ESL Discernment and Discourse 1311, 1312, 1313

Description of Courses:

The ESL sequence of Discernment and Discourse aims to provide students with the tools they will need to successfully complete writing assignments required of them during their university coursework.  At the beginning of each term, students recommended to take the ESL D&D sequence are given a written assessment to accurately place them in the level most appropriate to their needs.  The ultimate goal of ESL D&D is to bring students’ analytical reading and writing skills in line with the standards expected of their native English-speaking peers.  In addition to the principles of effective writing taught in regular Discernment and Discourse classes, ESL D&D students are given extra practice in vocabulary development, grammar skills, standard American English pronunciation, and conversational fluency.

Students complete assigned papers and projects using the process approach, involving pre-writing activities, revising, and editing.  Work on papers is done at home, in class (individually and with peers), and in private consultation with the course instructor.  Students are also required to complete regular journal entries to develop writing fluency and accuracy.  In general, an interactive student-centered approach is adopted in the classroom to bolster confidence, encourage involvement, and promote a constructive atmosphere of learning.

DISC 1313 - Voices of America closely examines three novels concerning different ethnic groups and their experiences in America.  Students become skilled in close reading, analysis, and research and learn ways to create effective essays using these skills.  Students will write three essays outside of class, three in-class essays, and take weekly reading quizzes.

DISC 1313 - The American Identity and the American Dream: What does it mean to be an American? Has the definition of the American Dream changed as the country’s demographics have? With the “browning of America” an established phenomenon, this class examines the changing face of American identity and the questions whether the nature of the American Dream has changed with it. Short stories, selected essays, and historical videos will serve as springboards for in-class discussion and formal papers. Students will synthesize course content with research to answer questions about what people come to America searching for.


In addition to Criteria, as required in regular Discernment and Discourse courses, students will have a course reader that contains essays suitable for generating ESL writing assignments, a college-level writing handbook, and a supplementary ESL grammar handbook for individual work outside of class.  Additional materials may be required for certain classes.


ESL Discernment and Discourse faculty of the English Department are specially qualified and experienced as instructors of English as a Second Language.

Method of Student Evaluation:

Students’ work will be evaluated as is done with regular Discernment and Discourse courses, with special attention given to improvement in sentence-level mechanics and vocabulary usage.  Graded oral presentations provide students with training essential to their academic success.