Update: After the winter break, we will have 4 classes, not 3 as I said in class: Jan. 12, 19, 26 and Feb. 2. Over those 4 weeks, you will write at least 3 timed essays. Do your best to attend these final classes.
Send me your draft 2 (response essay with evaluation) as soon as possible.
Read through the reference material I gave you this week and last week. You will need them to write your final essays in class in January.
Write your final draft for your Essay #4 (Persuasive Essay) and either email it to me, or bring it to next week’s class.
mini-lecture on writing persuasive essays in English
Title should be persuasive –
“Think seriously about food self-sufficiency” is not persuasive.
“Japan Must Be Self-Sufficient in Food!” is a good title:
The topic is clear
The author’s position is also clear.
You need counter-arguments
to show that you know and understand the issue well
to show that you have considered other points of view, and therefore your essay is fair
Without counter-arguments, your essay is one-sided
One-sided arguments appear
biased (similar to propaganda)
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).”
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.”
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.
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):
the free market
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:
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.
Some general comments about your essays
You need to define your terms
Every claim needs evidence (and if necessary, citations/references)
Warrants: you need to explain how and why your evidence supports your claim or thesis.
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.
Next class will be Nov. 10th (no class Nov. 3rd) and the classroom will be 69.
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.
We have been asked to change classrooms: from November 10th our classroom will be 69, which I believe is in building #6.
General comments for all students:
Define your terms – you must define the meaning of any and all key words you use in your essay.
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.
I have used 2 different ways to give feedback:
comments scribbled directly on student papers, explained orally in 1-to-1 conferences in class time
the disadvantage of this is that I cannot always speak to every student within the 90 minutes, and
students may not understand either my spoken explanations or my written comments
Therefore I have preferred to use a computer program which lets me write my comments as well as categorize errors.
The disadvantages of this method is that
the software is designed to correct only grammatical mistakes, but most student difficulties are in the areas of logic and rhetoric, and
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.
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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website for students of Sheffner's Academic Writing class at Kyoto Prefectural University, Japan.