Recently, a lot of my sessions have been with ESL (English as a Second Language) students. Many of these students have provided information prior to the session, and indicated that they are struggling with “writing skills” or “academic writing”. I have found in many of these cases, when we really start to discuss the problem, the issue is often that the student is not confident in their ability to effectively communicate their ideas in English.
I have found an interesting book from the University of Helsinki called “Academic Writing in English”. It is, as it says, an academic writing resource for writers where English is not their first language. This book covers lots of subjects in detail, and is great to pick up helpful tips and techniques for mentoring ESL students. This book is available in the “Resources” folder on the U Drive (U:\Service Departments\Student Support Services\Study Skills\Tutorials\Resources\ESL), and also by following this link: academic-writing-in-english-for-non-native-speakers.
Below is a help sheet that I have created which is essentially a summary of (potentially!) useful books, websites and university resources. This document is also available in the “Resources” folder on the U Drive (U:\Service Departments\Student Support Services\Study Skills\Tutorials\Resources\ESL).
Resources for Improving Academic Writing Skills, and Writing in English as a Second Language.
Below are some resources which may be useful to explore to help improve postgraduate academic writing skills, as well as helpful information for studying/writing in English when it is not your first language.
- Crème, P. and Lea, M.R. 2012. Writing at University: A Guide for Students. 3rd Berkshire, England: Open University Press.
- Murray, R. and Moore, S. 2006. The Handbook of Academic Writing: A Fresh Approach. Berkshire, England: Open University Press.
- Osmond, A. 2013. Academic Writing and Grammar for Students. London, England: Sage Publications Ltd.
- Very useful document about academic writing in English, as a non-native speaker – http://www.helsinki.fi/kksc/language.services/AcadWrit.pdf
- This is quite a large document, so don’t be overwhelmed by the length. This resource focuses on graduate level academic writing for non-native English speakers. It contains interactive sections where you can complete short tasks to test your knowledge – http://sharif.edu/~hatef/files/Academic%20Writing%20for%20Graduate%20Students-Essential%20Tasks%20and%20Skills%20-%20For%20Nonnative%20Eng%20Speakers.pdf
- Small activities to improve everyday English – http://esl.about.com/
ELCOS – The English Language Centre for Overseas Students (ELCOS) provides English language and study skills courses to overseas students at Bangor University. ELCOS have their own Writing Advice Service.
“ELCOS runs Writing Advice Sessions for international students on degree courses at the University. The purpose of these sessions is to help students improve their written English and become more independent learners. Students can have up to three hours of individual, consultation with an ELCOS tutor per semester. Students should bring to the session the written work they want help with and it would be helpful if they have some general ideas about the kind of help they need with that work (for example, with organisation, coherence, paragraph structure, grammar, referencing, etc.). Tutors will work with the student, make corrections, offer advice on how to make improvements in structure and form and enable the student recognise and be able to correct errors in the rest of the written work themselves.”
Contact – “E-mail the ELCOS office on firstname.lastname@example.org to request an appointment for that day and time, giving your name, School, level of study (undergraduate, Masters or PhD student). An appointment will be made for that time and day if available or you will be offered some alternatives; you will also be given the name of the tutor and told where to meet him/her. (Usually Neuadd Rathbone on College Road).”