Identities and Beliefs in ESL Writing: From Product to Processes


  • Xuemei Li



Language education


Studies investigating cultural influences on second-language writing have been mainly product-oriented. Moreover, research on writing processes has mostly focused on the strategies of writing and learning to write. Writing processes where we can see the evolution of the writer's identity and beliefs have been less adequately addressed. Therefore, this article focuses on the dynamic relationship of culture, identity, and beliefs with regard to the writing process (the micro-process) and the process of learning to write (the macro-process) in the ESL context. A study consisting of two cases was undertaken to examine the reconstruction of the writer's identity and the evolution of the learner's beliefs in an ESL context. Data for Case A include writings by and interviews with a first-year ESL student; data for Case B include class observations of and interviews with students and their teacher in an ESL writing class. It has been found that the notions of culture, identity, and beliefs are interwoven they work together to reshape learners' beliefs in terms of education and writing and to reconstruct a writer's identity that incorporates multiple influences and multiple intentions. Recommendations are offered for guiding ESL students in the exploration of their first and host cultures and for facilitating the evolution of beliefs and the reconstruction of identities.




How to Cite

Li, X. (2007). Identities and Beliefs in ESL Writing: From Product to Processes. TESL Canada Journal, 25(1), 41–64.