EIL 445:  Teaching Second Language
Reading & Writing

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Instructor:  Randall Sadler rsadler@uiuc.edu / 244-2734
Fall 2009 Office:  FLB 3054
Class Time:  TuTh 9:00-10:20 Office Hours: Tu  10:20-11:00, Th 10:20-11
Location: FLB G-7 Mailbox:  FLB 4080

Click here for the Daily Schedule for the course

Overview of the Course:printing press

EIL 445 introduces students to second language reading and writing, including:

  • theory,
  • research, and
  • practical applications in the field. 

This course is designed to:

*      First, give you some ideas about how people actually learn to read and write and the theories that we’ve come up with about the best ways to teach learners to do this (this is the theory part). 

*      Second, we’ll talk about some of the research being done in this field and how to do your own research on second language reading and writing topics. 

*      Finally, this class will have a significant practical component.  You will design your own materials for teaching reading and writing, including a syllabus to use in such a class, etc.  All the materials you create for this class will be shared with your classmates.      

Required Texts:

Ferris, D. R., & Hedgcock, J. S. (2005). Teaching ESL Composition: Purpose, Process, and Practice (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Hudson, T. (2007). Teaching Second Language Reading. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Assorted Readings which will be available via the electronic course reserves:

(follow the reserves link on the library page, to Electronic Reserves, and EIL 445). 

Assignment Format:

All formal assignments should utilize the American Psychological Association (APA) manuscript format and be documented accordingly.  All assignments must be typed and should use Times New Roman 12-point type, 1-inch margins (please don’t kill my rapidly ageing eyes with tiny fonts!  ;-).

Course Policies:

Attendance:  Be here!  This course includes a great deal of in-class discussion and sharing of resources, so missing a class means you are missing part of the coursework.  Participation is part of your grade.

Tardiness:  While it is acceptable to be occasionally late, habitual tardiness or cases of extreme tardiness is simply rude—don’t do it. 

Cell Phones:  Turn them off or put them on silent mode.  If your phone rings during class time, I will confiscate it and use it to make long calls to people in the far north of Nepal during peak hours!  If my cell phone rings during class time, you get to make fun of me.  ;-)

Classroom Interaction: Come to class prepared, cooperate with your classmates in small-group activities, and cooperate with me by coming to class prepared to ask questions.






Due Dates

(subject to change)

Practice Teaching/Materials Sharing


Over course of semester

Observation and reflection report


Thursday, Thurs., Nov. 19th   

Class participation



Materials Creation


Over course of semester

Final Project


Friday, Dec. 14th  (Note:  Comp takers due date Nov. 20th  if graduating this semester)

Total points possible

1000 points

*more details below and on official assignment sheets handed out in class

Under this system, the attainment of an “A” grade requires at least 900 points (90%); a “B” requires 800 (80%); a “C” 700 (70%); and a “D” requires at least 600 points.  A "C" grade for graduates is technically a failing grade. Work at the C level does not meet the minimum expectations of rigor as articulated for each assignment.

Scores from -0% to -3% (e.g., 81% = “B-”) are minus grades, while scores from -7 and up are plus grades (e.g., 87% = “B+”).  I round up grades of .5% or higher, so an 89.46% is considered an 89.5%.  I would round this up to 90%, which is an “A-”

Details on the Requirements:

Practice Teaching (20%)

Over the course of the semester you will be responsible for giving teaching demonstrations and/or presenting materials for our “practice days.” Sometime early in the semester we, as a class, will decide on topics to focus on for the practice days later in the semester. What this means is that during our practice days a student will be in charge for part of the class and lead the discussion or demonstrate some teaching.  How you structure this time will be entirely up to you (see assignment sheet for more details).

Observation and reflection report (10%)

You are required to conduct at least one observation of the teaching of L2 reading and/or writing. 

  • This could be of an ESL writing service course, a class over at the IEI, one of the FL classes, or out at a local school.
  • You will write a reflection report (about three double-spaced typed pages) about what you observed, your reflections on the class, and how these relate to your own teaching experiences and/or class readings and discussions.

Note that the focus is on “reflection.” You should not simply write a description of activities, nor should you simply write an evaluation of the activities or the teacher. Permission from teachers to observe must be obtained in advance (see assignment sheet for more details).

Class participation (10%)

Regular attendance and active class participation is required. Students who are absent must contact a classmate (not the instructor) to find out what was covered in class and to get any materials.

Materials creation (25%):

Sometimes it seems that the hardest thing about teaching is either finding good ideas for lessons or good materials to support the lessons you already have planned.  Over the course of the semester you will be asked to find material on a number of topics related to the course. 

The materials you bring may come directly from your own brain (always a good thing!) or they may be something you found either in a book or on the Internet.  Either “source” is absolutely fine as long as credit is given to the original source.  However, whichever types of materials you bring, they must be submitted in an electronic format (discussed later) as well as in a paper format (if needed) to share with your classmates.  The electronic versions of the materials will be placed on the ESLWeb Resources Forum (see assignment sheet for more details).

Final Project (35%)

The final project for this course will consist of creating a complete unit that focuses on reading and/or writing (probably both).  This will include both a syllabus and daily schedule, as well as a rational for the unit, how it meets the course goals and objectives, etc.  In short, it should be a unit that you might actually use in a future class—so make it both useful and realistic (see assignment sheet for more details).