Teachers’ Expectations and Learners’ Efforts

Literacy Practices of Mexican Multilingual Writers


  • Virginia Lo Castro Educational Testing Service




second language writing, multilingual writers, literacy skills, Mexican students, Mexican educational system, writing instruction


Writing teachers are at the forefront in helping newcomers become members of the academic discourse community as writers of essays, reports, and dissertations. Newcomers may be native English-speaking, nontraditional students with limited writing skills or multilingual learners whose primary language is not English. The gap between their limited rhetorical practices and the norms of their professional disciplines concerns educational institutions seeking to facilitate the development of these students’ literacy skills. To lessen that gap and provide information on an underresearched population, this article reports on an exploratory case study of students at a Mexican university enrolled in a Chicano literature course taught in English. The data-based study adopts a situated literacy theoretical approach to learn about participants’ efforts to become successful multilingual writers. It is part of a larger ethnographic study of the rhetorical literacy practices of Mexican multilingual writers concerning the sociocultural context of writing instruction in the contemporary Mexican educational system. An understanding of students’ literacy practices in the local context can help researchers and teachers to better understand problems and issues regarding academic writing from participants’ perspectives.

Author Biography

Virginia Lo Castro, Educational Testing Service

Virginia Lo Castro has taught academic writing and carried out research projects on multilingual writers in Japan, Slovakia, and Mexico. She was formerly Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Florida and directed the Academic Written English Program for international students in graduate programs. She is now a full-time test developer at Educational Testing Service in Princeton, New Jersey. Her recent book, Pragmatics for Language Educators: A Sociolinguistic Perspective, was published by Routledge in 2011.



How to Cite

Lo Castro, V. (2013). Teachers’ Expectations and Learners’ Efforts: Literacy Practices of Mexican Multilingual Writers. Writing and Pedagogy, 5(1), 57–82. https://doi.org/10.1558/wap.v5i1.57



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