ABSTRACT  The traditional college composition and conversation course is usually organized according to the following assumptions: (1) Students have developed some proficiency in the foreign language skills; (2) They are familiar with the basic grammar of the language; and (3) They should therefore be able to speak and write with relative ease on everyday topics. Such assumptions, while understandable, are generally not valid because students who enroll in such a course come from varied backgrounds; some have greater facility in listening comprehension and speaking, while others are more grammar-oriented and are better able to read and write. Occasionally some have rather serious language deficiencies in all skills. Such diversity in background, as well as in levels of competency, has resulted in problems that are not easily remedied in a lock-step method of instruction. This article discusses strategies designed to cope with some of the problems encountered at the college level, but which can be applied equally well in high school.