In our college, there was a category of ESL students who stymied the instructors. They were fluent speakers but continually struggled with basic the grammar on writing tasks. Any ESL program that has immigrant students will probably have these types of students described as “ear-learners” or Generation 1.5.
Gen 1.5 students are sort of between first generation and second generation immigrant. They immigrated with their family when they were elementary or high school age.
A growing number of these students indicate a goal of obtaining a college degree. However, unfortunately, many of them struggle to make the transition from studying basic English skills in ESL courses to taking academic ESL and mainstream academic courses.
Among those who do apply to colleges, a considerable number do not meet the minimum standards for writing and are thus not accepted.
I, along with two colleagues, were able to get a grant a few years ago to study these students and to develop an approach to helping them learn grammar for writing by taking into consideration their special learning styles.
In this posting, I’ll describe these students and their learning styles. I’ll also explain the type of materials and include examples that we used with them. And finally, I’ll summarize the very positive results that we got from the study.