Academic language socialisation in high school writing conferences

Gilliland, Betsy
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University of Toronto Press
This study examines multilingual high school writers’ individual talk with their teachers in two advanced English language development classes to observe how such talk shapes linguistically diverse adolescents’ writing. Addressing adolescent writers’ language socialization through microethnographic discourse analysis, the author argues that teachers’ oral responses during writing conferences can either scaffold or deter students’ socialization into valued ways of using academic language for school writing. She suggests what forms of oral response provide scaffolding and what forms might limit multilingual adolescent learners’ academic literacy. Constructive interactions engaged students in dialogue about their writing, and students included content or phrasing from the interaction in their texts. Unhelpful interactions failed to foster students’ language development in observable ways. Although teachers attempted to scaffold ideas and language, they often did not guide students’ discovery of appropriate forms or points. These interactions represent restrictive academic language socialization: while some students did create academic texts, they learned little about academic language use.
adolescent literacy, high school writing, Writing, English as a second language
Gilliland, B. (2014). Academic language socialization in high school writing conferences. Canadian Modern Language Review/ La Revue canadienne des langues vivantes, 70(3), 303-330. doi:10.3138/cmlr.1753
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