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Accents on English: Spring 2013

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Spotlight on L2 Writing: New Award for Outstanding Paper

Paul Kei MatsudaASU is known around the world for its excellence in second language writing research. Students come to ASU to work with the experts, in particular, Paul Kei Matsuda, whose current research involves documenting the history of second language writing issues in various disciplinary contexts, as well as examining the conditions and proposing improvements for second language writers in various types of writing programs and courses in U.S. higher education. Second language writing, a.k.a. L2 writing, includes applied linguistics, linguistics, literacy studies, rhetoric and composition, and TESOL, and is particularly concerned with second language writing development and teaching. According to Matsuda, “Since second language writers are ubiquitous in educational and workplace contexts, the field transcends all disciplinary boundaries.”

Some popular topics for students of L2 writing include language development in the classroom, collaborative writing, learning transfer, identity in written discourse, technology and writing, power and agency, curriculum design, placement and assessment, and the relationship between intensive English programs and first-year writing programs.

Matusda, who is always looking for ways to support graduate students, recently created the Award for Outstanding Paper on Second Language Writing by using the honorarium he received for his lecture at the 18th Southwest English Symposium in February 2013, and matching it with his personal funds. His generous donation will sustain this annual $100 award for a decade, after which time he plans to work with the department chair on ways to keep it going.

“Many ASU graduate students are conducting innovative research in this area,” states Matsuda, who hopes the award will make visible L2 writing research at ASU and beyond. “I wanted to create this award as a way of publicly recognizing the excellent work that they already do while promoting further research in this area.”

This year’s Award for Outstanding Paper on Second Language Writing went to Daniel Bommarito for his paper “New Directions in Collaborative L2 Writing.” In his paper, Bommarito discusses recent studies aimed at understanding how collaboration functions in the L2 writing classroom and how it can improve students’ writing and language learning. Bommarito, a doctoral student in the Rhetoric, Composition, and Linguistics program, received the award at the Graduation and Awards Reception on May 2, 2013.

Sheila Luna

Photo of Paul Kei Matsuda by Tom Story.