4 A dialogic Approach to Teaching L2 Writing
Holbrook Mahn [+]
University of New Mexico
In his chapter ‘A Dialogic Approach to Teaching L2 Writing’ Mahn addresses the problem of helping ESL writing students express their intended meanings through the L2 by employing dialog journals as a mediating activity between the language and the students’ internal systems of meaning. For Mahn, dialog journals represent a space and time of free experimentation in the ZPD, as learners ‘play’ with ideas and with language without the fear of correction or even ridicule that is often present during more formal writing exercises and face-to-face interactions. Citing students’ own reflections of maintaining dialog journals, Mahn argues that the absence of a fear of correction enables students to focus on the meanings they wish to express and that while this may result, especially at first, in texts that are not acceptable in a traditional pedagogy (e.g., texts that contain many grammatical and lexical errors or that are written in more than one language), it nonetheless represents an important step in helping learners develop their own voice in the L2, a voice that is reflective of their lived experiences.