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Creating Good Writing Activities and Assignments

Working with ESL Students

Writing in the Disciplines

ESL Students...

Working with ESL Students

  1. Do icebreaker activities to help students feel comfortable.
  2. State academic expectations clearly and discuss academic cultural differences (e.g. "In this culture, if you ask a question the teacher thinks you’re a good student.")
  3. Express empathy for difficulties but emphasize the importance of satisfying requirements.
  4. Learn about the cultures of your students so that you can demonstrate cross-cultural understanding and incorporate cultural awareness into critical thinking and writing activities.
  5. Acknowledge feelings of inadequacy and dependency and link that to strategies for cooperation.
  6. Assign writing groups and peer-feedback activities to encourage exchange.
  7. Design ways that ESL students can help each other by combining skill strengths.
  8. Include shy students by calling on them when you’re certain they would be able to answer correctly.
  9. Predict potentially shaming situations and intervene when possible.
  10. Use clarification techniques whenever possible.
  11. Always check 2-3 times with ESL students to determine the meaning of "yes" or "no".
  12. Give a variety of writing assignments which integrate content and writing.
  13. When grading assignments, assign a percentage of the grade for language skills.