Theorizing language development at the intersection of ‘task’ and L2 writing

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The chapter argues that advantageous synergies between task and L2 writing can come about through a bidirectional link between them that recovers existing shared interests and discovers new commonalities. It suggests that a multiple literacies orientation that focuses on textual meaning-making might help create the needed platform for addressing fundamental concerns in both areas regarding L2 learning, L2 development over long instructional periods, and pressing educational issues in a global world, particularly with regard to attaining advanced ability levels. On the one hand, this involves an expansion of the notion of task, made possible through a meaning-oriented theory of language; on the other hand, the introduction of ‘task’ offers an advantageous focus for both writing research and practice. Taking a historical perspective and focusing on the central construct of complexity, the chapter first probes the presence in TBLT and writing theorizing and research of a textual meaning orientation. Thereafter it addresses issues in the language studies field that a synergistic link between these two areas that embraces a textual and meaning focus might usefully address in the interest of language teaching and learning. It concludes with brief comments on how such an approach repositions assessment and how it relates to the call for the development of symbolic competence in the era of multilingualism and globalization.


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