Two Sisters and a Heuristic for Listening to Multilingual, International Students’ Directed Self-Placement Stories
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.5070/W4jwa.222
Directed self-placement (DSP) is considered useful in linguistically and culturally diverse writing programs, but questions of self-efficacy and institutional knowledge sustain hesitancy in using DSP with English as an additional language (EAL) writers. This interview study grounded in sociocultural literacy theory explores multilingual, international students’ engagement with writing placement and courses, showcasing two quadrilingual, bicultural, international student sisters, Hemani and Kavya. Despite nearly identical linguistic, cultural, and educational backgrounds upon concurrently entering a writing program, they experienced DSP differently and enrolled in different sections: Hemani in mainstream and Kavya in EAL courses. Hemani shares DSP’s positive impacts on her writing program trajectory whereas Kavya’s story uncovers lost opportunities and feelings of otherness. Findings affirm that multilingual, international student placement is complex and that DSP is highly contextual. This study highlights DSP’s mission of building student agency as motivation for collecting primary data so marginalized students can explain DSP’s effects on their identity and development. Responding to the need for empirical research of EAL writers using DSP, the analysis considers effects of placement and offers a heuristic for examining placement experiences across contexts.