This paper reports on an SFL-based writing intervention in a university global histories course and examines differences in developmental trajectories among students after the intervention. Based on our previous research on writing in this course, we developed three Systemic Functional Linguistics-based workshops to explicitly teach valued linguistic resources necessary for meeting the expectations of writing historical arguments. We examine how student writing developed among nine focal students both quantitatively and qualitatively using an SFL-based rubric that we developed for the purposes of this study. We focus closely on two students, a novice and an experienced writer of academic English, by providing a detailed analysis of how they progressed differently towards incorporating the targeted linguistic resources. Our analysis suggests that explicit disciplinary writing instruction can help close the gap between novice and experienced academic writers; however, experienced writers also showed gains. Given the limited research on how intervention studies affect writing, particularly at the university level, this study can help teachers and researchers respond to the needs of the increasingly linguistically diverse students in higher education.
English for Specific Purposes – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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