Category Archives: Academic Writing II

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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AW2, week 14, January 27th, 2017

Homework

  1. Read the article on swine flu (download it here: Swine_Flu_by_Rappoport
  2. Is it an academic essay? Does it have any features of academic writing? If so, which ones? (see below)
  3. Bring your answers to these questions to the next class.
  4. Next week, we will discuss the answers to these questions, and write two timed essays.
  5. Next week’s timed essays will be under test conditions: strict time limit, no dictionaries, no electronic or internet devices. Just pencil and paper and your awesome human brain!

Today’s class

  1. Review of key features of academic writing (see also the  annotated handout “Majority Rule Equals Tyranny”; download it here: Majority Rule Equals Tyranny_annotated
    1. Introduce the topic (plus any necessary background information). If necessary, state your position about the topic.
    2. Define your terms.  E.g.
      1. in an essay about the Electoral College, you will need to define what that is.
      2. in an essay about the division of labour, you will need to define what you mean by that.
      3. in an essay about homework or uniforms, you will need to define “homework” or “uniform”.
      4. By the way, a definition does not have to be the dictionary definition. In an exam situation, you cannot use a dictionary obviously. You must make it clear what your understanding of the term is, that is all.
    3. Use  objective facts to support your essay.
      1. “objective” means other people can check if they are true or not.
      2. “facts” means names, dates, numbers, places.
    4. Conclusion – summarize your arguments and, if you are trying to persuade the reader, give a final appeal.
  2. Timed essay (30 minutes): “Discuss the arguments for and against legalizing marijuana.” Use the handout to help you (download it here: Arguments For and Against Legalizing Marijuana

 


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AW2, week 13, January 20th, 2017

Homework

None. But if you were absent today, read the parts of the textbook we read in class today. You need to have read this material in order to participate in next 2 weeks’ classes. There will not be time in class to read the material. You must read it before class.

Next week and the week after (week 15) we will be writing test, timed essays in class.

Today’s class

  1. Chapter 6, p. 140 A read.
  2. Practice 5
  3. p. 141 Practice 6.
  4. p. 134, questions 1-4.
  5. p. 135, B.
  6. p. 136, C and practice 1
  7. p. 137, D and practice 2.
  8. p. 138, practice 3.
  9. p. 139, practice 4.
  10. p. 139, E: choose a topic and p. 141, B, write an outline (see also p. 142, outline A).

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Happy Holidays!

Wishing you peace and contentment, today and every day.

(Photo courtesy of Emily)

The new header is taken from a photo by blogger <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”><a href=”https://stardustenglishwriting.blogspot.jp/”>Stardust Talk, </a></span>who writes about and takes beautiful photos of places in Nara. Check out <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”><a href=”https://stardustenglishwriting.blogspot.jp/”>her blog and other excellent photos.</a></span>


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