Regardless of who should teach ESL students, the writing class has always been downgraded in class of importance compared to literacy. Many of the writing programs at the university are taught by new teachers or interns. There is also very little funding for writing programs, so when you add another layer to an already tight budget, I can see why the writing element in ESL programs has so little light shed upon them.
Rather, second-language writing should be seen as an integral part of both composition studies and second-language studies, and specialists in both professions should try to transform their institutional practices in ways that reflect the needs and characteristics of second-language writers in their own institutional contexts. (Matsuda 714)
There should be a blending of the Composition classroom and the ESL program. The separation between ESL students and mainstream students should also be taken away and have both groups together. I have observed classes like the one I am suggesting (ESL and Composition together) and the results were amazing. Students who know English as their first language help students who are ESL, which then helps them with their own learning, by being a teacher to the ESL students. The ESL students pick up more of the dialect of English from the mainstream students by natural absorption by watching the native speakers of English using the language. Both groups learn from each other.
The problem with combining these students and teaching in a new way costs money and education, by training the teachers to teach in the new way. Where does the money come from for the training? Matsuda gives the reader a way to balance the ESL student into the writing classroom but actually applying his ideas cannot be practiced in reality. The writing programs at Universities have money problems, plus also not being seen as important as the literacy programs at their schools. So how do you suggest a program can change its identity and ask for more money and training, when the program has little support in the first place?
In a perfect world, I would love to see the writing program change and grow as Matsuda suggests, but because of funding and program issues, the ESL program will remain the same. The only way the ESL program does survive is by being apart from the English mainstream. What I suggest is a hybrid class called ESL Comp, which would be a class above ESL and it would receive credit like a freshman composition class. ESL teachers receive funding and would be able to get training on sharpening their composition skills or require ESL teachers to take more writing classes before they can teach. Sadly, with all the budget cuts and schools closing, Matsuda’s ideas for no more division of labor between ESL and Composition classes will have to stay on the educational back burner.