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Chrisa,
 
Where I work, we do exactly what you're thinking of: We work with the student for part of the paper (often just the first paragraph or two), and the student will work on the rest independently. After the student is done, a tutor will look at the next part of the assignment and point out sections that still have the same type of error. The tutor will say something like, "The first part of this paragraph still has 3 comma splices," and this time, the tutor will watch as the writer makes corrections. In some cases, there are many mechanical issues that must be addressed, but the tutors need to make some judgment calls and pick three or four that are most prevalent or "most important" if they know the particular instructor's style. After such sessions, the tutor will encourage the student to come back for further discussions on how to improve their writing for that essay. --Yes, this is very time consuming. But we don't put limits on the number of times students come back for tutoring, even if it is the same assignment. We are working on hiring an ESL specialist to work with these students more effectively in our language lab.
 
One stumbling block I have is when students prefer to speak in their native language (usually Spanish here). Even with bilingual tutors, at what point are we responsible for encouraging a "crutch" rather than helping them improve their language skills?
 
Best wishes,
 
 
Griselda Valerio
Learning Instructional Specialist - Writing
Learning Assistance Center
80 Fort Brown, MRCN 120
Brownsville, TX 78520
Phone: (956) 882-8208
Fax: (956) 882-3857

________________________________

From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals on behalf of Hotchkiss, Chrisa
Sent: Wed 2/7/2007 4:29 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Policy for tutoring ESL students in writing



Dear listers,
I'm working on a policy for writing tutors working with ESL students.
Our tutors don't proofread or edit students' papers. But that line
always seems to be somewhat blurred when working with ESL students whose
errors are often more surface-level grammar and mechanics issue. The
approach some of our tutors use is to carefully analyze with the student
the first page of an essay and then have the student work independently
on the rest of the paper using the feedback from the tutor to look for
similar patterns of errors. However, some ESL students are having
difficulty with this because they know that when they work on their own
without the tutor, they are likely to miss a lot of the errors. So the
first part of the paper will be in better shape than the second and may
affect their grade. I'm thinking a possible strategy to address this
would be to have the student work independently on the second half of
the paper and then bring it back to the tutor one more time for review.
(Our ESL students are allowed two hours a week with a tutor.) Does
anyone else use this practice? Or do you have feedback about how you
address this issue using a different strategy?
Thanks for any feedback you can provide.
Chrisa


Chrisa Hotchkiss
Director of Learning Services
The Teaching and Learning Center
Bertrand Hall, room 110
Dominican University of California
50 Acacia Ave.
San Rafael, CA  94901
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415-257-0153 (phone)
415-257-0177 (fax)

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