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Subject:

Re: Writing Resources for tutors helping ESL students

From:

Kim Ballard <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 26 Feb 2016 20:00:48 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (105 lines)

Hi Steph, 

You're asking a question many people want answered. Consider the following resources, and some suggestions:

Books & Article Sources for L2 Tutoring of Writing 
Tutoring Second Language Writers Mar 1, 2016 by Shanti Bruce and Ben Rafoth 

ESL Writers: A Guide for Writing Center Tutors , 2nd EditionFeb 3, 2009 by Shanti Bruce and Ben Rafoth (Sometimes publishers will send this book for free) 

Multilingual Writers and Writing Centers by Ben Rafoth (2015-01-15)1656 by Ben Rafoth 

"Tutoring ESL Students: Issues and Options." Muriel Harris and Tony Silva (available at http://writing2.richmond.edu/training/383/383restricted/harris.pdf or at http://www.jstor.org/stable/358388?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents) 
(Appeared in College Composition and Communication in Dec 1993, but still pretty good) 

"Tutoring and Revision: Second Language Writers in the Writing Center." Jessica Williams. (available through your library probably) 
(Appeared in the Journal of Second Language Writing in September of 2004) 


Websites 
EverythingESL.net http://www.everythingesl.net/inservices/tips_teaching_ells_write_10803.php 

Best Instructional Practices for English Learners Selected Research (2006-2011) {May appear to be secondary-related, but still worthwhile) 

Reflecting Forward TESOL Instruction 50 years http://blog.tesol.org/4-strategies-for-scaffolding-instruction-for-els/ 


Personal Thoughts 
As you've likely found, many L2 students know more about English grammar and usage terminology than do the native speakers who may be tutoring them. If the tutors can use the terminology, have them do so. But encourage your tutors to be cautious about making up rules. For example, I heard a tutor the other day explain that "whenever one says "nor" one needs "neither." Not true, but the tutor thought that was a rule, and it fit the particular situation--the writer needed to say "neither . . . nor" and had not,  but it's not the case that such a structure is always demanded. 

Mainly, however, have tutors NOT tell the L2 students the corrections. I usually suggest to tutors that if they find themselves starting to say "Well, I'd say" or "Well, U.S. speakers would say," STOP. Instead of offering corrections with little discussion, tutors should ask questions to find out what the L2 writer really means rather than just assuming they (the tutors) already know what the meaning is and can see THE way to correct it. 

Say the L2 student writes the following (which I just took from a text a student told me I could share in training). 

L2 Student's Statement: U.S. students make lots of notes in lectures but they share them with eager when I asked. 

Instead of the tutor saying, "Rather than "with eager" use "eagerly" and the "I asked" needs to be "whenever I ask," the tutor can do more to help the writer engage and learn if the do some or all of the following. 


1. After the tutor points out sentences or passages that are correct in the text, come to this sentence and note, "I like a lot of this sentence, but I see at least three mistakes. A native speaker might make one of the mistakes, but not the other two. Can you figure out where the problems are? Try reading it?" (By the way, I would not touch "make notes" because I don't think that phrase violates English usage, although it's charmingly L2 and not something a native speaker would say and may be something an instructor would mark, but they would be doing so based on their own preferences. 

2. The L2 student may, of course, not be able to hear the error, so the tutor should read the sentence without trying to emphasize the problem. 

3. Again the L2 student may not get the error, but at least the tutor is making the work collaborative and is not just editing and asking, "See?" 

4. By this point in the exchange, tutor can now acknowledge that the most important error is one with tense. The tutor and student should go for this error first because it is likely the most egregious error and also one that follows a pattern. My bet is the student has problems with tense more than once in the paper. So the tutor can say "when is this ("I find") happening" and when is ("I asked") happening? My bet is the L2 student will say the "I find" happens often in lectures or that it happened just once. Compare that to "I asked"; my bet is the L2 student will say that he/she once asked for a friendly native speaker's notes, and the person was happy to share. Now the tutor can ask the L2 student what he/she wants to say and what the student thinks will be right. Either the student will want to make the situation a one time in the past for the entire sentence, or will want to make the first part of the sentence something that reoccurs and the last part something he/she did just once. Perhaps the L2 student wants to break the idea into two sentences or just use additional context words to make the tense changes clear. The L2 student won't be passive in this situation and can clarify his/her meaning. In this case, the L2 student can also find a potential proofreading technique: Check to see when you want something to happen and whether or not the time is clear to the writers by changes in the verb tense and/or by changes with context words. 

The tutor could also, at this point, have the L2 student start creating a strategic proofreading list about ways to find issues the L2 student has. Thus the student can proofread for errors him/herself.

5. Now the tutor should take on the "with eager" by asking what kind of word "with" is. My bet is the L2 student will say "preposition." So now the tutor can ask why the L2 student wrote "eager" after the preposition. The L2 student may actually talk about objects of prepositions, but he/she may just talk about how helpful the student was. Eventually the discussion can be turned to adverbs and "eagerly." Even if the tutor can't hang with all the terminology, the tutor can still offer 3-5 ways to present the information, with only one or two being correct, such as I offer below: 

The tutor would say the he/she would offer X ways to say what the student wants to say, with some being correct and some not. The tutor then asks the student which of the statement he/she would say or write. 

a. but they share them with a lot of eager 
b. but they share them eagerly 
c. but they with eager share them 
d. but they eagerly share them 
e. but they with kindness share them 

Even a fairly new-to-English L2 student will likely pick b or d as answers. And if they don't, the tutor can find lots to talk about as he/she teaches the L2 student ways to find the answers (or whats behind the correct answer). Because many prepositional phrase are based on strings of semantic content rather than on any easily accessible grammar/usage rule, the tutor can acknowledge that many of the English wordings aren't confined by easily accessible grammar rules but are just things native speakers know works well in their language and will be acceptable because they've heard the combinations since birth. 

Finally, the tutor and student need to decide whether or not to take on the needed comma in "U.S. students make lots of notes in lectures but they share them with eager when I asked." If so, the tutor can do so by talking about F-A-N-B-O-Y-S (For, And, Nor, etc.) and independent clauses. And, of course, the tutor can again provide a clear proofreading strategy, although helping students recognize independent clauses can be tough at times and depends upon the tutor and L2 writer recognizing that a clause has a verb and a subject for the verb. 

In such an approach as I attempt to described above, the paper won't be edited line by line (which the books and article I mentioned will also suggest), but the L2 student will come closer to improving his/her knowledge of the structure and vocabulary of English and will not be simply expecting a native speaker to make things right. In addition, the L2 student may understand that when someone else edits his/her paper or is in charge of doing so, the editor sometimes makes "mistakes" based on the editor's understanding rather than on the writer's meaning. 

Sorry to be so long-winded!

Kim

Kim Ballard 
Western Michigan University Writing Center, Director 
WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship, Editor 


---- Original Message ----- 
From: "Stephanie M Olson" <[log in to unmask]> 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2016 10:44:55 AM 
Subject: Writing Resources for tutors helping ESL students 

Hello, 

I am looking for some resources to provide to writing tutors who are helping ESL students. A lot of ESL students come to tutors week after week and I am looking to provide some resources that the tutors can use to work with these ESL students to help them be able to edit their papers on their own. If anyone knows of anything, I would appreciate! 

Steph 
Steph Olson, M.S. 
Coordinator for Academic Support Services 
Campbell University | College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences 
e:[log in to unmask] |<mailto:[log in to unmask]> t:(910) 814-5693<tel:%28910%29%20814-5693> | f:(910) 893-1937<tel:%28910%29%20893-1937> 
P Please consider the environment before printing this email. 
[Description: cups-logo] 


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