Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Jeannine M. Fontaine, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jerry G. Gebhard, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Gloria Park, Ph.D.


This qualitative study aims to understand the varied needs and expectations that Korean students bring into a large scale English writing class, as well as the transformation of these stated needs in the course of a semester. Moreover, it investigates how the writing teacher and his students negotiate these different needs and expectations. Also, this study examines the topics and approaches that the Korean students utilize when they want to dialogue with their writing teacher. Additionally, the present study tries to illustrate the endeavors of this English literacy educator to assist his students within the limitations of the Korean EFL teaching enfironment. The stereotypical portraits of Asian students as quite and uncritical can hinder L2 students’ learning, as these false assumptions prevent L2 researchers from gaining better insights about these students (Kubota, 1999, 2000; Kumaravadivelyu, 2008; Nieto, 2010). In fact, Asian students can think critically (Benesch, 1993; Canagarajah, 2002b), though they may use their own particular approaches and strategies when they wanted to express their voices (Biggs, 1990, 1996; Cribbin & Kennedy, 2002; Holmes, 2004; Watkins & Biggs, 2001). In order to seek to embody a much fuller picture of these students, this qualitative study used methodologies drawn from an ethnographic approach. Participants included one male English writing teacher and seven student participants enrolled in his writing class in a Korean university. The main data sources were ethnographic interviews, participant observations, field notes, weekly conceptual memos, and artifacts such as students’ drafts and text messages exchanged between the participants and researcher. The results of the study indicated that the seven students and writing teacher appeared to have varied understandings, expectations, and needs related to English writing, which were virtually never discussed and negotiated in this class. Still, the students’ perceived needs transformed as students gained more experience and understandings about English writing. Depending on the topic involved, Korean students used various approaches to communicate with their writing teacher. Ultimately, this study identified factors inside and outside of class which impeded dialogue between the teacher and students. The last chapter offers relevant suggestions for English literacy educators and university administrators.