Making sense

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Making sense ESOL students in mainstream writing workshops
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 2000.
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by Cindy Jane Naranjo.
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MAKING SENSE: ESOL STUDENTS IN MAINSTREAM WRITING WORKSHOPS









By

CINDY JANE NARANJO


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


























Copyright 2000

by

Cindy Jane Naranjo














ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


Several individuals made my graduate studies both possible and rewarding.


each of them I express my appreciation and gratitude.

First of all, I thank the members of my doctoral committee, particularly Clemens


Hallman and Robert R. Sherman. I thank Dr. Hallman for honoring my perspectives and

having faith that it would all come together. My deepest gratitude also goes to Dr.


Sherman for the guidance he provided in the process of revising this dissertation.


Even


after retiring, Dr. Sherman's willingness to provide critical comments and ask insightful


questions was instrumental in bringing clarity to this work.


I also thank Danling Fu for


her scholarship and insightful comments.


Dr. Fu's


insights about my work contributed to


my development as a scholar.


I sincerely appreciate the professional support Ben F.


Nelms provided throughout my doctoral studies.


His willingness to take me under his


wings as a graduate student allowed me to balance my love of both ESOL education and


English education.


I am also deeply grateful to Arthur Newman.


Simply put, I am a


better student for his being such an excellent teacher.

I extend my deepest appreciation also to my parents, Frank and Anita Pietro.


While my mother is no longer living, I continue to feel her presence and support.


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Thomas, Julie, and Cate.


dream.


Their presence in my life gave me the foundation to reach for a


I am truly grateful to my children, Matthew and Emily, for bringing perspective


to this process.


Although they may not remember my graduate school years, I will


remember how their unconditional love and warm hugs sustained me.


Finally, I am


eternally grateful to my husband, Andy, who supported my work in so many countless


ways.


His words of encouragement, our long discussions, and his companionship and


advice in the wee hours of the night as I plugged away at my dissertation will never be


forgotten.


I also appreciate his willingness to take over on the household chores, so that I


could bring closure to this process.

Lastly, I wish to thank the teachers and students who participated in this study.

They generously shared their time and ideas, without which this study would not have

been possible.















TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A CKN O W LEDGM EN TS ....................... ............................. ...................................... ....... iii

LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................................... v

A BSTRA CT... .... ......... ...................................................................................................... ix


CHAPTERS

I. BA CKGROUN D FOR THE STU DY ................. ................ ................ ..... ........ ...... ... .......1


W writing W workshop ...................... ............... ...............................................................4

Purpose of the Study ...... .. .... ........ ....... ..... .... ... .......................... ................... .. ....... .......... 7


Significance of te of the Study ..............
Overview of Chapters...................


Theoretical Assumptions Undergirding Social Constructivism..
Literacy Development from a Social Constructivist Perspective


.. .. .. a. .. a .. ** .*


Research Studies Examining Writing from a Socially-Oriented Perspective


Second Language Literacy Research: Role of First Language Literacy...............
School Adaptation Research on the Differential Academic Success of Minority


.......34


III. M ETHODOLOGY ....................................................................................................41


Introduction
Setting....


Partic.inantq


45


...............22


. m,,o m, 0 J o,, m .. .... .... .... .. .. ... .. .. ............................ 1 0o~mY
itW DI g 4 ,b O t l I6 O 6O~ t II 10 ,


II. REVIEW OF LITERATURE ........................................................................................12


Students ...... .............. ............


.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .... .. .. .. .. .. ... .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..











IV. BEGINNINGS: ATYPICAL ESOL STUDENTS' PROCESSES OF MAKING


SENSE.......... ............


......... .....61


Ms. Nunley
Mrs. Goode


Writing Workshop.
Writing Workshop


*CC***c** *CtCsceS **** C** S C**S CCS S ccSs C**5 CCC **C* C*C ***5 CcC**#5 Ces CCCS**5 SC...... .62


Status of the Class ......................................................................................................... 66
M ini Lessons..................... ........................................................................................CS*...71
Drafting .... ..... .................... ................. ..... ......................................... .... ....... ..................75
W riting Conferences ................................................................ ...... ................82
Parent Conferences ..............................................................................................82
Teacher Conferences .... .................................................................... .... ....... ..... ........ 86


Group Share ...

BEGINNINGS


S. ...TYPICAL ESOL STUDENTS' PROCESSES.. .. ... ... .. .. .. OF. .. MAKING... ... .. .. ..... .. 9 1
:. TYPICAL ESOL STUDENTS' PROCESSES OF MAKING


SENSE......


...................96


Status of the Class
Mini Lessons........
Drafting... .......
Writing Conferenc


*.C


.......................... ..... ...........C........................................................96


e s ......C. .S..... S .. .. .. .. .. .... .......... .*. ....e t..........................ee...m.


Family M ember Conferences...... .............................. ... ................................ ...........
Teacher Conferences ........................................................ ...... .... ..........................


Group Share....


VI. EVOLUTION: EXPERIENCES OF ATYPICAL ESOL STUDENTS AS THE YEAR
PROGRESSES ...... ........ ...... ....... ...... ...... ......................... ...... .... ...... ....... ...... ...... ..122
Status of the ClassF............................ ..................... ..................... ..... .. ......................... 122
M ini Lessons ...............................................................................................................124

W writing Conferences .......... .......................... ...... ....... ................ .................... ........... 129


Parent and Peer Conferences
Teacher Conferences............
G roup Share ...............................


* C Ce e e. .. C . .... ... .C ..... ... .... C c... t..... C te... .. ..
S*CC Se C C S.. ***e **.. ..*.*.. ..... .. .. ...t ....S ..CCoCB *CeCS.etC.C| SS C.....


VII. EVOLUTION: EXPERIENCES OF TYPICAL ESOL STUDENTS AS THE YEAR


PROGRESSES..


. ... C.s set...... c ... .. .4....... *. .0........ c .. etc eOg e....C. CC.C. ........ S. ...


Status of the Class
Ss *. T .-.












VIII. EVOLUTION: OTHER REGULATED WRITING TO SELF-REGULATION .... 168


Atypical ESOL Students...
Typical ESOL Students.....


ccc Oecee. S ...t.' C *S I. tSS.* c ... ... g...ee ses m. *9oCC** *c. C... *c* C)lt *t.c ge... sO.c
" "* t, ,1 mQO *** me* **c**ct t*C S 5C CC. *#t* Ie.Otee s... ** em*CC C O CC C SC *t* e... 5 *c**.. C


Literacy Development: The Vygotskian Perspective ..................................................

IX. EVOLUTION: THE SOCIAL NATURE OF WRITING FROM A BAKHTINIAN


PERSPECTIVE


...191


Atypical ESOL Students ................. ................................. ................. ............. .......
Typical ESOL Students..... ....................... ... ........................ .. ...... ................................


Literacy Development: The Bakhtinian Perspective


............. .... .. ........................*.. .210


CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS .......... ...... ..... ...................... ................. .........218


F in d in g s...............................................................................................................
The Process of M aking Sense........................................... .................. ..............
Transition from Other-Regulated to Self-Regulated Second Language Writing
The Function of W writing ..................................... ... ..... ..... ...................................


Implications for Instruction.................
Inclusive ESOL Education Trends .......


.'.. '.'.. ...........C .. C ..... .... ..... ......C... ... .. ........2,. .2 3 8


........2


REFEREN CES ...................................... .........................................................................241

BIO G RA PH ICA L SK ETCH .......................... ........................ ....................... ..................252














LIST OF TABLES


Table

page
1. Summary of ESOL Student Background . .. . ... ....... ...... ... .. ... .. ... ..... ........... ....47














Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy


MAKING SENSE:


ESOL STUDENTS IN MAINSTREAM WRITING WORKSHOPS


By

Cindy Jane Naranjo


December 2000


Chairman: Clemens L. Hallman
Major Department: School of Teaching and Learning

This ethnographic study examines the effectiveness of the writing workshop model

as an instructional tool for promoting writing competency and community membership for


both typical and atypical ESOL students.


Typical ESOL students live in poverty and


largely are dependent on the school for developing second language literacy skills.


Atypical


ESOL students, on the other hand, come from middle-class homes and are not exclusively


dependent on the school for developing second language literacy skills.


The purpose of this


study is to document the experiences of typical and atypical ESOL students in mainstream

writing workshops in order to identify factors that influence the process of learning to write

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To investigate the experiences of ESOL students in mainstream writing workshops,


ethnographic techniques are used:

and writing sample analyses. The


constructivism.


participant observation, formal and informal interviews,


theoretical orientation framing this study is social


In particular, a social constructivist perspective is utilized to analyze the


writing development of ESOL students as they interact with their peers and teachers.

The findings of this study indicate that the process of learning to write in a second


language is different for typical and atypical ESOL students.


Atypical ESOL students


rely on extensive mediational support from their parents in the process of learning to

write in a second language, while typical ESOL students rely on mediational support from


their teachers and peers.


The findings of this study also suggest that the function of


writing changes in the lives of the ESOL students as they begin to use the written word to


negotiate membership in the "unofficial" peer world of their writing workshops.


Thus,


the process of learning to write in a second language involves more than encoding words


on the page;


it also involves figuring out the kinds of social work that can be


accomplished with the manipulation of the written word.


For ESOL students, it also


involves learning about norms and expectations of the target culture and language.














CHAPTER


BACKGROUND FOR THE STUDY

This is an ethnographic study of what it means to be an ESOL student in a sixth-


grade mainstream writing workshop.


The primary participants include six ESOL students


from typical and atypical backgrounds based on the national population of ESOL students


in the United States.


The typical ESOL student in the United States lives in poverty and


largely is dependent on the school for developing second language literacy skills.

According to the Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs (1998),

75% of all limited English proficient students in the United States attend high poverty


schools.


Parents of typical ESOL students generally have limited English skills and


limited educational experiences beyond high school.


Atypical ESOL students, on the


other hand, come from middle to upper-middle-class homes where one or both parents


have college degrees and well developed English language skills.


Atypical ESOL


students also tend to have more opportunities for developing first language literacy skills


than do typical ESOL students.


Moreover, atypical ESOL students are not exclusively


dependent on the school for developing second language literacy skills.

The purpose of this study is to examine the process-oriented writing experiences

of both typical and atypical ESOL students in mainstream writing workshops in order to









greater academic failure (Platt, 1996).


Three questions guide data collection throughout


the study:

1. How are the experiences of typical and atypical ESOL students different in a
mainstream writing workshop?


2. How do ESOL students use the stages of process writing, in a mainstream
writing workshop, to develop language and literacy skills?


3. How do ESOL students use the stages of process writing, in a mainstream
writing workshop, to become members of the writing workshop community?

This study is framed in the context of a national trend occurring in the United


States with respect to the education of second language learners.


In many schools


throughout the United States, the number of limited English proficient


(LEP) students


being mainstreamed into "inclusive" classrooms before fully developing English

proficiency is increasing, as more districts adopt inclusion models to educate language


minority students (Harklau, 1994).


Inclusion refers to "the provision of instruction within


the conventional/mainstream classroom to students with special needs and/or talents"


(FDOE, p. 1, 1995).


Although "inclusion" historically is associated with special


education students, it quickly is becoming associated with language minority students as


well.


In an inclusion model, for example, LEP students are instructed in mainstream


classrooms alongside their monolingual peers, rather than in self-contained ESOL

classrooms or self-contained bilingual education classrooms.

Most research on language learning for ESOL students focuses on these students


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few studies that do focus on ESOL students in inclusive environments reveal that ESOL

students in mainstream classrooms often are marginalized and isolated (Fu, 1995;


Harklau, 1994;


Platt, 1996).


Moreover, research with respect to ESOL students in


mainstream settings generally reveals that ESOL students often are not given the support

they need to become members of the class in a mainstream setting or the support they

need to achieve to their potential.

The trend towards inclusion can be seen in California where voters in the state

with the largest student ESOL population in the country enacted Proposition 227 in 1998,


which eliminates all forms of bilingual education and ESOL instruction.


Instead of


offering a host of instructional programs for limited English proficient students,

California schools are required to enroll all children with native languages other than


English in a mandated one-year English immersion program.


At the end of the year,


students are placed in mainstream classrooms, regardless of their English proficiency, and

with no assistance for those who are not yet fluent in English.


The nationwide trend towards inclusion is seen also in the state of Florida.


After


administering a survey to Florida school district ESOL coordinators, Harper and Platt

(1999) find that the most prevalent instructional model for LEP students in the state of


Florida is an inclusion model at both the elementary and secondary levels.


The Florida


Department of Education draws a sharp distinction between "inclusion" and

"immersion," the latter being the instructional practice of placing LEP students in








dynamically a part of the class as any student that is perceived as routinely
belonging to that class. Inclusion may not lead to oblivion: a student may not be
included and then neglected, but included and supported, included and integrated.
(p. 2)

Since a 1990 lawsuit filed on behalf of language minority students against the Florida

Department of Education resulted in a Consent Decree, Florida is under a federal court


order to meet the requirements of this Consent Decree.


These requirements include


training teachers to adapt content area instruction for LEP students to make the

curriculum comprehensible.

In order to meet the requirements of the Florida Consent Decree, a massive staff

development effort is ongoing in the state, giving teachers varying amounts of training in


ESOL strategies (Platt, 1996).


It is assumed erroneously in many cases, however, that


mainstream teachers in the state of Florida are using ESOL strategies with LEP students


and are making their courses comprehensible (Harper, 1995).


It also is assumed that


students are learning English through course content in the inclusive mainstream setting.

One method that is advocated by some researchers for learning English in the inclusive

mainstream setting is the writing workshop.

Writing Workshop


As a result of a shift in writing pedagogy from a product-centered focus to a

process-oriented emphasis (Hillocks, 1986), writing workshops became tremendously


influential in the 1980s, particularly at the elementary and middle school level.


While the


writing workshon model at the elementary school level largelv is defined by Graves








is defined by the work of Atwell (1987).


Atwell describes seven principles that guide


teaching within a writing workshop model at the middle school level:


Writers need regular chunks of time--time to think, write, confer, read,


change their minds, and write some more.


Writers need time they can


count on, so even when they aren't writing, they're anticipating the time


they will be.


Writers need time to write well.


Writers need their own topics.


Right from the first day of kindergarten


students should use writing as a way to think about and give shape to their
own ideas and concerns.


Writers need response.


composing.


Helpful response comes during--not after--the


It comes from the writer's peers and from the teacher, who


consistently models the kinds of restatements and questions that help
writers reflect on the content of their writing.

4. Writers learn mechanics in context, from teachers who address errors as
they occur within individual pieces of writing, where these rules and forms
will have meaning.


Children need to know adults who write.


We need to write, share our


writing with our students, and demonstrate what experienced writers do in
the process of composing, letting our students see our own drafts in all
their messiness and tentativeness.


Writers need to read.


They need access to a wide-ranging variety of


texts, prose and poetry, fiction and non-fiction.

7. Writing teachers need to take responsibility for their knowledge and


teaching.


We must seek out professional resources that reflect the far-


reaching conclusions of recent research into children's writing.


And we


must become writers and researchers, observing and learning from our
own and our students' writing. (pp. 17-18)

While one writing workshop does not necessarily look like another, there is a


common thread that runs throughout most writing workshops (Hydrick, 1996). The








work their way through the writing process.


In other words, instead of merely receiving a


final grade on a final draft, students receive feedback throughout the composing process

from both peers and the teacher.


Statement of the Problem


The writing workshop model is an effective instructional vehicle for promoting

community membership and writing competency with white, middle-class students and


other more diverse student populations.


Cummins (1986a) sees potential in the writing


workshop for promoting community membership and writing competency for ESOL

students as well. According to Cummins, the writing workshop model potentially is

empowering because it "encourages students to assume greater control over setting their

own learning goals and to collaborate with each other in achieving these goals" (p.28).


However, there is a paucity of research investigating Cummins'


of the writing workshop model with ESOL students.


claim about the potential


A few researchers examine the


experiences of atypical ESOL students in mainstream writing workshops and find that the

writing workshop model is an effective instructional vehicle for promoting community

membership and writing competency for atypical ESOL students (Townsend & Fu, 1998).

The experiences of typical ESOL students in mainstream writing workshops receive little


attention, though they make up 75% of the ESOL population.


The few researchers who


examine the experiences of typical ESOL students in any kind of inclusive, mainstream

setting find that typical ESOL students often experience academic failure and social









why are the experiences of typical and atypical ESOL students different in a mainstream


writing workshop?


What factors influence their experiences?


What factors impede or


facilitate the process of making sense or the process of learning a second language?


important to determine whether mainstream writing workshops are effective for both

typical and atypical ESOL students given the growing number of ESOL students in the

United States and the disproportionate number of them who experience academic failure.

This study examines whether the mainstream writing workshop model is an

effective instructional tool for promoting community membership and writing


competency for both typical and atypical ESOL students.


This study also addresses the


gap between actual classroom practices and the findings of research about the experiences

of ESOL students in mainstream classrooms by focusing explicitly on their experiences in


mainstream writing workshops in one Florida public school.


In addition to examining the


effectiveness of a writing workshop model for ESOL students, this study also sheds light

on what the process looks like for ESOL students.

Purpose of the Study


The purpose of this study is to document the experiences of typical and atypical


ESOL students in mainstream writing workshops.


My goals are to identify factors that


influence the process of making sense, or the process of learning a second language, to

discover patterns that help explain the nature of the process, and to discuss those patterns


in the context of the lives of the typical and atypical ESOL students.


From my initial








1. Why is the process of making sense different for typical and atypical ESOL


students?


What cultural meaning do ESOL students, both typical and atypical, give to


their experiences in a mainstream writing workshop?

After further data analysis, I added more questions:


How does the function of writing change over time for typical and


atypical ESOL students?


How do ESOL students use the process of writing to construct social worlds?

What factors influence how typical and atypical ESOL students use the process


of writing to construct social worlds?


In addition to examining the process-oriented writing experiences of typical and

atypical ESOL students, the purpose of this study also is to examine how ESOL students

construct meaning in mainstream writing workshop settings using the lense of social


constructivism.


One of the primary assumptions undergirding social constructivism is the


belief that humans do not simply "find" knowledge, but construct it in interaction with


others.


Social constructivism is an applicable theory for understanding how ESOL


students construct meaning given that learning to become a member of a community and

developing English proficiency skills are processes that involve other persons and other


things.


This study serves as a further application of the theory by examining how ESOL


students negotiate meaning in mainstream writing workshops.


This application of social








Significance of the Study


Early writing workshop research is conducted predominantly in white, rural

settings, where it is found to be an effective instructional vehicle for promoting


community membership and competency in writing.


More recently, researchers examine


the impact of writing workshops in urban settings (Wentworth, 1990) and the impact of


writing workshops on remedial or "at-risk" students (Allen, 1995;


Beal, 1996;


Dudley,


1989;


McDermott, 1994;


Morris, 1991;


Swoger, 1989).


These more recent studies


generally find that writing workshops can be implemented successfully in a variety of


contexts with a variety of students.


While a number of researchers recently examine the


impact of writing workshops in more diverse settings, little systematic research is

conducted on writing workshops for students who speak English as a second language.

Given that many ESOL students with limited, yet developing, English proficiency find

themselves in mainstream classes where they often experience isolation and academic


failure (Fu, 1995;


Harklau, 1994;


Platt, 1996), it is important to examine their


experiences, particularly in a writing workshop setting that many have theorized to be


promising for culturally and linguistically diverse students (Cummins, 1986a;


Giroux,


1987).


One important aspect of this study is the comparative analysis of the experiences


of the typical and atypical ESOL students in a mainstream writing workshop.


There is a


substantial body of research that supports the effectiveness of the writing workshop








workshops, we may be better able to address further the academic needs and


appropriateness of writing workshops for ESOL students.


Furthermore, a comparative


analysis of both typical and atypical ESOL students may shed light on how and why their


experiences and performance may differ.


An understanding of their similarities and


differences provides knowledge about how mainstream writing workshops might be

conducted in order to cultivate success for both typical and atypical ESOL students.



Overview of Chapters


In Chapter II,


review the early and the current literature on the writing workshop


approach and the research that relates social constructivism to the writing experiences of


monolingual students and second language learners.


I also review the research that


focuses on second language literacy and school adaptation studies that focus on the


differential academic achievement of minority and immigrant students.


argue that a


comparative analysis of the lived experiences of typical and atypical ESOL students in

mainstream, middle school writing workshops is neglected in the research related to


process writing.


In Chapter III, I explain the methodology used to gather and analyze the


data.


In Chapters IV through IX, I present, analyze, and discuss my findings.


More


specifically, I document how typical and atypical ESOL students make sense of


mainstream writing workshops.


By documenting how the ESOL students make sense of


process writing, I show that the process is different for the typical and atypical ESOL





11

factors influence the process of making sense for the typical and atypical ESOL students.

I argue that the effectiveness of writing workshops is not generically found in the model

itself, but instead in a host of factors that influence its effectiveness.














CHAPTER II
REVIEW OF LITERATURE


In the literature review that follows, I first discuss social constructivist theory and


its underlying premises.


Social constructivism later is used as a perspective to critique


the other studies included in the review, and it is also used to analyze and interpret the


data in later chapters.


Following the section on social constructivism, I discuss studies


focusing on the writing workshop model, followed by a review of second language

literacy studies, and a review of school adaptation studies that focus on the differential

academic achievement of minority and immigrant students.

Theoretical Assumptions Undergirding Social Constructivism


The theoretical orientation framing this study is social constructivism.


The roots


of social constructivism can be found in the work of Vygotsky (1978), extended by the

work of researchers such as Bruner (1986), Rogoff(1990), and Wertsch (1985, 1991).

Before discussing the primary assumptions undergirding social constructivism, it should


be pointed out that different perspectives about constructivism exist.


(1995),

(p.459).


According to Ernest


"there are almost as many varieties of constructivism as there are researchers"

While many perspectives about constuctivism exist, this study is framed by a


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[M]ost learning in most settings is a communal activity, a sharing of the culture.
It is not just that the child must make his knowledge his own, but that he must
make it his own in a community of those who share his sense of belonging to a
culture. (p. 127)

While different positions about constructivism exist, the various forms of


constructivism are bound together by von Glaserfeld'


(1989) first principle of


constructivism.


According to von Glaserfeld,


"knowledge is not passively received but


actively built up by the cognizing subject" (p. 182).


Such a perspective of knowledge


construction recognizes that knowing is active, that it is individual and personal, and that


it is based on previously constructed knowledge.


and static.


In other words, knowledge is not fixed


It is not a set of facts or concepts waiting to be discovered, nor is it something


that exists independent of the human mind.


Rather than being seen as a passive activity


where knowledge is transmitted from one person to another, knowledge construction is


seen as a participatory activity.


It is constructed by individuals as they attempt to bring


meaning to their experiences (Zahorik, 1995).

Grounded in von Glaserfeld's first principle of constructivism is what Spivey


(1995) refers to as the metaphor of construction.

of structures from preexisting pieces. More spe


The metaphor is about the building up


:ifically, the metaphor describes


understanding as the building of mental structures. Understanding is not built up from

received pieces of knowledge in a linear fashion. Instead, the process is recursive, and


the building blocks of understanding are the product of previous acts of construction.

"The distinction between the stnictnre and content of understanding can onlv he relative








While social constructivists recognize the construction of knowledge by

individuals, they emphasize that knowledge construction always occurs within specific

contexts, primarily as a result of social interaction. That is, individuals construct


knowledge, but it is socially and culturally mediated.


In other words, the learner's


construction of knowledge takes place through social interactions and with the help of


mediation.


Therefore, social constructivists regard individuals and the realm of the social


as interconnected (Ernest, 1995).


Human beings are formed through their interactions


with each other, as well as their individual processes.


Ernest (1995) explains that an


underlying metaphor for social constructivism, with respect to the mind, is that of persons


in conversation: "Persons in meaningful linguistic and extralinguistic interaction and

dialogue" (p. 199). Within the social constructivist model, there is no metaphor for the


wholly isolated individual mind.


Instead, the mind is viewed in a broader context where


meaning is socially constructed.

The concept of mediation is important in a social constructivist model of


knowledge construction.


Vygotsky broke new ground when he emphasized the social


context in which learning takes place and when he cited the concept of mediation as a key


element in this process.


From a Vygotskian perspective, mediation refers to "the part


played by other significant people in the learners' lives, who enhance their learning by

selecting and shaping the learning experiences presented to them" (Williams & Burden,


1997, p. 40).


This significant person, whether parent, teacher, or peer is the mediator of








words, the role of the one with the most knowledge is to mediate.


Mediation, however, is


not a one-way process where adults or more knowledgeable peers play a dominant role.

Mediation is an interactive process with learners contributing to the mediation process.

Bornstein and Bruner (1989) point out that within the social context of the family, for

example, the actions of children affect those of the parents as well as the other way


around.


Hence, once again, mediation is an interactive process rather than a


unidirectional process.


From a Vygotskian perspective, mediation also refers to the use of tools.


Tools in


this sense refer to anything that is used to help solve a problem or achieve a goal. One of


the most important tools in the mediational process is language.


In fact, scholars from a


social constructivist perspective see language as fundamental to thinking, problem-


solving, and learning (Barnes, 1994;


Wertsch, 1985).


Language provides the tools that


learners need to think and the tools that more knowledgeable members of a community


use to help explain the world to the learner.


The "persons in conversation" metaphor


discussed earlier also reflects the importance ascribed to language in a social


constructivist model of knowledge construction.


Language is regarded as the shaper of


the human mind as well as the summative product of the human mind.

and learning also take place directly through the medium of language.


Much instruction

Even manipulative


or hands-on learning takes place in a social context of meaning and is mediated by


language and its socially negotiated understandings.


Raphael and Hiebert (1996) point








interactions.


Language is the primary means through which such learning occurs.


(p. l1)

The interconnected nature of individuals and the realm of the social is embedded


in the learning process as discussed by social constructivists.

perspective, learning occurs twice for every child: "First, on


the individual level;


From a social constructivist


the social level and later, on


first, between people (interpsychological), and then inside the child


(intrapsychological)" (Vygotsky, 1978, p.57).


Drawing on the theoretical insights of


Vygotsky, Raphael & Hiebert (1997) expound on this idea.

What is learned occurs first in the public domain where it is used in social ways
by one or more knowledgeable members of the culture and made visible to the


learners.


It is only after social interactions within a public domain that individuals


adopt and adapt what they have observed and begin to use privately what they
have learned. This process of moving from the publicly shared use of strategies,
concepts, and ways of thinking to private individual use is called internalization.
(p. 15)

The process of internalization captures the interrelated nature of the social and


individual dimensions of learning reflected in social constructivism.


However, in order


for this refining process with a more capable person to be effective for the child,


Vygotsky contends that "intersubjectivity" must be established.


That is, the two parties


must be in tune with each other, and they must share a common purpose. Put more

simply, each party must know what the other is trying to do (Rogoff, 1990). When this


harmony between teacher and students, parent and child, or between students occurs, both

parties are able to recognize, examine, negotiate, or mutually adopt each other's

perspectives.









of actual development refers to the child's level of performance while working alone and


unassisted in a problem-solving situation.


For Vygotsky, the level at which a child can


function when interacting with a teacher or a more capable peer goes beyond the level of


actual development.


Vygotsky uses the term "potential development" to describe this


enhanced level of performance (Jones & Thorton, 1993).


Vygotsky introduces the zone


of proximal development when relating actual and potential development.


Vygotsky


(1978) contends that a child's zone of proximal development is "the distance between the

actual development level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of

potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in


collaboration with more capable peers" (p. 86).


The lower boundary of the zone of


proximal development is the actual level of development, while the upper boundary


represents potential development. Platt (1996) illustrates Vygotsky'


zone of proximal


development with the following example.

A small circle can be drawn to represent a learner's zone of actual development
(ZAD) with respect to a particular task, such as reading a sentence or two from a


story where the learner knows all but one or two words.


s/he can do on his or her own.


Thus, the ZAD is what


However, given the task of reading two or three


paragraphs from the story with 12-15 unfamiliar words might be too difficult for


the learner to accomplish independently.


The area between the smaller circle and


the circumference of a larger circle drawn around the smaller one represents the


That is what the learner can do with assistance:


zone of proximal development.


teacher, parent, or tutor seated alongside listening to the reading, for example. (pp.
8-9)

The zone of proximal development focuses on those intellectual capabilities that have not


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Building on Vygotsky's work,


Wertsch (1979) describes four levels of transition


when moving from the social dimension to the individual dimension of learning.


stated earlier,


Vygotsky observed that the locus of control with respect to a novel task


begins outside the learner with the task being mediated or regulated by another person.

When the learner internalizes the knowledge to perform the same or analogous task, the


learner is said to be self-regulated.


According to Wertsch (1979), the transition from


other-regulated to self-regulated, or from the social dimension of learning to the

individual dimension of learning, involves four levels summarized by Platt (1996).

At the earliest level, the more proficient person and the learner do not share the


same communicative context. The task sit
learner in such a way as he can participate;


uation has not been defined for the
she is not yet on "the right page."


the second level, the learner just begins to make connections between what the
teacher says and what he is to do, needing explicit directives to make those


connections.


At the third level, the learner is able to follow the teacher, and starts


taking over "strategic responsibility" for the task.


At the fourth level, the learner


takes complete control of the task, this regulation being demonstrated by the


At the early stage the


learner's talk to himself as he works through the task.


learner may say almost nothing, while at the fourth stage, he takes over the talk, as
well as the activity. (p. 9)

From a Vygotskian perspective, it should be noted that learners, regardless of age, move

back and forth across the developmental stages when faced with extremely difficult tasks,

particularly when the tasks involve unfamiliar domains.

The premises of social constructivism outlined in the above discussion are used in

this study to examine the experiences of ESOL students as they learn to write in a second


language.


In addition to examining the nature of the mediational role others play in the








Literacy Development from a Social Constructivist Perspective


Literacy development from a social constructivist perspective, like the process of

learning, also is grounded in the work of Vygotsky and is extended by several Vygotskian


inspired scholars.


Written language is characterized as a "higher psychological process,"


a term coined by Vygotsky (1978) to distinguish what is learned through social mediation


from biological processes that develop without social mediation. Literacy, like all other

higher psychological processes, originates in social interaction. That is, the development


of written language is facilitated through interactions with more knowledgeable members

of the social and cultural communities found inside and outside the classroom (Raphael &


Hiebert, 1996).


Children become literate members of the community in the context of


relationships (Daiute, 1993).


They learn about written language, its form, purposes and


processes, while interacting with others in the context of a literacy activity.


Therefore,


literacy, from a social constructivist perspective, is "an inherently social enterprise,


engaging readers and writers in ongoing collaboration with others....


121).


"(Daiute, 1993, p


Vygotsky illuminates the important role that social activity plays in the


development of writing when he suggests that writing should be taught as a "complex


cultural activity."


Children acquire knowledge of the written system as they "assume


varied social roles and engage in valued cultural activities"


(Dyson, 1993a, p. 80).


Thus,


the acquisition of linguistic knowledge and social knowledge is inextricably linked.

From a social constructivist perspective, literacy development also involves more








mediated action.


That is, the basic unit of analysis is the individual engaged in the use of


the mediational system in a particular situation (Dyson, 1993a).


Literacy researchers


operating from a social orientation examine the development of written language in the


context of children's social lives as they interact with peers, parents, and teachers.


They


examine written language as a mode of social discourse and human development, not just

as a distinct cognitive skill (Daiute, 1993).


Literacy is [seen as] an activity, a way of thinking.... And it is a purposeful
activity people read, write, talk, and think about real ideas and information in
order to ponder and extend what they know, to communicate with others, to
present their point of view, and to understand and be understood. (Langer, 1987
p. 4)

When literacy is seen as a dynamic process shaped by social context, and is

understandable only in relation to the context, the focus of literacy is on the whole

activity, not isolated parts or a hierarchy of skills based on units of written language.

Moll (1990) rejects the idea of the zone as teaching and assessing "discrete, separable


skills and subskills" (p.7).

(Daiute, 1993, p. 122). CI


Literacy is a set of "social functions, practices, and forms"


children understand the numerous features and aspects of written


language as they occur in meaningful contexts of interaction.


This shift in perspective


involves redefining our notions of what it means to be literate and what counts as basic


skills.


From this perspective,


"social discourse is a basic skill" (Daiute, 1993, p. 122).


Bakhtin (1981, 1986), a philosopher interested in language and literacy, extends

the discussion about the social nature of writing when he discusses the "dialogic" nature








power and status vis-a-vis others, (b) the purposes that have brought them together, (c)

the topic of their discourse, and (d) the history of other conversations, other dialogues,


they have had" (p.10).


relationships.


Thus, oral and written texts are situated within a web of human


When people speak or write, they position themselves, they respond to


others, and they anticipate a response from others.


Each text, then, is a "dialogic"


reaching out in a world that reverberates with voices "talking to, past, and over each

other" (Dyson, 1993a, p.10).

If texts are embedded in social dialogues, learning to write involves learning to


participate in diverse social dialogues.


Dyson (1993a) points out that the classroom is a


complex place where multiple social worlds intersect and coexist.


There is the official


school world where children are "students," the peer world where children are

coworkerss" and even friends, and the world of the home community that reforms itself


in the classroom.


Within the different social arenas of the classroom, diverse social


dialogues are constructed.


Although there are no clear lines of demarcation between the


different social worlds of the classroom, each social arena requires "particular kinds of

social work and values] particular kinds of ways with words" (Dyson, 1993a, p. 2). Pt

another way, each of the social worlds found in the classroom is a language world


suspended inside the larger language world of American English (Dyson, 1993a).


national language such as English is composed of "a multitude of concrete worlds"


(Bakhtin, 1981, p.288).


Each of these worlds embraces its own social and linguistic






22

child is operating in, and in school there are multiple such worlds potentially operating at

any given moment, each with its own values.

Research Studies Examining Writing from a Socially-Oriented Perspective


Some researchers examine social constructivism as it relates to the writing


experiences of children (Dyson, 1989,1993a & b;


Dauite, 1993).


More specifically,


some researchers examine how writing develops in the course of children's lives as they


interact with others.


Dyson (1993b) examines the development of literacy as a cultural


and semiotic tool by exploring the literacy development of young children in a


kindergarten classroom.


Dyson examines how writing functions and develops in the


child's social world and the situated nature of that development.


After examining the


writing experiences of Anthony, Dyson (1993b) finds:

Anthony's capacity as an individual to gain control over the written system in
particular activities is inextricably linked to his participation in a social world in


which such activity is important.


To learn a mediational tool, including talk or


writing, children need other people who not only model and guide the appropriate
processes but also respond to their efforts (their spoken words, written texts,


drawings and paintings) in situationally and culturally appropriate ways.


(p. 29)


In another study, Dyson (1989) observes the changing role of writing in the lives


of eight primary school children while they participate in a daily composing period.


gain insight into child writing as mediated action, Dyson attends to the children's entire


symbolic repertoires.


She attends to early scribbles and marks on the page, but she also


attends to the children's talk, their drawings, and their play in the context of their early


writino pvnpnpnrec


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as literacy begins to mediate more of the social and intellectual work carried earlier by

other media.

Dyson's longitudinal study identifies the challenges these children face in

accomplishing through story writing what they earlier had done through drawing and


talking.


Dyson concludes that the precise nature of the challenges depends in part on the


children's particular artistic styles.


Some children who enact dramatic adventures while


drawing and narrating a story, for example, are unable to capture their dramatic actions

and voice in the written text as the "accumulated actions piled on [their] drawings did not


easily spread out in written words" (p.31).


Gradually overtime, however, all of the


children begin to assume greater control over the kind of information they include in their


drawings and in their written texts.


Written stories begin to contain more narrative


actions, while pictures become illustrations of main ideas.

One major developmental change observed by Dyson is from the "young


children'


use of writing as a kind of prop, an interesting object to be used in various


kinds of social and often playful activities, to the deliberate manipulation of written


language as a mediator through which social activity occurs" (p. 28).


Not only do friends


become characters in the children's written story, but the children also include certain


words and actions in their stories in order to amuse and tease their friends.


In essence,


words become mediational tools in the sense that they serve multiple functions within the


social lives of the children.


Dyson concludes that the developmental roots of the






24

Daiute et al. (1993) also examine social constructivism as it relates to the writing


experiences of young children.


More specifically, they examine the role that social


interaction plays in the development of literacy among 16 third and fourth-grade


students.


In order to examine the role of social interaction in literacy development, the


researchers contrast teacher-student collaborating efforts with peer collaborating efforts


with respect to writing.


Daiute et al. find that during teacher-student collaborating


efforts, the teacher tends to be goal-directed as she engages her students in thinking about

the text from a structural point of view.

She kept up the pressure to move on to the next aspect of the task--the next part of
the narrative--and she focused on strategic aspects of composing such as taking
the reader's point of view, writing catchy opening sentences, including vivid
descriptions, and composing before revising. (p. 61)

During peer collaborating efforts, on the other hand, children draw on emotional


and social resources to make sense of a writing task.


The children tend to build their


composing strategies on social interactions like "playful banter, debating, and role


playing" (p. 61).


The researchers also observe a general penchant among the children to


use collaborative discourse to link the text to their personal lives in order to make sense


of the activity.


The researchers conclude that the teacher, with her expert literacy


knowledge, is helpful to some children.


However, the nature of the interaction around


literacy is more important than the absolute expertise of any partner.


While experts can


instruct children on culturally privileged features of literacy, children also must have

opportunities to integrate these features into their own diverse. spontaneous oral and





25

Daiute and Griffin (1993) explore the social construction of written narratives in a


third-grade classroom.


They focus specifically on how students use written narratives to


construct and interpret academic material while interacting with others.


When children


work with peers, their talk around narrative constructions tends to be highly social and


effectively charged.


In the social context of peer interaction, children interactively


explore meanings and make sense of academic material by using evaluation devices in

their writing (i.e., exclamation points, capital letters, and enlarged print size as markers of


intensification).


When children work with the teacher, evaluation devices are used less


frequently, and their talk around narrative constructions tends to be cognitive in nature,

focusing on narrative categories and literacy topics rather than personal meanings.

While the structural and personal approaches to narrative tend to be relegated to
different collaborative composition situations, we find that a balance of the two is
most helpful to children who want eventually to be able to use multiple forms of
narrative in and out of school. (p. 119)


Daiute and Griffin conclude that evaluation and empathy are powerful mediators of

thought and action for children who do not readily use explicit metacognitive skills.

Allowing children to take personal, evaluative stances in their narrative writing about

academic material, as they are more likely to do with their peers, encourages children to

work with a wide range of academic material.

Researchers adopting the premises of social constructivism are responsible for

expanding literacy theory in recent years by considering factors typically overlooked in


writing research.


These researchers consider social and affective factors in student








contributes to understanding how literacy develops in the lives of children.


Moreover,


these studies demonstrate the potential power of classroom interactions for supporting


literacy development.


Much of the research that relates social constructivsm to student


writing, however, focuses on young, monolingual children in the early stages of literacy


development.


Little research examines the writing development of ESOL students using


the lense of social constructivism, particularly at the secondary level.


Given the growing


number of ESOL students in the United States learning to write in a second language, my

study attempts to extend social constructivist literacy theory by examining the writing


development of ESOL students in mainstream writing workshops.


An examination of the


writing experiences of ESOL students from a social constructivist perspective allows one

to explore further possible relationships between monolingual students and second

language learners with respect to writing.


Writing Workshop Research


During the 1980s, the writing workshop model began to be tremendously

influential with respect to composition instruction, particularly at the elementary and


middle school level.


Atwell (1987), Calkins (1986), and Graves (1983) provide powerful


models for implementing a writing workshop with native English speaking students.


Their work reveals that children of all


can produce creative and interesting texts in a


workshop setting when


writing is treated as a nal


tural. onen-ended activity: when it is sunnorted by a








In the course of documenting how writing workshops unfold in her own eighth-grade


classroom, Atwell (1987) also shares results from the state of Maine's


first annual


assessment of the educational progress of all eighth graders.

[The] eighth graders in this small school isolated at the end of the Boothbay
peninsula, achieved Maine's second highest scores in writing....Results were
reported as percentiles, and fully a fifth of Boothbay's eighth graders scored at the
ninety-ninth percentile...Almost half of [the] students scored above the ninetieth


percentile;


their mean score was at the eighty-seventh percentile.


And the results


included all eighth graders--special education, Chapter I, everyone. (p. 259)

Other researchers also find that writing workshops have a positive influence on student


writing.


Atkinson (1993), for instance, conducts a meta-analysis of recent research in the


teaching of writing.


Of the three instructional strategies meta-analyzed--writing


workshop, computer applications, and the teaching of inquiry skills--Atkinson finds


workshop approaches to be the most effective.


Other researchers who examine the


impact of writing workshops in more diverse settings also find generally that writing


workshops can be implemented successfully in a variety of contexts.


For instance,


Wentworth (1990) finds that a writing workshop can be implemented successfully in an

urban setting, while other researchers find that writing workshops can be implemented


successfully with remedial or "at-risk" students (Allen, 1995;


Beal, 1996;


Dudley, 1989;


McDermott, 1994;


Morris, 1991;


Swoger, 1989).


However, all of these studies, whether


about middle-class, mainstream students or more diverse student populations, focus

exclusively on writing competency, rather than on the social nature of writing or on what


it means to be a student in a writino workshnn


Fllrthermrnr nnne nf th etnriic fnrnc rn






28

While some of the initial groundbreaking research on writing workshops is

conducted predominantly in white, rural settings, and while a number of researchers

recently examine the impact of writing workshops in more diverse settings, little research

has been conducted with respect to writing workshops for students who speak English as


a second language.


One strand of the limited research in this area focuses on the teacher


and the challenges of implementing writing workshop with second language learners, but


not on the lived experiences of ESOL students themselves.


Using survey data, Peyton et


al. (1994) describe how some ESOL teachers find that they are constrained particularly by

limited time, space, and resources when implementing writing workshops in pull-out,


self-contained ESOL classes at the elementary and middle-school level.


In the classroom,


these ESOL teachers report "struggling with the dynamics of student writing fluency,


conferencing and sharing, revising and preoccupations with correctness" (p. 469).


(1996) and Samway (1992), moreover, describe how writing workshops can be structured

to accommodate the unique needs of students learning to read and write in a second


language in self-contained ESOL classrooms.


The research to date makes a valuable


contribution to our understanding of the constraints faced by teachers when working with

ESOL students in a writing workshop setting and how it is possible to meet the needs of


students in self-contained ESOL writing workshop classrooms.


However, it does not


shed light on what it means to be an ESOL student in a writing workshop, nor does it

shed light on the nature of the process for ESOL students, particularly in a mainstream






29

Another strand of research looking into the writing workshop approach and ESOL

students focuses on the experiences of atypical ESOL students who have the opportunity

to develop first language literacy skills while learning English, or ESOL students who are


proficient readers and writers in their first language before learning English.


Townsend


and Fu (1998), for instance, conduct a case study using a second grade Chinese boy,

Xiaodi, who, like many ESOL students, arrives in this country with no English language


skills.


However, unlike many ESOL students, Xiaodi has the opportunity to develop


literacy skills in Chinese while learning English.


Townsend and Fu find that after one


year in a mainstream reading and writing workshop, Xiaodi emerges "from being a quiet,

shy second-grader who spoke little English to a popular classroom member,

demonstrating Chinese writing to fascinated American students, drawing illustrations for


eager classmates, and mentoring other, newer Chinese students" (p. 193).


Townsend and


Fu conclude that a process-oriented writing workshop benefits not only mainstream,

middle-class students, but students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

as well.

Chiang (1992) also finds that a process-oriented writing workshop cultivates

community membership and writing competency for culturally and linguistically diverse

students, after examining the writing experiences of 16 ESL students in a self-contained


writing workshop at the college level.


These students are not only proficient readers and


writers in their first languages, but they also have advanced language skills in English and








members in a writing workshop setting.


However, given that the greater number of


ESOL students experiencing academic failure in the United States are students without

the opportunity to develop first language literacy skills and students without many of the

advantages that the ESOL students in the above mentioned studies had, it also is


important to investigate the experiences of the these ESOL students.


A comparative


analysis of the experiences of typical and atypical ESOL students in a mainstream writing


workshop setting is a neglected, yet important, area of research.


A comparative analysis


should shed light on the similarities and differences in the experiences of these ESOL

students and how educators can meet their needs more effectively.

Many scholars theorize about the potential of writing workshops to accommodate

the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students. Giroux (1987) recognizes the

writing workshop as a possible new form of school literacy predicated on the social and

cultural experiences of students rather than on a transmission curriculum predicated on


language forms and ideal texts.


Cummins (1986a) also suggests that the workshop


approach to writing instruction recognizes the social and cultural embeddedness of


teaching, learning, and schooling, and as such has the potential to empower students.

workshop model is empowering because it "encourages students to assume greater

control over setting their own learning goals and to collaborate with each other in


achieving these goals" (Cummins, 1986a, p.28).


However, both Giroux and Cummins


caution that while a writing workshop may offer a potential resolution of the dilemmas of






31

Crucial to this argument is the recognition that it is not enough for the teacher to
merely dignify the grounds on which students learn to speak, imagine and give


meaning to their world.


This is important, but it is also crucial for teachers to


understand how schools, as part of the wider dominant culture, often function to
marginalize, disconfirm and delegitimate the experiences, histories, and categories


that students use in mediating their lives.


This means understanding how texts,


classroom relations, teacher talk, and other aspects of the formal and hidden
curricula of schooling often function to actively silence students. (Giroux, 1987
p. 176)


Giroux and Cummins


see potential in writing workshops for culturally and linguistically


diverse students, but remind educators that writing workshops also may delegitimize the

experiences and lives of students if educators assume writing workshop arrangements are


neutral or are interpreted by all students in the same way.


It is the intent of this study to


explore the different meanings and interpretations that ESOL students give to their

experiences in a mainstream writing workshop setting.

Another strand of literature provides an alternative point of view about the


appropriateness of process writing for diverse student populations.


Delpit (1995) finds


that process writing is predicated on the belief that fluency must be cultivated before


students can be expected to conform to conventional standards.


Such a belief


presupposes that many students, particularly culturally and linguistically diverse students,


lack fluency.


Delpit disputes such a claim, arguing instead that many white middle-class


teachers fail to recognize the fluency of their culturally and linguistically diverse students.

Given that many culturally and linguistically diverse students already possess fluency,


writing pedagogy in the classroom should focus on skill instruction.


One African-






32

fluent. (p. 16)

Delpit does not suggest that a writing process approach to literacy development is wrong


or that a skill-oriented approach is right. Ir

from the interaction of the two approaches.


stead she suggests that much can be gained

Delpit's arguments are compelling, but like


many other writing process researchers, her arguments focus on the writing competency

of students and the influence a teacher has on that competency, not on what it means to be

a culturally and linguistically diverse student in a writing workshop setting.


Second Language Literacy Research:


Role of First Language Literacy


Much of the research on second language literacy focuses on the role that first


language literacy plays in its development.


A number of researchers find that literacy


skills developed in the first language not only transfer to the second language, but also are


crucial to academic success in the second language (Au, 1993;


Bialystok, 1991;


Cummins, 1986a,1986b, 1991;


Cummins & Swain, 1986;


Freeman & Freeman, 1992;


Genesee, 1987


1994;


Lindholm, 1991;


Snow, 1990;


Wong Fillmore & Valdez, 1986).


In fact, first language literacy is a strong predictor of academic success in a second or


even third language (Swain, Lapkin, Rowen & Hart, 1990).


Students who know how to


read and write in their first language generally are more successful learning how to read

and write in another language, and as a result are more successful in school (Collier,


1995).


Ramirez (1991), for example, finds that students enrolled in late-exit bilingual


programs out perform students enrolled in early-exit bilingual programs and in inclusive,








other programs when they receive a significant amount of primary language instruction

and develop first language literacy skills.

Carlisle (1986) examines cross-lingual relationships in the writing of Spanish-

speaking fourth and sixth grade ESOL students and finds that rhetorical effectiveness in


Spanish is a significant predictor of rhetorical effectiveness in English.


After controlling


for background factors, Carlisle also finds that Hispanic students enrolled in a bilingual

program perform significantly better on English writing productivity than do Hispanic


students enrolled in a submersion program.


Harley, Allen, Cummins and Swain (1987)


also find significant cross-linguistic relationships for reading and writing skills among


Japanese background students.


Those students who are proficient readers and writers in


their first language tend to become proficient readers and writers in their second language

when given the opportunity to develop such skills.

Cummins (1979, 1981, 1986b, 1991) explains that the "linguistic interdependence

principle" accounts for such findings.

To the extent that instruction in Lx is effective in promoting proficiency in Lx,
transfer of this proficiency to Ly will occur provided there is adequate exposure to
Ly (either in school or environment) and adequate motivation to learn Ly. In
concrete terms, what this principle means is that in, for example, a Spanish-
English bilingual program, Spanish instruction that develops Spanish reading and
writing skills is not just developing Spanish skills, it is also developing a deeper
conceptual and linguistic proficiency that is strongly related to the development of


literacy in the majority language (English).


(Cummins, 1987


,p.21)


Some studies also indicate that if students do not reach a certain threshold in first

language proficiency. includinQ literacy thev may experience nonitivp cliffenltiec in thw






34

determined the specific number of years of schooling needed for the threshold, given

individual variation across language learners, Collier and Thomas (1989) find that

students with less than three to four years of first language schooling generally lag two or

three years behind their ESOL cohorts in academic achievement in the second language.

Much of the research focusing on the role of first language literacy in the

development of second language literacy finds that instruction in the native language and

the length of time instruction is received in the native language are the most important


independent variables influencing second language literacy development.


However,


primary language instruction is treated as a single variable, as a treatment students do or


do not receive, and is correlated with second language literacy skills.


Attention often is


not paid to what the process of learning to read and write in a second language looks like

for ESOL students and the constellation of variables, in addition to first language literacy,


that influence its development.


In addition to considering how first language literacy


influences the writing development of secondary ESOL students in mainstream writing


workshops, my study also examines the social nature of writing development.


That is, it


examines how written language develops in the lives of ESOL students as they interact

with others in a mainstream writing workshop.

School Adaptation Research on the Differential Academic Success of Minority Students


In recent years, a number of educational anthropologists examine the adaptation

patterns of immigrant students in American schools in an attempt to understand the








achievement (Gibson, 1987


Ogbu, 1987


& Suarez-Orozco, 1987).


According to the


cultural ecologists, the denigrating treatment of minorities in the United States applies to

both "voluntary" and "involuntary" minorities, but primarily affects involuntary

minorities because of "their own rationalization or explanation of the existing social order


and their place in it...


" (Ogbu & Matute-Bianchi, 1986, p.93).


Cultural ecologists find


that involuntary minorities who are "incorporated into a society more or less involuntarily

through slavery, conquest, or colonization" tend to experience disproportionate academic

failure, compared to other minority groups, as a result of their historical experiences and


their collective response to society's past and present oppression.


"Involuntary"


minorities respond to society's oppression with what many anthropologists refer to as

"cultural inversion" whereby members of a cultural group regard certain forms of

behavior, certain events, symbols, and meanings of mainstream society as not appropriate

for them because they are characteristic of white, mainstream America (Ogbu, 1987).

Cultural ecologists find that minority groups that experience academic success, on

the other hand, tend to be groups that voluntarily immigrated to the United States for

economic and/or political reasons. They too face barriers that make "getting ahead"


difficult, but their response to these barriers differs.


"Voluntary" minorities tend to


subscribe to the middle- class "folk theory of success" (Ogbu, 1987) that believes that one


gets a well-paying job by getting a good education. When voluntary minorities encounter

prejudice and discrimination, they tend to rationalize it. They believe discrimination is








A number of studies support the cultural ecologist position about differential


academic achievement patterns found across different minority groups.


Suarez-Orozco


(1987), for example, examines in a two-year ethnographic study at two school sites in

Northern California why Mexican-American students experience disproportionate


academic failure, while Central American students experience academic success.


high motivation to succeed in school among the recent Central American immigrants is


fueled by a personal concern to help less fortunate family members back home. In some

instances, parents use life savings to send sons and daughters to the United States. Many


Central American students believe that the only way to repay their parents is by


"becoming somebody"


in the United States.


These students view the American


educational system as the "only way up."

In order to explain the differential adaptive patterns of school functioning among

the Mexican-American students, Suarez-Orozco highlights a key incident that occurs in


one fourth-grade classroom. The key incident is emblematic not only of a pattern that

develops throughout the school year; it also reveals how the marginalization of Mexican-


American students gets played out inside the classroom.


After the fourth grade teacher


discourages the participation of two Mexican-American boys in a classroom election, the

young boys remain unusually quiet and stop participating in academic activities for the


remainder of the day.


While the Central American students continue to study under


adverse conditions, the Mexican-American students tend to shut down.








systematically have been exploited over generations through slavery or colonization

(Mexicans in the Southwest after the Anglo colonization of the Mexican territories)


historically are relegated to low paying jobs regardless of their talent or motivation.


such, education historically has been irrelevant in their lives.


School failure among


castelike minorities "may be understood as an adaptation to the barriers limiting


posteducational awards in the labor marketplace" (Suarez-Orozco, 1987


,p.161).


In short,


voluntary and involuntary minorities, like the Central American and the Mexican-

American students in Suarez-Orozco's study, respond differently to the prejudice and

discrimination that shapes their adaptive patterns with respect to school.

Other researchers examining the adaptation patterns of immigrant students in

order to understand differential academic success focus on microlevel factors in the form

of cultural mismatches between the minority child and mainstream society (Au & Jordan,


1981;


Boggs, 1985; Diaz, Moll, & Mehan 1986;


Moll & Diaz, 1987


Scribner & Cole


1981;


Trueba & Delgado-Gaitan, 1988).


The cultural mismatch theory of conflict and


educational failure in minority classrooms holds that children "behave at school in terms

of cultures learned at home, resisting school and failing where the cultures of school and


home are different"


(D'Amato, 1987


,p.357).


Proponents of the cultural mismatch theory


contend that the social adjustment and academic failure of many minority students is due

to cultural and language differences that manifest themselves in specific cultural domains

such as communicative style, cognitive style, motivational style, or interactional style.








the Kamehameha Early Education Project in Hawaii.


One group of native Hawaiian first


graders is exposed to mainstream Anglo patterns for turn taking while discussing reading


stories.


In other words, only one student at a time is allowed to speak.


In the treatment


group, however, students are allowed to overlap others while talking about the stories


they read.


Overlapping talk is characteristic of certain kinds of speech situations common


in student speech networks at home and in the community.


Au and Mason report that the


children in the treatment group are manifestly more enthusiastic when participating than


are the students in the control group.


Moreover, the students' understanding of the


reading texts, as measured by tests given immediately after each lesson, is markedly

greater when the students are allowed to use the overlapping speech format.

Au and Mason (1981) conclude that the academic success of the treatment group

is a result of the continuity between the children's home environment and classroom


practices.


By using a familiar conversational pattern to approach the practice of


unfamiliar concepts, such as reading a text, the overall cognitive task structure is made

simpler, given that the students are able to focus their attention on the reading of the text


rather than divide their attention between reading and a new mode of conversation.


Also,


when the students talk overlappingly about a story, a great deal of repetition occurs and


the students begin adding new ideas of their own. The students, in effect, provide

mutually constructed cognitive scaffolding for one another. The researchers also point


out that the school's acceptance of the children's mode of interaction may be perceived






39

Researchers operating from the cultural ecologist perspective and the cultural

mismatch perspective contribute to our understanding of how culture influences academic


achievement.


While these approaches represent two different conceptual avenues for


interpreting differential academic achievement across minority groups, they are


complementary approaches.


Cultural ecologists focus on macrolevel factors outside the


classroom and home, while cultural mismatch researchers focus on microlevel factors


inside the classroom and home.


However, both theoretical approaches deal with global


generalities and distinctive features concerning various minority groups found in the


United States.


Each theory explains why, as a whole, some minority groups experience


success or failure in school.


However, neither theory accounts for individual success.


While some minority students may have difficulty in school because of linguistic and

cultural mismatches, other minority students are academically successful in spite of the


mismatches.


By the same token, there is an abundance of evidence to suggest that some


castelike minorities are successful in school in spite of their historical experiences.


cultural ecologist approach, like the cultural mismatch approach, cannot account for this


success.


In my study, however, I hope to do so.


Both theories also cultivate stereotypical descriptions of minority students with


little attention given to individual experiences.


When individual experiences are


neglected, it often is assumed that it is possible to meet the academic needs of all

castelike minorities, for example, with the same kind of educational treatment.








language, is a slim one.


On the other hand, the differences among these children


are many and have great educational significance. (Allen, 1991)

While my study considers both the macrolevel and microlevel contexts of the academic

experiences of ESOL students, particularly the microlevel contexts of the classroom and

the home community, it focuses on the individual experiences of six ESOL students in a

mainstream writing workshop and the meaning those students give to their experiences.

Moreover, this study focuses on the bridges students construct between home and school

in order to make sense of their experiences, rather than on well-documented "cultural

mismatches" between home and school.














CHAPTER III
METHODOLOGY

Introduction


The purpose of this study is to examine the process-oriented writing experiences

of ESOL students in mainstream writing workshops, from the perspective of the ESOL

students themselves, to understand how the workshop model may promote community


membership and writing competency for ESOL students.


achieving such a purpose is ethnography


One method capable of


Ethnography is designed to describe and


understand a cultural scene from the emic (or insider) perspective of the participants.

To describe a culture... is not to recount the events of a society but to specify


what one must know to make those events maximally probable.


The problem is


not to state what someone did but to specify the conditions under which it is
culturally appropriate to anticipate that he, or persons occupying his role, will


render an equivalent performance.


This conception of a cultural description


implies that an ethnography should be a theory of cultural behavior in a particular
society.... (Frake, 1964, p. 112)


As such, the task of the ethnographer is not merely to recount events but to render a


theory of cultural behavior.


Goodenough (1976) defines the ethnographic process as one


of "attributing" a theory to members of a particular group about their collective behavior.

The culture of any society is made up of the concepts, beliefs, and principles of
action and organization that an ethnographer has found could be attributed
successfully to the members of that society in the context of his dealings with
them. (p. 5)








researcher.


"Culture as such, as an explicit statement of how the members of a particular


social group act and believe they should act, does not exist until someone acting in the


role of ethnographer puts it there" (Wolcott, 1987, p. 41).

merely a requirement of ethnographic research, "it is the


Cultural interpretation is not


essence of the ethnographic


endeavor" (Wolcott, 1987, p. 43).

In order to describe and interpret the cultural behavior of those being studied,

ethnographers are concerned with holism, nonjugdmentalism, and contextualization.

The concept of holism commands our attention to the larger picture and to the


interrelated nature of the minute to the whole cultural system.


A nonjudgmental


orientation prevents the social scientist from making some of the more obvious
value judgments in research. Biases are made explicit to mitigate their
unintended effects on research. Contextualization demands that we place the data
in its own environment so as to provide a more accurate presentation. (Fetterman,
1984, p. 23)


Ethnographers typically enter the field with a few guiding questions rather than a


predetermined hypothesis.


Once in the field, the focus of one's research may shift or


become more narrow as new questions emerge based on the collection of contextualized


data from the cultural scene and subsequent analyzation of the data.


Successful


ethnographic work is predicated on a willingness to examine the larger picture rather than

focusing on a few elements within a complex situation and on a willingness to tolerate a


level of ambiguity as one's research questions and focus shift.


Successful ethnographic


work also involves a willingness to maintain a nonjudgmental attitude throughout the

study and a willingness to examine behavior in the context in which it occurs.






43

and atypical ESOL students in a mainstream writing workshop?" evolves as my

understanding of the cultural scene deepens to "Why is the process of making sense, or

the process of learning a second language, different for typical and atypical ESOL

students?"

In this study, I use the techniques of ethnographic research to examine the

experiences of ESOL students in mainstream writing workshops from the perspective of


the students themselves.


In explaining the methodology I employ, I first describe the


research setting and the participants.

by a discussion about data analysis.


Next, I discuss data collection procedures, followed

Finally, I discuss matters of validity and reliability


so that the reader can be assured of the credibility of the research method, the data

findings, and the interpretation.

Setting

This study is conducted in a college town community in North Central Florida


during the 1997-1998 school year.


College Town is a moderate size city with a


residential population of 100,000 and a college student population of 45,000.


While


College Town is a diverse city with respect to its racial make up, the white, middle-class

population tends to live in the west part of town, and the black, working-class population


tends to live in the southeast part of town.

town, serves a diverse student population.


Oak Middle School, located in the west part of

Sixty percent of the school population is


white, thirty-five percent is black, and five percent of the population reflects a variety of


other ethnic backgrounds.


The percentage of ESOL students at Oak Middle School is


I






44

Town attend the center school for middle school ESOL students, some parents of ESOL


students opt to send their children to schools that are closer to home.


In fact, the parents


of the ESOL students in this study cite at least two reasons for sending their children to

Oak Middle School rather than the center school for ESOL students: close proximity to

home and the academic reputation of the school, particularly with respect to writing.

The writing workshop model at Oak Middle school was adopted in 1988 by the

English language arts teachers and implemented across all three grade levels the


following year.


I conduct my study in two sixth-grade writing workshop classrooms at


Oak Middle School because mainstreamed ESOL students typically are not found


homogeneously in a group but are scattered across a number of mainstream classes.


order to study the problem and to protect against unforeseeable participant attrition, two

mainstream writing workshop classes that have a sufficient number of ESOL students are


used.


The writing workshop teachers in this study each have twelve years of experience


implementing writing workshops in their own classes.


Teachers at each grade level are


responsible for coordinating and implementing the writing workshop model in a way that


best meets the needs of the students at their particular grade level.


Given the grade level


coordination that goes on, there are striking similarities across the grade level writing


workshops at Oak Middle School.


For example, all sixth grade language arts teachers


encourage their students to experiment with the same five genres:

expository writing, persuasive writing, poetry, and letter writing.


personal narratives,

All sixth grade students


also address the same portfolio analysis questions at the end of each term. and all sixth








The unity of the sixth-grade language arts team also is promoted by the


arrangement of the sixth grade language arts classrooms.


The entire sixth-grade is


housed on the east wing of the school, with the sixth-grade language arts classrooms


occupying one suite.


When one enters the sixth-grade language arts corridor, one sees


big bright green letters that spell out "Frogtown," the sixth grade motto.


One also


sees


student art work, poetry, and other papers written by different sixth-grade students


decorating the walls, along with a display of "Frog of the Week" awards.


The center of


the sixth-grade language arts suite houses 16 computer terminals shared by the five sixth-


grade language arts teachers.


The sixth-grade language arts teachers work well together.


While similarities exist across the grade level writing workshops at Oak Middle School

with respect to some assignments, there also are striking differences in how the teachers


in my study implement writing workshop in their own classrooms.


These differences are


discussed in Chapter 4.


Participants


Six ESOL students participate in this ethnographic study:


three atypical ESOL


students and three typical ESOL students, with a combination of atypical and typical


ESOL students in each writing workshop.


The atypical ESOL students come from upper


middle-class homes where one or both parents have either a Ph.D. or a M.D.


These same


students took English classes in their home countries before coming to the United States,


and they have parents who are fluent readers, writers, and speakers of English.


dominant language, however, is their native language.


Their


In other words, they speak, read,








parents of the atypical ESOL students report that their children are at or above grade-

level with respect to their first language reading and writing skills.

The typical ESOL students have backgrounds more reflective of the national


profile of ESOL students in the United States.


More specifically, the typical ESOL


students did not have an opportunity to learn English before immigrating to the United


States.


Their parents do not hold college degrees nor are their parents as fluent in English


as the parents of the atypical ESOL students.

Stephanie and Nina's dominant language is St


Alex's dominant language is English, and

anish. In other words, Alex speaks, reads,


and writes more proficiently in English than in Spanish, while Stephanie and Nina speak,


read, and write more proficiently in Spanish.


Even though Alex's


dominant language is


English, he continues to be classified as an ESOL student because he scores well below


grade-level norms on standardized tests with respect to reading and writing.


language dominance of the ESOL students is an important factor to consider given the

influence it may have on the experiences of the ESOL students in a mainstream writing

workshop.

The three atypical ESOL students have been in the United States less than a year,

while two of the three typical ESOL students, Nina and Stephanie, have lived in the

country one and a half years, and the third typical ESOL student, Alex, has lived in the


country seven years.


All of the ESOL students are 11 to 12-years-old.


With respect to


national origin, the students come from six different countries: Taiwan, Turkey, Korea,


Colombia, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.


The students also report using









education in their home countries up to the point of their arrival in the United States.


Table 1 below provides a summary of the ESOL students'


Table


backgrounds.


Summary of ESOL Student Background


Time


Student


Name
Baris


ESOL


Classification


Atypical


Dominant
Language


Literacy


Skills


Turkish


Country of
Origin


Turkey


weeks


Torrance


Atypical


Chinese


Taiwan


weeks


Sungho


Atypical


Korean


Korea


Parent


Education*


Ph.D.,
M.D.
Ph.D.,
B.A.
Ph.D..


weeks


Nina


Typical


Spanish


Colombia


B.A.
H.S.,


years


Alex


Typical


English


Puerto


years


Rico


Stephanie


Typical


Spanish


years


Dominican
Republic


* Father's


educational attainment, Mother


's educational attainment


Data Collection


Three types of data--observations, interviews, and writing samples--are used to


investigate the lived experiences of ESOL students in mainstream writing workshops. I

formally observe Mrs. Goode's and Ms. Nunley's writing workshops 110 times each, for


a combined total of 220 times, during the 1997-1998 school year.


In terms of hours, I


spend 200 hours observing the ESOL students in their writing workshops.


As an


observer in the writing workshop classroom, I move between "passive" participation and


H.S.,








notes as the ESOL students participate in the daily routines of the writing workshop


classroom.


I initially observe from the back of the classrooms, but given the


individualized nature of writing workshops with students working at their own pace in

various stages of process writing and in different places around the room, it is necessary

to conduct my observations from different stations in the classrooms in order to capture


the activities and interactions of the ESOL students.


For example, when an ESOL


student talks with a peer in a writing conference, I move nearby, without directly sitting

in on the conference, in order to record their interactions and verbal exchanges in my


field notes.


The purpose for sitting near the conference, but not in it, is to remain as


unobtrusive as possible in order to minimize the impact of my presence.


For the same


reason, I observe the ESOL students from the side of the room when they work

independently at their tables on a draft in order to record behavior while remaining


unobtrusive.


While the observations focus on the interactions of the ESOL students, I


also roam around the classroom periodically as a passive participant in order to capture

the activities of the monolingual students so that comparisons between the ESOL students

and the monolingual students in a writing workshop setting can be made.

Once the students are comfortable with my presence in the classroom, my level of


involvement increases.


At this point, I move back and forth between passive and


moderate participation.


According to Spradley (1980),


"moderate participation occurs


when the ethnographer seeks to maintain a balance between being an insider and an


outsider between narticination and ohservatinn" (n 60)


Mv moderate narticination








a moderate level, these activities do not absorb more than five to seven minutes at any


one time.


In fact, most days my level of participation remains passive with just a few


instances of moderate participation.

During the observations, I listen to what the ESOL students say and observe what


they do as they participate in the different stages of process writing.


This involves


recording whom the ESOL students interact with, documenting how these interactions are


initiated, and recording what is said.


The purpose of the observations is to understand


how the ESOL students participate in the stages of process writing to develop literacy


skills in English and to become members of the class.


In other words, the purpose of the


observations is to understand the writing development of the ESOL students as they

interact with their peers and teacher.

During the initial observations, I take what Spradley (1980) refers to as


"condensed" notes.


Instead of writing complete thoughts and sentences, I quickly jot


down phrases and single words that capture what I observe.


Once away from the setting,


I immediately expand my condensed notes into typed, single-spaced protocol pages in


order to capture a more complete description of my observations.


After the initial


observations, I begin taking more detailed notes of ESOL student interactions and


conversations.


According to Dobbert (1984), detailed notes are "handwritten


stenographic notes [used] to record verbatim conversations or to make detailed records of


interactions" (p. 248).


Immediately after an observation, I review my detailed notes to


fill in migcin r wnrdr or to rewrite illeoihle esntence' I then tvne the detailed field nntes






50

capture the level of detail I want, the ESOL students help reconstruct an interaction after I

show my notes to them.

In addition to conducting observations, I also conduct interviews throughout the


school year.


I conduct six 25-minute audio-taped interviews with each of the ESOL


students, for a combined total of 36 formal interviews.

conversations with each of the students. Each formal

a combined total of 300 protocol pages. The purpose


I also have several informal


interview is transcribed, generating

f the interviews is to understand


how the ESOL students experience process writing and to uncover the cultural meaning


they give this experience.

on my observations. Dur


The interviews also allow me to clarify questions I have based


ing the school year, I also have several informal conversations


with each of the workshop teachers and one 40-minute audio-taped interview with each


of the writing workshop teachers.


The purpose of the informal conversations and formal


interview is to gain a better understanding about instructional practices and assessment


practices concerning the ESOL students.


The transcribed teacher interviews generate


protocol pages of data.

Student writing, the third type of data I use to investigate the lived experiences of

ESOL students in mainstream writing workshops, is collected and photocopied once

every nine weeks in order to examine the changes that occur in how ESOL students use


the written system to participate in culturally valued literacy activities.

also are used in order to look at writing competency over time. Ten to


Writing samples


fifteen pieces of


writing are collected from each of the ESOT, students








experiences of ESOL students in mainstream writing workshops.


For example, long-term


observation in a natural setting provides categories of data that arise from the setting and


the participants, rather than strictly from the researcher.


This is important for an inquiry


into the lived experiences of ESOL students in mainstream writing workshops.


Also,


these observations form the base of the interviews, allowing for greater articulation of the


participants' perspectives.


Not only do the observations form the base of the interviews,


but there is ongoing interaction between the observations and interviews.


As Spindler


and Spindler (1987) explain,

One observes, begins to formulate questions, asks questions and gets some
answers, observes some more with perceptions sharpened by new cultural
knowledge refines questions, focusing them on relationships that appear to be
particularly critical, observes some more, looking for repetitions of behavioral
pattern with more focus than initially, and so on, and on. (p. 20)

While the interviews clarify the observations, they also elicit information about


each participant's perspective of how he/she views the world.


another base for the interviews.


The writing samples form


Rather than simply analyzing student text for


grammatical correctness and structure, writing is examined in the context of how


students use the printed word as a mediational tool for taking action in the world.


combining field notes from observations with student writing samples, I am able to elicit

the meaning ESOL students ascribe to specific mediated events in the writing workshop

classroom.


Data Analysis


Data analysis begins with the utilization of Soradlev'


(1980) Developmental


LJ








questions and identify patterns and recurring themes in the data.


According to Spradley


(1980), domain analysis allows the researcher "to uncover categories of cultural meaning


that are embedded in the ethnographic data"


(p. 91).


Domain analysis also allows the


researcher to "identify relationships among items in the domains, and to discover


structural questions that will guide further data collection" (p. 33).


This phase of data


analysis involves preparing a domain analysis worksheet with space for both cover and


included terms.


"Making systematic use of this kind of worksheet...help[s] to uncover


domains embedded in the sentences...


"(Spradley, 1979, p. 113).


After developing a


domain analysis worksheet, domain categories are identified using Spradley's (1979)


nine semantic categories of domain relationships (p. 111).

domains are identified during this phase of data analysis.


More than two hundred

Once a number of domains are


identified, I begin formulating what Spradley (1979) refers to as "structural" questions


for some of the domains.


"Structural questions are.. .specifically designed to test the


ethnographic hypotheses that have emerged from domain analysis (Spradley, 1979, p.


In other words, after tentatively identifying domains in a culture, it is necessary to


test them with informants or participants by asking structural questions that confirm or


disconfirm the hypothesized domains. For example, one of the uncovered domains is

"ways the writing workshop teacher helps students." Some of the structural questions


asked of the participants include:


"How does the writing workshop teacher help


students?" "When does the writing workshop teacher help students?" "What do students

rAn ix/lhn th+xl nP^rA thr' tpnrhpr'v hplnQ9" Th ctnrtifllrnl nilectinnc hiwirt n;entifY the lroryr








Once domains are verified and saturated with examples, taxonomic analysis is


conducted.


According to Spradley (1980), a taxonomy is a "set of categories organized


on the basis of a single semantic relationship"


Taxonomic analysis involves


identifying relationships within and between the domains with a focus on similarities

among the folk terms. Taxonomic analysis helps uncover new relationships among folk


terms that reveal the internal structure of the domains.


Once I develop a number of


taxonomies and start developing a taxonomic diagram for major cultural domains, I start


formulating what Spradley refers to as "contrast" questions. Contrast questions get at

differences between two elements within a particular domain. For example, once I


identify the kinds of help the writing workshop teachers provide in their writing


workshops, I ask,


"How is one kind of help different than another kind of help offered by


the teachers?"

After uncovering numerous contrasts, componential analysis is conducted in order


to identify the components of meaning for the different contrast sets.


"Componential


analysis is the systematic search for the attributes (components of meaning) associated


with cultural symbols" (Spradley, 1979, p.


During this phase of data analysis, a


"paradigm" or a schematic representation of the attributes that distinguish the members of

a contrast set (Spradley, 1979, p. 176) is developed.


In addition to utilizing Spradley's


Developmental Research Sequence, data


analysis also is guided by a social constructivist orientation.


As I analyze data collected


in October and November. I uncover evidence of the social function of writing in the








requirements for the ESOL students in their workshops;


it also fulfills social purposes as


well.


Spradley's


Developmental Research Sequence helps me organize the data and


important patterns in the data representing the differential experiences of the typical and

atypical ESOL students and the differential ways they work to make sense of their

inclusive writing workshops, as well as the factors that hinder or facilitate their


adjustment.


The lense of social constructivism, particularly an orientation informed by


the work of Vygotsky and Bakhtin, allow me to understand how children, specifically

ESOL students in mainstream writing workshops, learn to construct social worlds


through manipulation of the written word.


The lenses of social constructivism also allow


me to understand how ESOL students learn to write through social interaction with

others.

Vygotsky's sociohistorical approach to development, including writing

development, emphasizes the importance of social activity to the development of a

symbol system, as well as the importance of a symbol system to the enactment of human


activity (Vygotsky, 1978).


In Vygotsky's view, children learn to write as they assume


different social roles and engage in valued cultural activities.


For instance, children


acquire oral linguistic knowledge as they use speech to act in the social world.


"[T]he


acquisition of linguistic knowledge and the acquisition of social knowledge are

inextricably linked" (Dyson, 1993a, p. 80)


Data analysis also is guided by the work of Bakhtin.


While Vygotsky illuminates


the importance of social activity with respect to writing development. Bakhtin (1981.








others.


When assuming a new role, speakers and writers use the already spoken words of


others in order to accomplish social work.


Thus, children learn to craft voices that are


guided by a history of past conversations.

From November onward, I focus on the social dimensions of learning to write in a


second language.


As such, the next phase of data collection and analysis is guided by an


additional question:

How do ESOL students use the composing process to construct social worlds?

After conducting more data analysis, I find that typical and atypical ESOL students use


the composing process in different ways to construct social worlds.


of analysis on understanding these differences.


I focus the last phase


Two final question guide data collection


and analysis:

What factors influence how typical and atypical ESOL students use the


composing process to construct social worlds?


* How does the function of writing change over time for the ESOL students?

Issues of Validity and Reliability


Ethnographic Validity


Shimahara (1988) defines ethnographic validity as "the degree to which

participant observation achieves what it purports to discover, i.e., the authentic


representation of what is happening in the social scene" (p. 86).


An indication of validity


is the ethnographer's "understanding of the meanings of the observed sociocultural


........ --l -- ... / 0 0 O X








and analysis, ethnographers must acknowledge and continually check their biases.

Having been an English teacher for seven years in both the junior high school and the


high school setting, I do not enter the classroom as a stranger.


Based on my own


experiences as an English teacher who has implemented a writing workshop in the junior

high English classes I taught for five years, I conduct this study with a positive

disposition toward the writing workshop approach.

Writing workshops honor meaning over form, the expressive use of language over

correctness, and genuine communication between teacher and students over teacher


judgment (Abt-Perkins, 1993). As an English teacher, I also developed an interest in the

education of ESOL students. With the growing number of ESOL students being


mainstreamed into my English classes, I came to realize that ESOL students have

educational needs that often are different from the educational needs of their native


English-speaking peers. I also came to realize that the educational needs of ESOL

students are not always served. These experiences provide me with an understanding of


Oak Middle School and of classroom life in general that only an insider can have.

Furthermore, I hoped the ethnographic data would allow me to identify instructional

practices that help meet the needs of both typical and atypical ESOL students in a


mainstream writing workshop setting.


In addition to my positive predisposition toward


the writing workshop approach and my interest in the education of ESOL students, I also


have an inclination toward the social constructivist view of meaning.


Knowledge is not a


set of facts or concepts waiting to be discovered, nor is it something that exists









meaning to their experiences.


In other words, meaning is assigned, not inherent in


actions or objects.

Nevertheless, while attempting to understand what it means to be an ESOL

student in a mainstream writing workshop, I take steps not to allow my biases to


influence the research task.


Long-term, repeated observations and interviews focusing on


the students' experiences from their perspectives help to ensure that my biases do not


interfere with the research task.


The observations occur on different days of the week to


ensure that I have data representative of the students'


reflective of specific days of the week.


experiences and not merely


During the formal interviews and informal


conversations, the ESOL students are asked several times to review observation field

notes with me in order clarify questions I have based on my observations and to ensure


that I am capturing their perspective rather than my own.


I also use several other sources


of information to understand what it was like to be an ESOL student in a mainstream


writing workshop.


More specifically, I collect and analyze student writing samples


throughout the year, collect copies of handouts teachers use in class during their lessons,

and interview the writing workshop teachers and the parents of the ESOL students

themselves.

Agar (1980) identifies three additional circumstances that can reduce the validity

of one's study: a participant may be inconsistent, two participants my disagree, and

discrepancies between what the participants say and what the researcher observes may


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58

and uncover inconsistencies in the data, and the reason for these inconsistencies, through

repetitive observations in the field.


No technique has proven so effective


...as prolonged participant


observation.... The longer one lives with people and the better one knows them,
the less likely it is that the presence of the investigator will produce unknown
effects upon the behavior the investigator is attempting to understand. (Edgerton
& Langness, 1974, p. 32)

Prolonged and repetitive observations increase the probability that what occurs in the

presence of the researcher would likely occur in the absence of the researcher as well.

In addition to observing the ESOL students repeatedly for a prolonged period of

time in order to reduce reactivity, I also address the issue in other ways when I am aware


that my presence is having an effect on the students.


Two of the ESOL students become


concerned about my role in the classroom when they see that I take notes continuously


while observing.


teacher?"


After class, they quietly ask,


"Will you tell parent?"


"What you writing?" "Will you tell


After talking to them, it becomes clear that these two


students are concerned that I will tell the teacher or their parents if they do something


In other words, the students feel that I might report them if they are chewing gum


in class, for example, or passing a note, or doing science homework during writing


workshop

teacher.


3.


I reassure the students that I am not there to report back to their parents or the


I am there in order to understand how ESOL students learn to write in a writing


workshop classroom.


The two students seem relieved, but the next day it is apparent that


they still are unconvinced.


The next dav when they nonin


ePP that 1 am tnkina nntrP thpv Innk at eacnh nthpr


"bad."








that doing so actually would be a breech of our agreement.


While the students still are


learning to trust me, I make a point of sharing my field notes with them, at least the notes


that pertain to each of them.


I also make a point of allowing the students to hear my


conversations with the writing workshop teacher in order to allay their fears.


talking in hushed tones, the teacher and I use audible voices.


Instead of


When the students find that


these conversations tend to focus on the teacher's explanation about some aspect of the


writing workshop classroom and not specifically on them per


se, they start feeling more


comfortable and relaxed.

In order to cultivate and maintain my role as a neutral observer, I also make a


point of accepting only limited authority in the classroom.


For example, when students,


both monolingual and ESOL, ask my permission to use the restroom, or ask my


permission to work in the computer lab, I tell them to ask the teacher.


Or when the


students look to me to settle a dispute or to intervene when another student is annoying


them, I refer them to the teacher. However, if they ask me to spell a word or to add paper

to the printer, I fulfill their request. This dichotomy between what I can do and what I


cannot do reinforces my neutral observer role in the classroom.


While I have the


authority to help students in limited ways with their work, I do not have the authority to


grant permission for other activities or the authority to make students behave.


students behave in my presence as if I am not there.


As such,


When passing a note, for example,


they make sure the teacher is not looking, but have no problem passing the note in my


nresence


Recrnuse of the neutral observer role I maintain- thev learn that I will not








presence has on both the typical and atypical ESOL students and even the monolingual

students.

Ethnographic Reliability


Shimahara (1988) defines ethnographic reliability as the "repeatability of a given

study by researchers other than the original participant observer: the extent to which

independent researchers discover the same phenomenon in comparable situations" (p.


Trueba (1981) explains that reliability involves the "congruence between the


ethnographer's interpretation of observed behavior and the social meaning attached to


that behavior by the actors" (p. 24).


The greater the congruence is between the


researcher's interpretation and the meaning attached to behavior by participants, the

greater the possibility that other researchers will discover similar phenomenon in


comparable situations.


In order to enhance the reliability of one's research and make it


possible for other researchers to duplicate methodology, Shimahara (1988) explains that

the researcher must attend to four different issues:

[A] delineation of the physical, cultural, and social contexts of the study; a


statement of the ethnographer's role in the research setting;


an accurate


description of the conceptual framework of the research, and a complete
description of the methods of data collection and analysis. (p. 87)


I address each of the above matters.


In this chapter (III),


I briefly describe the


physical, cultural, and social contexts of the study when I describe the setting.


IV includes a more detailed description of the writing workshop setting.


Chapter


Chapter III also


includes a statement about my role in the research setting and a complete description of














CHAPTER IV


BEGINNINGS:


ATYPICAL ESOL STUDENT


PROCESSES OF MAKING SENSE


The findings that follow in the next six chapters examine the experiences of


typical and the atypical ESOL students in two mainstream writing workshops.


More


specifically, Chapter IV focuses on the initial processes of making sense, or the processes

of language learning, for the atypical ESOL students, while Chapter V focuses on the

initial processes of making sense for the typical ESOL students at the beginning of the


year.


Chapters VI and VII focus on the evolution that occurs in the experiences of the


ESOL students as their English proficiency develops and as they negotiate membership in


the writing workshop community.


In these chapters (4-7), I examine the experiences of


the typical and the atypical ESOL students in five components of the writing workshop:


status of the class, mini lessons, drafting, conferences, and group share.


In Chapter VIII,


I exclusively focus on the writing experiences of the typical and the atypical ESOL

students from a Vygotskian perspective using Wertsch's other-self regulated continuum


with respect to learning.


In Chapter IX, I focus on the writing experiences of the typical


and the atypical ESOL students from a Bakhtinian perspective.


I examine how the ESOL


students use writing to establish and maintain relationships with their peers.

The present chapter focuses on the experiences of the atypical ESOL students as









The atypical ESOL students arrive in the United States with strong academic records.

Baris and Torrance never earn below an "A" in their native countries, while Sungho's


grades never dip below a "B.


These students see themselves as competent students, and


they are anxious for others to see them in a similar fashion.


The chapter is divided into


five sections, with each section reflecting the experiences of the atypical ESOL students


in one component their writing workshops.


Before discussing the experiences of the


atypical ESOL students and their processes of making sense, I first describe the two

writing workshops in this study in order to help establish the context in which this study

takes place.


Ms. Nunlev's


Writing Workshop


Ms. Nunley has a class of 28 students.


reflect a variety of backgrounds.


The 19 boys and nine girls in her class


In addition to three ESOL students from Turkey,


Taiwan, and Puerto Rico, there also are seven African-American students and 18 Anglo-


American students.


Ms. Nunley's writing workshop classroom is neat and orderly and


the atmosphere is businesslike.


The students sit at tables symmetrically arranged around


the four walls of the room, leaving a large open space in the center of the room for a


variety of activities:


mini lessons.


student-teacher conferences, peer conferences, group share, and


When students sit at their tables, the only materials allowed on the table


tops are a pen or pencil and the paper they are writing on.


the floor next to the legs of their chairs.


Book bags must be placed on


One minute before the bell rings signaling the


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room.


If students talk out of turn during status of the class or during any other activity,


they lose participation points.


Student writing is a valued activity in Ms. Nunley's writing workshop.

white magnetic boards serve as a display for final drafts of student writing. TI


Two large


ihe ledges


below the boards serve as a display for the three ring binders the students are asked to


purchase at the beginning of the school year for their writing portfolios.


As soon as


students bring in their three ring binders, Ms. Nunley allows them to select a cover from


among six different sheets of decorative paper for their writing portfolio binder.


Once a


sheet of paper is selected, Ms. Nunley goes to the computer lab outside her door and


prints in big block letters "John's


Writing Portfolio" across the sheet of paper.


personalized binder is then displayed on the ledge of the white board for the rest of the

class to see.

One of the hallmarks of Ms. Nunley's writing workshop is the independence she


attempts to cultivate among her students.


Before students approach Ms. Nunley with a


question, she expects them to figure the answer out for themselves.


For example, Ms.


Nunley does not want students asking her whether or not they can use the restroom.


Instead, she leaves a restroom pass in a basket on the top of a short book shelf.


student needs to use the restroom, he/she picks up the pass, stands at the door, establishes

eye contact with Ms. Nunley so that she knows someone is leaving the room, and then


he/she is free to exit.


If students are absent from school, Ms. Nunley expects them to ask


npprc nhniit y1hant thpev micPd when they return


She nln leave'P handnmit and nther






64

independence, Ms. Nunley also encourages students to take care of problems that might


arise with other students.


For example, on one occasion when a student asks Ms. Nunley


to intervene in a student conflict, Mrs. Nunley instructs the student to deal with it herself.


Tonya, if Robert is bothering you, get up and sit somewhere else.


You don't need


me to take care of the problem for you.


Just get up and move.


I'm not blind.


see what's going on, but it is something you can take care of. I'n
upset if you get up and move during group share. I see what's gc
discretely take care of the problem without interrupting the class.


Mrs. Goode'


n not going to get
)ing on. You can


Writing Workshop


Mrs. Goode has a class of 26 students, of which 14 are girls and 12 are boys.


These students also reflect a variety of backgrounds.


In addition to three ESOL students


from Korea, Columbia, and the Dominican Republic, there are six African-American


students, two Indian-American students, and 15 Anglo-American students. Mrs. Goode's

writing workshop is neat and orderly and the atmosphere is warm and friendly. Three or


four students sit across from one another or side-by-side at nine tables arranged in the

center of the room and at three additional tables arranged alongside the east wall of the


room.


The west side of the room is reserved for student conferences.


A six-by-four foot


space is left open and free of furniture so that students can convene on the floor near the

west wall when meeting with peers about their writing.

The east wall of the room also is adorned with decorative and instructional


posters.


In honor of the sixth grade mascot, Mrs. Goode has a collection often large frog


posters running above the top of the chalk board.


On the left side of the chalk board,


Mrs. Goode displays a foster with Reading Workshoo rules and a foster of Writin2








when drafting a piece of writing.

prewriting stage to the final draft.


The nine posters document the process from the

Finally, the proofreading marks Mrs. Goode teaches


students to use when editing and revising their papers also are displayed on a poster


underneath the stages of process writing.


the walls of the room.

in their portfolios. Pe


For the most part, student work does not adorn


Student writing is housed either in the students' writing folders or


riodically, however, when students work on a project, the products


of their work are displayed in the room.


For example, when the students design


decorative book jackets for their reading workshop books, Mrs. Goode hangs the book

jackets from the ceiling of the room.

The back of the classroom houses a large library of adolescent books reflecting a


variety of authors and genres and interests and tastes.


particularly impressive.


The multicultural selection is


A small table housing a notebook for checking the books in and


out sits adjacent to the book shelves.


A spell check calculator also sits on the table and is


visited frequently by students during the writing workshop period.

Mrs. Goode's writing workshop is marked with a moderate level of noise.


Students speak in hushed tones while participating in the stages of process writing.


If the


noise level rises too high, Mrs. Goode simply asks the students to bring the noise level

down, and they respond accordingly.

One of the hallmark features of Mrs. Goode's writing workshop is the degree of


help she provides her students.


Students are encouraged to solicit teacher help when in


doubt about a particular assignment or activity.


For example. when a student does not





66


cannot find his homework, Mrs. Goode sits down at his table and helps him organize his


three ring binder and book bag.


Mrs. Goode is like a mother to her students.


When


students come to class upset, she pats their backs and whispers words of encouragement


to them.


She might even encourage them to put their heads down or to read a book if


they are unable to focus on their writing.


Mrs. Goode's concern for the well-being of her


students is felt by the students, and their affection for her is returned.

Another hallmark feature of Mrs. Goode's writing workshop is the spirit of


cooperation she cultivates among her stude

distinctly in the peer writing conferences.


This spirit of cooperation is seen most


Even though students are free to conference at


home with family members, most students conference with a peer in the writing


workshop setting.


Not only does Mrs. Goode encourage students to conference with one


another, but she also encourages students to help one another with respect to other


assignments or activities.


For example, when preparing for a quiz on suffixes and


prefixes, Mrs. Goode encourages students to pair up with a partner in order to quiz one


another before the official test.


When teaching the students the components of a


traditional research report, Mrs. Goode also encourages students to look at a partner's


paper if they are confused about some aspect of it.


This spirit of cooperation permeates


Mrs. Goode's writing workshop.


Status of the Class


Status of the Class is a method of keeping track of what students do on a daily


basis in their writing workshop classroom.


At the beginning of a class period, the teacher








teacher can record their responses.


In the process of making sense and the process of


reconstructing competent student identities, the atypical ESOL students engage in non-

genuine behavior during the early months of the school year in order to look like they are


participating in their workshops.


The non-genuine behavior of the atypical ESOL


students manifests itself across the different components of their writing workshops,

particularly during status of the class.


Ms. Nunley expects Status of the Class to take less than two minutes.


In order to


insure that Status of the Class is conducted in under two minutes, Ms. Nunley challenges


the students collectively to beat their best time.


When the class beats its best time, the


students spontaneously applaud and "high five" one another.

best time, a collective moan resonates throughout the class.

long responding, other students say, "Come on, come on." N


When they fail to beat their


When a student takes too

Vhile Ms. Nunley forbids


talking during Status of the Class, comments urging a fast response go unsanctioned as


long as they are not vocalized in a loud manner.


If a student pauses too long after his/her


name is called, Ms. Nunley calls the next student, returning to the skipped student once

Status of the Class is over and the class is working on their writing.

Confused and unable to respond as quickly as their monolingual peers, the

atypical ESOL students appropriate responses they do not fully understand in order to


participate in Status of the Class during the early weeks of the school year.


says "topic search" when his name is called.


Baris simply


He is not sure about its meaning, but he


hPnrc n nrnhir rftt thbr ctnrlontc CV21 "tnrni' vonrch






68

After being skipped as a result of pausing too long when his name is called during the

early weeks of school, Torrance also starts saying "topic search" or "prewrite" when he is


called during Status of the Class.


Like Baris, he is not sure about the meaning of these


words, but by responding with either of these terms, he appears to be participating in


Status of the Class like all the other students.


Torrance says,


"I see other student like me


say 'topic search.'


Some say 'prewrite.'


I think I say that too.


Baris tell me,


'Just say


topic search.


It don't matter.


Just say topic search.'"


Like Baris, Torrance starts


responding when his name is called during Status of the Class, even though he does not

yet have an understanding of what the response means.

Even though the nature of Status of the Class is different in Mrs. Goode's writing


workshop, Sung Ho's early experiences are similar to Torrance's and Baris's.


During


Status of the Class, Mrs. Goode also expects students to announce the title of the piece

they are working on and the stage of writing it is in when their name is called, but she


does not enforce a two minute time restriction.


When students are confused about what


they are doing with the different stages of writing and what they should say, Mrs. Goode

helps confused students figure it out by walking over to their table and looking at their


previous day's work.


As a result, Status of the Class takes 10 to 12 minutes in Mrs.


Goode's classroom at the beginning of the year.


During the early weeks of the school year, Sungho accepts Mrs. Goode's


when he does not know how to respond.


After a short period of time, however, Sungho


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"Student conference friendly letter" when his name is called.


When writing workshop


begins, Sungho works on a draft of the letter without attempting to initiate a conference


with anyone.


When asked about the discrepancy between what he says and what he


actually does, Sungho says,


I don't know what say for Status of Class.


he doing.


I say what Steven say.


Teacher always show class Steven work.


He know what


Teacher ask him to explain to


student at table. He smart.


He know what do.


Instead of accepting help from his respective writing workshop teacher for an extended


period of time, Sungho appropriates responses he does not fully understand.

Sungho is asked why he does not accept Mrs. Goode's help, he explains, "IV


very nice, but don't need help.


When


Irs. Goode


Mrs. Goode help three student now, not me....don't need


help.


I do it.


I just say what Steven say."


Sungho accepts help from Mrs. Goode during


the early weeks of writing workshop when she also helps eight or nine other students.

However, when Mrs. Goode helps only three or four students, Sungho no longer accepts


her help.


As Sung Ho explains,


"I smart in Korea.


Alway make good grade.


I not slow


like some kid.


Don't want kid think slow.


Status of the Class is one of the first public activities students are expected to


participate in.


While the monolingual students seem to enjoy the challenge and


competitiveness of Status of the Class, as it is conducted in Ms. Nunley's class, the

atypical ESOL students, at the beginning of the year, do not share their enthusiasm for


this component of writing workshop.


Not only do they not know how to respond, but


they alsn hnvp a diffinllt time rennndlino na niliiklv na the nther







nervous....I couldn't talk so fast in English like everyone else.


You have to talk


It embarrassing.


Torrance iterates a similar sentiment:


"Oh, Status of Class bad.


Not now.


Then when


school first start.


I don't know what do.


Don't like.


At the beginning of the year, the atypical ESOL students prefer appropriating


responses they do not fully comprehend rather than accepting the teacher's help.


more important for them to participate in a non-genuine manner without the teacher's

help than it is for them to participate in a more genuine manner with their teacher's help.

From their perspective, appropriating responses without the teacher's intervention makes

them look smarter and feel smarter.

While the atypical ESOL students do not genuinely participate in Status of the

Class at the beginning of the year, they do participate in such a way that it gives the


appearance of authentic participation.


These students are not simply engaging in a


required classroom activity, they are attempting to construct identities, at least in a

preliminary sense, as competent students while learning to become members of the


writing workshop community.


Accepting the teacher's help during Status of the Class for


any protracted amount of time creates tension for the atypical ESOL students.


These


students feel they have lost their identities as competent students, and they are currently


in the process of reconstructing their identities.


Appropriating the responses of others


mitigates their tension, and it reduces the discontinuity between their school identity in


their native countries and their school identity in the United States.


While Status of the









Mini Lessons


Mini lessons are another component of the writing workshop model.


Atwell (1987)


describes the mini lesson as a "brief meeting that begins the workshop where the whole

class addresses an issue that's arisen in previous workshops or in pieces of students'


writing"


(p. 77).


On most days, both Mrs. Nunley and Mrs. Goode begin their own


writing workshops with a mini lesson that lasts between two minutes and ten minutes.

The writing workshop teachers generally address similar topics in their early mini


lessons.


First, they both address procedural issues, explanations of how process writing


occurs in their writing workshops.


After they conduct a number of procedural mini


lessons, Mrs. Nunley and Mrs. Goode then conduct mini lessons that focus on editorial

matters, such as proper capitalization, and content matters, such as proper paragraphing


or writing effective leads.


The mini lessons in both writing workshop classrooms tend to


be interactive in the sense that both teachers solicit student response.


Instead of


randomly selecting students to respond to teacher-initiated questions, the writing

workshop teachers generally call on students who voluntarily raise their hands.

Early in the year, the atypical ESOL students refrain from answering questions


because of their limited, yet developing, English language skills.


They also refrain from


answering questions in order to avoid appearing "incompetent" in front of their peers.

Baris explains:


I don't answer question [during mini lessons]. Some time I think I know ansi
but I don't raise hand. Don't want [to] look stupid, so don't answer question.
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The process of making sense and the process of reconstructing one's competent


student identity involves more than learning how to participate in official activities;


also involves learning how to avoid participating so that one does not jeopardize his

competent student status.

While the atypical ESOL students refrain from answering questions during early

mini lessons, some of the early mini lessons do provide fertile territory for reconstructing


their competent student identities.


During the first quarter of the school year, both Mrs.


Nunley and Mrs. Goode conduct mini lessons that teach students how to operate the


computers in the sixth-grade computer laboratory. These mini lessons help the atypical

ESOL students resurrect their competent student identities. Unlike the typical ESOL


students, the atypical ESOL students bring computer expertise to the writing workshop


classroom.


When Mrs. Nunley and Mrs. Goode conduct mini lessons on how to use the


computers, the atypical ESOL students are able to participate in some manner.


following field notes capture the experiences of Torrance and Baris, the atypical ESOL

students in Mrs. Nunley's writing workshop, during an early mini lesson that focuses on

the computer lab.

Today Mrs. Nunley conducts her mini lesson in the sixth grade computer lab so
that she can demonstrate how to use the computers. To aid her demonstration, she
has a computer hooked up to an overhead projector and can illuminate the


different computer windows on the big screen.


Mrs. Nunley has twelve students


sitting at terminals as she walks them through the process of opening a file, typing


a title, typing a few lines of text, and saving a file.


While the first group of


students works on the computers, the rest of the class sits on the floor watching


and waiting their turn to practice
the nm rec uxrth NArc hmlmnl


:e. Baris is part of the first group walking through
Tnrranor citc nn the flnnr niith the









not. Click this box to center.


This box to move it to the left.


Baris has no trouble following the teacher's directives.


and familiar with computers.


He seems comfortable


Torrance sits on the floor with an intense look of


concentration on his face as he stares at the big screen.


He has yet to take his eyes


off the big screen when Mrs. Nunley demonstrates the different features of the


computer.


This is one of the first times I have seen Torrance pay such close


attention to a mini lesson.


He is usually staring down at the floor.


Not today.


Nunley:


Go to edit and select "select all." This highlights the whole piece.
Line spaces 1.5, this is how your piece should look for a teacher edit.


gives me room to write comments.


Baris:


So for teacher edits, I want a 1.5 line


space. (Baris raises his hand and Mrs. Nunley calls on him.)
What spacing for final?


Nunley:


I'm just getting to that.
space. For final copies


When you print final copies, you will single
spacing goes back to one. (Nunley demonstrates


on the big screen so students can see the difference between the line
spaces.)

Instead of demonstrating how to use the computers in the computer lab, Mrs.

Goode demonstrates the process inside the classroom with one computer hooked up to


the overhead projector.


The following field notes capture Sungho's


experiences during


the early mini lessons that focus on the computer lab.

After demonstrating the function of many of the keys, Mrs. Goode types the
following sentences which are illuminated on the large screen for the class to


Goode:


(says the words out loud as she types) "In writing class, we will be using
MAC computers part of the time. You need to go to the computer with


draft one and draft one conference complete.


your own.


In the lab, you work on


You do not talk and visit or help anyone else.


Goode:


Now the next thing I want to show you is font size.


I want you to use a


size 14 font.


(Mrs. Goode demonstrates on the big screen.)


Sungho:
Goode:
Sungho:
Goode:


(giggling)


Do 100.


looks over at Sungho)
(Giggling) Do 100.


What was that?


(amused) Oh, you want me to show the class what a font size of 100


lnnks like


Okayv


I can do that.


(Mrs.


Goode highlights the text on the


I





74


The computer lab mini lessons help reconstruct the competent student identities of


the atypical ESOL students.


While Baris is unable to answer questions during other early


mini lessons, he is able to ask questions in the early computer lab mini lessons given his


own computer expertise.


When some students struggle simply to keep up with the


demonstration, Baris asks questions about topics the teacher has not yet had a chance to


cover.


"Computer best part of writing workshop.


I know how to operate computers. I


feel good in lab.


Know what doing.


Sungho shares Baris's


feelings about the computer


lab. Not only does Sungho reveal a hint of his knowledge about computers when he asks

the teacher to change the font size to 100, but he also uses the official classroom stage to


begin the process of winning classmates over.


"I think funny when ask teacher 100 and


she do it.


Everybody like it.


They think that cool."


Sungho's seemingly simple request


allows him simultaneously to demonstrate his knowledge about computers and at the

same time forge somewhat of an "inroad" (Dyson, 1993a) into the peer social world of


his writing workshop.


Like the young children in Dyson's


study (1993a) who forge


inroads into the peer social world of their first grade classroom when they amuse their

peers with their raps and chants, Sungho also forges an inroad into the peer social world


of his writing workshop when he amuses his peers with a silly request.

see the enlarged font on the screen, they collectively "ohh and ahh," in


approval.


When classmates


idicating their


Such approval cultivates bonds between Sungho and his classmates and fosters


social cohesion.

The computer lab mini lessons also helo Torrance resurrect his competent student





75


word Mrs. Nunley say [during computer mini lessons], but I know computer and I listen.


I love computer.


I use computer [at] home.


I learn use computer [at] school." Not only


is Torrance mentally engaged in the computer lab mini lessons, but when it is his turn to

sit at a computer terminal and walk through the process with Mrs. Nunley, he even is able

to help another student:


Nunley:


The font size I want you to use


is 16.


Click on 16.


Torrance looks at what Mrs. Nunley does then clicks on 16.


Jacob, the student


sitting to the left of Torrance has difficulty keeping up with the lesson. Torrance
reaches over and clicks on 16 using Jacob's mouse. They exchange no words, but


Jacob nods his head indicating his appreciation. W


hen Mrs. Nunley


gives a new directive, Torrance watches what she does on the large screen, and


without a moment's hesitation, he does the same.


After he follows the


teacher's directive, he helps Jacob when he needs it.

The computer lab mini lessons allow Torrance to adopt a "helpful" student stance.

By adopting a "helpful" student stance, Torrance is able to demonstrate his computer


expertise and competence.


Torrance sums it up best himself when he says,


"I like


computer.


I feel better in lab.


Know what doing....Can help other kid."


Drafting


At the beginning of the year, the atypical ESOL students engage in non-genuine

behavior in an attempt to make sense of drafting a composition in English, their second


language. When the atypical ESOL students are unable to write a personal narrative in

Ms. Nunley's writing workshop or a friendly letter in Mrs. Goode's writing workshop,


they engage in behavior that makes it appear as if they are drafting a piece of writing like


everyone else in class.


Unable to write a complete sentence in English, Baris copies the








projector.


After Sungho copies Mrs. Goode's letter, he copies the letter again another


day using his own copy as a template.


The letter or portions of the letter get copied


several times during the early weeks of writing workshop.

On the surface, Sungho's behavior looks like that of any other student in this


writing workshop classroom.


When they write, he writes.


The difference, however, is


that when the other students write, they genuinely compose drafts of friendly letters,


while Sungho only mimics the behavior of the drafting process using Mrs. Goode'


model friendly letter.


However, Sungho does not merely copy the model friendly letter


day after day in writing workshop.


Like other students drafting a letter, he crosses out


lines and words, looks up words in a dictionary, crumbles his paper after writing a few


lines, and begins the process all over again.


The following field notes reflect Sungho's


behavior during the early weeks of writing workshop when he uses Mrs. Goode's


model


friendly letter as a prop for participating in writing workshop.

Alicia and Jeremy pass out writing folders to the students while Mrs. Goode
conducts Status of the Class. After Sungho's writing folder is laid on the table in
front of him, he opens it and removes multiple drafts of a friendly letter he has


been working on all week.


He swings his book bag up on the table and removes a


bottle of white out, a three ring binder, and a pen, then returns his book bag to the
floor. Sungho looks through the letters on his table. He then picks up one letter
and reads it, running his finger under the words and quietly mouthing the words to


himself.


After he reads this letter, he picks up another letter and proceeds to read


it in the same manner.
reading each of them.


He spends six minutes looking through the letters and
Takes out a clean sheet of paper and begins to copy a new


letter addressed to Meiko.


Spends six minutes slowly copying the letter.


Opens


his bottle of white out and blots out two entire lines.


Spends another two minutes


alternately waving the paper in the air and blowing on the white out in order to
dry it. Starts copying the letter again. Writes two lines. Reads it and writes one
more line ByRv the end oftoday's writing workshon Siinnho reconies half of the









behavior early in the year when he is expected to draft a composition is shown in these

notes.


Torrance sits at his table removing books and a three ring binder from his


book


bag. He opens the binder, taking out several sheets of paper, and slowly returning
the binder to his book bag, taking his time to completely zip close the bag.
Torrance counts the sheets of paper and then makes sure they are neatly stacked


together by lining the corners up.


In the meantime, Mrs. Nunley roams around


the room answering questions and keeping students on task.


When Mrs. Nunley


nears Torrance's table, Torrance opens his Chinese-English dictionary, flipping
through the pages until he stops on one. He runs his finger down the page like he


is looking for a particular word. When


Mrs. Nunley moves to the other side of the


room to stop two boys who are talking and laughing, Torrance closes the
dictionary and follows Mrs. Nunley with his eyes. When Mrs. Nunley stops at the
table across the room, Torrance unzips his book bag and starts placing the books
inside one at a time, leaving the Chinese-English dictionary on the table in front
of him.

The atypical ESOL students spend the early weeks of the school year engaging in

behavior that make them look like they are writing or behavior that at least makes them


look busy during writing workshop.


After engaging in behavior that gives the appearance


of authentic participation, the atypical ESOL students, at different points in the year,


bring drafts of writing to class.


The English proficiency displayed in the drafts exceeds


what one might expect from students who, at this point in the year, seem unable to


compose a complete sentence in their second language.


Later, when the students are


asked about their early pieces of writing, Baris says,


My dad help me write some of my early pieces when I didn't know what to do.


know I want to write about my three little turtles.


I had my three little turtles in


Turkey.


I love my turtles.


They die, but I love them. I want to write about them.


It was hard writing in English.


didn't know how to tell story in English.


dad help me write story in English... .He make me say the story in our language.


When I cnv the stnrv he sav


"Now tell me the storv in English."


I tell him the








My mother help write first piece.


piece on reptile.


We get book, little book, on reptile and write


We not know story should be personal narrative about my life.


do piece on reptile.


My mother read book with me.


She tell me what word in


book say.


I understand some word, but my mother tell the word in Chinese when


don't understand.


My mom give me the word in Chinese.


reptile, I write piece about reptile.
English word for what I say.


I sit upstairs on comput(


After read about
er. She tell me the


Sungho explains that his parents hire a tutor to work with him after school three days a

week.


When I [was] having trouble [in] English, I get tutor. She work [with] me and


write piece [with] me.
[can] bring it to school.
help with [the] words.


Ms. Conner help very much.


We write piece together so I


I understand what to do (the assignment).


I just need


The native-like quality of the atypical ESOL student's early work is revealed in

excerpts from "My Three Little Turtles" written by Baris with extensive help from his

father and "Reptiles" written by Torrance with extensive help from his mother


I had three little turtles called Edi, Budu and Dudu.


always went out of their aquarium.


They could swim.


I don't know how they did that.


But they


One night I


was thirsty and I went to the kitchen to get some water.


little things on the floor.


I thought they were my turtles.


Suddenly I saw three
I wanted to check that.


When I moved my legs, I tripped over something, and I fell down.


what it was because it was dark.
heard the noice [sic] and came in


I didn't know


I hurt my left leg and arm. My mom and dad
to the kitchen. They said "What happened?"


told them the story and they laughed and laughed.

An excerpt from Torrance's writing also reveals the native-like quality of his early work.


There are many types of reptiles.


Reptiles can be divided into four major groups.


The first group is made up of turtles and tortoises.
of snakes and lizards. The third group is made up


The fourth group is made up of a tuatara.


The second group is made up
of crocodiles and alligators.


The tuatara looks like a lizard, but it is


a different type of reptile.


I









States, they are not prepared to draft independently compositions in English.


Sitting in


class unable to draft a composition creates overwhelming anxiety for the atypical ESOL


students.


Baris says,


I know I suppose to write a story, a real story about me.
three little turtles I have in Turkey, but I can't. I feel so
nervous. My stomach doesn't feel so good then. I feel


I want to write about my
bad...so scared...so
like I going to be sick


then.


I learn so many words in English when I live in Turkey.


But here I forget.


I try to write my story, but I can't.


feel so bad.


I sit in class and I don't know how write.


I


Everyone around me writing, but I can't do it.


Torrance conveys similar thoughts and feelings.


"Beginning of year in writing workshop


very bad when we have to write.


I not understand what teacher say.


I not know what do.


I hate it.


I not know what teacher mean when say personal narrative.


For the atypical ESOL students, parental or tutorial help reduces their anxiety and

provides the boys with a prop that allows them to participate in writing workshop like all


the other students in class.


More specifically, the parent-child compositions operate like


a prop in the sense that the ESOL students are able to use the compositions to continue

mimicking the behavior of students engaged in the process of drafting a composition.

Instead of writing "My three turtles" over and over again, Baris recopies the composition


he brings to class.


Instead of making himself look busy by shifting books in and out of


his bag, and looking up words in his Chinese-English dictionary, Torrance also recopies


his composition.


Instead of copying Mrs. Goode's model friendly letter over and over


again, Sungho recopies his own co-authored composition.


Although the atypical ESOL


students are not yet able to draft compositions independently in English, the parent-child








At least when I bring my piece to school about my three little turtles the piece
my dad help with me, I feel better. I feel, I don't know, I feel more safe. It easier
to copy my piece over again. Just writing "my three turtles" over and over again,
and over and over again, not really good. I didn't want anyone see what I was
doing. Then they might find out....They might see that I don't write so good in
English....When I have my piece in class about my three little turtles, it feel


better.


I don't care if someone see my work because I have piece done.


Sungho also explains that he feels better when he brings a completed composition to


class.


"I glad when bring piece [to] class.


I didn't really know what [to] do before.


hard writing in English.


I try but I need tutor help.


At this point in the year, the atypical ESOL students rely on help they receive


from others outside their classrooms in order to make sense of writing workshop.


Baris


and Torrance rely on the help of their parents, while Sungho relies on the tutor his parents


hire for him.


While Sungho's parents are unable to provide extensive help themselves,


given their own limited second language literacy skills, they are able to provide a tutor


for their son.


Without parental intervention, the atypical ESOL students may have


remained on the sidelines of writing workshop, unable to participate.


With parental


intervention, however, at this point in the year, they are able at least to move onto the


playing field and look like players.


In other words, the help the atypical ESOL students


receive from their parents or from the tutor allows them to participate in writing

workshop early in the year, long before they develop second language literacy skills.

The pseudo-behavior the atypical ESOL students engage in the process of

learning to write in a second language is not unlike the psuedo-behavior that Platt (1996)

discusses when examining the experiences of Mary. an ESOL student in a mainstream








making, remembering, and other cognitive activities"


(Platt, 1996, p.34).


In fact, early in


the year, Torrance and Sungho adopt coping behaviors similar to that of Mary when they


are unable to draft prose independently.


Torrance stalls for time by looking up several


words in his Chinese-English dictionary and rearranging items in his book bag;


Sungho


stalls for time by writing and erasing the same words over and over again; while Mary

stalls for time by "rolling her eyes upwards as if thinking, writing, then immediately

erasing what she had written, sharpening her pencils, or looking for an item in her school


bag or on her desk" (Platt, 1996, p. 31).


Unlike Mary, however, the pseudo-behavior of


the atypical ESOL students in this study is only temporary.


While Mary's pseudo-


behavior extends into the next school year and derails her academically, the pseudo-

behavior of the atypical ESOL students declines over time as they learn to write in a

second language independently.

Not only do Baris, Torrance, and Sungho receive extensive parental help in the

process of learning to write in a second language, but, they also have well-developed first


language literacy skills, unlike Mary.


That is, the atypical ESOL students in this study


enter sixth-grade in the United States with the ability to read and write in their native


languages.


This study supports the findings of several researchers who suggest that


literacy skills developed in the first language not only transfer to the second language but

also are crucial to academic success in the second language ( Au, 1993; Bialystok, 1991;

Cummins, 1986a, 1986b, 1991; Cummins & Swain, 1986; Freeman & Freeman, 1992;


Genesee. 1987.


1994: I.indholm. 1991: Snow. 1990: Wone Fillmore & Valdez. 1986.









know how to read and write in their first language.


The pseudo-behavior of the atypical


ESOL students declines because they genuinely develop second language writing skills,

and thus they have no need to engage in pseudo-behavior.

Writing Conferences


Parent Conferences


Conducting conferences with others about one's writing is an important


component of the writing workshop model.


Both Mrs. Nunley and Mrs. Goode expect


students to participate in three conferences with each piece of writing.


For the first two


conferences, students in both writing workshops have the option of sharing their writing


with a peer in the classroom or an adult at home.


Mrs. Goode asks peers or parents to


focus exclusively on matters of content when conducting the first two conferences.


order to facilitate the peer/parent conferences, Mrs. Goode provides a conference form


with a list of questions that conference partners are asked to consider.


The list includes


the following questions:


Does the piece make sense?
Does it have enough information?
Does it "show" instead of "tell"?
Does the beginning grab your attention?
Do you want to read more?
Does it have a good ending?
Does the title grab you?
Is this piece the best it could be?


Mrs. Nunley asks peers or parents to focus on both content and editing matters


when conducting the first two conferences.


Like Mrs. Goode, Mrs. Nunley also provides








writer.


Ask him or her to react to the content.


enough information or too much information.


not be confusing.


Discuss whether there is
Above all, the content must


Once the content is set, it's time to look at the


mechanics, the punctuation and spelling. With each draft, record two skills
mastered and two skills that need improvement. Ideally, the two skills that
need improvement should become the skills mastered on the next draft.


Choose specific skills.
1. their = ownership


Instead of saying "improve spelling," say...
!. Run a spell check before printing the draft.


Mrs. Nunley also includes a comprehensive list of suggestions conference partners can

consider when reading and conferring about a particular draft on the backside of the


conference form.


After each conference with a peer or parent, Mrs. Goode and Mrs.


Nunley expect students to revise their papers based on the conference partners'

suggestions.

While many monolingual students in the writing workshops conduct conferences

with peers, the atypical ESOL students almost exclusively conduct their writing

conferences at home with their parents, or the tutor hired by their parents, during the


early part of the school year.


By conferencing with their parents or the tutor, the atypical


ESOL students are able to engage in all stages of process writing in their respective


writing workshops without exposing linguistic vulnerabilities to others.


The parents and


tutor complete the conference forms, with little input from the students, adding

appropriate comments in the designated boxes and sending the atypical ESOL students


back to school with revised and edited drafts.


The atypical ESOL students propel the


writing process forward by copying their revised and edited drafts inside their writing


workshops.


The second writing draft involves mechanically copying the changes made









write on conference sheet I bring home.


Then he take piece and fix problem with


grammar or something like that. He tell me bring piece to school and make
changes he make. I bring to school and copy with the changes my dad make.


Torrance also comments on his early conferences with his mother when he says,


[My] mom tell me need two conference.


time.


She need conference with me two


She fill out conference form, staple to paper and I bring to school.


don't talk about paper at beginning year.


I bring school and start next


draft.

Sungho's comments about his early writing conferences with his tutor reflect a similar

experience.


Ms. Conner read conference paper I bring home.
fill out Mrs. Goode conference form. She make


out line.


She add line.


Now it time for second d


She tell what need to do. She


changes] on piece. She cross
raft. I copy and write changes


she make.

Many of the revisions made by the parents and tutor, particularly the editorial

revisions, are beyond the current level of development of the atypical ESOL students. Ir

Vygotskian terms, the editing feedback is beyond their zone of proximal development at


the beginning of the school year.


Even though the early pieces do not need extensive


editing, given the co-authored nature of the writing, the parents and tutor include

comments about grammar, punctuation, or usage on the students' conference forms.


Some of the early editing comments include:


"Maintain verb tense," "Include articles


'to' and 'a' in sentences," and "Be careful not to use nouns as verbs."


At this point in the


year, the atypical ESOL students report having difficulty understanding the feedback they


receive from their parents and the tutor about editing matters.


Baris says,


After mrv dad rnmnlete the trnnferene fnrm I aSkIC


"What that anv9"


H- tell me








errors he fix.
error is fix.


My dad fix error on paper and tell me now write draft two.


He tell me don't worry.


Just bring to school tomorrow.


Torrance and Sungho share similar comments when asked about the editing their


parents or tutor do at the beginning of the year.


Torrance says,


"My mom do conference


sheet.


She tell me what need do.


I copy [but] not understand beginning of year


everything she fix with grammar things like that.


Sungho says,


"When tutor find


problem with punctuation or grammar she fix for me then.


She fix.


I write over."


While


the atypical ESOL students all participate in writing conferences at the beginning of the

year, the feedback they receive from their parents or from the tutor regarding editing is

beyond their current level of comprehension with respect to second language writing.

Even though the atypical ESOL students do not comprehend all the revisions and all the

sentence-level editing done by their parents and the tutor, they recopy their drafts making


the necessary changes suggested by their parents and the tutor.


The content and editorial


revisions made by the parents and tutor masks the writing proficiency of the atypical


ESOL students at the beginning of the year.


That is, the content and editorial revisions


make the writing of the atypical ESOL students appear more advanced than it actually is.

The writing conferences the parents and the tutor conduct with the atypical ESOL

students enhance the competent student status of the atypical ESOL students, particularly

in the eyes of the writing workshop teachers.

When I saw the completed conference forms, I knew that these students were


going to be okay.


That doesn't mean they won't struggle with the


language. But with the help they get at home, I know they're going to be
okay These are hardworking students who have parents who care about their








could conduct the kind of conferences that Sungho's parents couldn't, I knew


he would be okay.


His dad is a dentist, and the family really values education.


After the writing workshop teachers see that the parents and the tutor of the atypical

ESOL students are able to help at home, given their own well-developed English writing

skills, they begin seeing the atypical ESOL students as competent students who will


develop second language literacy skills over the course of the school year.


Mrs. Nunley


even says,


"You watch.


Mark my words.


By the end of the year, Baris and Torrance are


going to be writing pieces in English that look like the pieces of native speakers of

English."

Teacher Conferences


After students conduct two writing conferences with either a peer or a parent, they


are expected to conduct a conference with their writing workshop teachers.


the third and final conference is editing. The

themselves as the students' final copy editor.


that may have been missed.


perfect.


The focus of


: writing workshop teachers describe

They explain that their job is to catch errors


"When you go to final copy, your piece should be near


It is my job to help you correct all the errors that were missed" (Mrs. Goode).


While the writing workshop teachers correct all errors on a particular draft, when

conducting writing conferences, they focus on teaching only one or two skills related to


those errors, in order to avoid information overload.


After the teachers conduct a skills


lesson in the course of the conference, students are required to write the skill on a


handout titled "Skills I Need to Work On.


This handout is kept in the students' writing









monolingual students in class.


writing conferences.


The atypical ESOL students participate in teacher-directed


Their participation in these conferences, however, is non-genuine in


the sense that the writing workshop teachers tend to address their comments to the


parents or tutor rather than to the students themselves.


The writing workshop teachers


attempt to conduct grammar lessons with the atypical ESOL students, but when it is

apparent that the students have difficulty understanding, they rely on the parents and tutor


to intervene.


The writing workshop teachers solicit parental or tutorial intervention


during early student-teacher writing conferences:


Nunley:


(Flipping through the pages of Baris's writing)


This looks good, Baris.


You have draft one, draft two, and you conducted two conferences with


your dad.


Good.


Now let's see what you wrote about.


(Mrs. Nunley


Nunley:


begins reading the draft out loud while Baris follows along.)
(As Mrs. Nunley reads the paper, she pauses to correct errors.)


"A few


days before coming to America, I spend a night in my best friend's


house."


Past tense.


That should be spent, not spend.


(Writes "spent" in


the margin and continues reading the draft)


"In the morning, they went


to their summer house.


They, reference confusion."


(Circles the word


"they" and writes "who")


Who does they refer to, Baris?


Baris:


(With a confused look on his face)


Umm?


Nunley: "They" in this sentence (pointing to the word) who are they?
Baris: What you mean?


Nunley:


"They."


Do you mean your best friend and his family?


Baris:


(Doesn't respond but looks confused by the line of questioning)


Nunley:


Okay.


You just need to state who the they are.


Otherwise it is


confusing for your readers.


Don't worry about it.


Just have your dad


look back over this with you.


When he sees what I wrote in the


margin, he'll know what I mean and he can explain it to you better.
(Mrs. Nunley continues reading the draft and correcting errors along
the way, but she stops providing explanations about the corrections she
makes during the remainder of Baris's conference.)

Here is Mrs. Nunley soliciting Mrs. Hu's help when conferencing with









says "verb tense" and avoid starting sentences with the word "so."
Good. Listen to your mom, Torrance, she knows what she's talking


about.


I'll let her continue helping with the verb tense problem.


In the


meantime, there are some formatting problems you need to take care


of. (Pointing to the date on the letter) Yc
closing, and signature with the TAB key.


,u need to line up the date,
See they're not lined up.


think you need to hit the Tab key eight times. It doesn't really matter
how many times as long as the date is lined up with the closing and the
closing is lined up with the signature. Do you understand?
Torrance says nothing while he keeps his head bowed.


Nunley:


Okay.


Torrance, just give your mom the letter with my comments.


She'll know how to help you.


(Without saying anything else to


Torrance, Mrs. Nunley writes on the conference form,


separate greeting from body of letter."


"Two returns


She then writes "2 returns"


next to the greeting on the letter itself and hands the papers back to
Torrance with a gentle smile.)


Nunley:


Just give this to your mom, Torrance.


She'll explain it to you.


Mrs. Goode solicits help from Sungho's tutor during a teacher writing

conference:


Goode:


Sungho, your piece about your father is well organized and it has good
paragraphing. One thing I want to focus on right now is the comma.
You're missing some commas. I marked three areas I want you to look


at. (Points to the place she wants Sungho to look at on the page.)


to the first part of the sentence.


Listen


(Reads the sentence from Sungho's


piece) "If I do something wrong." That can't stand by itself.


It needs a


comma before the part that can stand by itself, "he gets mad and I get


scared."


If I do something wrong, comma (Mrs. Goode adds a comma


Sungho


to the sentence on the page) he gets mad and I get scared.
: (with a confused look on his face) I don't understand.


Why you put


comma .


Mrs. Goode:


just f


(smiles and laughs) I didn't think so. That's okay
"ne, Sungho. There's three places you need to put


Marking the commas on the page.)


r


Here, here, and here.


. You're doing
commas.


When do


you see your tutor again'


Sungho:
Goode:


Tomorrow.


Just show her your draft.


Show her where I added commas and ask her


to review the rules.








Mrs. Nunley means by reference confusion, Mrs. Nunley simply instructs him to show


his dad the draft with her comments so that he can explain it to him.


When Sungho is


confused about the use of commas or other mechanical features early in the year, Mrs.


Goode instructs him to work with his tutor.


When conferencing with Torrance, Mrs.


Nunley does not attempt to conduct grammar lessons during the course of a conference,


given his limited English language skills.


Instead, she reviews the comments Mrs. Hu


writes on the conference form and then encourages Torrance to continue working with


his mother at home on matters of grammar.


If an additional grammatical matter comes


up that Mrs. Nunley wants Mrs. Hu to address with Torrance, Mrs. Nunley simply solicits


Mrs. Hu's


help.


While Mrs. Nunley generally does not deal with grammatical matters


during Torrance's early writing conferences, she does attempt to address matters of form.

For example, in the above quoted field notes, Mrs. Nunley attempts to explain that the


date, closing, and signature should be lined up in a friendly letter.


Once again, when it is


apparent that Torrance does not understand Mrs. Nunley, she solicits Mrs. Hu's help.

While the writing workshop teachers rely on parental or tutorial intervention

when working with Baris and Sungho, parental intervention is particularly extensive and

important with respect to Torrance and his process of making sense throughout much of


the school year.


According to Mrs. Nunley, "Torrance would not have survived this year


without his mother's help, particularly at the beginning of the year when he didn't seem


to understand anything I said.


Even though Torrance linguistically does not understand


nl-irCh nCtl1th taorakr anA ctiAn,-rt tlk- parln in fhP /oor hb iinPAcretnAo th nrnr^cc hr 10








such, Torrance is able to participate in all stages of process writing because of his


mother's intervention.


His participation and the participation of the other atypical ESOL


students may be non-genuine in the sense that they go through the motions of

participating in teacher-directed writing conferences without comprehending much of


what their teachers say.


Their participation, however, in the teacher-directed writing


conferences establishes important lines of communication between parent/tutor and


writing workshop teacher.


These lines of communication help the atypical ESOL


students make sense of process writing in a second language.

The atypical ESOL students receive extensive parental help in the process of


learning to write in a second language.


Unlike the few other studies that focus on the


experiences of atypical ESOL students in mainstream settings, particularly mainstream

writing workshop settings, this study sheds light on the nature of the help that parents of


atypical ESOL students often are able to provide.


Fu and Townsend (1998), for example,


discuss the positive affect that a writing workshop has on the writing development of one


atypical ESOL student in a mainstream second-grade writing workshop.


parental support, however, is not examined.


The nature of


Given their own English proficiency, the


parents of the atypical ESOL students in this study are able to draft compositions for their

children and intervene on their behalf when they do not understand a classroom activity.

While many factors contribute to the second language writing development of atypical

ESOL students, parental help also plays a significant role in the process of learning to

write in n peennd lInonirnfe