Exploring connections between plurilingual children’s writing competence and writing motivation

Exploring connections between plurilingual children’s writing competence and writing motivation

First Author: Kelli Finney -- Simon Fraser University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Maureen Hoskyn
Keywords: Writing performance, Writing motivation, Self-concept, Awareness, Longitudinal
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: This study examines how young plurilingual children’s identities as emerging writers influences their writing competencies and explores how children’s self-concept as writers highlights variation in writing performance.

Method: Three cohorts of children (total n=336; self-identified plurilingual n=264) in kindergarten to grade 2, living in lower mainland British Columbia, completed a picture-prompted narrative writing task to measure writing competence and a semi-structured language and writing interview to identify languages of instruction, home languages, and feelings about writing. Data collection took place over four years of group research sessions, part of a longitudinal study examining relationships between plurilingualism and executive functioning. Writing samples were scored for quality and coherence using a 6-point holistic rating scale and children’s interview responses were scored to determine writing affect score. A mixed methods design was then used to explore the complex relationship between children’s writing competency and their identities as writers.

Results: In general, those children reporting both positive feelings toward writing and positive self-concept as writers displayed greater competence in writing, evidenced by higher writing quality scores. However, a notable body of children showed a disconnect between writing competence and feelings toward writing, indicating the ongoing nature of self-concept development.

Conclusions: Identification of group-generalizable factors contributing to writing competence, along with reinforcement of the highly individual nature of writing development underscores the necessity of differentiated writing instruction that also supports development of children’s affective disposition to writing.