L2 Students’ Adaptive Transfer Beyond First-Year Writing


  • Xin Chen




Second Language Writing, First-year Writing, Writing Transfer


Learning transfer with regard to academic literacy in higher education has drawn more and more researchers’ attention in recent years (Baik & Greig, 2009). However, only a small number of transfer studies are pertinent to international and multilingual students or second language (L2) writing instruction. Situated in the area of English for Academic Purposes (EAP), this research investigates international and multilingual undergraduate students’ writing practice and development within and across the disciplines. Specifically, it looks into six Chinese international students’ learning transfer from their First-Year Writing (FYW) course to disciplinary writing in the college years. Drawing upon the theoretical framework of adaptive transfer proposed by Depalma and Ringer (2011), this study redefines transfer in L2 writing and expands the research scope of transfer studies. It examines writing transfer from a new vantage point by including writers’ creative and/or strategic transformation of learned knowledge.

Using the case study methodology, this research documents detailed processes of how international and multilingual undergraduate students adapt and transform prior writing knowledge and experiences to construct discipline-specific literacy. The findings have captured a series of writing practices cutting across those students’ approach to language, rhetoric, and genre and identified the factors that contextualize their writing practices.


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