English 614
Fall, 2002
Class meets in FH 181 from 4:00-5:20
on M and W
Teacher: John C. Schafer
Office: FH 213
Office Hours:
T and TH: 3:30-4:30
W: 2:00-3:00

Note: This web page simply reproduces for your convenience the paper syllabus handed out on the first day of class. It has no links to other ESL sites. For a web site that has links to many ESL sites, see my web page for English 435: Issues in ESL. Of special interest may be my listing of useful entry sites from which you can obtain information about a host of esl-related topics, including the teaching of ESL writing.

Final Papers

Tom Bowlus---------------------------Product to Process

Tamera Britton------------------------The Teaching of Writing in Ukraine (Not yet available online)

Tricia Cooke--------------------------Grammar in the ESL Writing Classroom(Available online in January)

Nino DeGennaro----------------------Classifying ESL Students

John Digiacinto-----------------------Network Based Language Teaching in L2 Peer Review (Not yet available online)

Cody Garrison------------------------The Role of English Language Education in Developmental Contexts

Jamie Gerald--------------------------The Computer's Place in the ESL Classroom

Ellyn Herr-----------------------------Idealism, Individualism, and Identify: Looking for the "I" in the Rhetorical Mesh

Raechel Jackson----------------------College Composition and ESL Students with Learning Disabilities

James Kiser----------------------------Computers in the ESL Composition Classroom

Larry Lesterud------------------------Voice, Critical Thinking, and Ideology

Daniel Levinson----------------------Language Learners Like Plums: Imaginative Literature in the ESL Classroom (Not yet available online)

Adam MacDougal--------------------My Argument for Literature in L2 Writing Classes

Susan Nelson--------------------------Gen 1.5 Students (Not yet available online)

Jane Patrick---------------------------(Not yet available online)

Tony Persico--------------------------Critical Theory and ESL: Does It Work?

Paul Rodgers--------------------------Investing in the Future: ESL Teacher Training at HSU

Jory Taber-----------------------------More Heat than Light: Critical Thinking and the Great Debate (Not yet available online)

Teaching ESL(1) Writing

Table of Contents

I. Goals

-To acquaint you with the kinds of students one might have as a teacher of ESL writing

-To acquaint you with the thinking of scholars, teacher trainers, and teachers regarding how writing should be taught to students who are non-native speakers of English.

-To expose you to some of the research which scholars, teacher trainers, and teachers refer to when they make their teaching recommendations.

-To introduce you to some teaching strategies that you can use in teaching ESL writing.

-To assist you in developing your own view regarding how writing should be taught to students who are non-native speakers of English.

II. Textbooks

Ferris, Dana and John S. Hedgcock. Teaching ESL Composition: Purposes, Process, and Practice. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1998. Abbrev.: ESL COMP

Harklau, Linda, Kay M. Losey, and Meryl Siegal. Generation 1.5 Meets College Composition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999. Abbrev.: GEN 1.5

Packet of readings available at the HSU bookstore. Abbrev.: PACKET

III. Requirements

A. Attendance. Absence makes the grade go lower. If you have more than three unexcused absences, I will ask you to drop the class.

B. Written responses and exercises related to the reading. These responses/exercises are short, usually only one page, but one of them is due almost every class period. See Section V below where I explain this requirement in more detail.

C. Final paper on some aspect of teaching ESL. This paper can be based primarily on printed sources or primarily on observations in classes at the International Language Institute or in the English Department (English 40 or English 200). See the next section for more information and the Course Schedule for due dates.

D. Two observations (includes the writing of an observation report) of a writing class at the International English Language Institute. Note: Students who elect to write their final paper based on an observation of a class at the IELI do not need to do an additional observation, but they should still turn in a report.

E. Deadlines. Meeting deadlines is extremely important in life generally and in this class. You'll be graded on your ability to get both your written responses to the reading and other assignments in on time.

IV. Two-Maybe Three-Choices for Final Paper

A. Paper Based on Class Observation: This involves observing a class for four weeks at the IELI or in the English Department (English 40 or English 200), or in some other school or program, recording your observations in a journal, and writing a paper on an aspect of ESL writing that becomes interesting to you during the course of your observation. Your paper should not be a narrative of your observation experience or a summary of highlights: it should be a thesis-driven research paper in which you state and defend some generalization(s) about ESL writing (however, feel free to tell stories and mention highlights to backup your points). In defending your generalization(s), you can draw on both the assigned reading in 614 and your classroom observation. You will need to do some additional library research, but not as much as students doing option B below. You should observe for four weeks. Your paper should be around six pages long and should be turned in with your journal, which will also be evaluated. Though I don't insist that you follow an ethnographic design for your paper, I'll suggest an article or two on ethnographic research that might enhance your observation experience.

Tom Walendy, Supervising Teacher at the International English Language Institute, has informed me that only one, or maybe two, English 614 students could fulfill this option by observing at the I.E.L.I. They have five teachers who teach writing, but three are new to the I.E.L.I. and need time to familiarize themselves to a new teaching situation.

Barbara Goldberg, Director of the Writing Center, and I have discussed this option. Prof. Goldberg points out that teachers of English 40 need at least five weeks to "build confidence and group cohesion," and so you shouldn't begin your observation of an English 40 class until the week of Mon., Oct. 7. For English 200, observation could begin earlier but not before the English 200 teachers have had three or four weeks to establish a relationship with their students. All placements for observation should be worked out with Prof. Goldberg and, of course, the teacher involved.

B. Paper Based on Other Sources: While this option could involve visiting classes and interviewing students and/or teachers, it is not based on a formal period of classroom observation. It is less a report of an empirical investigation, more a synthesis and analysis of already published studies (many of which are reports of empirical investigations). The idea here is to pick a topic that interests you (I'll suggest some possibilities), define and clarify your topic, summarize current research on it, and then present your own thinking and conclusions about it. This paper will necessitate reading more than the already assigned course reading. Your paper should be about ten pages long.

C. Responding to Papers from the Ukraine: As this syllabus goes to press I'm still learning about what this option could involve. A professor of English from Ukraine, who is acquainted with Professors Jack Turner and Terry Santos, wishes to have students learning to be English teachers at HSU respond to papers written by her class in Ukraine. This could be a valuable experience, but I'm not certain what the Ukrainian professor's expectations are regarding number of papers, frequency of response, etc. In my view of how this option might work, interested English 614 students would respond to three or four assignments, approximately, 50 papers in all, and then write a paper based on their experience. Students choosing this option could seek help from classmates and from me as to how best to respond to the papers by Ukrainian students. We could devote some class time to discussing them. My expectations for additional reading for this option would depend on how much responding was required. We'll discuss this option at the first class when I will know more about it.

IV. Grading

Written responses/questions related to reading: 35%

Final paper: 25%

Deadlines: 15%

Observations: 10%

Class participation and performance in groups: 15%

Note: At mid-term and at the end of the semester I'll distribute a self-evaluation form that will help me in evaluating your performance.

V. Written Response to Reading/Five Questions

Except for days in which you have a special assignment,(2) on Mondays half the class will bring to class a short written response to the assigned reading. The other half of the class will bring a set of five questions. On Wednesdays roles will be reversed: those who wrote the written response on Monday will prepare five questions and those who came up with five questions for the Monday class will write a written response. Your written response can be either a "Summary and Comment," a "Mini Review Article," or an "Against the Grain Response." I explain and illustrate these three approaches in Appendix A.

Your five questions should be designed to do two things: to clarify the exposition or argument presented in the articles (the "review" function") and to provoke discussion and reflection about this exposition or argument (the "reflection" function). These two aims or functions can often be combined in the same question, as they often are in the "Reflection and Review" questions that Ferris and Hedgcock include at the end of each chapter. (Incidentally, it's ok to take-or adapt-some of their questions when one of the readings is a chapter from ESL COMP.) Here are some examples of the two question types. They are related to the readings for Wed., Oct. 16 on the topic: "Contrastive Rhetoric: Labeling, False Dichotomies, and Other Problems."

1. Review question: In "Japanese Culture," Kubota argues that "essentialist" and "reductionist" views of Japanese culture are found in two discourses: some recent "applied linguistics literature" produced by Westerners and also "nihonjinronand," or theories of Japanese culture, produced by Japanese. Explain how these two discourses have, in Kubota's view, contributed to an overly deterministic vision of Japanese culture. In what sense, according to Kubota, is neither discourse innocent, i.e., not removed from the struggle for power?

2. Reflection question: Are you persuaded by Spack's argument that ESL teachers should not be guided by work (Hinds, Carson, Atkinson, e.g.) that points out ways Chinese (or Japanese, or Polish) students differ from native English-speaking students? Do you believe that instead of being guided by this work ESL teachers should simply treat each student as an individual?

3: Combination: Kubota ends her article "Japanese Culture" by describing three models for teaching English to culturally different students. Explain the three models briefly and then discuss which one you would feel most comfortable adopting.

Guidelines for Written Responses/Five Questions

1. Length of written response: one page, single-spaced.

2. What to put at top of page: Put your name, the topic of the particular class for which you're writing a response or forming questions (for example, "Who Are ESL Students? How Have They Been Classified?" and "The Process Approach to ESL Writing"), and then list the articles you're responding to (Give author and title only).

3. Suggestion for a sequence to follow throughout the term: Begin responding using the form of "Summary and Comment," then move to an "Against the Grain Response," then try a "Mini Review Article."

4. Copies: Bring photocopies of your responses and questions to class, enough for your group members and one for me.

5. In class procedure: For each class some group members will have written questions, some will have written one-page responses. First the question writers pass out their questions and everyone reads them. Then the response writers pass out their responses and everyone reads them. Then the discussion begins. It's important to be aware that this discussion differs in purpose from the talk that occurs in a typical peer response group in a writing class. In a typical writing group you comment to help the writer revise; in your groups in 614 you comment to help each other understand the topic of the day. This purpose doesn't preclude your making comments about the quality of a group member's questions or writing, but these comments should be primarily positive. Since the author will not be revising, there is no point to dwell on weaknesses.

Although I don't want to suggest a rigid structure, here are some suggestions that may be useful:

a. Begin by seeing if you can answer the "Review" questions, then move to the "Reflection" questions.

b. Don't feel you have to answer all the questions or stick to the questions brought by group members. If the discussion is about the topic of the day, then that's fine.

c. Group leaders should make a note of unanswered questions or unresolved issues and raise them during the whole class discussion.

6. My written response to your writing: I'll make brief written responses to your writing (both responses and questions) and return your papers the next class. My comments are not intended to be models of expert written response of the type I would recommend making on papers that students will later revise. Instead they are designed to keep our conversation going about issues related to ESL Writing. Although I may sometimes comment on problems related to grammar, punctuation, and style, I do not expect perfectly edited prose in these daily writings. Consider these daily writings as an opportunity to improve your writing. If you turn in papers that seem problem-free to you, then my comments will be more useful to you. If you turn in papers that you know have problems, then by commenting on these problems I'll be telling you things that you already know.

7. Saving of written responses: Please save in a folder the copies of your written responses and questions that have my comments. I will ask you to turn these in for the mid-term and final evaluation of your work.

8. Evaluation of written responses/questions: Your written responses/questions count 35% of your grade. I'll be asking the following questions when I evaluate them:

-Do they reveal that the reading was done carefully?

-Do they reveal that the writer or questioner completed the day's reading-that he or she drew on all the readings to formulate responses and questions?

-Do they reveal a developing understanding of concepts, issues and terms related to ESL writing?

-Responses: Are they written in a way that will help other students in 614 understand the topic being discussed?

-Questions: Are they of the type that will provoke useful review and reflection related to the topic of the day?

VI. Course Schedule

Note: Articles from the Journal of Second Language Writing (abbreviated: JSLW) that aren't in your packet can be found online by going to the HSU Library Homepage, clicking on "Periodicals," and following the on-screen instructions. Issues of this journal are also available on reserve under my name, so you have two sources. (The Library doesn't subscribe to this journal but Prof. Santos has put her copies on reserve.)

Mon., Aug. 26: Introduction: Course Procedures, What Does ESL Writing Look Like?

Wed., Aug. 28: Who Are ESL Students? How Have They Been Classified? (ESL, EFL, International, Gen 1.5, Incipient
Bilingual, Functional Bilingual, etc.)

Linda Harklau et al., "Linguistically Diverse Students and College Writing," GEN 1.5

Yuet-Sim D. Chiang and Mary Schmida, "Language Identity and Language Ownership," GEN 1.5

Jan Frodesen and Norinne Starna,"Distinguishing Incipient and Functional Bilingual Writers," GEN 1.5

Mon., Sept. 2: Labor Day (No Class)

Wed., Sept. 4: L1 and L2 Writing: Major Teaching Approaches, Relationships Between L1 and L2 Approaches

James D. Williams, "Models for Teaching Writing," PACKET [Note: Williams provides an overview of the major movements in L1 Composition. If you've taken English 611, this should be review.]

Dana Ferris and John Hedgcock, ESL COMP, Chap. 1

Ann Raimes, "Out of the Woods," PACKET

Mon., Sept. 9: The Process Approach to ESL Writing

Note: These articles were written in 1983. They express well the enthusiasm for the process approach typical in ESL circles in the early 80's.

Ann Raimes, "Anguish as a Second Language? Remedies for Composition Teachers," PACKET

Vivian Zamel, "The Composing Processes of Advanced ESL Students: 6 Case Studies," PACKET

Wed., Sept. 11: Backlash to Process (and the Backlash to the Backlash)

Note: Horowitz' articles and the replies to them appeared in 1986. Spack's article appeared in 1988. Today's reading will give you a feel for the debate in the mid-80's regarding the applicability of the process approach for ESL students.

Daniel Horowitz, "Process, Not Product: Less Than Meets the Eye," PACKET

________, "What Professors Actually Require: Academic Tasks for the ESL Classroom," PACKET

Joanne Liebman-Kleine and Liz Hamp-Lyons, "Two Commentaries on Daniel M. Horowitz's 'Process, Not Product: Less Than Meets the Eye,'" PACKET

Ruth Spack, "Initiating ESL Students Into the Academic Discourse Community: How Far Should We Go?" PACKET

Mon., Sept. 16: More Recent Questioning of the Process Approach

Note: More recently the process approach has been attacked on ideological grounds. These articles will give you a sense for this new questioning of the process approach. We'll return to issues raised by these scholars in our section on contrastive rhetoric.

Fan Shen, "The Classroom and the Wider Culture," PACKET

Vai Ramanathan and Dwight Atkinson, "Individualism, Academic Writing, and ESL Writers," JSLW. Vol. 8, Issue 1 (Available online; see note at beginning of "Course Schedule.")

Matalene, Carolyn. "Contrastive Rhetoric: An American Writing Teacher in China," PACKET

Wed., Sept. 18: Guest Speakers

I have invited some local ESL learners from the Arcata and HSU community to reflect on their experiences learning to write English and to comment on some of the issues raised by Fan Shen, Ramanathan and Atkinson, and Matalene.

Mon., Sept. 23: Dangerous Disjuncts Between Teaching Approach and Student Needs (And How to Avoid Them);
Explanation of Assignment for Sept. 30 (On Textbooks)

Beth Harklau et al., "Linguistically Diverse Students and College Writing," GEN 1.5

Dwight Atkinson and Vai Ramanathan, "Cultures of Writing: An Ethnographic Comparison of L1 and L2 University Writing/Language Programs," PACKET

Ilona Leki and Joan Carson, "Completely Different Worlds," PACKET

Wed., Sept. 25: Curriculum and Syllabus Design; Assignment Making

Dana Ferris and John Hedgcock, ESL COMP, Chap. 3; and Chap. 4, pp. 95-121.

Barbara Kroll, "The Rhetoric/Syntax Split," PACKET

Ruth Spack, "Student Meets Text, Text Meets Student: Finding a Way into Academic Discourse," PACKET

Mon., Sept. 30: Text Selection, Task Construction; Analysis of Sample Textbooks

Note: For this class you will write a one-page review of an ESL textbook instead of the usual response to the reading.

Dana Ferris and John Hedgcock, ESL COMP, Chap. 4, pp. 85-95

Wed., Oct. 2: How Do You Define "Academic Writing"?

Linda Blanton, "Classroom Instruction and Language Minority Students," GEN 1.5

Peter Elbow, "Reflections on Academic Writing," PACKET

Ann M. Johns, "Opening Our Doors," GEN 1.5

Mon., Oct. 7: Teaching Introductions

Note: There is no reading assignment for today. We'll discuss your observations and I will present some information on teaching introductions.

First observation report due

Wed., Oct. 9: Contrastive Rhetoric: Early Formulations; Distribution (and Explanation) of Mid-Semester
Self Evaluation Forms

Dana Ferris and John Hedgcock, ESL COMP, Chapter 1, pp. 11-15

Robert Kaplan, "Cultural Thought Patterns in Intercultural Education," PACKET

John Hinds, "Reader Versus Writer Responsibility: A New Typology," PACKET

Note: Here is an oft-cited 1985 article critical of Kaplan. Later we'll look at more recent criticisms of contrastive rhetoric.

Bernard A. Mohan and Winnie Au-Yeung Lo, "Academic Writing and Chinese Students: Transfer and Developmental Factors," PACKET

Mon., Oct. 14: Contrastive Rhetoric: More Recent Formulations

Joan Carson, "Becoming Literate: First Language Influences," PACKET

Joan Carson and Gale Nelson, "Writing Groups: Cross-Cultural Issues," PACKET

Brigid Ballard and John Clanchy, "Assessment by Misconception," PACKET

This week you will meet with me individually to discuss your plans for your final paper.

Wed., Oct. 16: Contrastive Rhetoric: Recent Criticisms

Ruth Spack, "The Rhetorical Construction of Multilingual Students," PACKET

Ryuko Kubota, "A Reevaluation of the Uniqueness of Japanese Written Discourse," (Like articles from JSLW, this article is available by going to the HSU Library Home Page and clicking on "Periodicals" where you'll be guided to the online version. Full citation is: Written Communication Vol. 14, Issue 4 (Oct., 1997)

Ryuko Kubota, "Japanese Culture Constructed by Discourses," PACKET

Mid-semester self-evaluation forms due

Mon., Oct. 21: The Place of Politics in Second Language Writing

Note: No written response to today's reading is required. Instead of discussing the assigned reading in groups we will use the usual group time to discuss your one page report on your ideas for your final paper. Then we will meet as a whole class to discuss the reading.

Terry Santos, "Ideology in Composition: L1 and ESL," PACKET

________, "The Place of Politics in Second Language Writing," PACKET

Benesch, "Critical Pragmatism: A Politics of L2 Composition," PACKET

A one page report of your ideas for your final paper is due.

Wed., Oct. 23: Responding to Student Writing: Written Response; Distribution of Papers to Practice Comment on
(for Mon., Oct. 28)

Dana Ferris and John Hedgcock, ESL COMP, Chap. 5

Ann Fathman and Elizabeth Whalley, "Teacher Response to Student Writing," PACKET

Instead of the usual written response, for this class all students should study the comments on student papers in Appendix 5B and 5C. Then write one page in which you compare and contrast the three teachers' responses to the student paper in Appendix 5C. In other words, do Application Activity 5.5: Analyzing Teacher Feedback-2, p. 150.

(Study the teacher's response to the essay in Appendix 5B, but you don't need to write about it.)

Mon., Oct. 28: Responding to Student Writing: Written Response (Cont.)

No reading assignment. Instead we will discuss your written responses to the papers distributed on Wed., Oct. 23. For one of these papers you should do Application Activity 5.6: Self-Analysis of Response Patterns which is explained on p. 151 of ESL COMP.

Wed., Oct. 30: Grammar and Editing

Dana Ferris and John Hedgcock, ESL COMP, Chap. 7

John Truscott, "The Case Against Grammar Correction in L2 Writing" (This article is available online. Use the technique you've been using for JSLW articles. Go to the HSU Library page, click on Periodicals; type in "Language Learning"; then click "Academic Search Elite"; then type in "Truscott, John" for "author," and in the next line "Language Learning" for "journal"; then click "Full Page Image." It's in PDF form so you'll need Acrobat Reader.)

Dana Ferris, "The Case for Grammar Correction in L2 Writing Classes: A Response to Truscott," JSLW, Vol. 8, Issue 1 (Available online; see note at start of Course Schedule.)

John Truscott, "The Case for 'The Case Against Grammar Correction in L2 Writing Classes': A Response to Ferris," JSLW, Vol. 8, Issue 2 (Available online)

Special assignment for those writing a response for this class: Instead of taking one of the three usual approaches, use your one page to state your view of the issue debated by Ferris and Truscott. Do you think teachers should correct grammar in an L2 writing class? Why or why not? (Question writers can write questions as usual.)

Mon., Nov. 4: Analyzing Errors by Type, Possible Cause, and "Gravity"

Marina K. Burt, "Error Analysis in the Adult EFL Classroom," PACKET

Joy Reid, "Responding to ESL Student Language Problems: Error Analysis and Revision Plans," PACKET

Joy Reid, "Using Contrastive Analysis to Analyze ESL/EFL Student Error," PACKET

Wed., Nov. 6: Analyzing Errors: In-Class Practice

Note: No reading assignment today. I will distribute some sample papers for you to analyze. Then we will discuss which errors we might respond to and how.

Rough drafts of paper due. Be sure to bring enough copies for your group members and for me. (No other assignment)

Mon., Nov. 11: Discussion of Rough Drafts in Groups

Read and comment on the papers of your group members.

Wed., Nov. 13: Personal Conferences (No Class)

Mon., Nov. 18: Personal Conferences (No Class)

Wed., Nov. 20: Teaching Students to Edit Their Own Papers; Explanation of Grammar/Editing Assignment

Dana Ferris, "Teaching Students to Self-Edit," PACKET

Mon., Nov. 25: Thanksgiving Vacation

Wed., Nov. 27:Thanksgiving Vacation

Mon., Dec. 2: Developing Grammar/Editing Lessons: Analyzing Books that Can Help You

For this class you should do Application Activity 7.5: Comparing Reference Sources on a Particular Grammar Point on pp. 222-223 of ESL COMP. Everyone does this activity-no question writing today. I'll give you a handout that will supplement the suggestions F and H give on p. 223. This is an activity to help you do your next assignment, the preparing of a grammar/editing lesson. For this activity on reference sources you should look over the books on reserve that provide information on grammar (I'll give you a list). You can concentrate on the error you've been assigned for your grammar/editing lesson and compare treatments-decide which is most useful and why. Today's reading is an article by Ellis who presents an interesting scheme for analyzing ESL books on grammar.

Rod Ellis, "Methodological Options in Teaching Materials," PACKET

Wed., Dec. 4: Developing Grammar/Editing Lessons (Cont.); Distribution of Self-Evaluation Forms

You will work in class today to develop your grammar/editing lessons.

Final drafts of your paper due. Be sure to turn in your rough draft as well.

Mon., Dec. 9: Technology in the Writing Class

Dana Ferris and John Hedgcock, ESL COMP, Chap. 9

Second observation report due

Wed., Dec. 11: Presentation of Grammar/Editing Lesson Plans

Self-evaluation forms due


Tues., Dec. 18, 3:00-4:50: Period for Final Exam (There will be no final exam, but I will be in my office during this time to answer any questions you may have.)


Appendix: Forms of Written Response

In this appendix I'll explain further the three forms that your written responses can take.

I. Summary and Comment

In this form of written response, you first summarize the assigned reading and then comment on it. Roughly the first two-thirds of your page should be devoted to summary and the last third reserved for your comments.

A. More on Summarizing

Summarizing is a common academic task. Teachers often assign summaries or papers that include summarizing (See Horowitz' essay "What Professors Actually Require" in your PACKET). It's an important skill to learn how to do and how to teach. Joy M. Reid, a leading ESL writing expert, lists the qualities of an effective summary in her textbook The Process of Composition (2000):

1. Objectivity: Only the author's ideas should be included in the summary. The opinions and judgments of the summary writer (such as whether the article was "good" or the book was "boring") belong in the analysis or the response to the summarized material.

2. Completeness: Depending on the assignment, the summary should contain every main idea in the article. Stating only the first main idea, or only one main idea with details to support it, will give the reader an incomplete idea of what the article was about.

3. Balance: The summary writer must give equal attention to each main idea, but must stress the ideas that the author stressed. For example, if the author wrote 70% of a journal article about one main idea and devoted 30% to two other ideas, the summary should reflect that ratio. (139)

With this list in mind, let's look at two summaries of an article by Fathman and Whalley called "Teacher Response to Student Writing: Focus on Form Versus Content," which is included in your packet.

First Summary

This summary comes from an article by John Truscott called "The Case Against Grammar Correction in L2 Writing Classes" which is in your packet. Truscott's thesis is clear: "My thesis is that grammar correction has no place in writing courses and should be abandoned" (p. 328).

Fathman and Whalley (1990) studied the process of revision, having one group of ESL students revise their compositions with the benefit of comments from the teacher, while a second group did their revisions without such comments. Not surprisingly, the former group produced better final drafts than the latter. This result, though interesting and valuable, does not address the question: Does grammar correction make students better writers? Fathman and Whalley have shown that students can produce better compositions when teachers help them with those particular compositions. But will those students be better writers in the future because of this help? Nothing in this study suggests a positive answer.

Lalande's (1982) work appears more relevant; it did look at the effects of correction procedures in writing classes and was concerned with effects beyond the particular composition being considered. But it too actually dealt with a question distinct from that being considered here. . . .

Second Summary

This summary comes from "Issues in Oral and Written Feedback," Chapter 5 of Dana Ferris and John S. Hedgcock's Teaching ESL Composition (1998), one of your textbooks. It appears in a section entitled "Studies of the Effectiveness of Teacher Feedback."

Content Versus Form. In an experimental design that focused on the issue of content versus form in teacher feedback, Fathman and Whalley (1990) randomly assigned 72 ESL students to one of four treatment groups: no feedback, grammar feedback alone, content feedback alone, and grammar plus content feedback. Students were asked to write a paper and then produce a revised version after receiving one of the four treatments. The first drafts and revisions were then scored separately for grammar (operationalized in terms of the number of errors) and content (as determined by a holistic rating). Although students in all four groups improved in both grammar and content, the biggest improvements were seen in the content group (for content) and the combined group (for both grammar and content). An interesting finding was that students in the no-feedback group produced longer rewrites (based on the number of words) than did any of the other three treatment groups, suggesting that teacher feedback may inhibit the quantity, if not the quality, of student revisions.

The results of this study are also important in addressing the question of when to provide certain types of feedback. As discussed previously, both L1 and L2 scholars had advised teachers to avoid mixing attention to content and form on preliminary drafts of student papers (Brannon & Knoblauch, 1982; Sommers, 1982; Zamel, 1985). However, Fathman and Whalley (1990) concluded that when grammar and content feedback are provided simultaneously, the content of revised texts improves approximately as much as when writers receive content feedback alone. Moreover, a focus on grammar "does not negatively affect the content of writing, suggesting that students can improve their writing in situations where content and form feedback are given simultaneously. . . . Grammar and content feedback can be provided . . . at the same time without overburdening the student" (pp. 186-187). (129)

In class we'll discuss how and why these summaries of the same article differ so drastically and whether they embody the qualities of a good summary-objectivity, completeness, and balance-identified by Reid. As if anticipating some of our questions, Reid does say the "length of the summary depends on

To this list I would add purpose. How long our summary is and how many main ideas we choose to mention depends on our purpose. In a summary which is part of a "Summary and Comment" response, your purpose is to convey your understanding of the reading and raise important points for discussion. Since you've got only two-thirds of a page, obviously your summaries of some articles are going to be closer in length to Truscott's than to Ferris and Hedgecock's.

B. More on Commenting

After summarizing you should comment. Here are some possibilities:

1. You can provide an "off the cuff" response to the articles, i.e., put down your first impressions of what the authors are saying, emphasizing, perhaps, what surprised, interested, or disturbed you.

2. You can relate what the authors say to pedagogical moments in your own life as a student or teacher. You could, for example, highlight things the authors say that strike you as true based on your own experience. (Though you may not have learned to write English as a second language, you have probably taken writing classes and some of you may have taught writing.)

3. You can use your comment section to answer the question "So What?" In other words, you can explain (if the authors don't) the pedagogical applications and implications of the articles. (This will be a particularly useful approach if the day's readings stress theory more than practice.)

II. Against the Grain Response

Your written response could also be what David Bartholomae and Anthony Petrosky call an "against the grain" response.(3) Reading in university classrooms usually takes two forms, Bartholomae and Petrosky argue.(4) In the first, students are encouraged to read for information, taking notes and memorizing as much as possible so as to be able to "speak again what the author said" (6). In the second, students read for what most people within a specialized group would take to be the main idea. B and P don't reject these forms of reading, which they refer to as reading "with the grain," but they see them as preliminary to more "aggressive" forms that they refer to as "reading against the grain."

The form of response we're calling "Summary and Comment" encourages reading with the grain. This form, in which you summarize an author's treatment of a problem or approach in ESL writing and then comment on it, promotes what B and P call a "generous" reading. I've found that students early in a course are content to be generous but eventually they begin to resist this push toward generosity and want to read more critically. The "Against the Grain" response allows for more critical responses.

Note that in an "Against the Grain" response one also begins with a summary or paraphrase of what you understand the author(s) to be saying. B and P encourage beginning in this way to get "a tentative or provisional hold on a text, its examples and ideas." Beginning by restating, B and P argue, "allows you a place to begin to work" (11). It might be helpful to think of your response as one-half with the grain, one-half against the grain.

You may wish to concentrate on only one assigned essay in your response or to make your response apply more equally to two (or three) readings. That's up to you. Sometimes a second reading may assist you in an against-the-grain reading of the first, and thus you could see your response as a continuation of the project begun by the author of the second reading. To ensure that you have at least considered all readings, you should always comment on all the readings. If you find yourself concentrating on one of the readings in the body of your response, you can simply add a paragraph in which you explain how, in your view, the other essays or chapters relate to the reading that received your primary attention. Do they say the same thing? Different things? In what ways do they agree or disagree?

Here are some questions that may help you in your response. Please consider them suggestions, not prescriptions. I have also included a sample "Against the Grain" response, one written not in English 614 but in 611 (p. 12). It's an apt example because in it Cynthia Stuart Romano goes against the grain of Bartholomae and Petrosky's notions about reading and writing.

Questions to Guide an Against the Grain Response

With the Grain Section

What is the author saying? What would be a suitable paraphrase or summary?

What do you think ESL/EFL specialists would take to be the main idea of this reading?

If you were a teacher and thought or acted in the way the author wished you to think and act, what kinds of things would you be thinking and doing in the classroom?

Against the Grain Section:

Do you find any limitations in the argument presented?

Based on your own experience as a student and/or teacher, do you have reservations about what the author is proposing? Imagine yourself the recipient of the philosophy or teaching strategy being proposed. Would you be lucky to experience it?

Do you see any signs of bias? Can you suggest interests (segments of the population, e.g.) that the author's argument serves and interests that it doesn't serve?

If the author gives examples, do you see other ways they could be interpreted, perhaps ways that would not support the author's argument?

Is there something important left out, not said?

How Essays Relate to Each Other (Doesn't need to be a separate section)

How do you see the relationship of the two (or more) articles? Do they say the same thing? How do their authors agree? Disagree? If they disagree, what different assumptions underlie the disagreement?

Sample of "Against the Grain Response"

Cynthia Stuart Romano

English 611

Against the Grain: Bartholomae and Inventing the University(5)


Bartholomae argues that writing is aggression disguised as charity, and that a writer must be in the position of equal or greater status than the reader in order to earn the right of speaking to the discourse community. He suggests that university students have an audience awareness problem, that they must speak to the professor as if they had equal status, which they don't, and must be able to "invent" the university, since they must speak in a discourse that they haven't mastered and may not understand. This dilemma leads to bluffing, imitation, parody, commonplaces, and syntactical errors in student writing because the student may have the words, but does not have the language or the authority to speak.

Elbow argues that the teacher should teach more than the conventions of academic discourse because the purpose of writing extends beyond college. Writers should render as well as explain, and writers should be able to discuss a concept in everyday terms as well as in the terms from a discourse community.


Writing can be more than aggression and power-play. It can take the form of self-awareness, an explorative learning tool, empathetic understanding of the "other," and a genuine invitation to dialogue. If we, academia, want to promote social change, genuine dialogue between multiple voices, and at least tolerance (at best, harmonious relations) between people, then we can teach these other modes of writing as well as argument and analysis, which do tend to be aggressive and hierarchical. Like Elbow, I believe that the purpose of writing extends beyond college.

Bartholomae assumes that the student invents the university, but that the university has no obligation to "invent" the student. He assumes that the ones in power are static and unchanging. I would argue that the university must also invent, must (and does) change and learn from the influence of its students. An old adage is that the teacher learns a lot by teaching; this is one way of expressing the change. I assume a constant, dialogical co-creation.

Bartholomae states that there are no new ideas. He assumes that the students' purpose is to assimilate the authority's teachings. I assume that new ideas happen continually, since this is a dynamic, changing universe, not simply a socially constructed rehash of some static set of ideas. I argue that the world is, again, a co-creation of essentialist givens and social constructions. My job as a writing teacher is to teach students the means to locate within and outside of themselves the ideas and feelings; then they must articulate and express them. My bigger job as a writing teacher is to get each student to trust him or herself as well as to learn from current authorities.

Bartholomae's idea that the writer shapes history through aggression and self-consciousness runs counter to Native American and eco-feminist world-views, to name a few.

I wonder if Bartholomae's high rating of the one creativity essay is because the thesis of the student-that creativity is subject to interpretation, self-conscious doubt, etc.-mirrors Bartholomae's own thinking.

III. The Mini-Review Essay

This approach to written response is the hardest because it requires you to assume the stance of an expert-someone well-versed on the topic, someone who has done extensive reading of the relevant research and is ready to present some conclusions and make some suggestions. It involves summarizing and reading against the grain and some other things as well. Here is how the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association defines the review article:

Review articles . . . are critical evaluations of material that has already been published. By organizing, integrating, and evaluating previously published material, the author of a review article considers the progress of current research toward clarifying a problem. In one sense, a review article is tutorial in that the author

Review articles, like a great deal of Western academic writing, proceed deductively: the writer announces some generalization about the articles and books she or he is reviewing and then highlights aspects of previous published research that support that generalization. Truscott's article "The Case Against Grammar Correction" is a review article and is announced as such (See p. 283 of your packet). It proceeds deductively: first comes the thesis ("Grammar correction has no place in writing courses . . .") and then comes the support. Note that Truscott's summaries are shaped by his purpose: he includes in them what is relevant to his thesis.

All this sounds very difficult, I'm sure, but remember you are writing a "mini" review essay, a kind of encapsulated version of the real thing, not an actual review essay. Here's a sample. The Fathman and Whalley article is in your packet, the other two articles are not, but the information in the Ferris article is included in chapter 5 of ESL COMP.

Sample of "Mini Review Essay"

Topic of the day: Written Response to Student Writing

Vivian Zamel, "Responding to Student Writing" (1985); Ann K. Fathman and Eliz. Whalley, "Teacher Response to Student Writing: Focus on Form versus Content"(1990); Dana R. Ferris, "The Influence of Teaching Commentary on Student Revision" (1997).

These articles, written at roughly five-year intervals, reflect changing attitudes within the ESL community toward the process approach to teaching writing, an approach developed by L1 composition researchers. When Zamel wrote her article, she and some other L2 teachers were becoming enamored of this new approach and critical of colleagues who were sticking to more "product" approaches. According to recent L1 research on written commentary, Zamel says, teachers focus too much on "surface-level problems" in first drafts when they should focus on "meaning-level" concerns (81-82). They also give contradictory advice: interlinear comments suggest minor editing will fix things whereas a marginal or end comment calls for full-scale revision. Finally, pro-process L1 researchers fault teachers for producing too many comments that are not "text-specific," i.e. comments that could be rubber-stamped on any paper. Zamel then reports on her study of how teachers of university-level ESL writing classes respond to students' writing. She finds that their commentary has the same weaknesses as that of L1 teachers and calls for more flexible responding, fewer references to abstract rules, more text-specific recommendations.

Fathman and Whalley's research focuses more narrowly on the effectiveness of commenting on form as opposed to content. They analyze the writing--original drafts and rewrites--of 72 students enrolled in intermediate ESL college composition classes at two different colleges. Some students received no feedback, some received grammar feedback, some received content feedback, and some received grammar and content feedback. Results: only students who received grammar feedback improved the grammatical accuracy of their rewrites but students who received no content feedback improved the content of their rewrites (but those that received content feedback improved the content more). Based on their study, F and W also conclude that general comments (i.e. not text-specific) can be effective and that grammar and content feedback can be presented at the same time. By emphasizing the efficacy of grammar feedback and suggesting it didn't have to follow content feedback, F and W were opposing some popular notions of the "Teach writing as process" camp.

Using an elaborate scheme, Ferris classifies one teacher's comments by type-for example, "Ask for information/question" and "Give information/statement," "Text-specific" (yes or no)-and then searches for connections between comment type and influence on a rewrite. Did the comment cause "No change," "Minimal change/negative effect," or "Substantive change/positive effect," for example. She finds that longer comments and text-specific comments caused more improvement than shorter, non-specific comments; she also finds that comments given in the form of questions may not be effective with L2 writers, perhaps because they don't help students understand what they are supposed to do. Another problematical comment type is "give information" in which a teacher provides information about a topic the student is addressing. Ferris suggests that students may not know what they are to do with the information provided.

Unlike Zamel, both F and W and Ferris find that teachers of ESL writing are making useful comments on students' papers. Is this because they have adopted the commenting strategies recommended in the L1 research praised by Zamel? Maybe not. F and W suggest that grammar correction (Zamel's "surface-level concerns") can be effective and both F and W and Ferris insist that comments that aren't text-specific have their place. These later researchers recommend a more selective adoption of strategies popular in L1 circles.

English 614 John C. Schafer

Fall, 2002 Office: FH 213

Course Packet for English 614: ESL Writing

Note: Articles are listed in order they appear on course syllabus. Topics from the syllabus are written in bold type.

L1 and L2 Writing: Major Teaching Approaches, Relationships Between L1 and L2 Approaches

Williams, James D. "Models for Teaching Writing." Preparing to Teach Writing: Research, Theory, and Practice. 2nd Edit. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1998. 45-78. [ISBN: 0-8058-2266-6] Packet pages: 1-19

Raimes, Ann. "Out of the Woods: Emerging Traditions in the Teaching of Writing." TESOL Quarterly 25 (1991): 430. Packet pages: 20-32

The Process Approach to ESL Writing

Raimes, Ann. "Anguish as a Second Language? Remedies for Composition Teachers." Composing in a Second Language. Ed. Sandra McKay. Rowley, MA: Newbury House, 1984. 81-96. [ISBN: 0-88377-390-2]. Originally published in Learning to Write: First Language/Second Language. Ed. A. Freedman, I. Pringle, and J. Yalden. New York: Longman, 1983. 258-272. [ISBN:] Packet pages: 33-40

Zamel, Vivian. "The Composing Processes of Advanced ESL Students: 6 Case Studies." TESOL Quarterly 17 (1983): 165-187. Packet pages: 41-63

Backlash to Process (and the Backlash to the Backlash)

Horowitz, Daniel. "Process, Not Product: Less Than Meets the Eye." TESOL Quarterly 20 (1986): 141-144. Packet pages: 64-67

________. "What Professors Actually Require: Academic Tasks for the ESL Classroom." TESOL Quarterly 20 (1986): 445-462. Packet pages: 68-77

Liebman-Kleine, Joanne and Liz Hamp-Lyons. "Two Commentaries on Daniel M. Horowitz's 'Process, Not Product: Less Than Meets the Eye'." TESOL Quarterly 20 (1986): 783-797. Packet pages: 78-85

Spack, Ruth. "Initiating ESL Students Into the Academic Discourse Community: How Far Should We Go?" TESOL Quarterly 22 (1988): 29-51. Packet pages: 86-97

More Recent Questioning of the Process Approach

Fan Shan. "The Classroom and the Wider Culture: Identity as a Key to Learning English Composition." College Composition and Communication 40 (1989): 459-466. Packet pages: 98-102

Matalene, Carolyn. "Contrastive Rhetoric: An American Writing Teacher in China." College English 47 (Dec., 1985): 789-808. Packet pages: 103-113

Dangerous Disjuncts Between Teaching Approach and Student Needs

Atkinson, Dwight and Vai Ramanathan. "Cultures of Writing: An Ethnographic Comparison of L1 and L2 University Writing/Language Programs." TESOL Quarterly 29 (1995): 539-568. Packet pages: 114-143

Leki, Ilona and Joan Carson. "'Completely Different Worlds': EAP and the Writing Experiences of ESL Students in University Courses." TESOL Quarterly 31 (1997): 39-69. Packet pages: 144-159

Curriculum and Syllabus Design; Assignment Making

Kroll, Barbara. "The Rhetoric/Syntax Split: Designing a Curriculum for ESL Students." Journal of Basic Writing 9 (1990): 40-55. Packet pages: 160-167

Spack, Ruth. "Student Meets Text, Text Meets Student: Finding a Way into Academic Discourse." In Reading in the Composition Classroom: Second Language Perspectives. Ed. Joan G. Carson and Ilona Leki. Boston: Heinle and Heinle Publishers, 1993. 183-196. [0-8384-3972-1] Packet pages: 168-175

How Do You Define "Academic Writing"?

Elbow, Peter. "Reflections on Academic Writing: How It Relates to Freshmen and Colleagues." College English 53 (1991): 135-155. Packet pages: 176-187

Contrastive Rhetoric: Early Formulations

Kaplan, Robert. "Cultural Thought Patterns in Intercultural Education." In Composing in a Second Language. Ed. Sandra McKay. Rowley, MA: Newbury House, 1984. 43-62. [ISBN: 0 88377 390 2]. Reprinted from Language Learning 16 (1966): 1-20. Packet pages: 188-198

Hinds, John. "Reader Versus Writer Responsibility: A New Typology." In Writing Across Languages: Analysis of L2 Text. Ed. Ulla Connor and Robert B. Kaplan. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1987. 141-152. [0201111845] Packet pages: 199-210

Mohan, Bernard A. and Winnie Au-Yeung Lo. "Academic Writing and Chinese Students: Transfer and Developmental Factors." TESOL Quarterly 19 (Sept., 1985): 515-534. Packet pages: 211-221

Contrastive Rhetoric: More Recent Formulations

Carson, Joan G. "Becoming Literate: First Language Influences." Journal of Second Language Writing 1 (1992): 37-60. Packet pages: 222-234

Carson, Joan G. and Gale L. Nelson. "Writing Groups: Cross-Cultural Issues." Journal of Second Language Writing 3 (1994): 17-30. Packet pages: 235-242

Ballard, Brigid and John Clanchy. "Assessment by Misconception: Cultural Influences and Intellectual Traditions." Assessing Second Language Writing in Academic Contexts. Ed. Liz Hamp-Lyons. Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1991. [0893917923] Packet pages: 243-251

Contrastive Rhetoric: Recent Criticisms

Spack, Ruth. "The Rhetorical Construction of Multilingual Students." TESOL Quarterly 31 (1997): 765-774. Packet pages: 252-257

Kubota, Ryuko. "Japanese Culture Constructed by Discourses: Implications for Applied Linguistics Research and ELT." TESOL Quarterly 33 (1999): 9-35. Packet pages: 258-271

The Place of Politics in Second Language Writing

Santos, Terry. "Ideology in Composition: L1 and ESL." Journal of Second Language Writing 1 (1992): 1-15. Packet pages: 272-279

________. "The Place of Politics in Second Language Writing." On Second Language Writing. Ed. Tony Silva and Paul Kei Matsuda. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2001. 173-190. [ISBN: 0-8058-3516-4] Packet pages: 280-289

Benesch, Sarah. "Critical Pragmatism: A Politics of L2 Composition." On Second Language Writing. Ed. Tony Silva and Paul Kei Matsuda. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2001. 161-172. [ISBN: 0-8058-3516-4] Packet pages: 290-296

Responding to Student Writing: Written Response

Fathman, Ann K. and Elizabeth . "Teacher Response to Student Writing: Focus on Form Versus Content." Second Language Writing: Research Insights for the Classroom. Ed. Barbara Kroll. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1990. 178-190. [ISBN: 0-521-38778-7] Packet pages: 297-303

Analyzing Errors by Type, Possible Cause, and "Gravity"

Burt, Marina K. "Error Analysis in the Adult EFL Classroom." TESOL Quarterly 9 (1975): 53-63. Packet pages: 304-309

Reid, Joy. "Responding to ESL Student Language Problems: Error Analysis and Revision Plans." Grammar in the Composition Classroom: Essays on Teaching ESL for College-Bound Students. Patricia Byrd and Joy M. Reid. Boston: Heinle and Heinle, 1998. 118-137. [ISBN: 0-8384-7210-9] Packet pages: 310-318

________. "Using Contrastive Analysis to Analyze ESL/EFL Student Error." Grammar in the Composition Classroom: Essays on Teaching ESL for College-Bound Students. Patricia Byrd and Joy M. Reid. Boston: Heinle and Heinle, 1998. 138-152. [ISBN: 0-8384-7210-9] Packet pages: 319-326

Teaching Students to Edit Their Own Papers

Ferris, Dana. "Teaching Students to Self-Edit." TESOL Journal (Summer, 1995): 18-22. Packet pages: 327-331

Developing Grammar/Editing Lessons: Analyzing Books That Can Help You

Ellis, Rod. "Methodological Options in Grammar Teaching Materials." New Perspectives on Grammar Teaching in Second Language Classrooms. Ed. Eli Hinkel and Sandra Fotos. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002. 155-179. Packet pages: 332-344


1. In this syllabus I am using "ESL" as a generic acronym to refer to the teaching of English to speakers of other languages in any country under any circumstances. In class we will also discuss more particular meanings of ESL and distinguish ESL from EFL (English as a Foreign Language).

2. For example: Sept. 30; Oct. 23 and 30; and Dec. 2. See "Course Schedule."

3. Ways of Reading, 4th ed. (Boston: Bedford Books, 1996) 10-12.

4. It may seem strange that I speak of ways of reading in this section of the syllabus in which I am explaining how to do a writing assignment. As B and P point out, however, "it is hard to distinguish the act of reading from the act of writing" (12). Reading is not a passive but an active process: readers compose the meaning of a text, they don't find it. Writing facilitates this composing of meaning.

5. Cynthia is responding to David Bartholomae's "Inventing the University," When a Writer Can't Write, ed. Mike Rose (New York, NY: Guilford, 1985) 134-65; and Peter Elbow's "Reflections on Academic Discourse: How It Relates to Freshmen and Colleagues," College English 53 (1991): 135-55. Elbow's article is in your packet.