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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Socialization in the margins : second language writers and feedback practices in university content courses Seror, Jeremie


Recent years have seen a growing interest in the relationship between second language (L2) writing development and the ways we can help growing populations of L2 writers successfully integrate within academic communities. Much of this interest stems from increasingly diverse local populations and the continued internationalization of higher education. This dissertation explored the implications for curriculum resulting from this growing presence of L2 writers in academic content areas. To achieve this goal, this research reports on an eight-month longitudinal ethnographic case study of five international Japanese undergraduate students at a large Canadian university. Focusing on the central role of writing in university courses as the dominant mode of knowledge construction and dissemination, as well as student assessment, the study documents focal students’ and focal instructors’ perspectives of the various factors affecting their writing in ‘regular’ content courses, with particular attention paid to the impact of feedback practices and their role in both the short-term and long-term development of students’ skills and their investments in different types of writing. Drawing on a language socialization framework, data analysis focused on expectations and practices with respect to feedback, and explored the impact of these practices on conveying both explicit and implicit norms linked to students’ access to, and successful participation in, their chosen content areas. Drawing on both students’ and instructors’ perspectives of this literacy event and discourse analysis of relevant documents, findings offer unique insights into the role of feedback practices not only for students’ writing development but also in indexing complex negotiations of positions, identities, and institutional forces. The dissertation concludes by highlighting the need to play closer attention to the multidimensional functions of feedback practices in order to understand their power to shape the socialization trajectories of L2 writers and universities’ responses to multilingual students who no longer fit traditional profiles.

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