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What do basic writing instructors need to know to improve ELL student writing?

This FAQ initiated by Cecilia Pattee, Amanda Fehrer and Reba Bailey, graduate students in Karen Uehling’s Basic Writing Course at Boise State University, Spring 2011.

As first year writing teachers, we have students who are in the process of learning English, as well as learning to write in English. Some of the issues for educationally underprepared students are related to socioeconomic status, and other issues are related to culture and language. We have found that the issues the educationally underprepared have were not necessarily the same issues for students learning English. This led us to inquire whether there were shared patterns within ELL student writing who shared a first language and/or culture. Our observations led us to recognize a gap in the availability of a centralized location for specific information regarding the special issues generation 1.5, ELL students and bilingual students from a variety of national and linguistic backgrounds face, patterns of error that may occur by language/culture, and specific information about social/cultural beliefs that may affect learning.

In response, we hope to provide a central location where writing instructors can find language/culture specific information about issues relative to improving ELL student writing and to educate instructors on cultural and social issues that may affect student learning.

Although we realize the potential of this FAQ to expand to include information about a variety of national and linguistic backgrounds (and our hope is that is does) we decided to focus the first posting to this topic on the immediate needs we recognized in our own geographic area. One of the largest minority groups in our geographic area is Hispanic, of Mexican descent.

Our vision is to see this FAQ posting expand as people with inquires and/or expertise in teaching ELL students from other cultures compile their findings. We invite anyone to continue adding helpful information regarding the Mexican/American culture, or, to expand the posting by adding information on other national or linguistic background groups.

What writing issues might Mexican American ELL writing students have?

Where can I find an example of Mexican American student writing, with analysis?

What resources may help when instructing students of Mexican descent who are learning to write in English?

What helps and hints are available for writing instructors of Mexican American ELL students?

Where can I learn about Mexican American culture?

What are some great resources available when working with Mexican American students that I can use in my classroom?

What articles relate specifically to Mexican American ELL student writing?

What are some helpful resources related to ELL student writing in general?

What search words were helpful when exploring issues related to ELL student writing?

What organizations are useful?

What journals focus on second language writing?

What are some helpful articles related to general knowledge about ELL student writing?

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Page last modified on May 07, 2011, at 02:21 PM