Vietnamese Students in Mainstream Composition: An Ethnographic Study of Academic Identities in Generation 1.5 Students Who Cross Over
AuthorSchwartz, Gwendolyn Gray
Committee ChairMountford, Roxanne
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn this study, Gwen Gray Schwartz argues that students exhibit academic identities that do not always match their instructors' expectations for them and assumptions about them, which creates problems when second language writers enter mainstream composition classes. Using ethnographic methods, she studied three Vietnamese immigrant students from Generation 1.5 who placed into mainstream composition at a large university in the Southwest and found that while each student struggled in some ways to meet the expectations of mainstream composition, their academic identities and notions of success played a large role in how they engaged in or disassociated from the class activities and assignments. Schwartz analyzed the students' writing, and through extensive conversations with them and their mainstream composition instructors discovered that Generation 1.5 students who cross over into mainstream classes have academic identities that are complicated by their status as cross-over students--they juggle multiple languages, cultures, and school systems, all while writing in English while continuing to learn English. And while mainstream instructors do not know how to meet these students' needs, their numbers are increasing steadily across the country. Schwartz begins by complicating the term "Generation 1.5" and "ESL student" and suggests a new term, "cross-over student," to describe those students in Generation 1.5 who place into mainstream composition. Then she describes the term "academic identity" as a lens through which to examine these students' experiences in mainstream composition and their notions of success, which often are quite different from their mainstream instructors'. After extensive analysis of each student's writing, she offers solutions to the placement dilemma this group presents and provides concrete ways for mainstream instructors to better meet the needs of this student population.
Degree ProgramRhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of English