Academic journal article Research in the Teaching of English

Writing and Its Development across Lifespans and in Transnational Contexts

Academic journal article Research in the Teaching of English

Writing and Its Development across Lifespans and in Transnational Contexts

Article excerpt

This volume year has featured research and scholarship across four traditional categories of English language arts: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. In 51.1, articles considered identity issues of readers and writers as they unfolded in classroom pedagogy and curriculum; in 51.2, articles examined peer review in writing, extensive versus intensive (i.e., "close reading") approaches to literature instruction, and collaborative discussion practices of multilingual students. Authors also contended with the moral mandates for English education around issues of gender and sexual diversity in preservice teacher education and the governmentality logics of standards documents, thus pushing conversations about the purposes of English teaching in a diverse twenty-first-century world. We also remembered the legacy of Arthur Applebee, who contributed much to shaping the configuration of English language arts in the twenty-first century. The present issue speaks primarily to research and possibilities for the teaching and practice of writing across the lifespan, unfolding transnational and materialist conceptions of the English language arts in classrooms, communities, and cultures. If the volume year focus on classroom-based studies of the English language arts offers a kind of "return to our roots" for RTE, so, then, does the focus of this issue on writing return the journal to its roots as one, if not the, key outlet for theoretically rich, empirically grounded, and provocative scholarship on writing and its instruction.

Silvia Noguerón-Liu & Jamie Jordan Hogan ask of digital storytelling practices: How do transnational ties imbue immigrant adults' and adolescents' emerging understandings of their current and previous homelands? Angie Zapata and Selena Van Horn wonder how material intra-actions emerge in two young, MexicanAmerican learners' process of developing, writing, and producing picture books. Angela Rounsaville's article considers how genres are "inherited, made, and moved by writers" (p. 320) within the context of global migration. The Forum essays both, quite directly, take up the question of development of the English language arts. H. Bernard Hall extends beyond writing to consider how expanding conceptions of hip-hop culture and pedagogy can facilitate the rhetorical awareness and higherorder thinking of students. Charles Bazerman, Arthur N. Applebee, Virginia W. Berninger, Deborah Brandt, Steve Graham, Paul Kei Matsuda, Sandra Murphy, Deborah Wells Rowe, and Mary Schleppegrell ask what the long view on writing development can reveal about this multidimensional process that continues across the lifespan.

Answering these questions with data gathered across a range of methodological approaches, the articles develop three themes important to creating robust understandings of writing in a twenty-first-century global society. First, transnationalism is of concern to all three research study authors, as each honors the reality that whether one is an immigrant, a member of Generation 1.5, or a third culture kid, ties to cultural origins are important aspects of identity and expression that should be respected (within and beyond classroom contexts). Second, all three research articles highlight the multimodality and materiality of writing. Both Zapata and Van Horn's and Noguerón-Liu and Hogan's articles explore culturally reflexive approaches to writing within the classroom. The authors consider the (re)appropriation of ideas and materials for the expression of students' lived experiences within the context of storytelling. Rounsaville offers another lens for viewing the materiality of literacies with a focus on genres that are "inherited, made, and moved" by writers in transnational contexts. That the materiality of writing is so central to English language arts development is echoed again in the Forum articles, which suggest ways that linguistic and material resources can influence learning and development within classrooms and across the lifespan. …

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