Making Room for Identity in Second-Language Writing
The Promise and Possibilities of Dual Language Identity Texts
Keywords:identity texts, Second language writing, cultural and linguistic diversity, multiliteracies, critical literacy, case study
The case studies in this article represent the work of two elementary teachers who integrated their students’ identities into the literacy curriculum. Drawing on Cummins’ (2001) concept of identity investment, academic engagement, and multiliteracies theory, I discuss and analyze samples of students’ dual language writing and document the teaching practices that made these identity texts possible. Interview data from student participants and examples of their work illustrate the ways in which students re-imagine their identities by engaging with writing in both languages. The work of these students demonstrates the power that writing can have as a medium for students to express their identities. This study further shows that teaching writing through the use of personal narratives and cultural stories affords students opportunities to build their own cultural capital in relation to the expectations of academic writing.
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