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Expectations and Tips for Support Leigh Anne Sippel, ESOL faculty Skyline College Faculty Flex Days, March 11, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Expectations and Tips for Support Leigh Anne Sippel, ESOL faculty Skyline College Faculty Flex Days, March 11, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Expectations and Tips for Support Leigh Anne Sippel, ESOL faculty Skyline College Faculty Flex Days, March 11, 2011

2  No magic bullets ◦ There is no “single fix” for error in NNS writing ◦ It can take 7-10 years for proficiency in English. Most ESL programs are only 2 years long.  No blessings/permission slips ◦ How you grade NNS writing errors is up to you ◦ Use today’s info to develop your own dealbreakers ◦ The advice that follows herein is merely that of the presenter and is not necessarily shared by all ESL faculty  The goal of this presentation ◦ To better understand factors in NNSs’ struggles with English in our classes ◦ To have an idea of realistic expectations for NNSs’ abilities ◦ To learn a few tips to support NNSs in our classes

3  Teacher frustration over verbs often leads to some inaccurate statements to students ◦ Myth: We never change verb tense in one sentence.  By the time Jarrod gets to this class, he will have been teaching for six hours, but he will continue to teach for another four (3 verb tenses).  Better advice: Don’t change verb tense unless there is a very good reason to do so. ◦ Myth: “s” always means plural/“ed” always means past.  John (singular) works at the Learning Center.  I’m interested in science. (present verb + participial adjective)  Better advice: Study the rules of “s” and “ed”

4  Why can’t they get verb tense??? ◦ Most languages have 2 or 3 tenses. English has 3 tenses, 4 aspects, and two voices (passive and active) = 24 different verb forms to learn ◦ Many tenses learned early on involve morphology that is also used in higher language functions – the forms become forever confused as language learning progresses.  Semester 1: We are talking about language. (present progressive verb consisting of be+verb+ing)  Semester 2: Talking about grades makes me nervous. (gerund noun)  Semester 3: We moved to the next talking point. (adjective)  Semester 1: Sam fixed the car. (simple past)  Semester 2: Sam had already fixed the car by the time I got home. (past participle used in past perfect)  Semester 3: Is the meeting time fixed? (participial adjective)

5  Verbs aren’t just one word.  Verbs can have changes in meaning/same meaning ◦ I have given him gifts. I have been giving him gifts. ◦ I have lived here for years. I have been living here for years.  Morphology requires a lot of memory resources ◦ Context, function, spelling, pronunciation, word order PastPresentFuture SimpleHe workedHe worksHe will work ProgressiveHe was workingHe is workingHe will be working PerfectHe had workedHe has workedHe will have worked Perfect Progressive He had been working He has been working He will have been working

6  TIPS ◦ What are your dealbreakers?  All verbs must be perfect? Occasional mistake OK, so long as the meaning isn’t obscured? Occasional mistake OK in multiple-word verbs only? Mistakes OK, so long as there are no more than ___ per page? ◦ It’s reasonable to expect proficiency in verbs where the meaning is obscured. It’s also reasonable to exercise flexibility in verbs where the meaning is not obscured overmuch, or if occasional multiple-word verb is malformed.  Consider allowing time for the student to revise.  Suggest the student take (more) ESOL classes.  Suggest the student read more and spend more time in conversation in English.  Suggest the student work in the ESOL lab with a tutor and self- paced software.

7  Articles (a, an, the, or Ø) ◦ Inordinately rule-bound; riddled with exceptions  Would you like a coffee/the coffee/coffee?  An apple, an egg, an ice cream, an onion, an union? ◦ Are not a self-contained unit, but are entirely reliant on the knowledge of count/noncount nouns  She has interests/an interest in sports. Is there interest in this subject?  I have advice for you. Do you have a suggestion for me? ◦ First taught, last learned. Perfection may never be achieved. ◦ Learners with long scholastic experience do best ◦ Learners from languages w/o articles (Russian, Chinese) or abundance of articles (Spanish, Arabic) struggle  TIPS: ◦ Decide what your dealbreakers are. Is meaning obscured? It’s not reasonable to expect perfection in articles, but some consistency can be expected. Consider flexibility on article errors. Encourage Ss to come to the ESOL lab to work on our software each week.

8 ◦ Logical only in a cultural context  Last night I was at the party. (English)  Last night I was on the party. (Czech)  Last night I was in the party. (Arabic) ◦ Have the power to radically change meaning  argue for/argue against/argue with/argue to/argue over ◦ Are idiomatic; learned only with corresp. words  In the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, __ night ◦ Are collocational; some are paired with specific words  I am interested ___ physics, but more fascinated ___ chemistry. ◦ Learning them takes ages; perfection may never be achieved ◦ Strong readers do best

9  Sample errors:  They cannot avoid *from that.  I did it *for to help my friend  The way *how to do it  Please select the type *issue you wish to discuss *about  TIPS: ◦ Does it obscure meaning? If yes, it’s reasonable to expect some accuracy while recognizing learner challenges. ◦ Prepositions take lots of time and comprehensible input. Consider withholding the grade, highlighting serious preposition problems, and asking the student to revise and resubmit for grading. The ESOL lab is a good resource.

10  Modal Auxiliaries ◦ can, could, will, would, may, might, must, have to, ought to, should, had better ◦ Modals have many different meanings  You can sit here (permission).  You can do amazing things that I can’t do (ability).  You can’t sit here (prohibition).  You can’t be serious (probability). ◦ Even so, modals have few, and consistent, rules:  Modals do not inflect and do not take tense (He *musts work /He *musted work)  Modals are always followed by the base (non-inflected) form of the verb (not He must *working)  The negative is not always opposite of the affirmative  You must stop (obligation). You mustn’t stop (prohibition). You don’t have to stop (lack of obligation).

11  Sample errors: ◦ You mustn’t *to smoke here. ◦ The man should *complaining to his boss about his wage. ◦ I *haven’t to go to work today because it’s my day off.  TIPS: ◦ While challenging to learn, modals do follow consistent rules. They have the power to change meaning quite drastically, so it is reasonable to expect accuracy in their use. ◦ Don’t attempt to teach them unless you really know all the rules, meanings, and functions

12  Collocations are words that co-occur frequently  His message was _____ clear; he did not want help from anyone.  crystal, perfectly, abundantly, very (not rudely or obstinately)  He took a (fast/quick) shower so that he wouldn’t miss the (fast/quick) train to New York.  “Errors”: The sad young man undertook suicide. The stranded woman waved animatedly to get attention. At the news, he blew up in tears. Everybody knows that cash talks.  TIPS: ◦ Issuing a terminology list for chapter tests that include collocational language can be helpful to NNSs ◦ Collocations need to be learned together as blocks of language. The only way students learn them is by highlighting and practicing them together. This takes a lot of time. ◦ It is not reasonable to expect nonnative speakers to have this intimate knowledge of English. Yet, they will never attain it without guidance. Consider marking the word/phrase, but not counting it as the kind of error that results in a lowered grade (perhaps with a different pen color).

13  NNSs struggle to discern key vocabulary from other words that they do not know  NNS vocabulary often lacks sophistication because of the mental processes that occur in language use (resources are too taxed to extend to vocabulary)  TIPS: ◦ It is reasonable to expect that students learn and use the vocabulary that is key to your field. ◦ Encourage outlining; students who outline their papers first do better with vocabulary ◦ Issue a list of terminology ◦ In discussion groups, write terms on the board that they must use. ◦ For papers, ask that students use ___ vocabulary terms

14  Samples ◦ Where the government system, it is critical in the develop the American character. ◦ Traveling is my favor, and I elation sublime of natural.  Cause: ◦ Fear of the language, insecurity over own expressive skills, lack of consistency in study of English, stronger in reading than in speaking, lack of identity as a speaker of English, overuse of electronic dictionaries, little interest in English (feeling oppressed by it, or not internally invested)

15  Students who are unable to construct clear sentences need a lot of focused study in English ◦ 5-10 hours per week of tutoring and self-study  Consider an instructor heart-to-heart talk ◦ T must understand S’s predicament (fear, lack of identity, etc.) ◦ S must understand T’s standards ◦ S must know that fear/disaffection from English is a hurdle that needs to be overcome (with support from you and the Learning Center)

16  Resources: ◦ The student lab class ESOL 655 (the ESOL lab) is open enrollment all semester long (24 hours =.5 unit). Contact the Learning Center for a tour or class visit at x4144 or ◦ The English Language Institute offers ESL counseling and workshops – x7089 or ◦ Leigh Anne Sippel – x4408 or


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