Enacting Inclusive Pedagogy in Teaching Second Language Writing

Heather Willis Allen

Associate Professor of French
UW-Madison Department of French and Italian

9:00 am - 12:00 pm, Saturday, June 1, 2024
Old Madison Room, Memorial Union, Madison

Heather Allen

About the workshop

Assuring meaningful participation in second language (L2) learning for all students requires educators to address issues of equity, access, and inclusion in our policies, instructional practices, and curricula. Despite recent advances in researching these matters, studies of ethno-racial distribution of bachelor’s degrees awarded in languages other than English in the U.S. demonstrate underrepresentation of many minoritized groups (Murphy & Lee, 2019). In addition, minoritized learners report negative L2 classroom experiences and instructional environments, unfavorable attitudes and perceptions by teachers and classmates, and curriculum and materials deemed unappealing and irrelevant (Anya, 2020).

This workshop departs from the premise that writing represents an ideal modality for L2 educators to enact inclusive instructional practices and proposes a Design orientation (Allen, 2018) as a framework to do so. This perspective reflects Yang’s (2020) argument for using pedagogy as a means to address social injustice, to disrupt learners’ established and negative sense of self grounded in the banking model (Freire, 1970) of literacy education, and to teach L2 writing in a way “that enable[s] … learners to achieve contextualized understandings of themselves and the world” (p. 11). After inviting workshop participants to reflect on their own experiences teaching writing and their ideas of what inclusive pedagogy means, I will situate a Design writing orientation and define the five principles of Design writing pedagogy. Next, through instructional examples, I will demonstrate how Design writing pedagogy reimagines the types of knowledge needed in L2 writing, situates learner agency, and leverages multimodality and collaboration to support learners in the L2 writing process. The workshop’s concluding activity will invite participants to reflect on how inclusive and Design writing principles might contribute to their own practices of teaching L2 writing.


Allen, H. W. (2018). Redefining writing in the foreign language curriculum: Toward a
design approach. Foreign Language Annals 51, 513-532.

Anya, U. (2020). African Americans in world language study: The forged path and future
directions. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 40, 97-112.

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin.

Murphy, D., & Lee, S. Y. (2019). The gender and race or ethnicity of majors in languages and literatures other than English in the United States 2010-14. ADFL Bulletin, 45, 43-92.

Yang, S. (2020). Critical pedagogy for foreign-language writing. L2 Journal, 12, 110-127.

About the speaker

Dr. Heather Willis Allen is Associate Professor of French in the Department of French and Italian, a core faculty member of the Second Language Acquisition Doctoral Program, and a faculty affiliate of the Center for Teaching and Research on Writing. Her work includes oversight of a multiliteracies-oriented first- and second-year French language program, supervision of a talented and diverse group of graduate student instructors of French, and teaching cultural studies and writing courses in French and graduate seminars in applied linguistics.

Dr. Allen’s research focuses on multiliteracies and Design pedagogies in second language education. You can read about her current book project on second language writing here, which will be published as part of Routledge’s Multiliteracies and Second Language Education series.

Dr. Allen is also at work co-directing a grant project on critical competencies associated with advanced French study funded by the Embassy of France in the U.S. and the FACE Foundation that you can read more about here.


Sponsors: Sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Language Institute, with funding from the International Division.

Contact: Dianna Murphy, Language Institute director

The UW-Madison Language Institute is committed to inclusive and accessible programming. To request an accommodation for this event, please contact Language Institute associate director Jana Martin three business days in advance.