Toward an integrative framework for understanding multimodal L2 writing in the content areas

Scott E. Grapin, Lorena Llosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Second language (L2) learners in content area classes are expected to perform a range of writing tasks that involve multiple modes beyond language. Traditionally, however, research on multimodality with L2 learners has been approached differently in content versus L2 teaching and learning contexts. In this issue statement, we propose the need for an integrative framework for understanding multimodal L2 writing in the content areas that capitalizes on the complementary nature of these two research areas. After situating this need within U.S. K-12 education policy, we provide a brief overview of theoretical perspectives that have informed research in each area. Then, we identify key differences between these research areas in terms of (a) what modes are considered (i.e., multiple modes vs. linguistic mode) and (b) how those modes are analyzed (i.e., meaning-focused vs. feature-focused). Using a writing sample from an English learner in an elementary science classroom, we illustrate the potential of an integrative framework for providing a more nuanced and comprehensive understanding of multimodal L2 writing in the content areas. Implications of an integrative framework and promising directions for future research are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100711
JournalJournal of Second Language Writing
Volume47
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2020

Keywords

  • Content area writing
  • Multimodality
  • Second language learners

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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