Let’s Talk About Writing Support for Plurilingual Graduate Students

A Collaborative Autoethnography


  • Antoinette Gagne OISE, University of Toronto
  • Megan McIntosh University of Melbourne
  • Sreemali Herath University of Manitoba
  • Mary-Ann Fowler University of Toronto
  • Jade Kim University of Toronto
  • Victorina Baxan University of Toronto
  • Elena Danilina University of Toronto




academic writing support, plurilingual graduate students, faculty perspectives, critical analytical collaborative autoethnography


Academic writing is an inseparable aspect of graduate school (Holmes et al., 2018) as students’ academic writing is the primary basis for assessment (Turner, 2011). The high-stakes nature of academic writing is magnified for plurilingual students, whose attendance at English medium universities is growing exponentially (Fenton-Smith & Humphreys, 2017). However, there is a scarcity of research that addresses how faculty support writing as an essential practice for plurilingual graduate students, particularly in English-medium universities where English is implicated in structures of power and privilege. Employing a critical analytic collaborative autoethnography (Anderson, 2006; Kempny, 2022) this research uses polyvocal conversations among seven researcher/practitioners to consider the question of how faculty members perceive and respond to the academic writing needs of plurilingual graduate students. Informed by intersectionality (Crenshaw, 2017; Hankivsky, 2014), these conversations illuminate the ways both educator identities and epistemological turns in education theory impact approaches to writing support for plurilingual graduate writers. Importantly, these discussions are implicated in the socio-political contexts of Canadian and Australian universities where systems of inequality act to marginalise plurilingual writers. These contextualised conversations then aim to problematise and revise existent, dominant deficit discourses and pedagogies of writing support for plurilingual students. Findings illuminate the capacity of educators, who are cognisant of their power and place, to generate alternative practices to support plurilingual graduate writers in service of more asset-orientated and inclusive spaces that take advantage of students’ plurilingual repertoires in English-dominant universities.




How to Cite

Gagne, A., McIntosh, M., Herath, S., Fowler, M.-A. ., Kim, J., Baxan, V., & Danilina, E. (2023). Let’s Talk About Writing Support for Plurilingual Graduate Students: A Collaborative Autoethnography . TESL Canada Journal, 40(1), 81–106. https://doi.org/10.18806/tesl.v40i1/1386