English 534:  Literacy and ESOL Writing                        

Summer 2010

Dr. E. Curtin                                                                    


Other hours by appointment



Brisk and Harrington, Literacy and Bilingualism

Campbell, Teaching Second-Language Writing

Ferris, Treatment of Error in Second Language Student Writing

Leki, Understanding ESL Writers

Lunsford, The Everyday Writer

Samway. When English Language Learners Write: Connecting Research to Practice, K-8 



Supplementary Texts


Blanton and Kroll (eds.), ESL Composition Tales: Reflections on Teaching


Silva and Metsuda (eds.), Landmark Essays on ESL Writing


Resource texts will also be available for your use.


Course Description:

This course introduces students interested in questions of language acquisition to the theories and practices of learning to write in a second language or second dialect. Topics include, but are not limited to, theories of writing, strategies and genres embedded in western written modes of exposition, writing assessment—individualized and standardized—for K-16 ESOL writing, and other rhetorical concerns. The course exposes students to the range of genres, rhetorical and discourse conventions of written English, and the need to equip newcomer populations with the same range and breadth of written literacy expertise as their peers.  The course also includes in its focus a consideration of the influence of L1 culture (home and school) on writing in a second language/dialect, cognitive considerations in writing in a second language/dialect, school-wide/institutional policies for writing programs for ESOL/second dialect students, considerations in the choice of effective materials for emergent to advanced newcomer writers, and finally, a battery of best practices for teachers to assist ESOL students/second dialect users develop strategies to monitor their use of and expertise in a multiplicity of English genres, discourse structures and writing conventions. The course will emphasize reading and writing in content areas as well as teaching writing. 



Course Objectives:

By the end of the course you should have a strong theoretical background in the issues surrounding ESL writing and have the practical strategies for adapting different theoretical principles to classroom instruction.  Specifically, you should be able to



Course Requirements:

You will need to read all assignments before coming to class and come to class prepared to discuss them. You will prepare a researched rationale for a unit plan as well as the plan itself concerning some aspect of teaching writing to or using writing to teach other material to ESOL students/second language learners and, using PowerPoint or comparable technology, present a 30-45 minute discussion on your plan during which you consider the theoretical and practical implications of what you are proposing to do. You will prepare a reflective journal during the two weeks, discussing and examining something that you respond to in readings or discussions. The last one of these will be a reflection on the overall course, what you gained from it and what you still need to explore. You will finally take two exams, a midterm and a final. 


30-45 minute presentation                                                               10%                

Midterm and Final Exam                                                      30%

Unit Plan Rationale                                                                           20%

Unit Plan                                                                                             20%

Reflective Journal, including Portfolio statement              20%



Each class represents 10% of the entire course or what would normally be 1 ˝   weeks of class; you should be here for every session.  Except in the case of dire emergency, missing half a day will affect your grade.  Full participation is expected. Please turn off any cell phones, pagers or alarms before you enter the classroom unless you have an emergency situation, about which you should notify me before class begins.


Academic Integrity

The English Department takes plagiarism, the unacknowledged use of other people’s ideas, very seriously indeed.  As outlined in the Student Handbook under the “Policy on Student Academic Integrity,” plagiarism may receive such penalties as failure on a paper or failure in the course.  The English Department recognizes that plagiarism is a very serious offense, and professors make their decisions regarding sanctions accordingly.

            Each of the following constitutes plagiarism:

1. Turning in as your own work a paper or part of a paper that anyone other than you wrote. This would include but is not limited to work taken from another student, from a published author, or from an Internet contributor.

            2. Turning in a paper that includes unquoted and/or undocumented passages someone else wrote.

            3. Including in a paper someone else’s original ideas, opinions or research results without attribution.

            4. Paraphrasing without attribution.

A few changes in wording do not make a passage your property.  As a precaution, if you are in doubt, cite the source.  Moreover, if you have gone to the trouble to investigate secondary sources, you should give yourself credit for having done so by citing those sources in your essay and by providing a list of Works Cited or Works Consulted at the conclusion of the essay.  In any case, failure to provide proper attribution could result in a severe penalty and is never worth the risk.


Writing Across the Curriculum

Rationale Essay, Unit Plan, and Reflective Journal all support the university’s policy that writing be an integral part of every course and used as part of evaluation.



Tentative Schedule: Please be alert for any changes. 


July 12


Embracing contraries

The swing of the pendulum

Brainstorming about Unit Plans


July 13

Theoretical and practical Issues in ESL Writing

Campbell 1-2: How did you learn to write?

Treatment of Error 1-2/Samway 1-2


July 14

Reflective Journal sharing

Open discussion of general issues surrounding ELL Writing Instruction

Leki, Chaps 1-3/Samway 3-4/Campbell 3-4

Resource: Brisk and Harrington Chaps 2 and 3.



July 15

 Reflective Journal Sharing

Two presentations

 Grammar issues, Ferris, Chap 2/Samway 5

Practice Exam


July 16


Two presentations          

Campbell 6-7

Workshop on MLA and APA, Lunsford 369-489


July 19

Two presentations

Content coaches: Alicia Cropper and Hayley Minner

Trouble shooting unit plans


July 20

Two presentations

Content Coach: Mandy Butler

Brisk and Harrington 4; Leki, Chaps 4-7

Treatment of Error, Ferris, Chaps 3 and 4



July 21

Reflective Journal Sharing

Content Coach: Angela Paris

Samway 6-7/Leki, 8-10



July 22

Rationale/Unit Plan drafts due

Responding to Student Writing Workshop: Ferris, Chap 5

Unit Plan Rationale Workshop      



July 23

Final Exam

Brisk and Harrington, Chap 5

Troubleshooting Unit Plans, Resource: Lunsford


July 26

Unit Plan and final Reflective Journal entry, the portfolio statement, due.




I would like to thank Dr. Anjali Pandey and Dr. Joaquin Vila for their help in preparing this syllabus.