Writing Instruction for English Learners

  • Set Appropriate Expectations

    • Refer to the PK-K Writing Rubric or 1-12 Writing Rubric when developing rubrics.
    • Refer to the Can-Do Descriptors to ensure expectations are appropriate given the student's current proficiency level. (these are on the old ESS site - repeat??_)
    • Remember that students generally write better when they can choose their topic, especially when their background knowledge and culture differs from that of the majority.

    Provide Support

    • Use modeled writing, guided writing, shared writing, and partner work before assigning independent writing.
    • Provide and model how to use graphic organizers.
      • These can serve as prewriting activities to help students organize information and thoughts before writing. These also allow them to demonstrate concept and content knowledge through the use of (content is cut off on PDF)
Students working on iPad
  • Cultural Considerations

    • Views on plagiarism and cheating vary from culture to culture.
    • Essay structure varies by culture.
    • Some languages have different directionality than that of English. Examples include: Urdu, Japanese, Korean, Hebrew, Mandarin, and Cantonese.
    • If students are literate in their native language, focus more on the differences between that language and English and less on those that will positively transfer over.
    • Students with limited English will struggle with demonstrating their understanding through writing. To accurately assess ideas, allow students an opportunity to explain verbally. An interpreter should be used if the student is stronger in his or her native language.