L1 and L2 adolescents’ perspectives on writing within and across academic disciplines

Examining the role of agency in writing development


  • Jill V. Jeffery Leiden University
  • Kristen C. Wilcox University at Albany--State University of New York




adolescent literacy, discourse analysis, writing pedagogy, disciplinary literacy


To investigate a diverse sample of adolescent writers’ experiences with disciplinary writing, this study compared 66 adolescents’ perceptions of writing through an analysis of interviews as part of a national study. Grounded in a social constructivist framework that stresses the role of agency in the development of writing competence, the study aims to examine factors – including language background and prior writing experiences – that are associated with adolescents’ perceptions of their writing development. The study asked: How do L1 and L2 adolescents’ perceptions of writing development compare? To what extent, if at all, is agency implicated in patterns of variation? Results of the comparative analysis suggest that varying affordances and constraints, and combinations of these, relate to adolescents’ expressed agency toward writing. Affordances include opportunities to select personally relevant subjects and to develop writing through feedback and revision processes; constraints include the use of highly structured writing scaffolds, formulas, and tightly constrained topics. Implications for differentiated scaffolding of writing instruction that might affectively and cognitively engage diverse adolescent learners are discussed.

Author Biographies

Jill V. Jeffery, Leiden University

JIll V. Jeffery is University Lecturer of English Language and culture at the center for Linguistics, Leiden University.

Kristen C. Wilcox, University at Albany--State University of New York

Kristen campbell is Assistant Professor in the department of Educational Theory and Practice, University at Albany, State University of New york.


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How to Cite

Jeffery, J. V., & Wilcox, K. C. (2016). L1 and L2 adolescents’ perspectives on writing within and across academic disciplines: Examining the role of agency in writing development. Writing and Pedagogy, 8(2), 245–274. https://doi.org/10.1558/wap.28750



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