Helping ESL Students to Get Ready for Writing in College

By Published On: April 7th, 2016

3 years into my profession as a teacher of ESL classes I began to challenge my strategies to teaching writing, notably their applicability to the near future needs of my pupils. I had tried a number of strategies. At the beginning of the research I was skeptical that any one of the strategies had successfully enhanced my pupils’ skills when it came to writing, or that they were more fully prepared for school credit class writing. As coordinator of our program, I needed to know very well what strategies would end up being the most powerful, and exactly how we could enhance our students’ opportunities to triumph in writing within their future college classes.

With the aid of two of my previous pupils I investigated strategies to most readily prepare my students for school credit writing and science classes, among other classes. I kept on with my research with an assessment of what writing skills my pupils would need for school credit classes in their courses.


All writing including notes, prewriting and early drafts the two participants created in writing education classes during one session of courses at the Las Vegas Uceda School were examined. Examples of the writing from the science classes were also analyzed. Educator answers on the writing assignments that the participants created in other classes, and my noncredit ESL course were compared and subsequently reviewed.

Pupils’ Composing Procedures

Early interviews focused in the pupils’ writing procedures, including the way the writing they need to complete in their college credit classes affected this particular process of writing. The pupils explained their writing procedures as determined by the conditions under which it had to be achieved as well as the kind of writing to be achieved, all of which they learned in their North Plainfield English classes.

Writing in College Classes

This is particularly true regarding attitudes about strategies in writing. In the former classes, attention to form and construction was needed while audience and content were less significant. In the latter classes the reverse was true.

Both of the students looked at the content of classes that was necessary that they take as insufficient for his or her needs. Bozena resented being required to take classes that offered content she understood easily. She no longer appreciated faculty and developed a dislike for the professor. Both participants suggested they desired more practice writing in English at a quality English school in West New York.

The participants indicated strategies they considered might have served their writing needs better. Bozena desired to learn how to express her ideas in English. She indicated this demand might have been served by assignments. Bozena felt she might have practiced more purposeful and refined writing, in the event the anxiety of earning a great mark was removed. She might have had more chances to edit purposeful writing and enhance her grammar and spelling in an even more complete writing process.

Her assignments were generally purposeful and she appreciated studying the info. The method of trying to find proper info exposed her to “real” English vocabulary and use. She expressed a continuing demand for this and wanted to acquire more information about English grammar.

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