Delving into Third Space

Supporting Multilingual and Multicultural Students’ Writing


  • Margarita Zisselsberger Loyola University
  • Lori Czop Assaf Texas State University - San Marcos
  • Sunita Singh Le Moyne College



multilingual and multicultural students, third space, writing, writing pedagogy


As the number of pupils who are multilingual and multicultural continues to increase in the United States, finding ways to best support these learners’ writing has become a priority. This project explores the creation and use of third spaces that support writing in three diverse urban classroom contexts. Ethnographic case studies reveal the ways in which teachers created third spaces for multicultural and multilingual students’ voices to be heard (Bakhtin, 1986; Dyson, 2003). Findings suggest that co-constructing third spaces can contribute to a writing pedagogy that includes multilingual and multicultural student discourse(s) while expanding the social and practical purposes for writing. These findings have implications for teacher educators, researchers, and classroom teachers with regard to the power of co-constructed spaces where students’ lives and languages are used as the foundation for merging school and local networks.

Author Biographies

Margarita Zisselsberger, Loyola University

Margarita Zisselsberger is an Assistant Professor in Literacy at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore, Maryland. Her research interests include the language and literacy development of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD ) learners. Recent publication includes a co-authored chapter in T. Lucas (ed.), Envisioning Possibilities: Preparing All Teachers to Teach English Language Learners. New York: Taylor & Francis.

Lori Czop Assaf, Texas State University - San Marcos

Lori Czop Assaf is an Associate Professor in Curriculum and Instruction at Texas State University – San Marcos and is the Director of the Central Texas Writing Project. Her research is in adolescent writing instruction, teacher education, and literacy assessment. She has published several articles and book chapters on teacher education, writing instruction for English language learners, and literacy assessment.

Sunita Singh, Le Moyne College

Sunita Singh, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Education at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York. Dr. Singh’s current research explores ways in which teachers can be supported to provide developmentally appropriate literacy instruction to all children, especially in classrooms that are culturally and linguistically diverse. Dr. Singh’s recent publications include an article in the Journal of Reading Education and a co-authored chapter in the Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts.


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How to Cite

Zisselsberger, M., Czop Assaf, L., & Singh, S. (2012). Delving into Third Space: Supporting Multilingual and Multicultural Students’ Writing. Writing and Pedagogy, 4(1), 69–97.



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