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Culturally Mediated Writing Instruction
This paper presents the actions of two high school English language arts teachers as they engage in writing instruction with adolescent English learners. Using a naturalistic, qualitative methodology we investigate the actions two high school English language arts teachers engage in to meet the needs of their students. Findings suggest that embracing the students’ resources, building on linguistic knowledge, taking time to choose the right books and activities, being explicit about writer’s workshop and accepting its frenetic pace because it meets the students’ needs, and using the act of writing as a thinking activity, were the actions that made a difference to promote student success.
The authors present a model for generative learning for adolescent English learners, grounding their research in a sociocultural approach to literacy learning. Drawing on human system dynamics, the authors focus on professional development of teacher utilizing an inquiry-based workshop approach. The authors present an analysis of their reflexive narratives about their work in academic writing instruction.
Culturally Mediated Writing Instruction invites students to take an inquiry stance toward issues of interest and significance—exploring issues, framing questions, gathering information, synthesizing findings into messages, publishing or presenting their findings, and assessing their efforts before moving on to other inquiries. CMWI can be seen as a rich and dynamic landscape of literacy tasks, routines, practices, materials, and dialogues that invites students to ask questions and to look for answers to those questions. Data from four high-school classrooms illustrate that CMWI teachers made interdependent and layered instructional decisions in response to students' needs, and that they provided mediation toward for primary goals or instructional targets: confidence and risk-taking; concept development and content knowledge; skills and strategies for meaning-making; and linguistic awareness and cross-linguistic transfer.