So, I don’t have a lot of experience with email consultations in general, but the other day, I had an ELL email consultation, which was a first for me. It was a lot more difficult. When dealing with ELL students, it’s a lot easier to talk to them, in person, about grammar and such. But how do you explain grammar in an email? Looking for trends in the paper is a good start, but what if there aren’t really very many? What if most of the errors are different?
Well, unfortunately, that was sort of the case with this email consultation. There weren’t many trends. Most of the grammatical errors were all different, and I didn’t really know how to address them all. So, I didn’t. I did the best I could to look for the ones that were most important and the ones that were “trends.” And then, I focused more on the paper as a whole, even though I don’t think it was exactly what the student asked for. I did suggest to the student, though, that if he/she (I can’t remember which) wanted to focus more on grammar, to set an appointment in-person would be best.
I guess the thing about e-mail consultations are that no matter what kind of consultation it is I always tend to wish it was an in-person one. I think that’s just inevitable—I’ll probably always think that, because I know how much more valuable it can be to have that two way instant communication. The next day (after the ELL email consultation), I got another email consultation and I wished the same thing: that the student had come in, in person. But, not everyone can always come into the center. Email consultations are better than no consultations.
Anyway, how would you guys handle an ELL email consultation? Have you had a lot of experience with those?