Date of Award

Fall 12-15-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Applied Linguistics and English as a Second Language

First Advisor

Diane Belcher

Second Advisor

Gayle Nelson

Third Advisor

Eric Friginal

Fourth Advisor

Alan Hirvela


The focus of writing pedagogy for L2 undergraduate writers in ESL contexts has been primarily on addressing writing demands across the curriculum (Johns, 2009; Silva, 1990). The literature from EFL settings, however, depicts a very complex picture that makes it difficult to generalize purposes and needs across the settings (Cimasko & Reichelt, 2011). Despite the indication that L2 writing is differently conceptualized across many settings, few studies have been conducted to examine contextual variation. Documenting local conceptions and contextual factors in different settings could not only inform teachers of the importance of accounting for local exigencies in teaching, but also provide new insights on pedagogical scholarship of L2 writing that has primarily accounted for ESL contexts.

To shed light on the situated nature of L2 writing, the present cross-context case study examined practices of teaching and learning L2 writing in two settings, i.e., an English Language Program (ELP) at “Southern” University in the U.S. and an ELP at “Hahn” University in Korea. By using multiple data collection methods – class observation, interviews, and document analysis, the study compared teachers’ pedagogical conceptualization and learners’ perceptions of L2 writing need. Findings show that the Southern-ELP predominantly conceptualized L2 writing as preparation for academic literacy demands in coursework whereas the Hahn-ELP viewed L2 writing as an end in itself by teaching mainly prescribed patterns. These differences originated from their understanding of local linguistic ecology and teacher training backgrounds. Students’ perceived needs for L2 writing, despite internal variation in both settings, showed divergence across the contexts. While many Southern students reported goals for learning-to-write in L2, most Hahn freshmen did not express similar goals. These Hahn students indicated needs to develop their linguistic proficiency through writing. These disparate views emanated from differences in L2 writing demands in coursework and linguistic proficiency.

The findings suggest that pedagogical scholarship of L2 writing established with ESL settings in mind may not be sufficient to address local exigencies of L2 writing in many EFL contexts and increasingly diversifying ESL settings. The study also invites L2 writing teachers to develop a better understanding of the range of diversity among student populations.