Term Paper: Academic Competence

Pages: 10 (2630 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Teaching  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Long (62) establishes that setting priorities is important to the completion of all required assignments. Establishing a timetable (Long 64-65) that defines all daily and weekly assignments will promote effective time management skills and academic excellence. Reducing distractions (Long 73) by limiting socialization and other activities during crucial study times will encourage the cultivation of positive study habits. Finally, perhaps the most limiting factor in academic competence is procrastination, which involves leaving all assigned work until the very last possible minute. This habit increases the risk of handing in incomplete assignments that are poor in quality. Long (75) has defined several steps that a student can take to beat procrastination, including breaking large assignments into smaller steps, eliminating distractions, and promising personal rewards for achievements. Each of these factors will provide a positive influence for any student, particularly an ESL student with the incredible task of second language acquisition.

Stress and Academic Competence

Al Siebert (45) has defined seven specific tests that will increase student survival in the college environment, one of the most stressful situations that anyone can experience. These include the following: Making the transition from a teaching atmosphere to a learning atmosphere, dealing with increased freedom, replacing discouragement with optimism, building a vigorous self-esteem, developing empathy for peers and their situations, accepting new thoughts and feelings often contradictory in nature, and learning from new experiences. Each of these factors will be outlined briefly below:

Making the transition from a teaching atmosphere to a learning atmosphere - College environments often possess highly educated instructors who are brilliant in their area of expertise but often lack sufficient teaching skills. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the student to make the often difficult transition to an environment where learning is more significant than teaching (Siebert 46-47).

Dealing with increased freedom - College brings a significant amount of freedom that is often very difficult to accept and handle. Therefore, it is critical for students to take responsibility for their new-found freedom and organize their lives in order to maximize academic success (Siebert 47-48).

Replacing discouragement with optimism - By recognizing that discouragement is a normal part of daily living, students will realize that optimism encourages self-confidence and positive thoughts towards a potentially brilliant future (Siebert 49).

Building a vigorous self-esteem - By learning from past mistakes and experiences, students will promote healthy self-confidence and will lead to a positive outlook in new situations and subsequent improvement (Siebert 51).

Developing empathy for peers and their situations - Students encounter difficult people throughout their academic careers. It is important to recognize the possible root of the negativity in order to encourage positive reactions to such behaviors (Siebert 52).

Accepting new thoughts and feelings often contradictory in nature - People in general are composed of a myriad of conflicting thoughts and feelings. As a result, they become emotionally flexible and this allows a student to cope with any situation that comes their way (Siebert 54).

Learning from new experiences - This can be defined as independent learning, and students who come away from a situation with a potential learning experience are able to confront a similar situation with ease and understanding (Siebert 55).

Siebert's tests for survival will promote healthy behaviors in all students, and those who engage in ESL instruction may particularly benefit from such activities and encouragement.

Stress is an important part of daily living, and identifying the roots of stress are critical to positive well-being and academic achievement (King 346). ESL students are particularly vulnerable to stressful events, and King (351) emphasizes the following techniques to cope with stress: Counting to ten, controlling negative thoughts, fantasizing, congratulations for a job well done, ignoring problems that do not have an immediate solution, and performing self-maintenence. Regular practice of these activities will result in personal growth and will transcend to academic activities.


This discussion has resulted in a number of conclusions regarding academic competence for English as a Second Language students. It is imperative that students are evaluated in the primary stages of instruction to develop an appropriate course of action for ESL instruction. This may include an assessment of native language writing, reading, and speaking skills as well as existing study habits. Once the instructor and the student have engaged in collaborations to identify existing skills and strengths, a specific plan should be developed which will promote growth and acquisition of English language skills. It is important to develop activities tailored to the student population to encourage individual growth and academic competence. In addition, it is critical to establish a timetable and schedule of activities for students so that they may become organized in their academic endeavors and limit activities that result in procrastination. It has been established that study skills are rarely taught; on the contrary, students are responsible for developing their own course of action regarding study habits. The establishment of a study skills plan of attack for students in the ESL classroom will undoubtedly foster growth and responsibility for English language acquisition. Finally, it is extremely important for students in the ESL classroom to recognize that stress is a part of daily living. The promotion of stress management activities and coping mechanisms will enhance academic understanding and reduce tension. Academic competence is an ongoing process that requires a significant amount of time and patience from both teachers and students, and student success will be enhanced by a strong commitment from the student and the instructor to foster academic achievement.

Works Cited

Adamson, H.D. (1993). Academic Competence. New York: Longman.

Clarke, M. (1980). The short circuit hypothesis of ESL reading- or when language competence interferes with reading performance. Modern Language Journal, 64(2), 203-209.

Diaz-Rico, L.T., & Weed, K.Z. (1995). The Crosscultural,

Language, and Academic Development Handbook. Massachusetts:

Allyn & Bacon.

Gardner, J.N. (1997). Keys to success. In J.N. Gardner & A.J.

Jewler (Eds.), Your college experience: strategies for Success (pp. 1-22). Albany, NY: Wadsworth Publishing


Gettinger, M., & Seibert, J.K. (2002). Contributions of study skills to academic competence. School Psychology Review,

King, K.W. (1997). Managing Stress. In J.N. Gardner & A.J.

Jewler (Eds.), Your college experience: strategies for Success (pp. 323-336). Albany, NY: Wadsworth Publishing


Leki, I. (1995). Coping strategies of ESL students in writing

Tasks across the curriculum. Tesol Quarterly, 29(2), 235-

Long, K., & McCarthy, M.J. (1997). Time Management: The Foundation of Academic Success. In J.N. Gardner & A.J.

Jewler (Eds.), Your college experience: strategies for Success (pp. 60-80). Albany, NY: Wadsworth Publishing


Saville-Troike, M. (1984). What really matters in second

Language for academic purpose? Tesol Quarterly, 26(2),

Siebert, A. (1997). Surviving College. In J.N. Gardner & A.J.

Jewler (Eds.), Your college experience: strategies for Success (pp. 45-58). Albany, NY: Wadsworth Publishing


Shih, M.(1992).… [END OF PREVIEW]

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