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Abstract

This paper reports on the authoring trajectories of eight Mexican English Language Teaching (ELT) professionals. These professionals were graduate students in an MA program in ELT in central Mexico, from two cohorts: 2005-2007 and 2007-2009. The data gathered from alumni’s CVs, texts and semi-structured interviews revealed significant moments in their authorship processes which were permeated and shaped by their awareness of their contexts, networking and publication practices as well as each participant’s sense of agency. This study demonstrates the importance of explicit and continuous literacy support for publication as well as the critical role of collaboration and mentoring networks in authorship development.
Chapter 3: Trajectories Towards Authorship: Eight Mexican English Language
Teaching Professionals
Fátima Encinas-Prudencio
Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla
ORCID.org/0000-0003-0818-4310
Verónica Sánchez-Hernández
Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla
ORCID.org/0000-0002-3894-2250
Maria Thomas-Ruzic
University of Colorado
ORCID.org/0000-0003-4599-4398
Gicela Cuatlapantzi-Pichón
Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla
ORCID.org/0000-0003-4987-9805
Georgina Aguilar-González
Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla
ORCID.org/0000-0002-7639-9084
Abstract
This paper reports on the authoring trajectories of eight Mexican English Language Teaching
(ELT) professionals. These professionals were graduate students in an MA program in ELT in
central Mexico, from two cohorts: 2005-2007 and 2007-2009. The data gathered from alumni’s
CVs, texts and semi-structured interviews revealed significant moments in their authorship
processes which were permeated and shaped by their awareness of their contexts, networking and
publication practices as well as each participant’s sense of agency. This study demonstrates the
importance of explicit and continuous literacy support for publication as well as the critical role
of collaboration and mentoring networks in authorship development.
Introduction
Latin American scholars are gradually “going more global,” presenting and publishing more
widely in English than ever before, particularly in certain fields and countries (Colina, 2011;
Huggett, 2012). The dominance of publication in English is certainly a major challenge for most
scholars. The need for international English in academic and professional multilingual and
multicultural settings - driven by each country’s priorities, higher education policies and grants –
entails rigorous research and also the English competence required to meet editors’ and
reviewers’ academic writing standards in English. In many Latin American universities, there are
writing and publication resources such as onsite and on-line courses and workshops which have
been introduced to support scholars in the processes of publishing in English. However, the
effectiveness of such resources have also been questioned (Bazerman, Keranen & Encinas, 2012;
Corcoran & Englander, 2016; Curry & Lillis, 2017) mainly because often they tend not to address
the particular practices of the different disciplines and the complexities of publication politics that
multilingual scholars require throughout the entire writing and publication processes.
The thrust of the current chapter comes from a recognition that traditional resources for writing
scholars fall short, and that the key to being able to provide the relevant supports is to better
understand ELT and other professionals’ trajectories towards authorship, including research and
writing apprenticeship processes. Understanding these processes could allow ELT scholar-
mentors with research and publication experience to provide the support that advanced level
writers who want to publish internationally in English require.
Developments in ELT in the Mexican Context
In Mexico as elsewhere, ELT has been developing steadily over the past 40 years. Most Mexican
public and private universities have departments or centers dedicated to the teaching of English
and other foreign languages. As for teacher education and development, nationally, there are 180
undergraduate (ANUIES, 2016) and 12 graduate programs in ELT or related fields such as
Applied Linguistics. Higher education institutions view internationalization and the learning of
English as crucial to gaining and maintaining their competitive position in the future.
Despite the advances, ELT in higher education is still viewed as being in a stage of development
(Ramírez & Dzul, 2013). One critique that persists is that students’ English results fall short of
expectations (Gonzalez, Vivaldo & Castillo, 2004; Davies, 2009). Another common
acknowledgement is that a number of academic, social and political factors have complicated the
implementation of national and institutional policies for English teaching and learning. For
Ramírez and Dzul (2013), advancing the field would imply raising the level of
professionalization of the ELT community.
This chapter reports on a two-yearlong study of eight Mexican ELT professionals working in
higher education contexts. We were able to study their professional careers over the 8 to 10 years
that followed their graduation as Master’s students. Findings from our investigation into these
alumni’s professional paths allowed us to identify characteristics and conditions that shaped each
person’s authorship trajectory.
This study contributes to the understanding that relevant, meaningful support for ELT
professionals must go beyond the emphasis of traditional pre-service training (Pickering &
Gunashekar, 2015) and in-service professional development (Cheung, 2013) to include research
regarding issues that emerge from their teaching practice.
Theoretical Framework
This study adopts the concept of Legitimate Peripheral Participation (LPP) (Lave & Wenger,
1991) related to communities of practice to explore eight ELT professionals in their trajectories
towards authorship. LPP belongs to a social theory of learning which refers to the process a
newcomer undergoes to become a full member of a community of practice depending on his/her
participation. In this process, the newcomer learns through social interaction and collaboration
with old timers as well as the use of tools inherent to the community.
However, driven by the complexity of social systems today, the idea of community of practice
has been explored further by Wenger (1998) and Wenger et al (2015). This theory uses the
concept of learning in landscapes of practice which is “defined by practice, not by institutional
affiliation; … the landscape so defined is a weaving of both boundaries and peripheries”
(Wenger, 1998, p. 118). This theory can illuminate how the participants in this study configure
their authorship through their participation in different communities (often ELT, applied
linguistics, education and others) as well as other activities they engage in.
These processes of becoming full members of any community, however, are not absent of
significant tensions and conflictive negotiations. Gaining legitimacy in a community could imply
considerable time and some may fail to overcome these situations. Trajectories to authorship are
not lineal and are facilitated or affected by numerous personal, social factors and contexts.
Authoring and authorship have often been used interchangeably. For the purposes of this paper,
we will take authoring as the writing of an electronic text or software program and authorship as
the researcher’s production in the broader sense, for example, conference presentations or
workshops and publishing (articles, chapters and books on line or paper).
The challenges to authorship in English by multilingual researchers have
received increasing attention over the last decades (e.g. Flowerdew, 1999, 2001; Lillis & Curry,
2014; Englander 2014). Bazerman and Paradis (1991) and Swales (1998) among others, discuss
the intricacies of varieties of scientific texts in different disciplines. Some recent case
studies have looked at practices and issues related to both authorship and publication in
English in specific discourse communities (Curry & Lillis, 2010; Lillis & Curry, 2014). In
Mexico, Carrasco and Kent (2012) explore the enculturation processes of science PhD students.
Additionally, Bazerman, Keranen and Encinas (2012) discuss facilitating immersion at a distance
in a Physics Department in Mexico.
Publication in ELT by plurilingual scholars in Mexico has been far less studied (Perales-
Escudero, 2010; Crawford, 2010). Roux, Mora and Trejo (2011) uncovered the processes of a
Mexican undergraduate student becoming an author, while Trujeque et. al. (2015) related the
authorship development of experienced ELT Mexican scholars directly to their literacy
development. There are, however, very few longitudinal studies at the initial stages of trajectories
towards authorship and none in ELT.
Methodology
As mentioned before, the study reported in this chapter is a longitudinal multiple case study (Yin,
2003) that seeks to understand ELT professional’s trajectories toward authorship. It combined a
sequential mixed methods approach. We used a convenience sample of eight Mexican
ELT professionals in public universities who were graduates from one of two Master’s cohorts
(2005-2007 or 2007-2009) of an ELT program in a public university in central Mexico. Table 3.1
gives information about the eight participants.
<TABLE 3.1 HERE>
Over an 18-month period, August 2015 to January 2017, three data collection strategies were
used for this study: the participants’ CVs, interviews based on their CVs, and “talk around the
text” (Lillis & Curry, 2010) interviews based on four texts selected by the participants (See
Figure 3.1).
<FIGURE 3.1 HERE>
Participants who agreed to be part of the study sent their updated CVs to the authors. The CVs
were then reviewed and notes were made for later discussion during the follow-up interviews.
The revision of the participants’ CVs gave a panorama of their academic production. These
products were categorized according to their role as: 1) presenters 2) authors in publications, 3)
thesis readers and thesis supervisors (see Table 3.2).
<TABLE 3.2 HERE>
The first interviews were modified subject-object (S-O) interviews (Lahey et al. 1988). These
were one-on-one, open-ended interviews lasting about one hour in which participants were
invited to select events or developments in their academic and professional lives from their CVs.
As part of the subject-object protocol the interviewer provided the eight participants ten index
cards containing a prompt: angry, anxious, successful, standing up for your beliefs, confused, sad,
moved, surprised, change, important to me. Then they were asked to choose one or two cards and
discuss how the cards they chose were related to events or developments in their CVs. Interviews
took place via Skype or in person and were recorded and transcribed. Both interviewees and
interviewers were known to each other, having been in past relationships as student-
professor/mentor or current relationships as colleagues. Interviewers probed with questions
asking participants about relevant entries in their CVs and asking them to reflect further on how
these were meaningful and relevant to them.
The second interviews were based on “talk around text”, and involved a dialogue between the
participant and the researcher in search of an in-depth understanding of the participants’ literacy
practices. The participants were asked to send four texts--one in Spanish and three in English--
that they considered relevant for their professional development for whatever reasons. They were
asked to talk about their texts in an open-ended interview that lasted approximately one hour.
Thus, although literacy practices themselves are unobservable and constantly changing (Barton &
Hamilton, 2000), the talk around the text approach used in the second interview and mediated by
participants’ own texts provided windows into their literacy practices.
The analysis of the data from the CVs and the S-O interviews were interwoven with the analysis
of the data collected by the “talk around text” interview and based on the LPP framework and on
the question that guided our study: Which characteristics and conditions shaped each one of these
participants’ authorship development? The objective was to obtain categories, which explained
these participants’ processes in becoming more expert members of the community and parallelly
develop their authorship.
There were five coders in this project. We were organized in two groups and each group analyzed
four participants’ data collected in the CVs, the S-O and the “talk around text” interviews. Each
group proposed certain categories. The two groups compared and contrasted them. Then, after
discussing the framework (Wenger et al, 2015) again we went back to review the literature on
issues we had detected in the data such as the relationship between networking and publication
(Lillis & Curry, 2010) and agency (Holland, et al., 2001). That is, the groups identified
characteristics of belonging to a community and defined first categories of the analysis.
Findings and Discussion
Finally, the following four categories emerged: 1) Context Awareness in Higher Education and
ELT Communities, 2) Collaboration and Networking, 3) Publication Practices, and 4) Agency.
Context Awareness: Higher Education and the ELT Communities
The participants in this study worked in public higher education and, therefore, knew that
participation in professional communities and publication was imperative not only for securing or
keeping an academic position but also for their professional development. However, their
workplaces and positions varied; one worked in a Research Center, five worked in an
undergraduate ELT program and two worked in a Language Center (general language courses).
Thus, they disclosed varying levels of awareness regarding the Mexican higher education
policies, their institution and the ELT community depending on their workplace and faculty
position. Those working in a Research Center and the undergraduate ELT program tended to
display more understanding of the institution, the ELT community as well as other interrelated
communities. Furthermore, each participant’s awareness tended to be directly related to his/her
engagement in teaching, management and research activities.
Juan understood that in order to obtain a Federal Faculty recognition [PRODEP], he had to
publish an article as one of the requirements. He needed that recognition to obtain financial
support.
I needed an article before my application. Then, when my application came, I had
everything … I got the PRODEP recognition, and then I had the, the financial support to
get my equipment and the PhD.
Since federal Mexican policies request faculty collaborative work for PRODEP and individual
publication for the National Research System; Joaquín who worked in a Research Center showed
a realistic awareness of expectations. He was expected to work individually but at the same time
connect across disciplines with other researchers and stay consistent with his coordinator’s
guidance and approvals. He reported:
In theory, we are working individually on a project…but it always implies working with
other people from other areas, and institutions as well.
Two participants had administrative positions in the undergraduate ELT program. Their
understanding of institutions as complex and constantly changing systems helped Juan and Lina
navigate and participate in the context of higher education policies. Juan reflected on his new
position:
I had some support but, you always have to learn this by yourself… I had to learn how to
be aware of how the system worked…
Another participant discussed how working in another state university allowed her to visualize
new opportunities. Vania explained how her perspective changed when she returned to her home
university. She saw opportunities in the university she had not seen before.
We have a lot of opportunities to grow in the university but since we’re in getting money
[working in different institutions at the same time] we don’t see the opportunities…If I
hadn’t gone probably I would be teaching 45 hours of classes (a week).
Two participants from the Language Center, however, had a dim understanding of the higher
education policies. Elsa blamed workloads explicitly in the context of the recent loss of a
colleague.
A teacher passed away. She started taking up jobs, responsibilities, she was given
coordinator positions. She got ill … She wouldn’t say “no” to anything… It makes me sad
that jobs are taking people’s lives.
As elsewhere in the world, a major concern for educators in higher education is obtaining full-
time faculty positions. Roberto noted that his PhD credentials alone would not secure him a
position, and that connections would also come into play:
I feel a little bit anxious… job opportunities in Mexico are not very good, things are
changing… with a lot of academic work we can get something, but there are many people
ready for a position, so we also need, not just academic work but also connections.
These two last participants from the Language Center had an unclear understanding of higher
education systems as well as of the ELT community probably due to their limited participation in
both. Instead of feeling challenged and spurred on by the policies they were encountering, they
felt discouraged or anxious and tended to see higher education policies in isolation and not as part
of systems. As Lave and Wenger (1991, p. 53) state:
Learning… implies becoming able to be involved in new activities, to perform new tasks
and functions, to master new understandings. Activities, functions, and understandings do
not exist in isolation; they are part of broader systems of relations in which they have
meaning…. Learning thus implies becoming a different person with respect to the
possibilities enabled by these systems of relations.
As explained above, the directions the participants took after the MA reflected their participation
in certain areas related to teaching, administrative positions, curriculum development, research or
enrollment in a PhD program. Tables 2 and 3 show these eight participants’ diverse trajectories
towards authorship. Most initiate their trajectories presenting in conferences and then started
publishing. Similarly, most started as thesis readers and later became thesis supervisors. Those
who participated more actively in these activities, Graciela, Juan, Joaquín, and Vania gained
understandings which enabled them to enhance their work in the university and comprehend the
communities in which they worked. Each of these participants in diverse ways and at different
stages of their development embraced their challenges and through engagement in their
workplace context and disciplinary communities tended to have a clearer perspective of the
situation. Therefore, those who understood the context took more strategic decisions regarding
their professional development because through their engagement they acquired an increasingly
clearer understanding of the whole picture and “the rules of the game”. Whereas those who felt
more limited and thwarted by the challenges tended to feel anxious and in some cases
overwhelmed mainly because of the limited understanding of their context.
Collaboration and Networking Practices
Another emerging theme from the data analysis in both interviews and the CVs was the
relationship between networking and publication. This theme clearly resonated with the findings
of Englander (2014) in the hard sciences and Curry and Lillis (2010) in the social sciences.
<TABLE 3.3 HERE>
Table 3.3 presents a more detailed analysis of participants’ publications. Five of the participants
published in both languages (24 publications in English and 15 in Spanish). Similarly to findings
in China by Zheng and Cao (in this volume), participants’ language choice for publication
generally depended on the purpose, audience or the disciplinary community. Issues related to ELT
or applied linguistics were regularly published in English whereas more general education themes
were often published in Spanish specially if related to local matters.
The data also exposed diverse co-authorship relationships for publication. Fifteen publications
were co-authored. Most of them were indexed articles and book chapters, which seems to be the
case for social sciences in general (Lillis & Curry, 2010). Two participants co-authored with their
thesis supervisor, five with a more senior colleague and six co-authored with peers. Interestingly,
almost all the articles published in indexed journals were coauthored.
The data revealed research and writing apprenticeship experiences through LPP. When discussing
one of his co-authored articles, Joaquin acknowledges the guidance from his more experienced
colleague and coauthor as a literacy broker (Curry & Lillis, 2010).
She’s been a great help. She asks questions. In many cases… I don’t have answers. And
they pinpoint the gaps in my research project or …the gaps in the interviews and then I go
back into the field and fill those gaps … don’t feel she’s judging me … She used to say,
“that’s a good point”, “but ….go back… get a holistic understanding”
There is something else Maria helped me understand, she suggested and selected the
specific journal we would send the document to… it was a different process. It was not
only writing the document but editing according to the journal specifications, the line of
discussion they have and the kind of articles they publish… she helped me to figure that
out.
Another participant, Graciela, explained how her mentors were both her network and literacy
brokers who facilitated her participation in national research networks and co-authored
publications.
I consider Anna my mentor and also Berenice, my thesis advisor. Ann introduced me to
some other people. I was invited to work on another project, a big project… she
introduced me to one of the best researchers in this area in Mexico…
Juan distinguished types of collaborative work. He viewed two of his more senior colleagues as a
kind of network brokers.
I didn’t think of Ann or Emma as my superiors but my mentors and friends and people
who believed in me… that was the first circle of collaboration and the second one was my
colleagues, my friends.
A participant from the Language Center reported less productive experiences largely due to her
partial understanding of the system. Elsa states,
Yes. I did many things on my own. Later, the school would say “you also have to do
things, with somebody else”. Then, I looked for other people. Now, I find it very hard…to
do things with other people.
Even though all the participants acknowledged the importance that collaborative research and
writing had for their authorship development, three emphasized the challenges they had when
negotiating with coauthors. Their experiences varied not only in the types of networks they
engaged in but also in the degrees of productivity. The participants who were more open to
collaboration were the ones who had articles in indexed journals (See Table 3.3). This is probably
because they had a better understanding of the complexities of collaboration and networking
practices during publication processes.
Networking and literacy development are interrelated and shaped by opportunities which often
emerge from writing for publication (Curry & Lillis, 2010; Englander, 2014) mainly because
writing for publication implies other social practices, which are related to participating in the
discourse community such as researching, attending conferences, participating in research
networks and supervising and reading theses (see Table 3.2). Publishing a paper, also, implies
deciding where to submit the paper and later how to negotiate reviewers’ feedback (Curry &
Lillis 2014). These social practices are learned through practice and interaction with other
colleagues - often facilitated by network and literacy brokers - in other words through immersion
in their disciplinary communities as Wenger et al. (2015) clearly argue in their theory of learning
in the landscapes of practice.
Publication Practices
Participants presented different stages of literacy awareness in the “talk around the text”
interviews when reflecting about their writing—whether in English or Spanish. As expected,
most participants claimed they had had more experience writing in English than in Spanish
mainly due to their undergraduate and graduate studies in English. Joaquín was one of three of
the participants working in a Spanish medium PhD program:
I’ve been writing mostly in Spanish recently. At first, it was very difficult because I used
to write in English; I was not familiarized with the style in Spanish… the structure and the
kind of writing for different audiences.
Three participants, Joaquin, Lina and Vania thought that their research on writing and genre
awareness helped them cope with their challenges of writing both in English or Spanish. They
implied they could write in either language because of their genre awareness.
Even though, the MA program in which these participants studied did not propose a genre based
pedagogy, in the interviews, all the participants discussed genre either overtly or implicitly.
Joaquín, for example talked about an assignment for one of his PhD subjects and discussed genre
differences depending on purpose.
I chose that particular document [to talk about with you]; of ‘discusión de temas
culturales’ [discussion of cultural issues] because…this one is particularly different in
terms of the genre and linguistic resources used to create, to construct an argument…
Graciela discussed how she wrote a chapter based on her thesis.
It was my thesis and had to write it as a chapter … it took a long time because it was not
only a summary. In a chapter, we couldn’t… include all the participants. It implied
reanalyzing, reorganizing information, rewriting.
Lina explained how she used her genre awareness and analysis skills to write a proposal:
I was not sure about how to write a proposal for Tutorias (Tutoring) then I checked the
page from the Facultad to look at the moves professor Rodolfo used. [Note: ‘Moves’
refers to Swales’ 1990 analysis of genres].
Even though all the participants acknowledged publication requirements and their connection to
Faculty promotion or compliance with PhD scholarship requirements, only two of the current
PhD students showed an awareness of English medium publishing policies. With the support of a
senior researcher, Joaquin gained insights into how a specific genre fulfills a rhetorical purpose,
and how the writer, the intended reader, and the text itself, are informed by purpose. Joaquin said:
With Maria’s feedback, at that moment my ideas were more or less clear in terms of
content, analysis, etc.… but it was necessary to familiarize with the procedures and
patterns for publishing. Even if I was familiar with academic writing and I felt I was ready
for publishing, there were things I missed… For example writing [references] in
alphabetical order, appropriate vocabulary, citation, generalization. Her feedback was hard
and strict, but the changes were deeper from the previous article which was for a school
paper, this was a more scholarly document.
As part of exploring participants’ literacy development, the interviewers posed questions about
the roles of their literacy brokers (supervisors, or journal reviewers) and their feedback. Those
with more publication experience mainly discussed the journals reviewers’ comments. Vania, for
example, reflects on the benefits as well as the challenges.
I learned that we write for ourselves, but I think it is a good exercise that somebody else
reads us and gives feedback. That helped me to improve a lot…
I had to revise the literature and organize the method section and explain more…it was
terrible (laughs). I wanted to cry … Writing takes time, good writing takes more time.
Roberto discussed the feedback from PhD professors and how explicit, critical feedback
questioned his background knowledge and paralyzed his research for a period of time.
I chose this text [to discuss with you]… because it was negative... Actually, I think my
professor tried to give some good feedback just to make me feel better… I stopped doing
research because first I needed to understand the field, the different topics, the different
methods, and then I continued working with my research, at the end I considered her
feedback has been one of the best I got.
At least four participants were very critical about the limited feedback they received in the MA
program. Some viewed their thesis supervisor’s role as a literacy and/or network broker who
promoted their engagement in the professional community, yet others perceived tensions and
difficult negotiations which limited their participation. Most recognized feeling frustrated after
receiving reviewers’ feedback. However, overall, they seemed to perceive feedback as
constructive and valued how it contributed to their work.
Participants revealed their genre awareness, in the second interviews, both overtly and implicitly.
Their awareness varied from an awareness of academic texts in general to a very in-depth and
sophisticated understanding of the discourse complexity and the various genres used in different
disciplines and settings. Heightened awareness was displayed by those participants who had more
experience in co-authoring processes probably because they were more habituated to discussing
their research as well as their writing and rewriting. Vania, Graciela and especially Joaquin
displayed a more sophisticated understanding of genres and valued explicit critical and even
harsh feedback. They also displayed awareness that publication included often harsh interactions
among authors, editors, journal editors, and critical reviewers. Those with little experience
publishing in more scholarly publications tended not to mention these interactions probably
because they had not lived these experiences.
As Casanave and Vandrick (2003, p. 7) state:
…learning takes place via participation, and there may be no way to shorten this process.
The greater ease of transition comes about as novice writers come to understand and thus
not summarily reject the lengthy social, political, and sociolinguistic processes that lie
hidden behind the polished product that we finally see in print.
Authorship development, then, necessarily implies enculturation processes and immersion in the
disciplinary community (among others Canagarajah, 2002; Casanave & Vandrick, 2003) or
interrelated communities of practice which happen through participation and support from
different kinds of mentors especially professors and more experienced colleagues. These
enculturation processes are very challenging and often generate both negative emotions such as
frustration, anxiety as well as very positive emotions such as “flow”, satisfaction and self-worth.
Agency
The data also revealed that some of the participants took strategic decisions about their
development as professionals and authors. In other words, they had developed a sense of agency.
Hernandez (2017) defines agency as crucial to understanding how a person does not only depend
on norms and regulations but can also become an actor or agent who takes strategic decisions
about his life especially those related to his most valued aspirations. This sense of agency also led
them to “make choices, take control, self-regulate, and thereby pursue their goals as individuals
leading, potentially, to personal or social transformation” (Duff, 2012, p. 414).
Joaquin, for example, reflected on the challenge of dealing with “tough” feedback on a draft in
order to pursue his goal which was publishing an article.
Her feedback was tough and strict… at first I was not satisfied ‘cause I spent some time
on it, but when I read the final version I understood I had to make those changes, to make
it better, a more scholarly document.
Another participant, Lina, wanted to take control of her professional development by
participating actively and belonging to an academic group.
I tried to participate in committees and belong to an “academia”… my main purpose was
to keep on learning and to get at least a change or promotion in my job.
The participants’ agency was revealed in decisive and critical moments in their development and
how they dealt with their emotional crisis. For example, Joaquin sees anxiety as part of his own
learning:
. . . anxiety may have two different results. It can limit people; it can block them, or
motivate them. Most of the time, I use anxiety as a trigger. . . At times I feel frustrated, at
other I feel really excited to see that everything is going on relatively well.
Vania described a decisive moment when deciding to leave or stay in a new position in a different
university:
I realized I didn’t want to be there, because of many things. I said no good opportunity is
going to hold me back if I don’t feel comfortable, so I’m going back [to her home
university].
The examples above indicate how three participants evaluated their own value systems and
managed conflict adequately. The decisions these teachers made in these situations were actions
and displays of agency defining participants’ identity as writers and authors (Duff, 2012).
Conclusions and Pedagogical Implications
This study’s main finding revealed that the participants’ trajectories towards authorship were not
linear but complex enculturation processes. These were clearly permeated, shaped and sometimes
transformed by the awareness participants acquired of their working context through engaged
participation, by collaboration, networking and publication practices, and the sense of agency
each participant developed in and across all these practices.
Joaquin who during this study displayed a balanced equilibrium of the four practices was the one
who clearly showed more authorship development whereas others who had only developed in one
or two of these had a lower authorship development. Elsa, Melia and Roberto, for example,
displayed less collaboration, networking and publication practices which affected their awareness
of their context and in Melia’s and Roberto’s cases their sense of agency. Elsa was the first to
publish yet later her interpretation of higher education policies and particularly her difficulty to
establish collaboration and networking relationships hindered her authorship development.
This study’s findings also have implications for the understanding of professors’ authorship and
professional development in general, as detailed above. These results could guide professors in
the evaluation and reflection of their own trajectories. Additionally, they could inform graduate
programs which often struggle to initiate their students in their trajectories towards authorship.
First, graduate programs in the social sciences generally promote individual work and rarely
provide opportunities for collaboration and networking as part of their curriculum which in this
study are at the center of the participants’ trajectories. Interestingly, collaboration and networking
linked to writing and publication practices triggered participants’ awareness of their decisions and
actions to become authors, and very importantly, to become part and be recognized by their
professional communities. It is through practice that newcomers develop the insider knowledge
and support to become full participants in the discourse community or communities. It is also
evident that participation in the graduate program as well as collaboration with colleagues or with
more experienced professionals is the response to workplace demands or a need to belong to a
community. This study proposes that the main motivating factor in the road to authorship is
engaged participation in the profession. Thus, teacher education programs need to create
opportunities where ELT professionals have authentic access to the practices of the ELT
community or related communities to understand their discourses and practices (Canagarajah,
2002). These graduate programs should also encourage students to publish in their mother tongue
and English.
Second, as suggested by the participants, the guidance of more experienced colleagues had
valuable implications in their trajectories as writers, which fits precisely in the legitimate
peripheral participation understanding of developing expertise. Hargreaves and Fullan (2012)
suggest that high-quality teacher professional development built on collegiality and collaboration
in and among institutions contributes to teacher-researchers’ development. This collegiality and
collaboration can be expressed in the form of mentoring. Encinas and Sánchez-Hernández (2015)
suggest teacher education programs need to explore diverse mentoring relationships to
understand participants’ future personal and professional development stages as well as how
mentoring enhances or could enhance education in specific contexts in order to promote quality
in education in general.
Finally, participants’ authorship identity is permeated by the extent to which they become aware
of contextual demands, collaboration/networking requirements and publishing policies as well as
their internal motivation to take strategic decisions (Hernandez, 2017). As stated by Lasky (2005,
p. 900), agency is not inherent in the individual but, rather, inextricably linked to the social
context and the cultural tools that shape the development of human beliefs, values, and actions”.
That is, the amalgamation of the external and internal resources developed in the participants a
sense of agency defining their identities as writers and authors. Thus, graduate programs need
strategies enhancing students’ awareness of higher education and professional communities’
policies and practices but also promote awareness/reflection of their own decisions to facilitate
their trajectories towards authorship. Furthermore, our results indicate that only ELT scholar-
mentors with research and publication experience will be able to provide the pertinent and
relevant support to other multilingual researchers interested in publishing in English.
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... The students offered data about their experience of learning to write for publication while the environment turned out to be extremely valuable for observing behaviour documented through field notes and conducting ethnographic research. Such studies range among those conducted in many parts of the world in the field of advanced academic literacies research, for instance in China (Zheng & Cao, 2019), in Mexico ( Encinas et al., 2019), or in Turkey (Yayli & Canagarajah, 2018). ...
Chapter
The pressure on multilingual scholars to disseminate research outcomes through the medium of English has generated the need for programs which prepare them to perform at internationally accepted standards. The task of helping researchers refine their academic literacies entails new responsibilities for language professionals in university departments. This chapter will explore the new roles taken on by English for Specific Purposes (ESP) professionals in Romania within the framework of an MA program designed to enhance communication and research competences of faculty in economics and business. The methodological approach adopted in this study comprises narratives and field notes provided by ESP professionals involved in setting up and delivering the MA program. The findings suggest that responding to the needs of a demanding teaching situation and engaging in interdisciplinary interactions provide both challenges and professional development opportunities for language teaching academics.
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