ESL 80 is the second course of the advanced writing sequence for non-native English writers who need to gain a greater understanding of Academic English. In this course we work on developing a deeper understanding of the academic essay. Students begin to focus on college-level readings, note-taking and annotations for academic purposes, and displaying an accurate understanding of sophisticated grammar structures.
ESL 80 is my favorite course in the Academic English sequence as most students have gained the maturity for a rigorous course in writing and show themselves as ready and willing to explore a wide variety of techniques to improve their English.
I design my class to be heavy on collaboration, encouraging students to learn from not only the teacher, but also from classmates, outside sources, and also from themselves. Large sections of the course are dedicated to developing academic independence, showing that developing key study skills up front can help them save countless hours over the course of their academic career.
This course lets me take students into a much deeper exploration of academic integrity and digital literacy. Students have a chance to work with a wide variety of tools that incorporate collaboration and personal responsibility. I encourage students to engage with non-traditional texts and to show how these texts are relevant in an academic setting.
Students in this class get their first heavy dose of critical thinking in an academic setting. Through relevant articles, journal entries, and novels, students compare and contrast challenging ideas that may be unfamiliar to them. This allows me to facilitate mini-debates in the classroom, letting students share their opinion and showing them that their worldview may not be the only one out there.
I love to see students excited about writing and sharing their ideas by the end of the semester. ESL 80 has consistently been the class where students return to me semester after semester thanking me for sharing the lessons we explored in class. For many, I believe this course provides the opportunity for students to stop thinking of themselves as ESL students, and to start thinking of themselves as Academic Writers.