The Interface of Language Proficiency and Identity: A Profile Analysis of Bilingual Adolescents and Their Writing Purpose The purpose of this study was to explore how adolescent English language learners' (ELLs') language and literacy experiences impacted their identities as bilingual writers. Method Six students were randomly selected from a group of 20 Spanish-speaking ELLs, ages 11–14, who participated in a larger, mixed-methods study on ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2011
The Interface of Language Proficiency and Identity: A Profile Analysis of Bilingual Adolescents and Their Writing
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Robin L. Danzak
    University of South Florida Sarasota–Manatee
  • Correspondence to Robin L. Danzak: rdanzak@sar.usf.edu
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Jeannene Ward-Lonergan
    Associate Editor: Jeannene Ward-Lonergan×
Article Information
Development / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2011
The Interface of Language Proficiency and Identity: A Profile Analysis of Bilingual Adolescents and Their Writing
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2011, Vol. 42, 506-519. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2011/10-0015)
History: Received March 11, 2010 , Revised July 2, 2010 , Accepted January 7, 2011
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2011, Vol. 42, 506-519. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2011/10-0015)
History: Received March 11, 2010; Revised July 2, 2010; Accepted January 7, 2011
Web of Science® Times Cited: 4

Purpose The purpose of this study was to explore how adolescent English language learners' (ELLs') language and literacy experiences impacted their identities as bilingual writers.

Method Six students were randomly selected from a group of 20 Spanish-speaking ELLs, ages 11–14, who participated in a larger, mixed-methods study on bilingual writing (see Danzak, 2011). The participants produced 10 written journal entries in their language of choice (English, Spanish, or both) and were interviewed. Qualitative analyses were applied to the participants' writing and interviews, both individually and cross-case. Findings were integrated to some extent with the outcomes of quantitative measures applied to the students' writing.

Results Three patterns emerged: ethnic differences, language discrimination, and language preference. Also, the students' self-identification as monolingual or bilingual was reflected in their attitudes toward language learning and their outcomes on writing measures. Three portraits of emerging bilingual writers are discussed: struggling emerging, dominant emerging, and balanced emerging. Language and literacy learning strategies are recommended for each.

Conclusions Qualitative profiles of adolescent ELLs offer an understanding of students' experiences and identities that augments information provided by quantitative writing measures. Additionally, a mixed-methods profile analysis may aid in the identification of adolescent ELLs who may be struggling with undiagnosed language learning disabilities.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Findings reported here resulted from a dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, University of South Florida. Segments of this research were presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Philadelphia, PA, March 2010; and the World Congress of the International Reading Association, San José, Costa Rica, July 2008.
The author wishes to express gratitude to Elaine Silliman and Louise Wilkinson for their editorial comments.
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