WRIT 19: Multilingual Academic Writing in Higher Education

Term Offered: Spring 2019
Timeslot: 12
Prerequisite: Writing 5 or its equivalent (Writing 2-3 or Humanities 1).
Distrib: SOC (pending approval by COI).
Instructor: Betsy Tremmel.

Course Description

In this advanced writing course, we will explore select research investigating multilingual academic writing in higher education, focusing on some specific challenges that fields such as second language acquisition and second language writing face. In the first two weeks, we will discuss the limitations and complexities of terminology, including ways we refer to individuals learning and using language (e.g., non-native, ESL learner, bilingual), the type of language being learned (e.g., L1, L2, second, foreign), and ways to define writing (e.g., translingual writing, multimodal writing). In Weeks 3-4 we will read and discuss theories conceptualizing how writing is learned by multilingual writers—including situated learning, communities of practice, and language socialization. We will then turn, in Weeks 5-7, to theoretical and empirical works that examine how multilingual writers negotiate specific academic language practices and the challenges experienced both by researchers and practitioners in addressing these negotiations. We will end the term considering the possibilities and challenges of applying the theory we have read to pedagogical practice and policy.

Course Objectives

  • To better understand the constraints of terminology used in the disciplines of second language writing and second language acquisition and the impact of those authorial choices.
  • To understand theories of situated learning, communities of practice, and language socialization as they relate to learning in general and academic language learning for multilingual writers more specifically.
  • To explore the challenges in applying second language writing theory to practice.
  • To deepen our understanding of the theories and concepts discussed in class by reading and re-reading, speaking, thinking, and writing and re-writing.
  • To discuss and problematize the concept of “academic writing” and to practice rhetorical flexibility by writing both “conventionally” and translingually.