Writing Across the Curriculum for Secondary School English Language Learners

A Case Study


  • Kristen C. Wilcox The University at Albany




English language learner, Content-area writing, Secondary teaching, Content-area writing instruction, Writing across the curriculum


This study employs ethnographic case study method to explore secondary English language learners’ experiences with content-area writing in a U.S. public school setting. Documentary evidence, interviews, and students’ written work comprise the data set. Data are interpreted through a sociocognitive theoretical lens to take into account contextual and individual cognitive factors that come into play in English language learners’ development of content-specific writing. Findings suggest that a combination of institutional factors (e.g. school program design, state regulations, and state assessment systems) in concert with teacher beliefs and expectations of English language learners impact the content-area writing instruction which English language learners receive. This study points to the need for continued investigation of state policies, school processes, and teacher beliefs and practices that may enhance the quality and breadth of writing English language learners experience as they move through secondary school.

Author Biography

Kristen C. Wilcox, The University at Albany

Kristen Campbell Wilcox holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction – Language in Education and is a Assistant Professor in the Educational Theory and Practice Department of the University at Albany, New York. A former ESL and EFL teacher, her areas of research interest are in the intersections of language, culture, and cognition in multilingual and multicultural educational contexts.


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How to Cite

Wilcox, K. C. (2011). Writing Across the Curriculum for Secondary School English Language Learners: A Case Study. Writing and Pedagogy, 3(1), 79–111. https://doi.org/10.1558/wap.v3i1.79



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