Exploring the learning potential of writing development in heritage language education

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Book Chapter

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This chapter examines writing-to-learn practices in a U.S. university foreign language (FL) setting that serves both Anglophone learners of Spanish as a FL and heritage language (HL) students. The HL participants in this study, adults with biliterate knowledge in Spanish and English, exhibit skills, needs, and expectations that diverge considerably from those of their (monolingual) FL counterparts. Evidence gathered from interviews with instructors, student surveys, and instructional materials points toward an approach in which writing serves merely as a means of enhancing language proficiency (a writing-to-learn approach). Findings suggest that traditional writing-to-learn practices are ill-suited to addressing HL students’ literacy needs, which include developing rhetorical skills and genre knowledge that have currency beyond the FL classroom. Accordingly, the chapter adds to the theme explored in the book with its analysis of the potential misalignments between the learning-to-write and writing-to-learn dimensions of L2 writing that may exist in a given instructional setting.


Natalie Lefkowitz is a Professor of Spanish in the World Languages and Cultures Department at CWU.

This book chapter was originally published in Learning-to-Write and Writing-to-Learn in an Additional Language. The chapter from the publisher can be found here.

Due to copyright restrictions, this article is not available for free download from ScholarWorks @ CWU.


Learning-to-Write and Writing-to-Learn in an Additional Language


© 2011 – John Benjamins B.V.