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multimodal, communication, rhetoric, visual rhetoric, English as a Second Language, writing studies


One of my major responsibilities as Director of ESL Writing Program at Case Western Reserve University was to place incoming international students in the appropriate writing class based on their placement essay each fall. Overseeing the placement of 150-170 second language (L2) students in a few days was overwhelming and daunting at times, but it gave me a better sense of L2 students’ challenges in academic writing. The placement essay prompt aimed to gauge students’ academic reading and writing skills by asking them to make an argument based on a reading excerpt. Incoming freshmen were asked to summarize, respond to an excerpt and support their argument using their own experience, content from the passage or their general knowledge. It was not easy for native-English speaking students to respond to the essay prompt, but L2 students in particular struggled at various stages of the writing process. While some had trouble understanding the text, others had difficulty writing a coherent and well-organized essay. Many students engaged the text to some extent and incorporated interesting ideas into their essays, but most relied heavily on personal experiences and failed to produce well-developed arguments supported by effective evidence.


Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences


The College English Association Forum


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Peer Reviewed/Refereed Publication


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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Original Publication Citation

Kang, H-S. (2017). Comic book project as a tool for teaching multimodal argument and fostering critical thinking skills: Implications for the L2 writing classroom. The College English Association (CEA) Forum, 46(2), 202-216. Retrieved from


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