Information for ESL Lab Instructors

The information on this page is for ESL instructors who are scheduled to work in the ESL Lab.

Required  ESL Lab Courses:

 ESL 342L, 344L, 334L, 312L, 302L, and 91L are required for ESL 342, 344, 334, 312, 302, and 91. Students should spend twenty-four hours over the course of the semester completing specific lab work assigned by their instructor.

Recommended ESL Lab Courses:

All other ESL courses have a zero-unit lab course that may be taken along with their ESL courses. Please check here for the appropriate lab course for each level.

Students never need an add code to enroll in lab sections. They may enroll well into the semester on WebReg, by phone, or by going to A&R.

Moodle Pages

All students enrolled in an ESL Lab course will have a Moodle page for that course. Students are expected to check their moodle page and complete their assigned lab work.

Guidelines for Working in the Lab:

  • Please wear your ID badge, which lets students know you are the instructor on duty.

  • Leave it in the designated drawer at the instructors' desk so it will be there the next time you come.

  • Your lab hour is not an office hour, so please assist all students on a first come-first served basis. Please check the sign-in sheet when you arrive to see if students are waiting.

  • Please speak softly and minimize all non-instructional chatter. Maintain a quiet study environment at all times.

  • Remain on the lab floor during your assigned time and circulate often when not conferencing with students. Take the initiative in seeking out students who may need help.

  • Familiarize yourself with the ESL Lab Booklet so that you will be familiar with the scope and sequence of lab software programs. Recommending a specific program and chapter will give students targeted practice.

  • Consider using common editing symbols in marking student papers so that students become familiar with standard editing codes. Codes for Common Writing Errors with Explanations and Examples is available in the lab. You can then lead students to related exercises on the San Jose Writes Edit Grid online.

  • If our Instructional Assistant is absent and the lab is short on student help, please be aware that students may request and return lab materials to you.

  • Course instructors should encourage students to come to the lab  in small groups for assistance on common language issues. If students come together and ask for an impromptu workshop, please work with the group for a brief period and individuals can conference with Diane.

  • Try to spend no more than 15-20 minutes reviewing a paper with a student. A second draft should be required before the same student seeks help a second time.

  • At the end of the semester, you will be required to enter grades on WebReg for your assigned lab sections.

On Giving Feedback on Paragraphs and Essays:

A lab conference should always be student directed, but "Correct my grammar" is a non-starter. Ideally, students should come to the session with the following information:

"I am writing a paragraph (or essay) for ESL XXX. My topic is XXX. I am having difficulty with X, Y, and Z." Then the lab instructor can pick up with X, Y, and Z and anything in between. Until students learn that this is the right approach to a lab conference, how should lab instructors proceed?

  • Ask if the draft at hand a first, second, or third draft?

  • If the paper is a rough draft of a paragraph, read it quickly for overall content and organization. The student may benefit from a "talk-through" of the topic and purpose of the assignment in order to focus on a clear subject and controlling idea. If the paragraph is poorly developed, suggest guiding questions or an expanded outline to generate support. Ask to see the student's outline or writing plan. Limit the conference to global issues at this stage of the writing process. Outline samples are available in the lab.

  •  For a rough draft of an essay, discuss the thesis and whether the body paragraphs support the subtopics in the thesis. If not, what needs to change, the thesis or a specific body paragraph? Does the thesis use academic words and are the subtopics phrased in parallel form? Are the body paragraphs balanced with sufficient support in each?  If not, what ideas need further development or explanation?  The student may also need assistance with techniques for writing introductions and conclusions. It is then the student's responsibility to do a thorough revision. Aside from commenting on the most salient grammar or word choice errors, tell the student these types of errors will need greater attention in a second draft.

  • For second and third drafts of paragraphs and essays, continue to give priority to global issues: content and organization. Are the parts of the paragraph or essay well connected with logical transitions and sentence order. At this stage, selectively focus on local issues such as sentence variety and effectiveness; tense consistency; agreement/number errors in verbs, nouns, and pronouns; incorrect use of verbals; word choice and word form errors. Ask the student to find, circle, and correct such errors and underline any fragments, run-ons, or comma splices that may be present.

  • Suggest a strategy for detecting two or three of the student's most common errors and engage the student in making the correction and tracking his/her errors. An editing sheet is available in the lab for this purpose.

  • For further insights on the student conference, please watch this Power Point presentation on Benefiting Most from a Writing Tutorial from Purdue's OWL. If you are a writing instructor, please consider how you can prepare your students to prepare themselves for conferencing with an instructor in the ESL Lab!

    Thank you for your assistance to students in the ESL Lab!