First Advisor

Marjorie Terdal

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Teaching English as a Second Language


English language -- Rhetoric, East Europeans -- United States, English language -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Foreign speakers



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, v, 219 p.)


Since the political climate in the former Soviet bloc has shifted, there is an influx of East Europeans to the United States. As these refugees enter the U.S. educational system in greater numbers, teachers must adapt to the special needs of this population. The intent of this study is to focus on the composing skills of a Polish student who enrolled in an English for Non-Native Residents (ENNR) program at an urban university. The investigation examines the contextual framework that supports the subject's literacy experiences by means of a longitudinal case study format Several ethnographic and experimental techniques are used to explore three areas of interest: cultural context, the learning situation, and the composing processes. Multiple sources of data are used to investigate culture and learning, and a single elicitation technique is applied to the study of the writing process. Study of the cultural context suggests that the subject's early education and literacy experiences in Poland strongly influenced her development as a writer of English. Investigation of the classroom context at the university revealed both her preferences and frustrations with teaching and learning experiences. The primary focus of this study is exploration of writing process by means of a think-aloud protocol. The subject was asked to speak aloud while composing an essay on a narrative topic. She was instructed to say everything that came to mind while writing, and the session was videotaped for later analysis. A coding system was developed to help identify various components of the writing process, such as planning, commenting, rereading and pauses. Writing strategies, repetitions, fillers, revisions, verbal rehearsing, and quantity of words were identified according to frequency and location within the protocol. The results of the protocol analysis suggest that composing is not a neat and tidy process, but a complex configuration of multiple strategies. In the early stages simple patterns such as comments, planning, and fillers help the subject get started. A cycle of patterns, which seem automatic and deeply embedded, occurs throughout. These patterns emerge as Writing-Rehearsing-Pausing events. Each of these categories contains within a multitude of behaviors, such as pausing to think, rereading, and trying out new ideas. The data reveal numerous efforts at surface editing, yet the final product contains an average of 2.8 errors per sentence. The findings suggest that a writer's strategies and goals may shift during a controlled writing situation, and that initial steps may differ from those needed to attain closure. They suggest that attempts at surface revisions may not, in fact, improve the final product.


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