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Developing Writing Skills in a Mixed-Language Classroom


Developing Writing Skills in a Mixed-Language Classroom Tetyana Bidna Brainstorming What did you feel when I talked to you in a foreign language? – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Developing Writing Skills in a Mixed-Language Classroom

Developing Writing Skills in a Mixed-Language
  • Tetyana Bidna

  • What did you feel when I talked to you in a
    foreign language?
  • How many of you have ESOL students in your
  • How do they feel when they are supposed to
    perform as well as native speakers?

  • notion of language proficiency
  • nature of a FL acquisition
  • native language vs. foreign language
  • developing writing skills
  • teaching vocabulary.

  • A persons proficiency in a language refers to
    the degree to which that person is able to use
    the language. In education language is used in
    two dimensions
  • social
  • academic
  • (Cummins)

Cummins Iceberg
  • social
  • acade-
  • mic
  • Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills
    Speaking and Listening
  • Cognitive/Academic Language Proficiency
    Speaking, Listening, Writing and Reading

  • The skills that allow a student to understand
    and/or speak English do not automatically
    transfer to writing.
  • Writing is an output activity. When ELLs are
    producing it, they are accessing their knowledge
    of words, syntax (word order), and morphology
    (word forms). They are also testing how words
    go together through trial and error. Writing
    needs to be practiced so that it becomes
  • Susan Lenski and Frances Verbruggen Writing
    Instruction and Assessment for English Language
    Learners K-8.

  • Effective writing depends on being able to use
    low-level writing skills, such as letter
    production and the use of function words,
    automatically. When that is the case, writers are
    able to devote more cognitive capacity to
    expressing ideas and feelings. Lesaux, Koda,
    Siegal, Shanahan, 2006.

Writing Process
  • Pre-writing
  • Drafting
  • Revising/editing.

  • Pre-writing is essential for the writer whose
    first language is not English. Especially at the
    lower levels of proficiency, students have a
    limited lexicon and therefore often have
    difficulty expressing their ideas. Therefore,
    teachers or other students may need to assist
    second language students to generate vocabulary
    and grammatical structures relevant to the topic.
    Models and samples are often helpful.

  • Brainstorming the teacher may need to provide
    some guidance by asking questions to elicit
    vocabulary and structures associated with the
    selected topic
  • Word banks generated by the students or as
    assigned by the teacher
  • Drawing and sketching enable students to
    illustrate ideas for which they do not have the
  • Discussion with native English-speaking peers or
    with the teacher
  • Note-taking (often with the use of charts)
  • Graphic organizers for eliciting, organizing and
    developing background knowledge
  • Dictations give learners some alternative
    models for addressing a writing task
  • Researching and gather data by viewing videos,
    reading, talking, interviewing, and searching
    reference books or internet

Presentation of Vocabulary
  • Meaning to create the context, to convey the
    meaning, to elicit/to provide the word CCQs
  • Pronunciation model and drill chorally and
  • Form written form
  • Controlled practice
  • Freer practice.

  • pictures/labels
  • substitution drills
  • flashcards/games
  • matching
  • definitions
  • antonyms/synonyms
  • description
  • personal vocabulary lists
  • word families
  • translation

  • Test you try to figure out what students know
    and do not know and encourage peer teaching and
  • Teach you actually teach the vocabulary
  • Test check the level of acquisition.

4 Corners Vocabulary
  • enables students to contextualize word by
  • creating a chart with an illustration
  • a sentence that includes the word
  • a definition of the word
  • the actual vocabulary word.
  • Dr. María Torres, Ilona Olancin Vocabulary
    Building Strategies to use When Working with ELL

4 Corners Vocabulary
1. Illustration 2. Sentence
3. Definition 4. Vocabulary Word
  • At the drafting stage students write their ideas
    down using some of the notes, language, and
    structures generated during the pre-writing
    activities. Second language students especially
    need to be aware that their first draft does not
    have to be perfect and that the purpose of this
    activity is to get words on paper. Spelling will
    often not be accurate and there may be many
    grammatical errors. Some students may also insert
    words in their native language.

  • Using notes taken during pre-writing activities
    provides students with a starting point and a
    skeleton of ideas especially useful for second
    language learners whose ideas are restricted by
    their limited vocabulary
  • Sentence completions may address the different
    ways to begin or end a paragraph or a story or
    may focus on vocabulary needed to describe or
    narrate a story
  • Journal writing allows students to take risks
    and experiment with language it can provide a
    starting point for a longer writing assignment

  • Second language learners will also need
    assistance during the revising/editing stage from
    teachers and from other students. Changes in
    writing will need to address word usage and
    clarification of ideas, as well as grammatical
    accuracy, punctuation, spelling and
    capitalization. It is important to remember that
    second language students may have difficulty
    recognizing their own errors or the errors of
    their peers. A self-assessment checklist may help
    them monitor their own writing. However, care
    should be taken with peer editing groups. In
    addition, it is important that correction be done
    in a comfortable environment.

  • Peer or group reviews of mixed ELLs and native
    English speakers
  • Language expansion and sentence combining
    activities enable students to move beyond
    subject/verb/object format by encouraging
    students to combine two or three different
    statements in various ways to make their
    sentences more complex
  • Rearranging words within sentences
  • Using dictionaries, including personal
    dictionaries, and other resource materials such
    as grammar books and textbooks

  • It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken
    joy in creative expression and knowledge.
  • Albert Einstein 

Works Cited
  • Frances Hoch Writing and English as a Second
    Language . Learn NC. K-12 Teaching and
    Learning from the UNC School of Education.
  • Judie Haynes Tips for Teaching ELLs to Write.
  • María Torres, Ilona Olancin Vocabulary Building
    Strategies to use When Working with ELL
    Students. . http//
  • Strategies for ESL Teachers Tennessee ESL
    Resource Guide - http//
  • Susan Lenski, Frances Verbruggen Writing
    Instruction and Assessment for English Language
    Learners K-8, 2010.
  • Teaching Writing. Writing_at_CSU http//writing.colos