The City University of New York
ESL BW 2:
Foundations for College-Level Reading & Writing for English as a Second
Language Students, Part 2 - 0 credits, 4 hours
Dr. Tara Weiss
ESL BW 2 is the second of a two-semester course sequence for English
as a Second Language students. ESL BW 1 is the first course of the sequence.
This high-intermediate/advanced class is a portfolio-based course in which
students are assigned reading and writing assignments of various genres
and lengths. The course is designed to help students develop the fluency,
focus, analytical skills needed to become successful college writers and
to pass the ELA Regents and college placement exams.
Description: A continuation of ESL BW1, this course focuses on
sharpening the reading, writing and critical thinking skills of ESL students
who are at or above the intermediate level of developmental work. Upon
completion of the course, students will be able to draft and revise coherent,
well-developed and well-organized essays for class assignments, Regents
and university entrance exams.
Kingsborough's College Now Program is part of a CUNY College Now Initiative.
One of the missions of this Initiative is to help high school students
become competent readers and writers so that they can perform well on
ELA Regents and college placement exams, such as the CUNY ACT Reading
and Writing Assessments.
The College Now ESL program, modeled after Kingsborough's ESL Program,
is a content-based, whole-language integrated
reading and writing program. The whole-language fluency-first approach
was first introduced at City College (CUNY) and has been successfully
replicated with ESL and developmental English students at Kingsborough
Community College. The content-based and collaborative aspects of the
program, which include forging a strong, dynamic learning community among
students in each section, are based on Kingsborough's Intensive ESL Program,
a collaborative and interdisciplinary content-based program.
The content-based whole-language approach requires that students do extensive
reading and writing in various genres in a particular content area of
the instructor's choosing. Readings for the course include at least one
full-length work, and articles, essays, poems, etc. from the Internet,
Newsweek, or other sources. Students keep journals about their
reading, and they keep writing journals as well. Students' written work
includes the writing of a "book" or term writing project that may be autobiographical
or based on the thematic content of the course. Students are required
to read approximately 10 pages per day and to write approximately 500
words per week, including revisions.
Results of Kingsborough's Intensive ESL Program reveal that through extensive
reading and writing, students improve their academic reading fluency and
skills. They also gain facility in academic writing, and are better able
to manipulate the English language to express their ideas, to explore
their own thoughts and feelings, to write reflectively, to develop ideas,
to analyze and explain text, to provide support for their points of view,
to make relevant comparisons, and to explain causes and effects.
Tasks and objectives are similar in both parts of the ESL course sequence.
Reading material, however, is aimed at a lower level in the first part
of the course. In ESL BW 2, full-length books would be less difficult
in regard to vocabulary, syntax, and complexity of concepts and information.
Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:
- Read and respond
to readings of various lengths, both fiction and non-fiction:
· Answer questions on readings in a clear,
· Paraphrase and summarize;
· Analyze text;
· Respond critically to text.
- Write fluent, clear,
coherent, well-developed and well-organized essays of varying lengths.
- Support ideas with
explanation, example and reference to text.
- Revise written
work with suggestions from peers, teachers, and students' own ideas.
Revision involves reworking and rethinking the essays, moving pieces
around, rewriting and expanding the material.
- Edit written work
with assistance from peers with a fair degree of accuracy. Editing for
surface mechanics such as grammar, spelling and punctuation should be
done after the content of the essay has been organized and developed.
- Investigate course
topics on the Internet and incorporate research material into student
Methods of Teaching:
A whole-language, fluency-first approach in reading and writing that
is student-centered rather than teacher-directed is emphasized. That is,
students take responsibility for doing much of their work collaboratively
in a small-group setting, with the teacher assuming the role of facilitator.
Students write daily, read their writing to each other, offer suggestions
to other group members, and revise written work. Activities such as brainstorming,
clustering and free-writing are emphasized. Point-of-view, interview,
and other writing formats are explored. Editing for correctness/mechanics
should be among the final steps in the writing process. Students respond
to readings in a variety of ways including copying text, reacting/responding,
paraphrasing, summarizing, analyzing, explaining, comparing/contrasting,
etc. in double entry and other journal formats. Journals are discussed,
(often in groups) and problems with comprehension and vocabulary are addressed
in these groups. In ESL BW 2 there is also a need for conversation, discussion,
and readings which focus on cultural experiences in the United States
and other countries.
There are daily reading/writing assignments that are discussed in
class, often in small-group situations. Internet research assignments
are also given.
Method of Evaluation:
A modified version of Kingsborough's portfolio assessment system,
which is used to evaluate students in ESL and developmental English courses,
will be used. Portfolios will include two revised essays with all drafts
and a final in-class essay.
Readings consist of essays, magazine articles, and fiction/non-fiction
books of varying lengths.
Instructors choose from the list of recommended books. Books are often
suggested and added to the list. Books preceded by an asterisk are those
that are recommended for ESL BW 2.
M. Dibs In Search of Self. Ballantine Books, 1964.
Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. Random House, 1991.
Columbo, Gary. Rereading America. St. Martin's Press, 1989.
Danticat, E. Breath, Eyes, Memory. Soho Press, 1994.
Divakaruni, Chitra B. Multitude. McGraw Hill, 1993.
Dorris, Michael. The Broken Cord. Harper Perennial, 1989.
*Grisham, John. The Firm. Dell Publishing, 1992.
*Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and The Sea. Macmillian Publishing
Company: New York, 1987.
*Kirszner, Laurie and Stephen Mandell. Common Ground: Reading and Writing
about America's Cultures. St. Martin's Press, 1993.
*Kunz, Linda A. 26 Steps - Controlled Composition for Intermediate
and Advanced Language Development. New Jersey Prentice Hall Regents,
Letkowitz, N. From Process to Product Beginning/Intermediate Writing
Skills for Students Of ESL. Prentice Hall Regents, 1987.
*MacGowan-Gilhooly, Adele. Achieving Fluency in English. Kendell-Hunt,
MacGowan-Gilhooly, Adele. Achieving Clarity in English. Kendell-Hunt,
McKay, S. and Petitt, D. At the Door: Selected Literature for ESL Students.
Prentice Hall Regents, 1984.
Moody, Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi. Dell, 1976.
Reid, Joy M. The Process of Paragraph Writing (2nd edition). Prentice
Hall Regents, 1994.
*Steinbeck, John. The Pearl. Viking Penguin, 1993.
Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. Ballantine Books, 1989.
*Yezierska, Anzia. Bread Givers. Persea Books, 1980.
Book & Video. Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs, NJ. ISBN 0135039886.
Endy, Maxine (ESL CN Faculty Member). A Living Resource Integrating
the Internet in the College Now ESL Curriculum. January 2001.
Health Watch Book & Video. Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
Newsweek Website: newsweekeducation.com.
New York Times Website: nytimes.com/learning.
Internet availability in computer classrooms.