Attending to the Interactional Histories Behind Multilingual Writers’ Texts: New Directions in TESOL Teacher Education

Document Type


Publication Date



Despite research attention to varied and nuanced social processes through which linguistically minoritized multilingual students create texts, writing instruction and assessment in schools continue to be dominated by a focus on students’ written products. Even formative assessment– arguably one of teachers’ most powerful tools in designing responsive instruction – tends to focus on careful analysis of students’ writing rather than the processes through which texts are created, or the rich histories of participation in previous literacy events that students bring to any such event. In this contribution, we answer Rose's (2019) call for a bidirectional flow between teachers and researchers by describing a multi-layered inquiry we undertook, studying our teacher education practices as we asked in-service teachers to undertake their own inquiry into students' writing. We describe our experiences adapting a methodological protocol for the observational study of multilingual writers for purposes of teacher education. Specifically, we reflect on our work engaging a set of in-service teachers taking a graduate-level TESOL course in conducting “interactional histories” analyses (Kibler, 2019). Through examples of in-service teachers’ observations and their suggestions for future writing instruction, and our own reflections on the affordances and constraints of our approach, we explore the roles that interactional histories inquiry can play in teacher education. In particular, we describe its potential to help teachers build nuanced understandings of linguistically minoritized multilingual students’ development of writing expertise and identities, and teachers’ complex roles in this process.

First Page