How to Teach Essay Writing to ESL Students

Instructor: Lesley King

Lesley has taught ESOL for many years, holds a master's degree in curriculum and instruction, and a doctorate degree in Instructional Leadership.

The purpose of this lesson is to provide guidance on how to teach English language learners to write an essay. In addition, review some tips on ways to help learners generate ideas and include elements to make essays stronger.

What is an Essay?

There are some students who may not know what is meant by an essay. They sometimes get it confused with a paragraph, a sentence, a story, or other related topics. This is partially due to language barriers and other background differences. For this reason, it is important to ensure that students understand what is being requested of them when they are being asked to write an essay. Explain to students that an essay is a written piece that is made of multiple paragraphs and focuses on one topic. Making this clarification can prevent the student from being confused with what product to turn in. It is also helpful to show students an example of an essay.

An essay has multiple paragraphs.

What Steps Should Students Follow to Build an Essay?

For students to begin writing a good essay, introduce them to the five steps of the writing process. The writing process guides the learner to write using the following steps.

1. Pre-writing/Brainstorming (organize ideas about the topic)

2. Drafting (create sentences & paragraphs using ideas)

3. Revising (add or remove elements to make paragraphs strong)

4. Editing (ensure punctuation, capitalization, sentence structure, & transitions are correct)

5. Publishing (rewrite essay with no errors)

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account