Writing Advisor Resources
Conferencing with ESL Students
Please note that we are not able to provide assistance to ESL students for courses within the ESL program. (These courses will begin with an ESL prefix, such as ESL 0940 Reading/Writing.) Instructors in these courses specify that students may not receive outside assistance.
Writing Center Resources
The current WRIT 2100 course pack, available in a binder in the Writing Center, contains several articles that guide Writing Advisors as they approach conferences with ESL students.
Several helpful books are available on our shelves, including Bruce and Rafoth, ESL Writers: A Guide for Writing Center Tutors and Flaitz, Understanding your International Students.
This PowerPoint gives an overview of language acquisition theories, factors influencing international students’ motivation, and ways to negotiate a beneficial focus for conferences.
Techniques for Serving International Students from Dennis Bricault, North Park University Director of ESL
Tips on Teaching ESL Students
This resource from the UNC Writing Center considers two groups of ESL students: international ESL students and resident ESL students, and presents tips for teaching each group (many of which are also applicable to writing conferences).
Tutoring Training ELL Handout from St. Olaf
A helpful resource from the writing center at St. Olaf College, this handout provides tips on using students’ ideas, overcoming the language barrier, understanding cultural differences, prioritizing errors, and teaching life skills.
ESL Students and Sentence-level Errors and A Working List of Situations and Approaches
Pomona College’s writing center mentions creating a list of grammar corrections you discuss during conferences over the semester and sharing it with a mentor. That way, you can make sure you are fitting your commentary into the broader mission of making better writers, not just better papers!
Some common errors in multilingual students’ work may be the result of transfer errors. In these, students are thinking logically, applying the grammar of their native language to the grammar of English, and thus providing us with an important starting point for discussion, so that we can help them continue to solve the grammar puzzles encountered as they become fluent. It is important to note that not all grammatical errors and mistakes are transfer errors; some, for instance, can result from faulty instruction.
Writing English as a Second Language (William Zinsser in the American Scholar)
William Zinsser, speaking to new international students at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, explains that good writing “depends on what country you’re from” and gives a brief history of the English language.
Writing Center Links
Find out what’s happening at other writing centers.