing. So that I can be part of their community. Identity, for example

14 Writing development is always implicated with one’s and others’ sense of self (identity) and always contested (e.g., Matsuda & Tardy, 2007)

15 Context as dynamic & emergent influence PEDAGOGY

16 Don’t generalize, particularize feedback You need to introduce the participants to your readers in a separate section, called “Participants.” You can summarize there who they are and give your readers enough information so that they can “imagine” each participant and remember them when you later present the data. You have listed two chapters, both by Dörnyei, and both in the same year. Therefore, you need to list them as (2009a) and (2009b), so that when you cite them in your main text, readers know which one you are referring to in each case. Please make sure you mention each Appendix in your text, so readers see them and “visit” them.

17 [L2 graduate student’s , cited with permission:] […] Your comments made me think of readers more than anything, which I did not care much before. That perspective brought me to reconsider my writing, which was hard but fun! It also took me time. Yet, this struggling process served me many “ah-ha” moments at the end too. [...] Don’t generalize, particularize feedback

18 Don’t stop at conventions, show variability in genre Book review as a genre 1 st paragraph  introduction, e.g., book's purpose and intended audience, organization of the book Next several paragraphs  chapter by chapter summary, occasionally supplemented by some evaluative comments. Last couple paragraphs  balanced discussion of both strengths and weaknesses Analyze “good” published models, where the genre template is instantiated at its best. Show students “atypical” published model and analyze reasons that made it into a book review (purpose) without a recognizable structure (context: who- whom-where)

19 Context as dynamic & emergent… Anything missing?

20 Dynamic & Emergent Context IntentionalityIdentity Power Consciousness Goals Regulation Relations with others Senses of self Positionalities by self & others Social and cultural worlds Dialogue Resistance Affiliations Imagination sociocognitive transformational sociocultural

21  Lived experience is variable, heterogeneous, and multiple across and within writers, in the face of the same “context” (that is, even when the external experience is the same).  E.g., socioculturally oriented investigations of study abroad (e.g., Kinginger, 2004; Kinginger & Blattner, 2008) and of motivation (e.g., Gan, Humphreys, & Hamp-Lyons, 2004, in China; Lamb, 2007, in Indonesia).  “Same study abroad / Same EAP course / Same macro-context”...???? Focusing on context as lived experience ... The discursive construction of contexts and the power of ideologies must be addressed too... So, third dimension of context...

22 Focus on multilingual writers and their mutiplicity of contexts, not only texts Focus on versatility as much as consistency Keep social transformation (resistance- in-accommodation) as an educational goal Canagarajah’s (2006) shuttling across languages suggestions:

23 1. Rhetorical repertoires are not a fixed property of a writer’s “native” languages and cultures, but emerge from the multiplicity of contexts which he or she travels/inhabits 2. Rhetorical accommodation and rhetorical resistance are both possible in the same writing Canagarajah’s (2006) shuttling across languages suggestions:

24 The unbearable ineluctability of the social context “[Researching/teaching L2 writing] is in many ways similar to painting a chameleon. Because the animal’s colors depend on its physical surroundings, any one representation becomes inaccurate as soon as that background changes.” Adapted from Tucker (1999, pp ), who found it in Donato (1998), who took it from Hamayan (n.d. given). Chamaleon and books in Kafue National Park, Zambia. Photo from

25 Thank You

26 References: Canagarajah, A. S. (2006). Toward a Writing Pedagogy of Shuttling between Languages: Learning from Multilingual Writers. College English, 68, Casanave, C. P. (2003). Looking ahead to more socio-politically-oriented case study research in L2 writing scholarship (But should it be called " post-process "?). Journal of Second Language Writing, 12, Donato, R. (1998). Assessing foreign language abilities of the early language learner. In M. Met (Ed.), Critical issues in early second language learning: Building our children's future (pp ). Glenview, IL: Addison-Wesley. Ellis, R. (1985). A variable competence model of second language acquisition. International Review of Applied Linguistics, 23, 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, Hyland, K. & F. Hyland (2006). Interpersonal aspects of response: Constructing and interpreting teacher written feedback. In K. Hyland & F. Hyland (Eds.), Feedback in second language writing: Contexts and issues. (pp. 206–224). New York: Cambridge University Press. Matsuda, P. K., Canagarajah, A. S., Harklau, L., Hyland, K., Warschauer, M. (2003). Changing currents in second language writing research: A colloquium. Journal of Second Language Writing, 12, Matsuda, P. K., & Tardy, C. M. (2007). Voice in academic writing: The rhetorical construction of author identity in blind manuscript review. English for Specific Purposes, 26, Tucker, G. R. (1999). The applied linguist, school reform, and technology: Challenges and opportunities for the coming decade. CALICO Journal, 17 (2),

27 Please cite as: Ortega, L. (2009). “Context” in L2 Writing Pedagogy and Research: Emergent and Dynamic. Paper presented in the invited Academic Session of the L2 Writing Interest Section “Contexts of Second Language Writing,” Christine Tardy convener. The TESOL Convention, Denver CO, March 28. Copyright © Lourdes Ortega, 2009


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