Building Agentive Identity Through Second Language (L2) Creative Writing: A Sociocultural Perspective on L2 Writers’ Cognitive Processes in Creative Composition

| September 3, 2014

Title

Building Agentive Identity Through Second Language (L2) Creative Writing: A Sociocultural Perspective on L2 Writers’ Cognitive Processes in Creative Composition

Keywords: community of practice, creative writing, identity, process-oriented writing research, sociocultural view, think-aloud writing

Author

Yan Zhao
Department of English, Culture and Communication,
Xijiao-Liverpool University,
Suzhou, P. R. China

Peter Brown
Centre for Applied Linguistics,
University of Warwick,
Coventry, UK

Yan Zhao is a lecturer in the Department of English, Culture and Communication at Xijiao-Liverpool University. She now teaches linguistics to undergraduate students. Yan received her PhD and Master’s degrees from the University of Warwick, where she undertook research into L2 creative writing practices in the Centre for Applied Linguistics. Before joining Xijiao-Liverpool University, Yan taught EAP in the UK, making particular use of creative writing and literature as resources for language learning.

Peter Brown is a Senior Teaching Fellow in the Centre for Applied Linguistics at the University of Warwick. He is the Director of the Centre’s B.Ed. programmes and teaches on its MA courses in teacher education. His chief area of expertise is the use of drama, world literatures and creative writing in English language teaching.

Abstract

This study examines the cognitive writing processes of three ESL creative writers. Adopting a sociocultural stance, it identifies the writers as social agents with particular self-perceptions and purposes behind their creative writing practices. Through interviews and think-aloud story writing sessions, the study finds that the writers’ present cognitive writing processes are mediated by their previous creative literacy experiences which are embedded in particular situations and embody certain values. The discussion traces the learners’ self-representational and hence idiosyncratic movement of thought emergent in immediate creative writing tasks. It argues that the practice of L2 creative writing in pedagogic contexts can be enhanced and rationalised through a deeper understanding and appreciation of how creative writing can be performed by L2 users not only for purposes of language or literacy acquisition, but also as a self-empowering tool to achieve particular social positioning and hence self-esteem.

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Category: Quarterly Journal