English Second Language Writing Lab

By on October 12, 2012.

A writing lab, started this semester, designed to help English as a second language (ESL) students meet the demands of undergraduate writing.

The BYU Linguistics and English Language Department started the lab and it is staffed by tutors who have been trained to work with second language writers.

Graduate student, Kendon Kurzer, is glad that ESL students have a place to turn when in need of writing assistance and has been able to play a key role in the start-up of the lab.

“There’s not a lot of resources out there for ESL students, specifically with writing,” Kramer said. “Other universities may have a few tutors in their writing centers who work with the ESL students, but certainly not a whole lab devoted only to ESL students.”

[/media-credit] Students and tutors working in the ESL lab

According to Kurzer, Dr. Norman Evans came here from BYU Hawaii with experience with helping ESL students. Evans had started a writing center there that wasn’t solely devoted to ESL students, but due to the large percentage of ESL student, he grew accustomed to working with them. At BYU, there are currently about 2,000 ESL students.

Five years ago, Dr. Evans began putting the idea of the ESL Writing Lab into works with the help of Kurzer.

The lab provides jobs for tutors and tutoring internships for students minoring in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESL).

“Our tutors are trained using a model that no one else in the country has used before, and it is proving to be highly effective,” Kurzer said.

Leah Davis, a junior studying elementary education, works as a tutor in the ESL lab.

“I think this is a really useful resource for any student from another country,” Davis said. “Students can come in for pre-writing and drafting, as well as organization and grammar correction..”

Linguistics and English Language professor, Nancy Tarawhiti, has a special empathy toward ESL students and is familiar with the struggles they face.

“I know how hard it is for them to go to their embassy and sit with their fingers crossed hoping to get their visa to come here,” Tarawhiti said. “Knowing that they have to go through that whole process and then get here and cope with the overwhelming demand that a new environment brings, I’m glad they have the lab to help them with their writing assignments and tutors who understand what they’re dealing with.”

The lab has secured two years worth of funding from The College of Humanities and hopes to continue to work with ESL students. It is located in the Jesse Knight Building 2047, directly across from the Writing Center. It is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and closed is for devotional.

The ESL lab is a useful resource for students and provides an enriching learning environment.

“We won’t just proof read and edit their paper for them,” Kurzer said. “We will teach them how to improve their writing in the English language.”