Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Orem, Richard A.

Degree Name

M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership and Educational Policy Studies


English language--Composition and exercises; English language--Textbooks for foreign speakers--Evaluation


By reviewing the literature, one may realize the existance of sufficient research about adult learning and the teaching of English composition as a second language. Nevertheless, not only do both fields remain separate, but also such research deals with theory rather than practice. Moreover, a wide variety of books exists to teach English composition, but how can one determine their appropriateness? Do texts designed to teach English composition to non-native speakers of other languages follow the principles of both fields? If so, to what degree? These problems lead to two main purposes in this investigation. The first one consists of finding out which minimum principles of both adult learning and English composition should be reflected in the textbooks used to teach adults English composition as a second language. The second one consists of creating specific guidelines to select books in this field. In order to achieve these purposes, two main procedures were taken. First, a literature review was conducted to select the most significant principles of adult learning and English composition that could be applied to textbooks. From the former area, the most important ones are self-discovery, relevance, variety of techniques, sensory modes and settings, and cyclical activities. From the latter, the main elements identified are the basic steps of pre-writing, writing and editing, with the inclusion of reading as vital to the development of composition skills as well as a strong emphasis on the process approach. Then, based on these principles, guidelines were developed. These guidelines consist of a series of categories and units of analysis that permitted to analyze the structure and exercises of ten selected textbooks in the field of English composition as a second language. This way, one could discover which principles of adult learning and English composition reflected in the materials, and in what proportion. As a result of this analysis, a significant emphasis placed on the principles of English composition over those of adult learning becomes evident. Regarding composition, writing is the most common category, while editing appears deemphasized. Reading appears in all books; and grammar is stressed over revision. With relation to adult learning, all principles receive percentages below 12. Finally, the guidelines proved to be useful for the intended purpose of assisting the adult educator in the selection of materials used to teach English composition as a second language.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 87-90)


vii, 90 pages




Northern Illinois University

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