September 2008
Volume 12, Number 2

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Merging a Metalinguistic Grammar Approach with L2 Academic Process Writing: ELLs in Community College

Paul J. Camhi
Borough of Manhattan Community College, New York, USA

Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth
New York University, New York, USA


This action research study evaluates a classroom approach incorporating a reflective, metacognitive component within a second language process-oriented writing environment. Inspired by the literature and developed by the first author, this approach seeks to provide English language learners (ELLs) with a command of metalinguistic principles through a process of analysis and discovery, helping them develop greater control and accuracy in the syntactic and rhetorical structure of their writing.

Quantitative and qualitative data were collected over three years from 1,016 ELLs at an urban community college, comparing outcomes from the experimental L2 writing classes to those using other approaches. The experimental approach was more successful for ELLs, who passed the institutional writing test at a modest rate (approximately 50%), but one substantially higher than that of students in other classes (20%-28%). Survey and interview data demonstrated student satisfaction with the approach but frustration with class time limitations.

Keywords: EFL, ESL, writing, composition, grammar, metalinguistic awareness, pedagogy

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