Instructor Response to ESL Writing

By Published On: April 7th, 2016

This is the last article in this series. It is a follow-up article to Feedback from Students With Regards to ESL College Writing.

Both of the previous articles participants’ liberal arts and science instructors looked for a proven comprehension of concepts, first thoughts and clarity instead of form, grammar and spelling. Marks on written examinations depended on clear communication of content. Although little information was absorbed by her from this, Betsy reported attempting to edit spelling and grammar corrections.

The two case studies in this study disclosed that noncredit writing classes and college credit courses weren’t using tactics effective in enhancing student writing skills or language construction use, nor in encouraging a positive attitude toward writing. An evaluation of advanced approaches in a noncredit ESL writing class, and a critique of writing approaches and specifications in liberal arts and sciences classes provided insight into effective approaches.

The two case studies gave insights into some successful approaches we could use in place of the approaches we have been using in many courses, including in our Las Vegas ESL classes. Positive feedback (recognizing and reinforcing what the pupil has obtained) is more successful in encouraging language structure approach than is positive acquisition. Pupils indicated that a process strategy including dialogue journaling, peer reading, clarification questions, notion revisions and teacher/student seminars would be powerful.

There is obvious need to reexamine strategies used in ESL school writing training classes, even in the North Plainfield English classes. One could contend that curricula and writing class strategies shouldn’t be closely associated with the writing skills demanded in liberal arts and science classes. Emphasis must be on getting communicative academic writing ability over less significant correction of surface errors. Betsy and Bozena both believed it very important to know to spell, punctuate and use proper grammar in English. Undeniably, to talk well and to feel confident in the society, victimization and proper wisdom of structural components of the language is required. It really is clear that many language structure and writing skills obtained by our 2 participants required repeated practical usage of structures. Surface construction concerns have to be balanced with the capacity to prepare and express one’s communicating abilities in a powerful and pertinent way. Students who can follow a group of directions for form and construction, but who cannot adequately express their ideas isn’t prepared for faculty or professional goals.

Despite confusion and discouragement, Betsy benefited from her school writing classes because she was made to practice writing in her Orlando English course. Betsy had no history in college level writing in her L1. Fortunately, her perspective about grades buffered her from the possible loss of inventiveness within her writing process. Both Betsy and Bozena were resistant. Pupils who, like Betsy, have little foundation in writing and who, like Bozena, are mostly concerned with grades could possibly be more immune.

The 2 participants brought distinct qualifications and attitudes about writing with them for their school writing lessons. Their experiences in writing in English at school have led to each one of them having distinct outlooks towards writing, both negative and positive. Students who see lesson requirements and content as worthless are more likely to “avoid” learning.

Motivation was displayed by students to write inside their liberal arts and science lessons. Motive was due, partly, to student collection of high interest subjects for writing assignments. These were writing jobs where content and theme were highly valued.

Revisioning which consisted of replicating teacher-made corrections was not an efficient way of teaching writing skills or language structure. Conditions in writing lessons were generally inconsistent. It was confusing to pupils. Inconsistent grading promoted animosity towards writing practice and was also confusing to pupils.

Ineffective strategies were often employed in credit and noncredit writing lessons. Surface construction correction was the most frequent kind of correction used as a technique for teaching writing skills and language structure. Repetitive duplication of instructor-made corrections and rewording was another often employed strategy. They were distracting, causing pupils to focus mostly on surface structure rather than on the clear reflection of these thoughts. Further, these corrections, particularly rewordings, may change the significance of what the student initially meant to convey. At worst, students won’t develop the skills they’ll need for their school career and might become frustrated and resentful with composing.

School credit and noncredit writing classes were meant to prepare pupils for science lessons writing requirements and liberal arts. Instead they stressed skills not desired in liberal arts and science classes.

Bozena’s ESL writing class experiences presented her with a slim and incorrect perspective of faculty writing. She learned the audience isn’t significant, except when the audience is grading you. This means that writing crowd and organization, thoughts – based prose aren’t significant, surface structures are. PEP students who’ve been focused mainly of surface structures could be unprepared for writing in these classes, since liberal arts and science lessons teachers are anticipating the former.

Our 2 participants were comfortable composing in their L1. Grading systems created understanding about writing. Stress redirected her focus from properly communicating to grammar/structure writing. Anxiety because of the grading of surface errors may be removed. Low pressure ungraded writing practice was more successful in encouraging a positive approach towards writing practice and learning new language structures. Editing and multiple drafts can replace the duplication of teacher made surface error corrections. Individual conferences can help pupils who have trouble with revisions of specific errors.

Since running this research I’ve become an advocate of a procedure – oriented strategy for teaching writing to native speakers of English and PEP students. I presently include a process approach to writing across my program. I’ve found dialogue journals and repeated practical use of language to be powerful tools for enhancing writing.

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