CCCC Position Statement
PART ONE: GENERAL STATEMENT
The Conference on College Composition and
Communication (CCCC) recognizes the presence of a growing number of
second-language writers in institutions of higher education across North
America. As a result of colleges and universities actively seeking to
increase the diversity of the student population, second-language writers
have become an integral part of higher education, including writing
Second-language writers are found in writing programs at all levels--from basic writing and first-year composition to professional writing and writing across the curriculum--as well as in writing centers. Although providing additional linguistic support in the forms of intensive language programs and special second-language sections of writing courses may be helpful they will not remove the responsibility of writing teachers, researchers, and administrators to address second-language issues because the acquisition of a second language and second-language literacy is a time-consuming process that will continue through students' academic career and beyond.
Second-language writers include international visa students, refugees, and permanent residents as well as naturalized and native-born citizens of the United States and Canada. Many of them have grown up speaking languages other than English at home, in their communities, and in schools; others began to acquire English at a very young age and have used it alongside their native language. To many, English may be the third, fourth or fifth language. Many second-language writers are highly literate in their first language, while others have never learned to write in their mother tongue. Some are even native speakers of languages without a written form.
Second-language writers--who have come from a wide variety of linguistic, cultural, and educational backgrounds--may have special needs because the nature and functions of discourse, audience, and persuasive appeals often differ across linguistic, cultural and educational contexts. Furthermore, most second-language writers are still in the process of acquiring syntactic and lexical competence--a process that will take a lifetime. These differences are often a matter of degree, and not all second-language writers face the same set of difficulties. While some native speakers of English may face similar difficulties, those experienced by second-language writers are often more intense.
For these reasons, we urge writing teachers and writing program administrators to recognize the regular presence of second-language writers in writing classes, to understand their characteristics, and to develop instructional and administrative practices that are sensitive to their linguistic and cultural needs. We also urge graduate programs in writing-related fields to offer courses in second-language writing theory, research, and instruction in order to prepare writing teachers and scholars for working with a college student population that is increasingly diverse both linguistically and culturally.
We also stress the need for further investigations into issues surrounding second-language writing and writers in the context of writing programs. Since those issues permeate all aspects of writing theory, research, and instruction--from textual features and composing processes to collaborative strategies and writing assessment, we encourage scholars and researchers of writing to include second-language perspectives in developing theories, designing studies, analyzing data, and discussing implications.
PART TWO: GUIDELINES FOR WRITING PROGRAMS
PART THREE: SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
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