Expressive Multilingual Writing: A Transformational Healing Skill for a Pandemic Challenge

Expressive Multilingual Writing: A Transformational Healing Skill for a Pandemic Challenge

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6508-7.ch014
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The purpose of this chapter reveals the healing power of writing at times of stress, turmoil, and crisis from multilingual perspectives. Writing relieves emotional chaos, stress, and even physical pain as evidenced by research. Multilingual writing is a process-based, complicated act that requires a series of intellectual stages to be developed as a skill. In parallel to this rationale, multilingual learners can generate creative spaces for their well-being and growth by using writing as a skill to express their emotions for easing feelings related to stress, turmoil, and crisis. This chapter encourages and models emotional or expressive writing as an innovative method to use in educational and health settings to allow creating novel experiences into language learning phases.
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Writing In A Time Of Crisis

Good afternoon.

In the past two weeks, the number of cases of COVID-19 outside China has increased 13-fold, and the number of affected countries has tripled.

There are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have lost their lives.

Thousands more are fighting for their lives in hospitals. (World Health Organization, 2020, para. 3)

Writing, as a discipline, is used to announce critical and life-changing moments that will be recorded in the course of history. With this shocking piece of writing, which is carrying unexpected meaning-making and informative linguistic units, a global crisis in the name of a COVID-19 pandemic is announced. A pandemic is a global crisis affecting all humanity until the time that’s controlled and cured, and it brings quite many limitations to all routine daily life activities. The world absolutely was not prepared for this written announcement from World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director-General that literally paused the course of life on March 11th, 2020. No doubt, and quite importantly writing is one of those few disciplines that has the power to affect the future as a definitive and informative source and influence.

From a technical perspective, this announcement above is not only a piece of a written document from an organization or institution, but this brief written text will also appear in the course of history as a highly critical message that resulted in radical changes in social life. Every single person on Planet Earth, regardless of their social, political, or cultural status is affected after this written message despite the fact that the level of impact varied among communities. All of a sudden, people had to adjust their lifestyles by giving up on their social lives for safety reasons. It is therefore crucial to be clear regarding the significance of writing in crisis times, especially during COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.

First of all, restrictive bans in social life posed a significant challenge to all fields of disciplines including the writing discipline around the world. Almost all social events including the writing discipline related ones are either postponed or canceled. Many writers around the world did not even have the chance to go out if they needed inspiration to capture the complexity of unique moments in life. Eventually, traditional face-to-face writing classes were canceled. The pandemic, which indeed turned into a social crisis in countless platforms, taught people that traditional education systems failed too quickly once there is a global crisis.

In times of stressful crisis, writing for healing is crucial to overcome times of difficulties and crises. Voicing through writing helped many people around the world to stay stable and stronger than before because life might never go back to normal for them. COVID-19 pandemic is one of the crises that has inevitably and forcefully inspired many researchers to examine a variety of issues related to this pandemic including writing discipline researchers. In their writing workshops, the organizers of Northeastern University Writing Center highlighted a critical issue on the fact that “writing can be a powerful tool for reflecting and healing” (para.1) of experiences of unrest, loss, and anxiety during COVID-19 crisis.

During the COVID-19 crisis, writing teachers may urge their students to write in order to help them cope with their experiences with the sudden pandemic and social distancing. Surviving the pandemic crisis of the year 2020 requires a pen and a paper or a digital tool to maintain the wellbeing with writing for staying rational and well balanced. With the writing discipline, it is possible to advance our understanding on healing during the chaos. Thus, the purpose of this chapter is to initiate a discussion on the significance of the writing discipline at times of crisis. A model of expressive multilingual writing exercise is modeled for writing teachers (please see Appendix). Within the context of futuristic implications of teaching writing for multilingual writers, this study theoretically examined the impact of expressive writing for healing in times of distress and crisis. Both a scientific and theoretical discussion will be introduced with the hope for a healed multicultural and global world.


The Healing Power Of Writing

“Why does writing work? Some scientists suggest that repeatedly confronting painful emotions eventually lessens their impact~ we adapt to them” (Pennebaker, 2013, p. 4).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Writing at Time of Crisis: The act of writing in times of turmoil and chaos for the purpose of healing.

Pandemic: A disease that can spread throughout a country or the world.

Habituation: Creating a safe and welcoming environment for multilingual writers.

Creative Spaces for Multilingual Writers: Creating welcoming and inclusive spaces for multilingual writers to express their emotions in the form of writing.

Attentional Processing: Attentional processing refers to the revelation of memories and experiences that people either consciously or unconsciously avoided from.

Healing Through Multilingual Writing: The process of providing multilingual learners the opportunity to express their emotions through expressive writing practices.

Cognitive Processing: The process of gaining meta-cognitive awareness and wisdom on the experiences that are shared through expressive writing.

Expressive Writing: A type of writing that focuses on personal memories, experience and self-discovery through contextual meaning making processes.

COVID-19: A highly infectious deadly respiratory disease that is identified as a pandemic on March 11 th , 2020.

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