AW2: week 6, November 17th, 2017

Homework

Write your final draft for your Essay #4 (Persuasive Essay) and either email it to me, or bring it to next week’s class.

Today’s class

  • mini-lecture on writing persuasive essays in English
    1. Title should be persuasive –
      1. “Think seriously about food self-sufficiency” is not persuasive.
      2. “Japan Must Be Self-Sufficient in Food!” is a good title:
        1. The topic is clear
        2. The author’s position is also clear.
    2. You need counter-arguments
      1. to show that you know and understand the issue well
      2. to show that you have considered other points of view, and therefore your essay is fair
      3. Without counter-arguments, your essay is one-sided
        1. One-sided arguments appear
          1. ignorant
          2. biased (similar to propaganda)
      4. Your topic and position AND REASONS must appear in the first (introductory) paragraph – this is your thesis statement: E.g. “People should do xxxx because (reason 1), (reason 2) and (reason 3).”
        1. E.g. “People should read paperbacks instead of  e-books because they are lighter, you can see how much you have read, and they do not tire your eyes or affect your sleep.”
    3. Many students’ essays are not persuasive because they are arguing from Japanese principles or Japanese values. People who do not have the same values will not be persuaded. More next week.
    4. On a more general level, not only to write persuasive essays in English, but also as part of your general education, I suggest you educate yourself about essential ideas or principles of today’s industrialized  societies (including Japan):
      1. the free market
      2. contract law
      3. property rights
      4. individual rights
      5. individualism
      6. capitalism
  • 1-to-1 conferencing.
  • Request for volunteers to read my simplified story and give me feedback. BONUS – you can use this material for your next essay #5 “Response to a Text”.
    • If you volunteer, please read one of the chapters and underline or somehow mark the words or phrases  or sentences you don’t understand or need to use a dictionary for. Then give me back the chapter next class. Thank you in advance.
  • BONUS: Tutorial video on how to use MSWord to create references and a bibliography:
  • (Click here for text explanation)

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AW2: week 5, November 10th, 2017

Homework

  • Write draft #4
    • re-write your draft #3 after getting my comments and corrections.
  • Email me your draft #3 (if you have not already done so)
  • Email me your draft #4 or bring it to class next week.

Today’s class

  1. Some general comments about your essays
    1. You need to define your terms
    2. Every claim needs evidence (and if necessary, citations/references)
    3. Warrants: you need to explain how and why your evidence supports your claim or thesis.
  2. Option:  I am writing a simplified version of a very famous and fascinating story that teaches basic ideas about Western (especially American) culture and society, and I am looking for volunteers to give me some feedback about my writing. So far I have written two chapters.

    1. Here’s some info on the original book on Wikipedia   (and in Japanese here)
  •  

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AW2: week 4, October 27th, 2017

Next class will be Nov. 10th (no class Nov. 3rd) and the classroom will be 69.

Homework

Write draft #3 of your persuasive essay (essay #4). You may choose either of the two view-points you chose for drafts #1 and #2. You may change subject if you wish. However, please remember

  • to make your subject controversial
  • to define your terms
  • to support your claims with evidence (if necessary, provide a reference for your source)
  • that your personal opinion alone is not an argument – you must support it with evidence and explain how the evidence supports your claim.
  • to let me know  which kind of feedback method you prefer me to use for you personally in future.

Today’s class

  1. We have been asked to change classrooms: from November 10th our classroom will be 69, which I believe is in building #6.
  2. General comments for all students:
    1. Define your terms – you must define the meaning of any and all key words you use in your essay.
      1. E.g. one essay on nuclear power included many mentions of “eco-friendly power generation”. The essay must therefore include a clear definition of the meaning of “eco-friendly power generation”. This definition must come near the beginning of the essay.
  3. I have used 2 different ways to give feedback:
    1. comments scribbled directly on student papers, explained orally in 1-to-1 conferences in class time
      1. the disadvantage of this is that I cannot always speak to every student within the 90 minutes, and
      2. students may not understand either my spoken explanations or my written comments
    2. Therefore I have preferred to use a computer program which lets me write my comments as well as categorize errors.
      1. The disadvantages of this method is that
        1. the software is designed to correct only grammatical mistakes, but most student difficulties are in the areas of logic and rhetoric, and
        2. because the software is designed to correct grammatical mistakes, the student’s paper becomes covered with  lots of  red highlighting, which may discourage students when in fact most of the grammatical mistakes are minor and unimportant for communication.
  4. Today I proposed a third method which I call “Black-Blue-Red” where
    • Black is student’s original writing
    • Blue is instructor’s version
    • Red is instructor’s comments/explanations

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AW2: week 3, October 20th, 2017

Homework

  • Re-write your draft #1 from the opposite (or different) point of view.
    • E.g. “School Uniforms are Not Necessary” –> “(School) Uniforms Should be Compulsory”
  • Either email it to me, or print it out and bring to class.

Today’s class

  1. How debates work
  2. Explanation of draft #2
  3. 1-to-1 conferencing


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AW2: week 2, October 13th, 2017

Homework

Choose a controversial topic that you have a strong opinion about, and start writing your first draft.

Either

  1. email it to me (filename = AW2_Essay4_Draft1_YourName   email subject line = AW2 Essay4 Draft1 YourName
  2. Or write it by hand and bring it to class next week.

Today’s class

  • counter-argument means the opposite opinion or point of view. There are is always a different point of view. It is the academic writer’s responsibility to know these other points of view and to present them in the essay to readers. This may need some research. Remember the Pot with the Hole story.
  • supporting evidence – an important part of academic writing is showing that your opinion is based on facts and telling the reader where you got your facts from, so that readers can go check for themselves. This is important because we are dealing with information that cannot be confirmed by our own senses (by seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing or feeling).
  • (option) Textbook
    • p. 93 Practice 1, 1-3
    • p. 98 Practice 4
    • p.100 Practice 5
  • Start writing your first draft.

 

 


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AW2: week 1, October 6th, 2017

Homework

  1. Read the sample essay in chapter 4 (pp.91-2)
  2. List 5 controversial topics you might write about for your persuasive essay

Today’s class

  • logos, ethos, pathos – 3 modes for persuading other people
  • schedule (may change slightly):
    • Essay #4 – Persuasive – due Nov. 17th
    • Essay #5 – Response to a text – due Dec. 22nd
    • Essay #6 – timed writing – to be done in class Jan 26 and Feb. 2nd
    • p. 96 A and practice 3

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AW1: week 15, July 28th, 2017

Today’s class

  • Receive Sheffner’s corrections and comments on your Essay3 Draft1.
  • Ask any questions you may have.
  • Re-write your essay. This will be your final version.
  • Type up your essay and email it to me as soon as you can.

Essay#2

The latest version of the AW1 Essay2 class collection is available for download here. Help yourself:  AW1_Essay2_Final_All4Publication2

It includes 4 essays by students whose permission to include theirs did not reach me in time for the first printing,  of which I gave out a few copies in class on Friday 28th.

Essay#3

I plan to make a similar collection of Essay3.  I will send out an email to each of you next week asking for your permission to print your essay.  I will then make the collection available for download here on this blog.


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AW1: week 14, July 21st, 2017

Homework

Type up your Essay3 Draft1 and email it to me as soon as possible.

Today’s class

  1. Class survey
  2. Feedback for Sheffner
    1. Self-evaluation  /100 + reasons
    2. Sheffner evaluation  ?/100 + reasons
    3. Comments about the class – assignments, blog, textbook, anything to help me make next semester and next year better.
  3. Help yourself to the Essay 1 collection
  4. Start writing your Essay 3 draft1
  5. Consultation with Sheffner

 


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AW1: week 13, July 14th, 2017

Homework

  • Review your essay #2 draft#2 after considering what you learned in today’s class.
    • Re-write your essay – this will be your final draft
    • Print it out and bring it to class next week
    • Also email it to me when you are ready (next Friday is fine)
  • Choose a topic for essay #3 “Problem-Solution” from the list on p. 72 in the textbook.
  • (Option) Watch this short video of comedian Louis C.K. giving a funny counter-claim to the common claim that lying is bad.
    • Louis’ counter-claim is that lying solves almost every problem like magic.
  • Schedule:
    • Friday July 21st:
      • start writing your compare-contrast essay in class.
      • gather data,  design questions to ask classmates tin class.
      • After class,  email me your essay#3 draft#1 as soon as possible. I will correct and return your draft asap.
      • If I have time, I will email it to you. If not, I will give you my corrections personally in class on July 28th.
    • Friday July 28th: using my corrections and comments, you will write the final draft of your compare-contrast essay in class.

Today’s class

  1. You need a counter-claim. Most students had no counter-claim or very weak counter-claims. This makes you look lazy (you can’t be bothered to think of any) or ignorant (you don’t realize there are arguments against your position). Either way, you need counter-claims.
  2. What exactly is the problem? Some of you did not clearly define the problem.
    1. E.g. “putting things off is a problem.” No, it isn’t. It’s a bad habit, maybe, but it is not a problem. It CAUSES problems, yes, but putting things off itself is not a problem. You need to be clear in your own mind exactly what the problem is.
  3. If you did some original research, e.g. by asking classmates some questions and gathering data, then you need to present the results to your readers. Usually this is the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs (the 1st and 2nd body paragraphs).
    1. See this worksheet for a model outline (this outline works for a compare-&-contrast essay as well). STRUCTURE OF POLICY ARGUMENT ESSAY
  4. When choosing a topic: Problems with some essay topics
  5. Textbook chapter 3 p. 69: read the first paragraph of the model essay “Friends.com”.
  6. Read p. 70 C “Essay structure”
  7. Read p. 71 D “Topics
  8. P. 72 “Your Turn”: choose a topic from the list (or decide your own topic)
  9. P. 73 Venn diagrams for brainstorm ideas.
  10. P. 76 D Organizing a comparison-contrast essay
  11. p. 79 F “Language for comparing and contrasting” (for your reference).

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AW1: week 12, July 7th, 2017

Homework

  1. Check your email after the weekend. I will send you my corrections and comments by email attachment.
  2. Read my attachment, review your notes from Friday’s class.
  3. Re-write your draft (this will be Essay2_Draft2).
  4. Print out and bring to class.
  5. Finish writing up the Facebook claim and counter-claims (if you did not finish in class).

Today’s class

  1. Worksheet on claims and counter-claims (download it here: AW1_Lesson5_worksheet
  2. Worksheet on Facebook’s drone plan  (download it here: Four billion people on the earth have no internet
  3. A claim should be
    1. debatable, controversial, arguable
    2. provable (i.e. there should be evidence to support it)
  4. An argument must include at least one counter-claim.
  5. Textbook p. 60 Hedging
    1. Avoid sweeping statements (which cannot be proved) such as
      1. (All) student put off till tomorrow what they should do today.
      2. This solution will help everyone.
    2. P. 61 Practice 12
    3. P. 62 Practice 13 (on looseleaf)
    4. P. 63 Practice 14
    5. P. 63 Practice 15 (on looseleaf)
  6. Write up a claim and counter-claim (at least1) for the Facebook article. Your claim should begin, “Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg …. ”
    1. If possible, include a refutation for the counter-claim.

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website for students of Sheffner's Academic Writing class at Kyoto Prefectural University, Japan.