collage of photos showing the center facilities

Multilingual Writing


As noted in the CCCC Statement on Second Language Writing and Writers, second language writers “may have difficulty adapting to or adopting North American discursive strategies because the nature and functions of discourse, audience and rhetorical appeals often differ across cultural, national, linguistic and educational contexts.” Helping second language learners become strong writers in English requires an awareness of the specific needs of such students and the ways in which we, as teachers, can most effectively and constructively respond to their writing.

This section provides general resources regarding second language learners as well as resources to help create and respond to writing assignments for such students.

Also see: Resouces for Writers – Multilingual Writers for online resources for writers whose first language is not English.


CCCC Statement on Second Language Learning and Writers (Conference on College Composition and Communication, Jan. 2001, revised Nov. 2009) Developed by the CCCC Executive Committee, this statement provides suggestions for writing teachers and program administrators; guidelines for writing courses (related to class size, design, assessment, etc.); guidelines for writing programs (FYW, WAC, writing centers); guidelines for teacher preparedness in working with multilingual writers; and recommendations for contextualizing concerns.

  • Part One: General Statement
  • Part Two: Guidelines for Writing and Writing-Intensive Courses
  • Part Three: Guidelines for Writing Programs
  • Part Four: Guidelines for Teacher Preparation and Preparedness
  • Part Five: Considering L2 Writing Concerns in Local Contexts
  • Part Six: Selected Bibliography

ESL Instructors, Tutors (Purdue OWL)
“These OWL resources will help ESL instructors and tutors develop curricula for teaching second language writing. This section includes resources on writing across the curriculum, writing in the disciplines, and it contains links to OWL workshops and exercises useful for ESL instruction. This section also includes links to ESL resources on the Internet.”

  • ESL Orientation for Writing Lab Tutorials – “This workshop presentation is designed to introduce English as a Second Language writers to writing center pedagogy, especially some basic concepts in writing center pedagogy. It also familiarizes them with the idea of agenda-setting so that they may come to a writing center with their concerns and issues. The last issue addressed is grammar and dictionary use. This presentation can be used as part of writing center orientation program for ESL classes or as part of orientation at an ESL students’ first writing tutorial.”
  • ESL Teacher Resources– “The professional resources listed below are both theoretical and practical. The list includes links to organizations and journals of interest to language teachers and language policy developers, as well as to a selection of online teaching and reference materials. Each of these links is a portal to an extensive collection of further resources for the professional ESL community.”
    • Internet TESL Journal Links Page: “extensive, well-organized set of links to scholarly and pedagogical resources.”
    • ESL Gold: “materials, lesson plans, quizzes, online conversation partners and links for teachers and students.”
    • Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab: “audio and video for all English levels, including pre- and post-listening activities.”
    • Using English: “large collection of language references, teacher resources, discussion forums, analysis tools and links.”
    • The Internet for ESL Teachers: “Claire Braden’s collection of pedagogical articles. Follow the link to her homepage for more technical information.”
  • ESL Instructors and Students – “This page provides resources for ESL instructors and students.”

Multilingual Writers at Dartmouth College (The Institute for Writing and Rhetoric, Dartmouth College)
“This page is intended both to sensitize you to the fundamental differences involved in working with writers for whom English is a second language (ESL), and to make some particular suggestions for helping the writer to understand these differences and so to improve his writing.”


Multilingual Students (Univ. of Toronto Writing) “The advice here aims to help instructors of disciplinary courses integrate the teaching of academic discourse into their courses.”

Responding to ESL Student Writing: The Value of a Nonjudgemental Approach (Loretta F. Kasper and Barbara A. Petrello)
“This article describes the benefits of adopting a nonjudgemental response approach in the ESA writing class.”

Responding to Non-Native Speakers of English (U of Minnesota – Teaching with Writing)
” Although native speakers of English also have problems with writing, non-native speakers’ problems can be quite different, and the approach taken by the instructor needs to be different as well. The following list of ideas and suggestions will help you recognize and respond to the typical problems for ESL students.”

Guidelines for Responding to the Writing of International Students (University of Denver)
The purpose of this document is to suggest some best practice guidelines for helping DU professors work with non-native speaker (NNS) students. These practices, which adhere to the principles articulated in the Conference on College Composition and Communication’s “Statement on Second Language Writing and Writers,” can apply to all classes that involve writing in English, whether for formal or informal assignments, tests, or presentations. These guidelines focus on NNS, but may assist in the consideration of texts by native speakers as well.

Teachers’ and Students’ Beliefs About Responding to ESL Writing: A Case Study (Rula L. Diab, TESL Canada Journal, Vol. 23, No. 1, Winter 2005)
“The purpose of this study was to investigate ESL instructors’ feedback techniques and the rationales behind these techniques, to explore ESL students’ beliefs about the relative effectiveness of various types of feedback, and to compare students’ beliefs with those of their instructors.”