Heidi Byrnes is George M. Roth Distinguished Professor of German at Georgetown University. Her research focuses on adult L2 literacy acquisition, particularly at the advanced level. Under her leadership her department created an articulated four-year genre-oriented and task-based curriculum, a project addressed in numerous articles (e.g., Applied Linguistics Review, Language Teaching, Linguistics and Education, MLJ) and in the monograph Realizing advanced foreign language writing development in collegiate education: Curricular design, pedagogy, assessment(co-authors, Maxim, Norris, MLJ, 94, s-1). She has edited and coedited books and special journal issues on the development of advanced literacy and the link between languaging and thinking, particularly in writing. She serves on several editorial boards, is a past president of AAAL, is the recipient of numerous professional association awards, including the Distinguished Scholarship and Service Award of the American Association of Applied Linguistics, and currently serves as editor-in-chief of the Modern Language Journal.
The multiliterate advanced learner: Making choices for meaning-making
Of the many ways in which advanced learners can be described the notion of “choice” stands out particularly prominently. A first descriptor of advanced learners might refer to them as those second language learners who have the ability to make differentiated meaning-oriented choices. But advanced learners are also language users who are increasingly aware of the contextually-driven need to make such choices so that they may be able to mean in ways that align with socially enacted topologies of oral and written textual genres. Finally, we might think of their ability and need to make choices as being conjoined in an intellectual aesthetic of desire to position themselves as multilingual performers of the semiotic resources that are available to them through their multiple languages. In my talk I will reflect on these ways of understanding advanced language learners.