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Writing Strategies for ‘English as a Second Language’ Students

  1. Your tutoring session will begin with your tutor explaining our policy to you:
    • Our primary goal is to help you gain and strengthen the ability to revise and edit your own papers.
    • You are encouraged to make regular appointments at the Academic Success Center. Don’t wait until the day before the paper’s due to hand in a perfect paper! In a 45 min. tutoring session, you may only have time to examine the first two or three paragraphs of your paper. Think seriously about setting up appointments with your tutor several weeks in advance of a paper’s due date.
  2. Your tutor will very consciously make a distinction between global concerns and local concerns in the paragraph, addressing the global concerns first and addressing the local concerns only after the global concerns have been dealt with. The tutor will ask these questions:
    • What is the specific writing assignment?
    • How much work has the student put into the paper so far? Is this a very rough first draft or a second or third draft?
    • What is the writer’s purpose?
    • Who is the audience envisioned for the paper?
    • Is the paper well-organized and readable?
  3. Your tutor will take turns reading the first few paragraphs with you, working on one paragraph at a time. The tutor is trying to determine whether or not the paper “flows” and has a “fluid reading.”
  4. You, the student, are the only person who will write on your paper. Your tutor will not mark your paper.
  5. After the tutor has worked with you on a paragraph, the tutor will most likely ask you to work on the next paragraph alone. The tutor is close by to advise you as needed.
  6. You will learn to use the Longman Dictionary of American English to assist in identification and in explanation of the error. You may also use the online Newbury House advanced learner’s dictionary.
  7. You will keep an error log. The tutor will assist you in starting an error log. On subsequent visits, the tutor will ask to see the error log and help you to see the connection between logging errors and becoming more accomplished at self-editing. You will need to keep this up-to-date so that you become more aware of the issues in writing that are problems for you.
  8. You will learn to use the self-editing checklist as one more way to help you learn to revise and edit your own papers. Your tutor will assist you in this process.
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