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Writing Center: Chapter 10: Editing Line by Line

A guide to information to help you research and write more effectively.

Summary of Chapter 10

Heather Greenlee
Chapter Summary of ESL Writers by Bruce and Rafoth, Second Edition
Chapter 10: “Editing Line by Line” by Linville
·         Students are focused on short-term goals (earning a passing grade), while tutors should be focused on sustainable goals (teaching writing skills).
·         When a student can learn how to recognize and correct their common mistakes; then he or she will be a proficient self-editor.
·         Without proper teaching strategies to go by, frustrated tutors can be tempted to give either too much help making corrections for none at all to students.
·         Tutors need strategies for spotting patterns of reoccurring errors, pointing those out to the students, and providing rules about to correct those errors.
·         Serious errors hinder the ability to understand the meaning of a message when communicating. The six major error types are subject-verb agreement, verb tense, verb form, singular and plural words, word form, and sentence structure.
Key points:
·         Negotiate a realistic goal with your student. Editing a paper line by line is nearly impossible in a one hour tutoring session.
·         The goal is to teach students how to become proficient self-editors, not earn a passing grade on a paper.
·         Learn how to diagnose frequent pattern of error-usually related to the six major error types-and teach students how to correct them.
·         When tutoring, repress the urge to give too much help when asking students to correct a mistake. Put the pencil down and wait patiently and silently for the student to answer.
·         Remember, the method of correcting error by error is extremely slow, but the repetition will force the rule to sink in for the student.
·         Role-playing can help with learning how to negotiate with ESL students about what will be more helpful and more beneficial down the road and what will only help them now.
·         Allowing the student to find the mistakes or show their trouble spots can be beneficial.
Question to consider:
·         How slow is too slow when teaching students to become a proficient self-editor?
·         What do we do when the student “just does not get it?”

Summary of Chapter 10

Kristen Jones
Chapter Summary of ESL Writers by Bruce and Rafoth, Second Edition
Chapter 10: “Editing Line by Line” by Linville
            When it comes to the writing center, one of the major misconceptions that many ESL students have is that a writing center is suppose to be their proof reading service. Many ESL students fail to understand that that there is more to the editing process than just correcting a few commas. In this chapter, the author discusses ways to battle this misconception as well as how to help ESL students to learn to self-edit. The six major types of errors that are commonly found in a great deal of ESL student’s writing are listed above. As a tutor, it is easy to get overwhelmed and want to fix all the grammatical errors in one session especially if one feels pressured by the student writer. A way to battle this state of anxiety is to focus on one problem at a time and explain to the student writer that not all of his/her problems will be fixed in one session. They may find this disheartening, but it is important to stay calm and work with the student to the best of one’s ability. After one type of error has been picked, walk the ESL student through how to correct that error. Explain any rules or exceptions pertaining to that rule, and then, show the student an example of that in his/her paper. Instead of fixing the problem for him/her, let the ESL student try to fix the error. During this time, it is okay to be silent and allow the student to think over the error. Allow the student time to look over the rules and consider the options. Even if they choose the incorrect option, still allow them to keep going until they reach the correct answer of their own accord. This may seem to be a slow process, but in this way, the ESL student is learning to correct their own errors instead of depending solely on the tutor for their proofreading needs.
Key points:
·        Do not worry about correcting all errors in one session
·        Teach ESL students to find their own errors
·        Six major types of errors
·        Correct one problem at a time
·        Do not be afraid to refer them to another language center
Six Major Types of Errors
·        Subject-Verb Agreement
·        Verb Tense
·        Verb From Grammar
·        Singular/Plural Grammar
·        Word Form Grammar
·        Sentence Structure
Question to consider:
·        What are some other options for teaching ESL students how to self-edit?
·        What are some other common problems that can be anticipated from working with ESL students?