Beliefs and Practices Concerning Academic Writing among Postgraduate Language-Teacher Trainees

Keywords: academic writing, English, language teaching, teacher training, L2


This paper reports on the initial stages of a larger study on plurilingual rhetorical communicative competences.  Experiential evidence indicated a mismatch between the academic writing competences desired from and those displayed by the participants—adult bilingual (L1 Spanish, L+ English) English-language teacher trainees in a postgraduate program at Colombian university.  We examined participants’ beliefs and practices concerning academic writing to identify the sources of their challenges and develop the evidential basis for identifying appropriate remedial strategies.  This was a mixed methods study, in which we analyzed data from semi-structured interviews, questionnaires, and student artifacts through the grounded theory approach and descriptive statistics.  The results suggest that participants’ challenges with rhetorical aspects of academic writing stem from a lack of training.  However, participants were relatively successful with aspects of writing in which they had been trained: discrete language skills and purely descriptive prose.  We conclude their academic writing difficulties are fundamentally non-linguistic and hypothesize they would face similar academic writing challenges even if writing in their L1.  There is an urgent need to address these challenges, not only because rhetorical competences are increasingly important in a knowledge-driven society but also because teachers need to be able to train their own students in such competences.

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Author Biographies

Carl Edlund Anderson, Univerisdad de La Sabana

Assistant Professor at the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures, Universidad de La Sabana (Chía, Colombia). Currently on the scientific committee of the GiST Education and Learning Research Journal, his recent publications include studies on teacher training, CLIL, indigenous Colombian languages, and historical English philology.

Liliana Cuesta-Medina, Universidad de La Sabana

Professor at the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures, Universidad de La Sabana (Chía, Colombia). She holds a Ph.D. in English Philology from the Faculty of Humanities at UNED, Madrid. Her research interests include CALL, CLIL, academic writing, and learners’ self-regulation in blended/virtual learning environments.


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How to Cite
Anderson, C. E., & Cuesta-Medina, L. (2019). Beliefs and Practices Concerning Academic Writing among Postgraduate Language-Teacher Trainees. Íkala, 24(1), 29-49.
Empirical Studies