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Alan Hirvela

Faculty Emeritus, Department of Teaching and Learning

Program Area: Foreign, Second, and Multilingual Language Education

(614) 292-0137


My teaching career began as a community college English instructor at C.S. Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan. In 1978 I moved to Hong Kong, where I taught for a few years at a private school, Shue Yan College, and then for a decade at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). While at CUHK I completed my PhD at the University of Stirling in Scotland. My dissertation examined connections between literature, literary theory, and communicative language teaching. Since 1994 I have been at Ohio State University, first in the ESL Composition Program and, since 2000, in the Foreign and Second Language Education Program. My research focuses, in a number of ways, on second language literacy. In addition to my teaching and scholarship, I spent 10 years in editorial positions with the journal English for Specific Purposes, first as an assistant editor of the journal and then as its reviews editor. In 2010 I will begin serving, with Diane Belcher, as co-editor of the journal TESOL Quarterly.

Selected Publications


  • Belcher, D., & Hirvela, A. (Eds.) (2008). The Oral-Literate Connection: Perspectives on L2 Speaking, Writing, and Other Media Interaction. University of Michigan Press.
  • Hirvela, A. (2004). Connecting Reading and Writing in Second Language Writing Instruction. University of Michigan Press.
  • Belcher, D., & Hirvela, A (Eds.). (2001). Linking Literacies: Perspectives on L2 Reading-Writing Connections. University of Michigan Press.

Journal Articles

  • Hirvela, A. (2007). Computer-mediated communication and the linking of
  • students, text, and author on an ESL writing course listserv. Computers and Composition, 24, 36-55.
  • Hirvela, A. (2007). Speaking-writing connections and the communicatively-competent writer. Review of Applied Linguistics in China, 3, 92-108.
  • Hirvela, A. (2006). Negotiating understanding in ESL teacher training. ELT Journal, 60 (3), 233-242.
  • Hirvela, A. & Sweetland, Y. L. (2005). Two case studies of L2 writers' experiences across learning-directed portfolio contexts. Assessing Writing, 10, 192-213.
  • Hirvela, A. (2005). ESL students and the use of literature in composition courses. Teaching English in the Two Year College, 33, 70-77.
  • Hirvela, A. (2005). Computer-based reading and writing across the curriculum: Two case studies of L2 writers. Computers and Composition, 22, 337-356.
  • Belcher, D., & Hirvela, A. (2005). Writing the qualitative dissertation: What motivates and sustains commitment to a fuzzy genre? Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 4, 187-205.
  • Yoon, H., & Hirvela, A. (2004). ESL student attitudes toward corpus use in L2 writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 13, 257-283.
  • Hirvela, A., & Belcher, D. (2001). Coming back to voice: The multiple voices and identities of mature multilingual writers. Journal of Second Language Writing, 10, 83-106.
  • Belcher, D., & Hirvela, A. (2000). Literature and L2 composition: Revisiting the debate. Journal of Second Language Writing, 9, 21-39.
  • Hirvela, A. (1999). Collaborative writing instruction and communities of readers and writers. TESOL Journal, 8, 7-12.
  • Hirvela, A. (1997). “Disciplinary portfolios” and EAP writing instruction. English for Specific Purposes, 16, 83-100.
  • Hirvela, A. (1996). Reader-response theory and ELT. ELT Journal, 50, 127-134.
  • Hirvela, A. (1995). Designing portfolios for L2 writing instruction. TESL Reporter, 28, 53-60.
  • Hirvela, A. (1991). Footing the English bill in Hong Kong: Language politics and linguistic schizophrenia. Journal of Asian Pacific Communication, 2, 117-137.
  • Hirvela, A., & Law, E. (1991). A survey of local English teachers' attitudes toward English and ELT. Institute of Language in Education Journal, 8, 25-38.
  • Hirvela, A. (1990). ESP and literature: A reassessment. English for Specific Purposes, 9, 237-252.
  • Hirvela, A. (1989). Five bad reasons why language teachers avoid literature. British Journal of Language Teaching, 27, 127-132.
  • Hirvela, A. (1989). Using cloze passages for instructional purposes. TESL Reporter, 22, 9-13.
  • Hirvela, A. (1989). Educational technology and academic freedom. Educational Technology, 29, 42-45.
  • Hirvela, A. (1989). The case against CAI: A reply to John Higgins. System, 17, 61-65.
  • Hirvela, A. (1988-89). Cultural imperialism and the misuse of literary texts. Language Issues, 2(2), 40-45.
  • Hirvela, A. (1988). Marshall McLuhan and the case against CAI. System, 16, 299-311.
  • Hirvela, A. (1988). Technology and the teaching of literature. Journal of Educational Techniques and Technologies, 21, 20-28.
  • Hirvela, A. (1988). Integrating simplified and original texts. JALT Journal, 9, 131-151.
  • Hirvela, A., & Boyle, J. (1988). Literature courses and student attitudes. ELT Journal, 42, 179-184.
  • Hirvela, A. (1987). Extended storytelling. Modern English Teacher, 14, 18-21.
  • Hirvela, A. (1987). Designing a dog-exercise machine. English Teaching Forum, 25, 37-38.

Chapters in Edited Books

  • Hirvela, A. (Forthcoming). Diverse literacy practices among Asian language populations: Implications for theory and pedagogy. In M. Farr, L. Seloni, & J. Song (Eds.), Ethnolinguistic Diversity and Literacy Education. To be published by Routledge/Taylor-Francis.
  • Hirvela, A. (Forthcoming). Writing to learn in content areas: Research insights. In R. M. Manchon (Ed.), Learning to Write and Writing to Learn in an Additional Language. To be published by John Benjamins.
  • Belcher, D., & Hirvela, A. (In press). The role of theory in dissertations on L2 writing: Doctoral students' perspectives. In P. Matsuda & T. Silva (Eds.), Practicing Theory in Second Language Writing. To be published by Parlor Press.
  • Hirvela, A. (In press). Cultural imperialism and the misuse of literary texts. In Key Language Issues 1986-2006.. London: South Bank University Press.
  • Hirvela, A., & Yi, Y. (2008). From expectations to empowerment: How a mentor and dissertation writer negotiated the intricacies of a qualitative results chapter. In C. Casanave and X-M. Li (Eds.), Learning the Literacy Practices of Graduate School: Insiders' Reflections on Academic Enculturation (pp. 121-133). University of Michigan Press.
  • Hirvela, A. (2001). Connecting reading and writing through literature. In D. Belcher
  • and A. Hirvela (Eds.), Linking Literacies: Perspectives on L2 Reading-Writing Connections (pp. 109-134). University of Michigan Press.
  • Hirvela, A. (2001). Incorporating reading into EAP writing courses. In J. Flowerdew
  • and M. Peacock (Eds.), Research Perspectives on English for Academic Purposes (pp. 330-346). Cambridge University Press.
  • Hirvela, A., & Pierson, H. (2000). Portfolios, vehicles for self-assessment. In G.
  • Ekbatani and H. Pierson (Eds.), Learner-Directed Self-Assessment in ESL (pp. 105-126). Lawrence Erlbaum.
  • Hirvela, A. (1999). Teaching immigrant students in the college writing classroom. In
  • M. H. Kells and V. Balester (Eds.), Attending to the Margins: Writing, Research, and Teaching on the Front Lines (pp. 150-164). Boynton/Cook Heinemann.

Guest-Edited Journals

  • Yi, Y., and Hirvela, A. (2009). Biliterate Asian Students' Literacy Practices in Norrth America. Journal of Asian Pacific Communication, 19 (1).
  • Hirvela, A., and Belcher, D. (2007). Writing Scholars as Teacher Educators: Exploring Writing Teacher Education. Journal of Second Language Writing, 16 (3).
  • Belcher, D. and Hirvela, A. (2001). Voice in L2 Writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 10 (1-2).