Non-native speakers in mainstream college classes face the extra challenge of reading, speaking, and writing in a language they have not studied their whole lives. The ESOL Instructors at Skyline College have designed this chapter to help provide added assistance to those students in mainstream English classes to support their learning and success.
English survey: To begin, you can complete this survey and then take it with you when you first meet with your English teacher so you can go over your history, your goals for the class, and your particular needs as a student. This will allow your English teacher to get to know you better, and you can make a plan together to help you be successful in the class
Parts of speech self-review: Be sure you understand the foundational elements of English. Complete this review and for any terms you are not sure of or cannot define, use this as a guide for which topics you should review in Chapter 14: Grammar.
Top 8 tips to improve your reading: read as much as possible, make vocabulary lists, use a good dictionary, don’t interrupt your reading by looking up words, use academic word lists to build vocabulary, annotate when you read (underline key points, take notes in the margins), read the newspaper, and read to your kids.
Tips for addressing length in academic writing: Academic writing should be developed into powerful sentences that convey an idea completely. State your ideas in simple clear sentences first. Use powerful verbs, nouns, and strong, descriptive adjectives. After your sentences convey those ideas, then consider joining them together using sentence joining strategies such as FANBOYS (coordination) or subordination.
Turning spoken English into written: There are three important differences between spoken English and written English: (1) Length: written English often takes more words to convey the same idea that can be conveyed in spoken English. (2) In the written version of a spoken conversation, the verbs shift from present to past, and from past to past perfect. This is because the speaker is reporting something that already happened. (3) When turning a if/whether question into a statement, the question cannot remain a question. It must be turned into a statement.
Tips for reported speech: Reported speech should only be used when reporting an action in past time. It is often used in the reporting fields of journalism and news casting, but may be appropriate for some forms of academic writing where reporting of a source is needed.
Turning questions into statements: Use If and Whether to Turn Yes/No Questions into Statements. When using reported speech, Yes/No questions cannot remain in question format. It is necessary to re-word the question to put it into statement format.
Conveying an author’s point of view: Part of academic writing is accurately conveying the viewpoint of writers. You want to clearly state their points of view and arguments before you add your own evaluation and analysis. In other words, you want to fairly and accurately present the ideas in the material you are offering a critique of.
Agreeing and disagreeing with an author: In many cultures, it is considered rude or unwise to disagree with a published author. However, in the United States, it is considered perfectly appropriate for a student writer to agree or disagree with a professional author. In fact, it shows the student writer’s ability to think critically and be a participant in intellectual dialogue. Your professor wants to see that you can think independently and can critique another writer’s ideas.
Proofreading tips for ESOL students: Proofreading is the process of error detection and error correction in your own work. Put in other words, it is the identification and correction of your own mistakes. It should be an integral part of your writing process.