New York City College of Technology                                 The City University of New York              English Department/ESL Program                                                                           Spring 2020  


EL 021W – D840 (Section)  Second Language Writing

Monday, Wednesday and Friday     Room: Namm    226  

INSTRUCTOR: Rachel Gertzog  Email: rgertzog@Citytech.Cuny.Edu

OFFICE HOURS:  Mondays 1:30 – 3:30  Pearl Building: Room 313 Desk #9

Required MaterialsYou must bring these materials with you to every class unless otherwise instructed.

Textbook: Final Draft 4   Asplin, Jacobe and Kennedy, Cambridge University Press   ISBN 978-1-107-49557-9

English-English dictionary (Electronic dictionaries are not allowed in class or on the exam)

1 Three-subject notebook   

100 sheets of loose-leaf paper

1 two-pocket folder for all class handouts (This must be brought to class every day with all papers)

50 Index cards for vocabulary  


This course focuses on developing language and academic writing skills.  Students will practice reading for comprehension as well as drafting, revising and summarizing skills.  They will polish their grammar with a focus on creating academic level complex sentence structure while avoiding sentence fragments and run-ons.  Students will work extensively on paragraph and essay organization, and on writing multiple drafts of proofread, edited and reedited essays.  

Welcome to Writing II:  In this class, by the end of the semester, students should be able to:

  • Write a well-organized and coherent discussion essay in response to a college level text
  • Write a narrative essay
  • Develop a response essay using outside sources
  • Develop effective thesis statements and topic sentences
  • Identify key ideas from the readings and discuss them in essays
  • Quote from the original text to support his/her own opinion or view
  • Use general knowledge or personal examples to support that view
  • Integrate his/her own ideas with those expressed by the authors in various texts
  • Use brainstorming and outlining strategies in pre-writing practice
  • Edit essays for content and organization
  • Proofread essays for grammar and mechanics
  • Broaden general knowledge base by doing extensive reading
  • Develop successful discussion of issues from texts
  • Refer to the text using supporting evidence by paraphrasing or using direct quotations
  • Learn patterns of writing that can be used to respond to questions effectively
  • Practice transition strategies that will assist in writing logical essays
  • Acquire test-taking strategies geared to time allocation and organization

ThemesThe course will focus on the following themes in  reading and writing work. 

Generation Gap

Life Stages

Human Development

Societal Issues/Challenges

Social groups/ communities


U.S. and Global Environment and sustainability

World economies

Global and local financial issue

What is expected of you:

Punctuality: Class begins at 8:00.   Please be in the classroom ready to work by 7:50 so that we may begin on time.  Tardiness is disruptive and unfair to your classmates. It will shorten our class time together.  If you arrive late, please quietly enter the classroom and sit with your group. Please be on time or you will be marked  “late.”

Attendance:  Class attendance is required.  Each time you miss class, you diminish your ability to perform well in the course.  Please try to attend EVERY class. If you are not able to attend, please make sure that you have advised your “friend” so that he/she can make sure you are made aware of what you have missed. 

Participation:  Be prepared to discuss the material.  Your contribution to the class discussion will make the class better for everyone and make you a better writer. It will also improve your grade!

Homework Assignments: You will be expected to prepare the readings and do the reading -related exercises at home, averaging 6 hours during the week and 4 hours on the weekends. Please plan your work and other schedule accordingly. Homework assignments may take several forms. In addition, you will be asked to teach or share with your classmates the material you have learned.   

Note taking:  Note taking is a basic and necessary skill for college students.  The quality of the notes you take will have an impact on your overall work and grades.  You are responsible for all material written on the board and discussed in class. These are terms and concepts for which you will be responsible. You must understand and be able to use them in essays, on exams/quizzes and in class discussions

Your textbook and other reading:  Please purchase or rent your text immediately as homework/reading/writing is assigned for every class.  Bring your text to class with you, as we will perform in-class exercises and activities using the book. Also keep other handouts and ALL OF YOUR ESSAYS from class in a folder that you bring with you so you will be prepared to participate in all classroom activities. Please remember to date all of your work. 

E-Mail:  The most effective way to contact me is through email   You can use email to send questions or comments, or to schedule an appointment.   

Consultation: Please take advantage of my office hours (to be announced) to speak to me privately about issues of interest or challenges you are facing related to this course. If my office hours are not convenient, please email me and we can try to set up a time that is more suitable for you.

Make a friend/become a friend: It is important for you to select more than one student in the class with whom you can exchange a phone number/email address in order to share information about the course. If you miss a class, that classmate will know to take an extra copy of a handout and provide you with notes and assignments from the class you miss.  I will not be able to provide extra copies of handouts at a later date.

Laptop/Smartphone Usage Policy: Laptops and smartphone usage is prohibited in the classroom. You will need to make sure that your phones are away at all times. You may not text or look things up on the phone while class is in session.  Although you may prefer to take photos of the board, it is recommended that you copy the information rather than photographing it, as it will enable you to have more English writing practice. 

Grammatical Competence – Students will work on grammar units as required. There will be regular grammar homework using grammar handouts; additional work in the textbook and online practice using other resources. 

Academic Vocabulary  –We will work on expanding your academic and general vocabulary by reading extensively in and out of class. There will be weekly vocabulary exercises and quizzes. Students will keep a Vocabulary Log based on class and other extensive out of class readings. In-class readings will come with vocabulary lists. 

Reading Log For each reading, students will conduct additional research on the same or similar topic to broaden their knowledge and improve researching skills.  The information gathered will be discussed in class and will be handed in for teacher assessment.

Midterm Exam:  This test will include material covered from the beginning of the semester through the week of March 16.  It will be comprised of short answer, vocabulary, grammar and essay questions.

Final Exam:  This final test, the week of May 16, is cumulative.  Questions will be drawn from all material covered from the beginning of the course. 

Tutoring (Instructional Support): This semester, tutoring will be available for students in all ESL classes to support reading, writing and speaking skills. Special consideration has been given to the needs of students with very busy schedules.  If tutoring is recommended for you, you must attend. It is not optional

Study groups outside of class:  Research shows that when students work together on their class work outside of class, in addition to what they do in class, they are much more successful at learning and using new vocabulary, understanding texts and improving general English language skills.  No one is obligated to meet outside of class, but if you do, you will have a much more enjoyable and productive experience.   

Academic Integrity Policy:  Students and all others who work with information, ideas, texts, images, music inventions, and other intellectual property owe their audience and sources accuracy and honesty in using, crediting and citing sources. As a community of intellectual and professional workers, the College recognizes its responsibility for providing instruction in information literacy and academic integrity, offering models of good practice, and responding vigilantly and appropriately to infractions of academic integrity. Accordingly, academic dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York and at New York City College of Technology and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion.  The complete text of the College policy on Academic Integrity may be found in the catalog.

Accessibility Statement – City Tech is committed to supporting the educational goals of enrolled students with disabilities in the areas of enrollment, academic advisement, tutoring, assistive technologies and testing accommodations. If you have or think you may have a disability, you may be eligible for reasonable accommodations or academic adjustments as provided under applicable federal, state and city laws. You may also request services for temporary conditions or medical issues under certain circumstances. If you have questions about your eligibility or would like to seek accommodation services or academic adjustments, please contact the Center for Student Accessibility at 300 Jay Street room L-237, 718 260 5143 or

Taking the CATW  – During the last month of class, the testing office will offer the CATW (Cuny Assessment Test of Writing)  – dates to be determined in March or April. 

GRADING POLICY: In accordance with College policy, a minimum average of 70% is required for an (S)atisfactory course grade (C).  New guidelines have been established for the writing classes. In the past, passing of the CATW was the most important criteria for passing out of remedial writing.  Beginning this semester, course grades will be determined follows:

  1. A) Paper 1: Text-based response (800- 1250  words)   15%
  2. B) Paper 1: Personal/creative narrative (500-750 words)    10%
  3. C) Paper 3: Text-based response (800-1250 words)                 15%

[Text-based responses will summarize and respond to texts different from CATW articles in both length and genre; will go through revision process; and will include textual evidence and citation]

  1. D) Quizzes, Reading Logs, Vocabulary Logs 5%
  2. E) Homework       5%
  3. F) Midterm          10%
  4. G) Final Exam:   (Essay part) CATW 35%.  + (Vocab/Grammar) ( 5%) Total    40%

Writing Guidelines

  1.   Please make sure that your name, the date, the course name, the title of the

paper and the draft number appear at the top of every paper you hand in.

  1. Please double-space throughout, even between paragraphs.
  2. Please indent paragraphs.
  3. Do not use contractions.
  4. Write a memorable first sentence.
  5. These assignments are relatively short. Try to be concise and synthesize.
  6. Summarize in your final paragraph (express your insights/opinions as clearly as you can).