Friday, March 7, 2008

Writing and ESL College Students

About a quarter of my ESL students at any given time are attending university or community college. These English language learners tend to need help writing papers for classes. The challenge for me as an English tutor is the limited time with which we have to work and complete the paper.

College ESL students who have sought out my service as an ESL tutor have wanted help in completing their papers and not specifically to learn grammar, vocabulary, and all the other typical topics covered in ESL classes. Of course, they often need these things as well, but the most important thing is the looming deadline and getting the paper completed.

As an ESL tutor, I find that I have to find a balance between suggesting the way something should be written (for the sake of expedience) and honoring the words, intentions, and ideas of the student.

For me covering the general topic of "writing" has been a challenge, especially when the English language learner is still struggling with the English language. It also takes a lot more time and so I find that I have to limit the number of students I take on who want to improve their writing. Of course, "improving writing" is different from helping with a paper that has a deadline of next week. We can take longer for "improving writing," generally, and veer off onto other topics (grammar, vocabulary, etc.) when needed.


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