Academic Literacy Development: Insights on Bilingual Grduate Student Writing

Ana H. Macias, University of Texas at El Paso


This exploratory study had the goal of informing our pedagogy for linguistically and culturally diverse writers by reflecting on issues of bilingualism as relevant to academic writing. The population for this study was a group of graduate Spanish-English bilingual students. This paper a) provides a description of the educational and linguistic background of these students; b) provides an analysis of their writing; and c) obtains some insights as to their individual perspectives on academic writing. Methodologies for the research included writing samples, surveys, and student journal entries. The outcomes of the research point to the need for designing writing pedagogy as based on an assessment of individual linguistic and educational characteristics, for providing explicit instruction on English grammar, and for expanding their classroom opportunities for writing. The study concludes with a reflection on the literature in the area of bilingualism as relevant to academic literacy development for diverse students.