Working with ESOL Students
What Are Best Practices for Working with ESOL Students in the Basic Writing Classroom?
NCTE’s web page on English Language Learners declares, “According to the 2000 census 47 million people or 18% of the population in the United States speak a language other than English at home. By 2030, this number will increase to 40%” (para. 1).
Many multilingual students will be placed in basic writing courses at the university level, particularly “Generation 1.5” students: students born in one country, but now living in another. Often, more like other basic writing students and less like international students, these students may, according to Murie, Collins, and Detzner, “need courses that are rich in literacy and offer ways for them to develop a sense of self and voice in college.” “For these students it is “not enough to review features of English in preparation for college writing, there is a critical need to build academic literacy.” (Adamson, et al. in Murie, Collins, Detzner). For a history of second-language writers in basic writing classes see “Basic Writing and Second Language Writers: Toward an Inclusive Definition” by Paul Kei Matsuda.
Our intent in creating this wiki entry is to provide a resource for best practices with regard to instruction for ESOL students in a BW classroom. While ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), ESL (English as a Second Language), ELL (English Language Learners), EFL (English as a Foreign Language) and L2 (Second Language) all have gradations of different meaning, we hope that this site proves a useful resource for Basic Writing teachers working with any/all of these populations. For this site’s terminology, we’ll use ESOL. Our hope is that these best practices are applicable to mainstreamed BW classrooms with both ESOL and non-ESOL students.
In this wiki, we’ve consulted sources from basic writing literature, ESOL literature, and literature that examines their pedagogical intersections. We hope that by providing points of view from the different, specific fields, we might create an interdisciplinary resource which illuminates shared concerns and practices.
We’ve concentrated on three sub-areas within this field: Classroom Atmosphere, which includes community building, diversity awareness, and students’ perspective; Pedagogy, which includes assessment/feedback, and classroom activities/assignments; and Technology, which includes use of software and synchronous/asynchronous communication. You’ll find below a brief overview/introduction to each node. We look forward to additions to this wiki, both of new topics within our areas and new sub-areas as well.