The following study will aim to explore how an international student’s well-developed literary personality can create difficulties in their academic writing enculturation in the United States. It will also touch on a few initiatives that can be taken to overcome these difficulties in general writing pedagogy, with a focus on tutoring and one-on-one conferences in particular. This study will attempt to look past the broad label of ‘cultural barrier’ and examine how a student’s entire extensive scholarly training can create a writing persona that differs from our institutional expectations.
We will explore how a very capable student, recently arrived in the United States had initial difficulties in coping with what was expected of her in her English 101 and 102 courses. We will also look at the wide-ranging sources of her understanding of what academic writing entailed. We will then examine initial missteps in modifying her writing personage and the steps taken to change her writing style just enough to meet initial requirements.
The sources for this study will be first-hand accounts of the student’s literary history as well as excerpts, analysis from some of the student’s texts and testimonies from a few of her instructors. With this examination, we hope to display the importance of going beyond the broad contextualization of understanding the issue of ‘culture’ in writing and show the benefits of identifying a student’s literary history and their initial understanding of academic work.