Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

'I Arrived in a Giant, Curious, and Scary Place': Designing Illustrated Journals in a Pre-College ESL University Program
by Flamm, Mara, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2017, 170; 10638584
Abstract (Summary)

As universities within the United States become more international and enroll a more diverse population of students, English-as-a-second-language (ESL) educators have questioned how best to socialize students into the communicative practices of their academic disciplines (Liddicoat and Scarino 2013). Despite recognizing the need to build more supportive and inclusive institutional climates (Zamel and Spack 2011; Kumaravadivelu 2003), research on international students presents a less optimistic picture. Indeed, studies repeatedly point to the presence of deficit discourses that serve to position international students, and those from Asia, as linguistically incompetent in English and in need of “fixing” before engaging with peers in their academic disciplines (Belz 2002; Zamel and Spack 2011). This study looked closely at one pre-matriculation ESL program for international students studying visual and performing arts. The program’s goal was to socialize international students into the communicative practices valued within arts education, with an emphasis on the ability to narrate how one’s identity as an artist shapes and is shaped by one’s art. Through a series of curricular innovations, and specifically the use of illustrated journals, this program sought to contest the deficit framing of international students at the institution by offering them the opportunity to narratively construct their identities as artists through a multimodal array of communicative resources (e.g., drawing, painting, collage, etc.), as well as English. Preliminary observations within the program raised intriguing questions about how the multimodal genre of the illustrated journal was affecting the kinds of autobiographical narratives the international students told. Drawing on theoretical work in second language development (Gao 2014; Norton 2010, 2012; Park 2011; Pavlenko, A. & B. Norton 2007; Pavlenko 2001, 2004, 2006; Scarino and Liddicoat 2013), multimodalities (Kress and Leeuwen 2000), narrative and identity analysis (Bruner 1984, 1986; Norton 2010, 2012; Pavelenko and Blackledge 2004), and genre studies (Hyland 2015), this study highlights the role of genre in enabling and constraining the autobiographical narratives that international students choose to tell. Close analysis of the illustrated journals revealed a link between this multimodal genre and the use of inspirational narrative tropes, which seemed to result in strong cohesion among students around inspirational notions of resilience and triumph in the challenging circumstances of navigating a new culture and language. The study’s findings allow Second Language Development practitioners and researchers to consider the ways in which traditional cognitive perspectives/deficit perspectives on language limit students’ communicative expressiveness and confidence, and instead argues for using genres like the Illustrated Journal, to encourage students to access their full range of expressive modalities to be comfortable and confident narrators in their new culture and academic disciplines.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gasman, Marybeth
Commitee: Lee, Vera, Samayoa, Andrés Castro
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Reading, Writing, Literacy
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 79/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Art education, English as a Second Language, Education
Keywords: Designing illustrated journals, Pre-college ESL university program
Publication Number: 10638584
ISBN: 978-0-355-58855-2
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