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Teaching English as a Second Language
Belcher, Diane, and George Braine, eds. Academic Writing in a Second Language: Essays on Research and Pedagogy. Norwood, N.J.: Ablex, 1994.
Sixteen essays exploring the social perspective on ESL writing issues. Included are Ilona Leki, "Good Writing: I Know It When I See It"; George Braine, "Writing in the Natural Sciences"; Diane Belcher, "Writing Critically across the Curriculum"; Ulla Connor and Melinda Kramer, "Writing from Sources: Case Studies of Graduate Students in Business Management"; Diane Tedick and Maureen Mathison, "Holistic Scoring on ESL Writing Assessment: What Does an Analysis of Rhetorical Features Reveal?"; Ann Johns, "Teaching Classroom and Authentic Genres: Initiating Students into Academic Cultures and Discourses"; and Sally Jacoby, David Leech, and Christine Holten, "A Genre-Based Developmental Writing Course for Undergraduate ESL Science Majors."
Belcher, Diane, and Alan Hirvela, eds. Linking Literacies: Perspectives on L2 Reading-Writing Connections. Ann Arbor: The Univ. of Michigan Press, 2001.
Examining a wide range of issues within the general rubrics of L2 reading-writing connections and L2 academic literacy illustrates the many ways in which L2 reading-writing relations can be manifested. Following an introduction by the editors, thirteen chapters in four sections consider the theories, history, and research that influence L2 literacy pedagogy, including: William Grabe, "Reading-Writing Relations: Theoretical Perspectives and Instructional Practices"; Paul Kei Matsuda, "Reexamining Audiolingualism: On the Genesis of Reading and Writing in L2 Studies"; Alan Hirvela, "Connecting Reading and Writing through Literature"; George Newell, Maria C. Garriga, and Susan S. Peterson, "Learning to Assume the Role of Author: A Study of Reading-to-Write One's Own Ideas in an Undergraduate ESL Composition Course"; Barbara Dobson and Christine Feak, "A Cognitive Modeling Approach to Teaching Critique Writing to Nonnative Speakers"; Joel Bloch, "Plagiarism and the ESL Student: From Printed to Electronic Texts"; Debbie Barks and Patricia Watts, "Textual Borrowing Strategies for Graduate-Level ESL Writers"; Georgette Jabbour, "Lexis and Grammar in Second Language Reading and Writing."
Carson, Joan G., and Ilona Leki, eds. Reading in the Composition Classroom: Second Language Perspectives. Boston: Heinle and Heinle, 1993.
After many years of being taught separately as technical skills, reading and writing are increasingly being taught together in ESL courses that recognize the inextricable links between them. Eighteen essays examine how individual readers process text, how cultural contexts affect understanding, and how reading can be taught in writing classes. Essays include Ilona Leki, "Reciprocal Themes in ESL Reading and Writing"; Joy Reid, "Historical Perspectives on Writing and Reading in the ESL Classroom"; Barbara Kroll, "Teaching Writing Is Teaching Reading: Training the New Teacher of ESL Composition"; Joan Carson, "Reading for Writing: Cognitive Perspectives"; Douglas Flahive and Nathalie Bailey, "Exploring Reading/Writing Relationships in Adult Second Language Learners"; Ruth Spack, "Student Meets Text, Text Meets Student: Finding a Way into Academic Discourse"; Sarah Benesch, "ESL Authors: Reading and Writing Critical Autobiographies"; and Ann Johns, "Reading and Writing Tasks in English for Academic Purposes Classes: Products, Processes, and Resources."
Connor, Ulla. Contrastive Rhetoric: Cross-Cultural Aspects of Second-Language Writing. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1996.
Contrastive rhetoric studies the ways that a first language interferes with learning a second language. Contrastive rhetoric has become increasingly complex, moving beyond the analysis of merely negative effects to include, today, insights from rhetoric, composition studies, discourse theory, genre theory, theoretical and applied linguistics, and literacy theory. Moreover, studies of ESL learners from different cultures have produced detailed analyses of cultural and educational differences that influence second-language learning. Connor summarizes the relevant aspects of each set of theories and of the major empirical studies and draws implications for further study of ESL, EFL, and ESP research.
Cummins, Jim. "The Sanitized Curriculum: Educational Disempowerment in a Nation at Risk." Richness in Writing: Empowering ESL Students. Ed. Donna M. Johnson and Duane H. Roen. White Plains: Longman, 1989. 19–38.
The 1983 report "A Nation at Risk" shifted policy emphasis from equity to "excellence." Subsequent reports focus on raising standards and getting tough. This reform movement threatens to disempower students, particularly minority students, by fostering a "transmission" approach to teaching that ignores students' need to develop a sense of efficacy in their relations with educators. Transmission especially harms ESL students by excluding student experience and suppressing the meaningful communication needed to learn language. Moreover, the reforms reflect an autocratic image of society that is counterdemocratic. In addition, the focus on excellence promotes passivity rather than critical thinking. An alternative conception of reform can be based on a more productive interaction between students and teachers, active use of written and oral language for critical thinking, and use of students' cultural resources that will enrich all students. Our children's generation will need critical skills and intercultural understanding in the future and cannot reach the goals set out in "A Nation at Risk" by following the path of "excellence" laid out there.
Ferdman, Bernardo M., Rose-Marie Weber, and Arnulfo G. Ramirez, eds. Literacy across Languages and Cultures. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press, 1994.
Meeting the English literacy needs of members of linguistic and cultural minorities in the United States requires rethinking many assumptions about literacy itself, especially because most research concentrates on first-language literacy. The eleven essays in this volume probe the meaning of literacy in a multiethnic context, the processes of second-language and second-culture acquisition, and the application of current research to these concerns. Essays include Stephen Reder, "Practice-Engagement Theory: A Sociocultural Approach to Literacy across Languages and Cultures"; Nancy Hornberger, "Continua of Biliteracy"; Concha Delgado-Gaitan, "Sociocultural Change through Literacy: Toward the Empowerment of Families"; Barbara McCaskill, "Literacy in the Loophole of Retreat: Harriet Jacobs's Nineteenth-Century Narrative"; and Alison d'Anglejan, "Language and Literacy in Quebec."
Harklau, Linda. "From the 'Good Kids' to the 'Worst': Representations of English Language Learners Across Educational Settings." TESOL Quarterly 34.1 (Spring 2000): 35–67.
Learners' identities affect their experiences in school; the institutional label ESOL student, largely accepted as unchanging and self-evident, played a crucial role in three students' transitions from high school to college. Three year-long ethnographic case studies of language minority students, each a U.S. high school graduate, illustrate how educators' representations of ESOL student identity are reproduced in broader institutional discourses and how representations have direct effects on classroom behavior and achievement in both settings—keeping students engaged in high school but turning them away in community college. The representation of what it meant to be an ESOL student in high school (immigrants as model students) facilitated favorable conditions for learning while the dominant representation of ESOL students in their community college (new to the U.S.) led to student resistance. In the context of the high school, images of immigrants informed a representation of ESOL students as hardworking and highly motivated; in the ESOL program of the urban community college, however, the curriculum reflected an image of ESOL students as cultural novices—with goals diametrically opposed to these students' self-perceptions and expectations as seasoned school-goers and residents of the U.S. Labels given to students have consequences for students' classroom behavior and investment in learning; at the same time, institutional representations, in determining how entering students are placed and evaluated, have significant educational implications.
Harklau, Linda, Kay M. Losey and Meryl Siegal, eds. Generation 1.5 Meets College Composition: Issues in the Teaching of Writing to U.S.-Educated Learners of ESL. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1999.
The "1.5 generation" represents the student population of U.S. high school graduates who enter higher education while in the process of learning English; their traits and experiences lie somewhere in between those of first or second generation immigrants. Twelve chapters address instructional issues presented by this group and include Ilona Leki, " 'Pretty Much I Screwed Up': Ill-Served Needs of a Permanent Resident"; Judith Rodby, "Contingent Literacy: The Social Construction of Writing for Nonnative English-Speaking College Freshmen"; Yuet-Sim D. Chiang and Mary Schmida, "Language Identity and Language Ownership: Linguistic Conflicts of First-Year University Writing Students"; Beth Hartman and Elaine Tarone, "Preparation for College Writing: Teachers Talk About Writing Instruction for Southeast Asian American Students in Secondary School"; Dana R. Ferris, "One Size Does Not Fit All: Response and Revision Issues for Immigrant Student Writers"; and Kate Wolfe-Quintero and Gabriela Segade, "University Support for Second-Language Writers Across the Curriculum."
Huckin, Thomas, Margot Haynes, and James Coady. Second Language Reading and Vocabulary Learning. Norwood, N.J.: Ablex, 1993.
Fourteen essays report on research into the ways that ESL students learn vocabulary, including analyses of L1 vocabulary learning and the efficacy of contextual guessing, investigation of the assumption that reading improves vocabulary acquisition, and evaluation of pedagogical practices for improving vocabulary. Essays include Frederika Stoller and William Grabe, "Implication for L2 Vocabulary Acquisition from L1 Research"; Margot Haynes, "Patterns and Perils of Guessing in Second Language Reading"; Chion-Lan Chern, "Chinese Students' Word-Solving Strategies in Reading in English"; Kate Parry, "Too Many Words: Learning the Vocabulary of an Academic Subject"; Mark Stein, "The Healthy Inadequacy of Contextual Definition"; and Cheryl Brown, "Factors Affecting the Acquisition of Vocabulary: Frequency and Saliency of Words."
Kubota, Ryoko. "Japanese Culture Constructed by Discourses: Implications for Applied Linguistics Research and ELT." TESOL Quarterly 33.1 (Spring 1999): 9–35.
Conceptions of culture tend to dichotomize Western culture and Eastern culture, drawing boundaries between them in areas of inquiry such as contrastive rhetoric. In the applied linguistic literature, Japanese culture is essentialized, the result of discourse that defines the subordinate group as exotic Other. Another way of understanding cultural differences comes from a critique of cultural representations from the concepts of discourse and power/knowledge, not to dismiss the existence of diversity within a culture but to escape the binary logic of same versus different. In this view, characteristics of the Japanese people and culture are seen as ideological constructs that promote homogeneity and thus serve the interest of the government and corporations, as illustrated through nihonjinron. The pedagogical tension between acculturation and pluralist approaches in teaching ESL students suggests an alternative model, that of critical multiculturalism that supports both cultural pluralism and critical acquisition of the dominant language.
Kutz, Eleanor, Suzy Q. Groden, and Vivian Zamel. The Discovery of Competence: Teaching and Learning with Diverse Student Writers. Portsmouth, N.H.: Boynton/Cook, 1993.
Teachers of writing, especially to ESL students, should begin with students' competences and not focus on correcting their deficits. Understanding the complexities of language acquisition allows teachers to help students acquire new competencies in academic discourse. The academy is a culture with a discourse and mindsets that are alien to many students, particularly to ESL students. Teachers can, however, make the transition to the new culture less frustrating and alienating by designing courses that allow students to discover and build on existing abilities and knowledge as they investigate new conditions and expectations. Language learning comes from the desire to make meaning, not from building up incremental linguistic units; so, too, with a second language or dialect. Moreover, intellectual development and cognitive orientations to learning that characterize extant competencies need to be respected and not forced into academic molds. Teachers can use the classroom as a research site for discovering students' abilities and examining their own teaching methods, taking a critical view of their curricular frameworks. The authors include many excerpts from student papers reflecting on their language-learning experiences, describe classroom research practices, suggest ways to assess student competencies, and offer advice about creating multicultural frameworks for curriculum development.
Leki, Ilona. "Coping Strategies of ESL Students in Writing Tasks across the Curriculum." TESOL Quarterly 29.2 (Summer 1995): 235–60.
A naturalistic study examined five ESL visa students' experiences in disciplinary courses and identified strategies that students both bring with them and develop in response to writing demands. Through interviews, observations, student journals, and various documents, ten categories of strategies were cataloged, including relying on past writing experiences, looking for models, and accommodating (and resisting) teachers' demands. Each student is profiled, and then each of the ten categories is illustrated.
Leki, Ilona. Understanding ESL Writers: A Guide for Teachers. Portsmouth, N.H.: Boynton/Cook, 1992.
Although teaching writing to ESL students is not radically different from teaching writing to native speakers, it helps to understand the difficulties of learning to write in an L2. Native speakers must orchestrate many skills and strategies to write: ESL writers face, in addition, limited vocabulary, cultural and idiomatic complexities, unfamiliar style and audience expectations, and the frustration of not being able to express their real thoughts or knowledge. Only slowly has ESL teaching shifted from structure-based language instruction to process-based instruction. Research confirms that the desire to communicate aids language acquisition, whereas knowledge of rules and error-correction does not. Immersion in language, especially reading, is vital for writing. At the same time, social comfort increases the desire to communicate. Leki sensitively discusses the characteristics of ESL students and ways to distinguish ESL students from basic writers in classes where they are mixed, recommends classroom practices for teachers in ESL and mixed classes, analyzes ESL-student writing behavior (concerning personal writing, plagiarism, sophistication, and so on), describes L2 writing processes, surveys findings of contrastive rhetoric for several cultures, discusses sentence-level correction, and offers advice about responding. Includes an extensive, unannotated bibliography.
See: Min-Zhan Lu, "From Silence to Words: Writing as Struggle" .
Matsuda, Paul Kei and Tony Silva. "Cross-Cultural Composition: Mediated Integration of U.S. and International Students." Composition Studies 27.1 (Spring 1999): 15–30.
A cross-cultural composition course, designed to integrate U.S. and international students, provides an alternative placement option for ESL writers and promotes intercultural understanding for both groups of students. Integrating ESL writers into existing writing courses has an economic advantage; however, traditional mainstreaming has several problems when ESL writers are a distinct minority. ESL-friendly courses provide a mediated integration of NES and ESL writers; not conflict-free, such a course foregrounds difference. The cross-cultural aspect of this placement option may be especially valuable at institutions where linguistic and cultural diversity is not prevalent.
Nelson, Marie W. At the Point of Need: Teaching Basic and ESL Writers. Portsmouth, N.H.: Boynton/Cook, 1991.
Beginning with the premise that attending closely to students' own descriptions of the writing help they need would improve their pedagogy, teams of writing-center tutors over five years carefully recorded their interactions with basic-writing and ESL students—and with one another—as they sought to discover how best to teach writing. The teams discovered significant similarities between ESL and basic writers in writing behaviors, assumptions, and development. Students also had unrecognized skills of invention and language production that could be tapped once they were given permission to use them. Allowing students to be independent of the teacher produced the best results in the long term, a condition accomplished by establishing a safe atmosphere, modeling successful writing behaviors, unteaching misperceptions about how to write, pointing out strengths in student writing, rewarding critical attitudes and risk taking, and so on. The tutors refined the process of working with students and the steps that might be taken to help writers become independent and fluent. Many case studies illustrate the development of students—basic writers and ESL students from many cultures—and of the tutors. Chapters examine longitudinal studies of writers, types of writing assignments, the organization of the writing center, the training of tutors, and research design.
Pennycook, Alastair. "Borrowing Others' Words: Text, Ownership, Memory, and Plagiarism." TESOL Quarterly 30:2 (Summer 1996): 201–230.
Memorizing the words of others and other acts of language learning differ significantly across cultures, and understanding the complex issues related to textual borrowing makes Western notions of plagiarism confusing and hypocritical. A brief history of authorship and the individual shows that the author is a modern invention and that famous authors have often borrowed from the texts of others. Changing textual practices (through writing technologies) mark yet another shift in notions of originality and authorship and illustrate how different cultural practices (here, Chinese educational practices) represent fundamentally different beliefs about the relationship between language and reality. Informal interviews with ESL students challenge our traditional views of plagiarism and reveal "the extent to which these students feel the English language remains a language of colonialism."
See: Mary Louise Pratt, "Arts of the Contact Zone" .
Raimes, Ann. "Out of the Woods: Emerging Traditions in the Teaching of Writing." TESOL Quarterly 25 (1991): 407–30.
Four approaches characterize ESL teaching since the mid-1960s. At the beginning of this period, the audiolingual method made writing subservient to oral learning. Students wrote only to practice grammatical or rhetorical forms. In the late 1970s, influenced by L1 scholars' research on composing processes, L2 teachers began to think about writers, meaning-making, multiple drafts, and journals, downplaying linguistic accuracy—at least in early drafts. In the late 1980s, some reacted against process, arguing that academic writing was what students would need to do, resulting in the adjunct course model to provide academic content. At the same time, a focus on academic readers' expectations generated English for academic purposes and a concern for socializing students into the academic discourse community. These methods all continue to stir controversy. Should students do personal writing or practice "real" academic writing? When we teach to the academic discourse community, mustn't we beware of simply enforcing submission to a set of rules (as L1 researchers warn)? In this same period, contrastive rhetoric has developed. Although it offers no pedagogical suggestions, contrastive rhetoric raises consciousness about composing conventions in different cultures. This consciousness makes us aware not only of English forms, but of alternate rhetorics from many cultures. The field of ESL teaching must continue to recognize the complexity of composing, the diversity of students and their composing processes, the politics of pedagogy, and the need for classroom-based research.
See: Mike Rose, "The Language of Exclusion: Writing Instruction at the University" .
See: Alice Roy, "ESL Concerns for Writing Program Administrators" .
Silva, Tony, and Paul Kei Matsuda. Landmark Essays on ESL Writing. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2001.
Sixteen essays, arranged chronologically, (beginning with Anita Pincas, "Structural Linguistics and Systematic Composition Teaching to Students of English as a Foreign Language" (1962)), make available previously-published ESL writing scholarship over the last four decades. Includes Robert B. Kaplan, "Cultural Thought Patterns in Inter-Cultural Education"; Vivian Zamel, "Teaching Composition in the ESL Classroom: What We Can Learn from Research in the Teaching of English"; Ann Raimes, "What Unskilled ESL Students Do as They Write: A Classroom Study of Composing"; Ulla Connor, "Research Frontiers in Writing Analysis"; Ruth Spack, "Initiating ESL Students into the Academic Discourse Community: How Far Should We Go?"; Ann M. Johns, "Interpreting an English Competency Examination: The Frustrations of an ESL Science Student"; Ilona Leki, "Reciprocal Themes in ESL Reading and Writing"; Tony Silva, "Toward an Understanding of the Distinct Nature of L2 Writing: The ESL Research and Its Implications"; and Liz Hamp-Lyons and Barbara Kroll, "Issues in ESL Writing Assessment: An Overview."
Silva, Tony, and Paul Kei Matsuda, ed. On Second Language Writing. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2001.
Second language writing specialists systematically address basic concerns in the field, including theory, research, instruction assessment, politics, and articulation with other disciplines and standards. Fifteen chapters include the following: Ilona Leki, "Hearing Voices: L2 Students' Experiences in L2 Writing Courses"; Diane Belcher, "Does Second Language Writing Theory Have Gender?"; Lynn Goldstein, "For Kyla: What Does the Research Say About Responding to ESL Writers"; Liz Hamp-Lyons, "Fourth Generation Writing Assessment"; Trudy Smoke, "Instructional Strategies for Making ESL Students Integral to the University"; Sarah Benesch, "Critical Pragmatism: A Politics of L2 Composition"; Carol Severino, "Dangerous Liaisons: Problems of Representation and Articulation"; and Alister Cumming, "The Difficulty of Standards, For Example in L2 Writing."
Spack, Ruth. "The Acquisition of Academic Literacy in a Second Language: A Longitudinal Case Study." Written Communication 14.1 (January 1997): 3–62.
A three-year study of an undergraduate L2 student, "Yuko," combines qualitative methods to understand how this student drew upon multiple resources or developed strategies for reading and writing successfully in a university setting. Beginning with an account of Yuko's acquisition of academic literacy in early childhood, this study follows Yuko through nine courses in English and social science classes. The longitudinal narrative, informed by interviews, observations, writing samples, and other data, attributes Yuko's lack of confidence, despite her strong TOEFL score, to her educational background in Japan. Deliberate avoidance of reading courses and a struggle to analyze rather than summarize were replaced by the third year with her recognition that "acquisition involves being engaged in a process of constructing knowledge."
Tucker, Amy. Decoding ESL: International Students in the American College Classroom. Portsmouth, N.H.: Boynton/Cook, 1995.
Teaching writing to international students is not training in an isolated skill but in a way of experiencing the world. Contrastive rhetoric shows that the errors of ESL writers can be read not as random mistakes but as patterns that are inevitable in cultural transformation. In our readings of other cultures, we must be students of cultural difference, conscious of the rhetorical limitations placed on both writer and reader (the teacher) by limitations of language, the clash of conventions, deep ideological differences, and current political situations. These are not incapacitating differences but challenges that ultimately deepen cross-cultural understanding. Tucker illustrates with case studies of students from Afghanistan, Russia, Greece, China, and Japan, examining their experience in writing and literature courses.
Valdes, Guadalupe. "Bilingual Minorities and Language Issues in Writing." Written Communication 9 (January 1992): 85–136.
The teaching of English is divided into segments, with mainstream and basic writers in one group and ESL students in the other. This division fails to take into account the complexity of bilingualism in America. A bilingual individual's ability to function in a second language depends on a large number of social factors such as age, previous language learning, and degree of contact with fluent speakers of the second language. These factors also affect the time it takes to pass through the incipient (nonfluent) bilingual stage. The difficulty of identifying these factors causes confusion about some students' instructional needs in our simple bipartite system. The very same nonnativelike features in their writing can be variously interpreted. Some nonidiomatic forms persist, for example, in the writing of fluent bilinguals who don't need ESL instruction. ESL research has focused on some groups of bilinguals, but the profession as a whole must deal with the entire range of bilinguals. To do so, we must do more research on the kinds of writing bilingual minorities are exposed to, the ways that mainstream teachers respond to the writing of these students, and the linguistic and social factors that affect their writing. To address these pressing issues, we must break out of our current compartmentalization.
Zamel, Vivian. "Strangers in Academia: The Experiences of Faculty and ESL Students across the Curriculum." CCC 46.4 (December 1995): 506–21.
Faculty across the disciplines, surveyed about ESL students in their classes, often conflated students' "deficient and inadequate" language use with intellectual ability. When instructors believe in a deficit model of learning, students are not invited to participate in intellectual work. Two faculty responses to working with nonnative speakers of English illustrate very different sets of assumptions about language and knowledge, one rich and complicated, the other static and limited to gatekeeping. At the same time, ESL students enrolled in various courses were asked about how they learn best and what they want faculty to know, and their responses clarify much about ESL students' academic lives. When faculty hold reductive approaches to teaching academic discourse, they need more information about the process of language acquisition and ways to represent the distinct culture of each discipline.
Zamel, Vivian. "Writing One's Way into Reading. TESOL Quarterly 26 (1992): 463–85.
Both reading and writing are acts of meaning-making, yet reading continues to be taught by a transmission or information-retrieval model. Reading ought not to be passive, but a transaction between the text and the reader's knowledge and experience. Writing can reveal and enhance this transaction by enabling students to engage the text through their responses. Reading journals or logs are effective for this purpose, as research attests. Sequencing assignments around readings is another way of allowing students to approach a text from different perspectives, avoiding the sense that there is a single meaning to extract. Students can become better readers by becoming better writers.
Zamel, Vivian, and Ruth Spack, eds. Negotiating Academic Literacies: Teaching and Learning across Languages and Cultures. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1998.
Essays from several different fields—composition studies, education, applied linguistics, anthropology, and others—explore how students acquire literacies but also reconsider how academic discourse is typically conceptualized. Essays include Mina Shaughnessy, "Diving In: An Introduction to Basic Writing"; Eleanor Kutz, "Between Students' Language and Academic Discourse: Interlanguage as Middle Ground"; Ruth Spack, "Initiating ESL Students into the Academic Discourse Community: How Far Should We Go?"; Fan Shen, "The Classroom and the Wider Culture: Identity as a Key to Learning English Composition"; Robert E. Land, Jr., and Catherine Whitley, "Evaluating Second Language Essays in Regular Composition Classes: Toward a Pluralistic U.S. Rhetoric"; Linda Lonon Blanton, "Discourse, Artifacts, and the Ozarks: Understanding Academic Literacy"; and Norma Gonzalez, "Blurred Voices: Who Speaks for the Subaltern?"