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ERIC Number: EJ840987
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Dec
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 26
ISSN: ISSN-0098-6291
Sociocultural Identity and Academic Writing: A Second-Language Learner Profile
Lvovich, Natasha
Teaching English in the Two-Year College, v31 n2 p179-192 Dec 2003
The second-language classroom, where ESL students study, interact, and communicate, is not simply a place for their learning, but an important sociocultural context for their identity negotiation, which hypothetically plays a crucial role in their achievement. Besides the students' social classroom interactions, which shape and reshape their multiple identities, there is a world of sociocultural and emotional "capital" that they bring to the ESL classroom, which becomes an intrinsic part of their language learning. Most ESL students, recent arrivals to the United States, are profoundly affected socially and culturally by the act of immigration. This change is experienced by some of them as a process of re-creation rather than readjustment and affects their language acquisition as well as their entire academic performance. From her language teaching and researching experience, the author has come to believe that many of the students' difficulties in mastering academic writing in English is related to the way their bilingual identities are formed and to the complexities of the "cultural narrative" that shapes them. Their difficulties are also related to the absence of a true, individual "transcultural" voice encompassing the prior cultural experiences and the new ones, as well as the complex social identity shifts. This paper presents a study that examines one student's immigrant story in the light of identity and second-language learning and writing theories. The study shows that the process of second-language acquisition is a unique individual struggle intertwined with complex identity issues, coming into play in the ESL classroom. Teachers' awareness of these complex identity shifts and conflicts will open new avenues for the reexamination of teaching approaches, methods, curricula, and interactions with their students.
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Turkey