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One on One with Second Language Writers

A Guide for Writing Tutors, Teachers, and Consultants

Dudley W. Reynolds

Publication Year: 2013

One-on-one encounters with writers often contribute more to the development of student writing abilities than any classroom activity because they are personalized and responsive to individual needs. For the encounters to be successful, the writing tutor, teacher, or consultant must be prepared, must be knowledgeable of what it means to write and the factors that make writing more and less effective, and must also know the students. This guide focuses on what those who conference with second language writers need to know to respond best to students, recognize their needs, and steer conversations in productive directions. One on One with Second Language Writers provides tips about activities that can be adapted to individual contexts, student writing samples that can be analyzed for practice, a glossary, a list of useful resources, and a checklist for conferencing sessions. The book is appropriate for use in university and secondary school writing or learning centers, teacher training programs for both general composition and ESOL instructors, and as an individual reference tool. The book uses non-technical language where possible, but terminology is introduced where it might be useful when conferencing with students.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Cover Page

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p. 1-1

Title Page

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-x

Around tables in writing centers, in our offices, and outside our classroom doors, we work with student writers one on one. During these often brief encounters, we listen to their questions, we probe, we model, and sometimes we direct. Although these one-on-one encounters are not scripted around curricular goals or learning outcomes, ...

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How to Use This Book

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pp. xi-xiv

This book is intended as a professional development tool for anyone who conferences with individual students about their writing, particularly when the students are writing in a second language. The organization of the chapters in the book suggests a general approach to the writing conference, beginning with planning questions and strategies (Chapter 1), ...

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1. Where Do I Start?

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pp. 1-15

Ming has just walked in for her writing conference and handed you a two-page, neat draft of the first assignment. She’s very quiet and doesn’t say much; she just looks at you as if she expects you to say something profound about her paper. She expects help, whether you are the instructor, a tutor, or writing center consultant. ...

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2. ESL Writers: Background

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pp. 16-33

One of my greatest concerns in writing is a desire not to generalize in this book. In the first chapter, I used second language writers eleven times, students ten times, and language learners two times. Every time I used one of these collective phrases, I risked the implication that a group of individuals as diverse as Henry Kissinger, Celine Dion, ...

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3. Understanding the Assignment: Purpose, Conventions, and Preferences

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pp. 34-50

It should be fairly obvious that these sentences were lifted from academic writing assignments. They reference course features (reading lists, the encomienda system), production guidelines (double-spaced, APA Handbook), and academic buzzwords (critical, analytically) in the context of a writing task. ...

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4. Where to Stick It: Organizational Strategies

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pp. 51-67

Organization is a hot topic when it comes to writing. Many grading rubrics explicitly target organization along with content and grammar. Professors often simply write organization as a comment in red on papers. Some composition classes are even structured around practicing specific organizational patterns such as compare and contrast, problem and solution, and cause and effect. ...

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5. Expectations for Language: Cohesion and Lexis

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pp. 68-81

Chapter 4 argued that organization entails developing and sequencing content according to language-specific conventions. The result is “thinking,” which frequent readers of that language recognize. When I talk about the thinking in a text, I am taking a top-down perspective to reading; I am focused more on the message than what appears on paper. ...

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6. Syntax: The Big, the Bad, and the Ugly

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pp. 82-111

Chapter 5 argued that readers expect texts to be cohesive, employ appropriate lexis, and adhere to syntactic patterns. Of these, syntax is the area that we most notice when it goes awry. Marking cohesion and choosing appropriate lexical items make texts more palatable for a reader; they help us fit the pieces together and confirm hypotheses about the social purposes of the text. ...

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7. Punctuation: Another Foreign Language

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pp. 112-132

This passage is an excerpt from a book by John Wilson published in Boston in 1856 on the uses and forms of English punctuation. Because it introduces major assumptions about the role of punctuation symbols, it is a useful place to begin this chapter on the challenges that punctuation—and design elements more generally—pose for second language writers. ...

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8. Strategic One on One

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pp. 133-140

When Ming came to you and handed you her paper, your biggest concern was probably, “What can I say or do in 15, 20, or even 30 minutes that will help her with this paper?” The overall goal of this book has been to introduce a body of knowledge about second language writers, their writing, and their readers that will help you come up with the particular answers that you need ...


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pp. 141-149

Useful Resources

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pp. 150-153

Questions to Remember

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pp. 154-169

E-ISBN-13: 9780472029839
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472032822

Page Count: 168
Publication Year: 2013