Resources for Beginning L2 Writing Teachers

In this post, I’d like to share a few resources that might be helpful for beginning second language (L2) writing instructors. They include books about teaching L2 writing, resources for teachers offered by online writing labs, a professional journal, a professional conference, and a professional community.

Books About Teaching L2 Writing


Harmer, J. (2006). How to Teach Writing. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

This practical guide is designed for teachers, who, as the author of the book stated in the introduction, “are interested in writing as a process and in the variety of types of writing, and who would like to use their understanding of these ideas in the activities they offer their students” (p. v). The book covers various topics related to teaching L2 writing, such as writing purpose and genre, generating ideas, teaching mechanics, and responding to writing.

Mussman, D. (2013). New Ways in Teaching Writing II. Alexandria, VA: TESOL Press.

As with other books in TESOL’s New Ways series, this volume offers practical ideas and lesson plans that can be implemented in a writing classroom. Materials in the book are divided into six sections: (1) getting started, generating ideas, and having fun; (2) development—writing and building paragraphs; (3) expressive writing; (4) academic writing; (5) personal and business correspondence; and (6) peer reviews, revision, and giving feedback.

Ferris, D. R., & Hedgcock, J. S. (2014). Teaching L2 Composition. Purpose, Process, and Practice (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Described by the authors as a “comprehensive theory-to-practice text,” this book covers virtually every topic related to teaching second language writing, including composition pedagogies, student populations and instructional contexts, designing a writing course, classroom assessment, responding to student writing, and the development of writing skills in the writing class.

Hyland, K. (2015). Teaching and Researching Writing. New York, NY: Routledge.

This is a great resource for both beginning and experienced writing instructors. The book is divided into four sections: (1) concepts and issues, (2) applying writing research, (3) researching writing, and (4) references and resources.

For the description of other valuable books on second language writing, visit the webpage for the Symposium on Second Language Writing at Arizona State University.

Online Writing Labs Resources


Purdue OWL

The Purdue online writing lab (OWL) is a rich resource that includes materials for teachers and students. The materials for teachers are available in PDF format, so they can easily be used as classroom handouts. For easy navigation, I suggest using the website map.

Writing Studio at Colorado State University

This writing lab is sponsored by Colorado State University. Just like the Purdue OWL, it offers numerous materials for student writers and writing instructors. Be sure to check out the Teaching Activity Bank, which provides materials for classroom activities, including class discussions, small group activities, and peer review. The materials are available in various formats, including HTML, Word, and Adobe Acrobat.

The Excelsior College OWL

This online writing lab has an attractive interface and lots of interactive features. The writing materials include not only verbal explanations but also videos that you can use to supplement your lessons. It has materials for teachers as well as a full list of resources.

Guide to Grammar and Writing


The materials in this comprehensive guide on grammar and writing are divided into three sections: (1) word and sentence level (e.g., types of sentences, word order punctuation), (2) paragraph level (e.g., paragraph development, transitions, and coherence), and (3) essay level (e.g., writing process, essay structure, and patterns of organization).

Professional Conference


Symposium on Second Language Writing

Symposium on Second Language Writing (SSLW) is an annual professional conference that is designed for teachers, researchers, and graduate students interested in issues related to second and foreign language writing. Each year, the conference is devoted to a particular theme. I try to attend the symposium when I can. (I’ve shared my thoughts on the SSLW-2014 in an earlier blog post.) This year, the symposium will be held in 30 June to 2 July in Bangkok, Thailand, and the theme is Assessment in Second Language Writing.

Professional Journals


Journal of Second Language Writing

This international journal covers issues related to second and foreign language writing and writing instruction. As the journal website states, the Journal of Second Language Writing publishes “theoretically grounded reports of research and discussions that represent a contribution to current understandings of central issues in second and foreign language writing and writing instruction.”

Read about other journals related to teaching writing here.

Professional Community


TESOL Second Language Writing Interest Section

Whether you are a beginning or an experienced writing instructor, connecting with the professional community will be beneficial for your professional development. The Second Language Writing Interest Section (SLWIS) brings together scholars, classroom instructors, and graduate students interested in issues related to L2 writing. It offers numerous resources, including newsletters and webinars, and it helps its members to connect with each other through the e-list, the Facebook page, and the annual gathering at the TESOL convention.

About Elena Shvidko

Elena Shvidko
Elena Shvidko is an assistant professor at Utah State University. She received her doctorate in second language studies from Purdue University and her master’s degree in TESOL from Brigham Young University. Her work appears in TESOL Journal, System, Journal on Response to Writing, TESOL interest section newsletters, and TESOL's New Ways series. Her research interests include second language writing, multimodal interaction, interpersonal aspects of language teaching, and teacher professional development.
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2 Responses to Resources for Beginning L2 Writing Teachers

  1. Elise says:

    Hi Elena,
    Thank you so much for providing these resources.
    When I came to the U.S. as a graduate student, I took a writing class for international students, and my teachers used Purdue OWL, which is really helpful.
    I also went to the writing studio in my university, and the staff there gave me wonderful suggestions.
    If I become a language teacher in the future, I would recommend my students to use the resources in school such as writing studios to improve their writing skills.

  2. loan bui says:


    do you have materials for discourse analysis, especially coherence, register, discourse structure? can you send them to me? i need them to write my paper.

    thank you.

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