In episode 55, Stacey learns about designing instruction that promotes L2 writing development from Dr. Heather Willis Allen, associate professor of French at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Heather is an accomplished teacher and researcher, co-author of a 2016 book on multiliteracies along with Kate Paesani and Beatrice Dupuy, and brings a research-informed perspective to topics such as how to provide written corrective feedback and how to scaffold assignments to help students avoid common writing pitfalls.

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Show Notes

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You can learn more about Heather Willis Allen on her faculty page and can access many of her publications here.

You might remember Heather’s co-author Dr. Kate Paesani from Episode 49: Multiliteracies and CARLA Resources for Teachers with Kate Paesani

Some resources mentioned on the show…

…The Foreign Language Annals article Students’ and Instructors’ Perceived Value of Language and Content Curricular Goals by Nicole Mills & Samuel T. Moulton

The Undergraduate Spanish Major Curriculum: Faculty, Alumni, and Student Perceptions by Tammy Jandrey Hertel & Abby Dings

Hiram Maxim’s professional website where you can find quite a few PDFs of publications, including one paper on textual borrowing


Just as an aside, here is a resource on student writing that I really enjoyed and that presents another perspective. If you liked this episode, you might also enjoy this post from Senor Fernie:

blurb 55a

3 thoughts on “We Teach Languages Episode 55: L2 Writing Instruction and Corrective Feedback with Heather Willis Allen

  1. Listening to this episode I was again reminded to the differences (as perceived by me) between teaching in the target language, and in having a shared L1 in a class. In my experience teaching English in a multilingual background class, feedback has to be given in the target language, which necessarily limits that feedback to what the learners know and understand. But this also means that they are learning the L2 in the process of understanding the feedback, so the feedback becomes another lesson.

    This episode also reminded me of what is most useful about this podcast series, in that through the discussion between the interviewer (in this case, Stacey) and the guest speaker, a lot more is shared and adds to the richness!

    Heather’s discussion about writing instruction also made me reflect – the quote displayed on this page says it all: “Start with an interesting and relevant assignment. Something that’s intellectually rich. Something that’s realistic. Something that weaves together language and culture…” I’ve found those tips are very important when working with adults who have very different backgrounds and very different motivations for learning English. Sometimes it is difficult to find things that meet all of those ‘criteria’, but it is worth the effort in the value that students get from the task.

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