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Conference papers

Reflection and identity in transcultural and transnational writing research.

Abstract : The impact of globalization on higher education and student writing has been drawing attention from educators and writing researchers since the 1990s. There is now extensive literature on the power of face-to-face cross-cultural experience in developing the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of a ‘global’ outlook. It is largely agreed that students need face-to-face experiential learning with people different from themselves if they are to develop an awareness of a transcultural space. While in theory, it is possible for students to meet others from other national cultures, in truth however, many students today cannot afford the expense of learning about other cultures in-situ. The wide array of possibilities in online communication now available has particular relevance for meeting this challenge, most notably via social media and online visual communication tools. This presentation builds on and extends the multiple phases of a transcultural and transnational research project involving student writers from universities in the US and France. Because our research is situated at the crossroads of multiple disciplines and communities of research – rhetoric and composition (Eck 2008, Fox 1994, Lu & Horner, Reynolds 2004, Schell 2006), rhetorical genre analysis (Berkenkotter & Huckin 1995, Devitt 2004, Freedman & Medway 1994, Coe et al. 2003, Swales 2004), theories of writing and identity (Ivanič 1998), intercultural rhetoric (Connor 2011), L1/L2 writing pedagogy and English for Academic/Specific Purposes (Canagarajah 1996, Flowerdew 1999, Kachru 1997, Matsuda 2001, Wood 2001) – we believe that understanding how students develop an awareness of a ‘transcultural’ space, and in turn how this affects their writing, cannot be measured simply at the end of a semester-long cross-cultural exchange. Unfortunately, a clear measure of ‘success’ (i.e., one having an impact on student writing) in such a short amount of time is elusive. While the transcultural exchange itself clearly impacts students’ stance toward writing as well as how they think in the short term, the tangible effects on their writing are longer in coming. This presentation reviews what we have discovered thus far about the short-term impact of the transcultural exchange, and describes plans for and initial findings of a longitudinal study examining student collaboration around writing tasks. It views the changes in attitude toward writing and in writing outcomes over time (including changes in rhetorical awareness) as facilitated by online transcultural communication. Overall we aim to answer the question: ‘How does transcultural exchange, mediated by online communication tools, impact student writing and ways of being?’ The longitudinal study will track the writing development of a small group of students from each university (University of Michigan-Dearborn and the Université Blaise Pascal - Clermont-Ferrand, France) over a period of 3-4 years, spanning both undergraduate study and graduate study/entry into the workplace. In the longitudinal study students will carry out visually mediated peer review on joint assignments, group discussions, and multiple intercultural interviews about each other’s literacy experiences. A corpus of texts consisting of the students’ writing assignments over time as well as the audio-visual recordings of their trans-cultural exchanges will be analyzed. Preliminary results (Dressen-Hammouda 2010, Willard-Traub 2010, Willard-Traub & Dressen-Hammouda 2013) have shown that such exchanges are extremely helpful for second-language and multilingual writers. Pedagogical strategies mobilizing this concept help to increase both L1 and L2 students’ confidence by increasing their awareness that forging an effective relationship with a particular audience – for any writer – often involves articulating a relationship to the culture and language of the particular nation-state in which they find themselves. As a result, participants demonstrate a growing awareness of cultural voice, identity, and the constraints of writing for transnational audiences.
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Contributor : Dacia Dressen-Hammouda Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, March 9, 2015 - 5:40:44 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, December 8, 2021 - 11:40:02 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-01128482, version 1



Dacia Dressen-Hammouda, Willard-Traub Margaret. Reflection and identity in transcultural and transnational writing research.. Writing Research Across Borders III Conference, Feb 2014, Paris, France. ⟨hal-01128482⟩



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