Saturday, September 11, 2010

Reading (second language writing)

Santos, T. (1992). Ideology in composition: L1 and ESL. Journal of Second Language Writing, 1(1), 1-15.

This article looks at the ideological view of writing in L1 composition and attempts to answer the question of why a similar view has not been propounded in ESL writing. The claim is that the difference can be attributed to: 1) the different affiliations of L1 and L2 composition, that is, L1 with literature and L2 with applied linguistics, 2) the scientific model for L2 research, 3) ESL's primarily pragmatic aims, and 4) the conservatizing effect of EFL. The article concludes by considering whether L2 composition might move in the direction of L1 by developing a similar ideological perspective.

Some excerpts from the article.
The social, political, and pedagogical elements of social contructionism thus came together in collaborative learning: the social nature of thought, knowledge, and language, the shift of power from the teacher to the students, and a product arrived at through negotiation and consensus within a group. (p. 5)
Why has the ideology of social constructionism and collaborative learning in L1 composition received so little attention in ESL writing? The letters of Hairson and Trimbur point to one simple, if not sole, reason: L1 composition, residing mostly in English departments, has been highly influenced by critical literary theories, whereas ESL writing has identified itself as part of applied linguistics, accommodating itself to the prevailing standards of inquiry and research in that field. Their different backgrounds make L1 and L2 composition very different in their assumptions about language and the role of explicit sociopolitical ideology in theory and practice (p. 6).

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