Deanna Reder, Simon Fraser University
Steve Marshall, Simon Fraser University
Steve Marshall is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. He researches academic literacy in higher education, with a current focus on the experiences of plurilingual students studying across the disciplines. Steve has published his research findings in many academic journals and books, and is the author of Advance in Academic Writing and Grammar for Academic Purposes (B2 and C1 levels), published by Pearson ELT, Canada.
Navigating the many literacies and lingualisms: plurilingual students’ practices, writing instructors’ responses, and implications for higher education
Today, researchers and educators are faced with an array of literacies and lingualisms: new literacies, multiliteracies, and academic literacies; bilingualism, multilingualism, polylingualism, metrolingualism, and plurilingualism; not to mention codeswitching, codemeshing, and translanguaging (Boun & García, 2015; Canagarajah, 2011; Cope & Kalantzis, 2001; García, 2009; Jorgensen, 2008; Lee & Street, 1998; Li & Zhu, 2013; New London Group, 1996; Pennycook & Otsuji, 2015). I begin by unpacking this terminological morass, before focusing on plurilingualism. Plurilingualism has been defined as the study of individuals’ repertoires and agency in several languages, emphasizing learners’ agency, constraints, and opportunities in social and educational contexts (Beacco & Byram, 2007; Coste, Moore, & Zarate, 1997, 2009; Marshall & Moore, 2013, 2018; Moore & Gajo, 2009). To illustrate plurilingual students’ different practices and instructors’ responses, I present data from the following studies: [i] a three-year study of plurilingualism in academic literacy classes at a university in Western Canada, and [ii] follow-up research into plurilingual students’ practices and instructors’ pedagogical responses in writing intensive classes across the disciplines. Findings show that both students and instructors tended to reproduce in their practices and perceptions traditional binary views of language and literacy (L1 vs. L2, native speaker vs. non-native speaker, language teacher vs. content teacher). I argue that the transnationalism, fluidity, and linguistic diversity of our institutions today present students and their instructors with particular challenges and dilemmas. In closing, I consider the implications for preparing and supporting students in writing centres and first-year academic literacy courses in Canadian universities.