ESL Writing Case Study: Using WriteExpress Software in Berlin, Germany Community College

"WriteExpress has been quite successful as a short Business Weekend Correspondence Course of 16 Hours introducing adults to the software in Berlin Community College Branch Campuses (called Volkshochschulen)." —Lisa White, Continuing Education Specialist, Berliner Volkshochschulen

This letter has not been edited.

Bezirksamt Neukölln von Berlin
Amt für Bildung und Schulen
Otto-Suhr-Volkshochschule
Bezirksamt Neukölln, Karl-Marx-Str. 83, D-12040 Berlin

Dear Robert Stevens,

Thank you very much for all your information that has been passed on to me by Lisa White. We appreciate your generous offer of a free site license for our College and consequently the opportunity to include WriteExpress in future ESL Programs.

Lisa White has been pioneering Computer Based Language Learning and Web Based Training at different Berlin Community Colleges over the last decade. She includes self-learning strategies for students in all of her courses and provides learning links through her Homepage. She continues to do an enormous amount of research in this field providing valuable information to Department Heads and fellow teachers for designing new programs at our colleges, especially in the field of Business English, Language Test Preparation and eLearning. We have benefited greatly from her knowledge and skills. We are happy to assist her through providing the institutional support.

To explain how WriteExpress Software is being used to teach ESL and how it helps students apply it, we have to give you a quick overview of our students' needs.

The people in our ESL Programs have special needs for different skills. They need writing skills on their jobs as well as for proof of English language skills. To assist our students, we have been involved in doing everything from creating new courses to running test centers, for example an ETS TOEFL Test Center in the past.

WriteExpress' components help prepare young people for the TOEFL, TOEIC, SAT, GMAT and GRE in American English and the Cambridge University English Language Series FCE, CAE, CPE, IELTS and London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Business English exams.

British exams take three separate steps to achieve demonstrable levels, which are inclusive in the single American TOEFL or TOEIC Testing.  We have found, however, similarities can be drawn because American paper and pencil TOEFL Test Scores of 500 to 520 (comparable to 600 to 650 on the TOEIC) are excellent predictors that people using WriteExpress will have excellent results and be motivated to continue their learning.

For many years Lisa White taught the LCCI or London Chamber of Commerce and Industry preparation courses for correspondence. She found what took semesters to teach could be quickly grasped and applied when using WriteExpress' CD-ROM.

LCCI Steps to Letter Writing usually present learning structures as follows:

Stage 1: Identify the Task
Stage 2: Layout
Stage 3: Identify Relevant Information
Stage 4: Group/Order Relevant Information
Stage 5: Write the Letter
Stage 6: Check your Work

WriteExpress Steps of
Primary Category of Letter
Sub-Categories of Letter
Tips
Steps
Sentences
Phrases
Letters of current topic
Phrase a Thought
enable our ESL Students with upper-intermediate level skills to fully grasp and apply with a confidence and proficiency what otherwise takes semesters to organize and apply in written form.

ESL Students are thrilled, really thrilled with the possibilities available to them when learning business words and phrases.  Traditional textbooks provide situations while WriteExpress provides the primary category, sub-category, tips of what is needed and sentences of how it might be used in content and context. This is exceptional.  For non-native speakers of English it is always good and builds confidence to proceed from a step-by-step draft that enables them to achieve their own final version.  By studying and choosing from the offered options, they build vocabulary in a context.

WriteExpress here is used for letter writing, job descriptions, recommendations and business presentations.  Age is not a barrier; as in our ESL Classes we have students from High School participating alongside Adults. WriteExpress' Phonetic and Rhymer

Programs are also used for pronunciation and word games as well.

Hopefully this has been fairly concise and not too lengthy. You have our permission to use this testimony with appropriate material related to your WriteExpress Program should you find what we write of relevance.

We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Christine Reichelt
Language Department Head

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