Analysis of Compositions Written by a Chinese Child in Japan

Lucy Spence, University of South Carolina, United States of America
Yang Tao, Kansai University, Japan
Published: March 2016

Citation: Spence, S., & Tao, Y. (2016). Analysis of Compositions Written by a Chinese Child in Japan. IAFOR Journal of Education, 4(1).


This discourse analysis focuses on the Chinese and Japanese writing of a young student living in Japan who is ethnically Chinese and multilingual. A method for analyzing linguistically diverse student writing was used to explore the literary elements and heteroglossic voices in this student’s writing. Such analysis has been shown to be beneficial to teachers for understanding linguistically diverse student writers. The findings were triangulated with observational data from the student’s home and school, an interview with the student’s teacher and interviews with the mother, who is the co-author of this study. The analysis revealed evidence of writing strengths in two languages, including flexible bilingualism and agency. Implications for school curriculum that develops student languages as a resource for learning are explored.


multilingual, writing, children, discourse analysis, translanguaging, flexible bilingualism, agency