Teaching Academic ESL Writing: Practical Techniques in Vocabulary and Grammar

Teaching Academic ESL Writing: Practical Techniques in Vocabulary and Grammar

Teaching Academic ESL Writing: Practical Techniques in Vocabulary and Grammar

Teaching Academic ESL Writing: Practical Techniques in Vocabulary and Grammar


Teaching Academic ESL Writing: Practical Techniques in Vocabulary and Grammar fills an important gap in teacher professional preparation by focusing on the grammatical and lexical features that are essential for all ESL writing teachers and student-writers to know. The fundamental assumption is that before students of English for academic purposes can begin to successfully produce academic writing, they must have the foundations of language in place-the language tools (grammar and vocabulary) they need to build a text. This text offers a compendium of techniques for teaching writing, grammar, and lexis to second-language learners that will help teachers effectively target specific problem areas of students' writing. Based on the findings of current research, including a large-scale study of close to 1,500 non-native speakers' essays, this book works with several sets of simple rules that collectively can make a noticeable and important difference in the quality of ESL students' writing. The teaching strategies and techniques are based on a highly practical principle for efficiently and successfully maximizing learners' language gains. Part I provides the background for the text and a sample of course curriculum guidelines to meet the learning needs of second-language teachers of writing and second-language writers. Parts II and III include the key elements of classroom teaching: what to teach and why, possible ways to teach the material in the classroom, common errors found in student prose and ways to teach students to avoid them, teaching activities and suggestions, and questions for discussion in a teacher-training course. Appendices to chapters provide supplementary word and phrase lists, collocations, sentence chunks, and diagrams that teachers can use as needed. The book is designed as a text for courses that prepare teachers to work with post-secondary EAP students and as a professional resource for teachers of students in EAP courses.


Language is power.

—Angela Carter

Power to the people.

—A slogan from the 1960s

Since the late 1970s and early 1980s, a great deal of time, energy, and resources have been devoted to teaching non-native L2 writers the rhetorical features of written academic discourse in English. In addition, to meet market demands and the expectations of professional training and preparation for English as a Second Language and English for Academic Purposes teachers, teacher-training and graduate programs have set out to address teachers' on-the-job skills that pertain to teaching L2 academic writers how to generate and organize ideas into coherent essays and compositions, as is expected of practically all students at undergraduate and graduate levels.

There is little doubt that L2 writers need to be familiar with many rhetorical and discourse features of written English and that the teaching of college- or university-level writing cannot do without them. In teaching L2 writing to academically bound learners, what has become of smaller importance, however, is the language tools (i.e., the grammar and vocabulary that L2 writers must have to construct academic text, which in turn can be organized into a coherent written academic discourse). To put it plainly, no matter how well discourse is organized or how brilliant the writer's ideas may be, it would be hard to understand them if the language is opaque.

The purpose of this book is to bridge an important gap that exists in teacher training today: the teaching of the second language and its grammatical and lexical features that are essential for any L2 writing teacher and student writer to know. The teaching of rhetorical and discourse properties of academic writing in English can be made far more effective and efficient if L2 learners have language tools with which to build the text. The ultimate . . .

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