Listening closely: Examining students’ language and values related to academic writing



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Secondary students’ argumentative academic writing abilities have been meeting the standards set for them by the educational system (R. P. Ferretti & Graham, 2019; Preiss et al., 2013). To ensure the success of students in higher education and the workforce, it is important that the educational system support students’ writing development in more effective ways than have been tried up until this point. Guided by social constructivism, this qualitative case study highlights the importance of examining students’ values for their writing and the language they use to explain those values. The study took place in a North Texas high school. Analysis included writing as an analytical stance (Augustine, 2014) and open, a priori, and axial coding (Merriam, 1998). Major findings across the cases included that students’ values and language about argumentative academic writing aligned with their current and future understandings of their identities and that their metacognitive talk differed depending on those identities as well. This study contributes to the literature of writing and identity theories, and the findings have implications for the teaching of writing and metalinguistic talk in the classroom.



Secondary students, Writing, Identity, Language use, Social constructivism