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INTD 105 Writing Seminar

Workshop re Non-Native Speakers of English

October 27, 2014

Thanks to Irene Belyakov for presenting this workshop. Her handout summarizes most of the points covered. She also presented some background information that helps to explain where some of the challenges of teaching writing to non-native English speakers come from, including

  • Many non-native speakers are domestic students who were raised in non-English-speaking homes; they may have learned English largely through elementary school and pre-school, developing good colloquial English but not good formal English.
  • Foreign students on exchange programs may be on tight schedules for completion without room for extra English courses.
  • Some foreign academic systems don't involve homework or projects during courses, and may not hold students to deadlines or require class attendance; the only hurdle for students may be to pass a final exam; typical expectations and workloads in a US college course are a surprise to these students.
  • Non-native speakers often make the same mistakes as native speakers (e.g., run-on sentences, poor paragraph structure, etc.) but these mistakes are compounded by other language problems.

Note that ESoL courses have lots more time than INTD 105, Humn, etc. do to work on English grammar, word usage, etc. Guiding a non-native speaker with significant trouble using English into one of the college's ESoL courses rather than trying to correct or work around the difficulties in a non-ESoL course can be good for the student in the long run.

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