AW2, week 11, December 16th, 2016

Happy Holidays!

Homework

Re-write your response essay, print out and bring to the next class (January 13th).

Today’s class

  1. Confirmation of the meaning of essay “Majority Rule Equals Tyranny”.
  2. The structure of the essay”Majority Rule Equals Tyranny” (download the annotated version here: Majority Rule Equals Tyranny_annotated
  3. An analysis of some student sentences.
    1. Avoid using “you” or “we”, especially “we”, without making it clear what the noun is that “we” is replacing.
    2. Avoid conversational language in your essay.
    3. Avoid responding emotionally to an issue.
      1. Make sure you have understood the original article correctly before you criticize it, to avoid looking foolish.
      2. Base your opinion on objective facts and bring those facts to the attention of your readers.

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AW2 week 10 December 9th, 2016

Homework

None.

Today’s class

  1. Discussion of student responses to the Dragon Zakura episode 6. (Download the document here: dragon-zakura-responses
    1. In an academic essay, you need to make arguments.
    2. Most of the examples in the document are personal opinions, not arguments.
      1. E.g., “I like American pop music so [the method demonstrated in the Dragon Zakura episode] is best for me.”
        1. Whether you approve of the method or not is irrelevant.
    3. Some sentences are “straw man arguments“. E.g.
      1. “The test was prepared by Sakuragi. It’s unfair because he and Kawaguchi knew what kinds of questions are included.”
        1. The fact that Sakuragi chose (not “prepared”) the test does not by itself make it unfair. It would only be unfair if he had told the students about the test (he did not), or if he had taught them a certain way especially for that test. He did not, nor did Kawaguchi. Kawaguchi made his method clear (using music and movement) well before the English contest was decided.
        2. “I disagree with learning English to pass entrance exams and not for communication.”
          1. the topic is the content of the video.   In this case, the students are trying to pass an entrance exam. In the video, Sakuragi explicity states that he is not teaching students to communicate but to pass the entrance exam.
          2. Therefore, the above opinion is a straw man and is rrelevant.
          1. “Enjoying studying is important, I think.”
            1. Irrelevant. The video makes no mention of making study enjoyable a goal or purpose. The purpose is simply to prepare students to pass the English entrance exam. Therefore, this comment is a red herring.
          2. “I agree that in order to acquire English, learners should use English, because the purpose of language is to communicate.”
            1. Irrelevant. A red herring. Kawaguchi in the video does not have the students use English in order to help them communicate. In fact, Sakuragi explicity states the purpose is not communication but entrance-exam preparation. The above sentence is the writer’s personal opinion, but it is not an argument and is irrelevant to the topic.
          3. “Kawaguchi says that, when you are on a date, you don’t use difficult words. I think this is true. To acquire language we need to present our feelings (thinking).”
            1. Red herring. The final sentence is the writer’s personal opinion, but it is not supported by anything in the video. The video does not show students learning to express their feelings, nor does it discuss the importance of expressing one’s feelings, or whether or not expressing feelings is necessary in order to acquire language.
    4. Some criticisms are irrelevant because they are factually incorrect. E.g.,
      1. “Learning English while exercising is good, but it is only effective if students already have a certain basic knowledge of English.”
        1. TPR is a well known method for teaching beginners in which instructors give and demonstrate commands and movements and learners copy the movement while hearing the commands. It is therefore incorrect to say that “learning English while exercising (i.e. while moving) is only effective if students already have a basic knowledge of English.”
    5. Another logical fallacy is “poisoning the well”, (“Presenting negative information about a person before he/she speaks so as to discredit the person’s argument. “). E.g.,
      1. “Sakuragi’s opinion is too simple. His powerful voice is persuasive but one-sided.”
        1. It is true that simply by speaking loudly and passionately a person may sound persuasive without actually making any logical arguments, and in fact there is an example of this in the video (by Kawaguchi). The writer making these accusations should rather use actual quotations from the video to illustrate the points he/she is trying to make.
  2. Write a response essay to the article “Majority Rule Equals Tyranny” by Walter Williams. Download the document here:  majority-rule-equals-tyranny

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AW2 week 9, December 2nd, 2016

Homework

Write a response essay to any one of the following essays. It must be typed with correct format. Print it out and bring to class, and also email it to me.

  1. The “privacy” essay by Penenberg in the textbook appendix.
  2. The “Homework” essay in the textbook appendix.
  3. The “Violent Video Games” essay in the textbook appendix.
  4. Trump’s “America First” speech: trump-foreign-policy-speech
  5. George Washington’s Farewell Address (just the highlighted  foreign policy parts): washington-farewell-address

Today’s class

  1. Discussion of subjective judgements vs objective facts, using a worksheet of sample sentences from student responses. Download the worksheet here: subjective-vs-objective-worksheet
    1. In academic essays, avoid purely subjective, personal opinions, unless you can support them with objective facts.
      1. E.g. “His ideas are old-fashioned.”
        1. If you use such a statement in an academic essay, you must
          1. give an objective definition of “old-fashioned”
          2. show how the writer’s ideas are old-fashioned using examples from the original.
    2. Textbook: practice paraphrasing, quoting and citing
      1. p. 120 Practice 5
      2. p. 121 Practice 6
      3. p. 123 Practice 7.

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AW2 week 8, November 25th, 2016

Homework

Write a simple 5-paragraph (or more)  response  essay to this video clip below.

  1. Your introductory paragraph must include a short summary of the episode, the main lessons it teaches about English study and about life, and whether you agree with those lessons or not and why.
  2. The other paragraphs should deal with the main lessons that you select from the video.
  3. Use the English subtitles for quoting directly from the video, or use paraphrasing.
  4. Finally, cite the original source. The URL is https://youtu.be/AEnO6uYMX4g
    1. Use this format for the citation but without the parentheses:  “(Name of video).” YouTube, uploaded by (name of uploader), 6 June 2016 (date uploaded), www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBlpjSEtELs (URL, see above or visit YouTube).

Today’s class

  1. Review homework.
  2. Read the sample “response” essay and answer the questions below. The essay is a response to reading “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau. (click the links to read more. Click here to read about Walden in Japanese and here to read about Thoreau in Japanese)
    1. What is the theme of “Walden”?
    2. Does the writer think Thoreau achieved his goal?
    3. What is the subject (topic) of the long paragraph 2?
    4. How many reasons does the writer give for his opinion?
    5. Do you notice anything else about the essay?
  3. Textbook,
    1. p 120-1 Practice 5
    2. p. 121 Practice 6 (#1~#3)
    3. p. 123 Practice 7 (#1~#3).

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AW2 WEEK 7, NOVEMBER 18TH, 2016

Homework

  1. Write an outline and introductory paragraph for a response essay to this article:trump-foreign-policy-speech
  2. What are the “five main weaknesses” in US foreign policy, according to the article? Use direct quotations or paraphrasing.
  3. Cite the original speech (see the sample essay in the textbook p. 114).

Today’s  class

  1. “Entangling alliances” quote from Thomas Jefferson’s inaugural speech, March 1, 1801. (See last week’s handout “Excerpts from George Washington’s Farewell Address”. Download it here: washington-farewell-address
  2. Choose one quote from the list (the one you summarised last week) and write an introductory paragraph about it. (Download the list of quotes here: analyzing_political_comments
    1. Include a summary of the original quote,
    2. a reference to the source (where it came from), and
    3. your thesis statement (your position on the matter).
  3. Short discussion of the homework article “The America First Committee”. (Donwload it here: america-first-committee
  4. Textbook sample essay: how does the writer show which ideas are her own and which ideas are from the original writer (Penenberg)?
  5. Choose one of the two essays in the Appendix of the textbook, and write an introductory paragraph for a response essay about it.
    1. Give the reference.
    2. Summarize the main ideas
    3. Give your thesis statement.
    4. Add the reference (see “Work Cited” in the sample essay on p. 114).

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AW2 week 6, November 11th, 2016

Homework

  1. If you have not already done so, please email me your essay #4 ASAP (As Soon As Possible). This is already one week overdue.
  2. Please read and respond to this  Wikipedia article: America_First_Committee  
    (You can download a PDF version here: america-first-committee )

    1. Give the title and reference (source, date, etc) for this article.
    2. Summarize the main points of the article.
      1. You can use direct quotes or your own words. A combination of both is often used.
    3. Give your evaluation:
      1. Is it true, i.e. is it factually correct? Is the article reliable? Why (not)?
      2. Is the article well written? Why (not)?
      3. Other (but avoid giving your opinion about the content of the article).

Today’s class

  1. Discuss in groups what you read or watched for homework.
  2. Today is Armistice Day in Europe. Red poppies are often worn on this day.
  3. Textbook chapter 5. Read page 111
  4. Practice 1,p. 114, questions 2, 4 and 5 ONLY (answers on looseleaf).
  5. Read these quotes from the British newspaper “The Independent” and ask some critical questions:
    1. The newspaper front page the sums up Europe’s reaction to Trump victory. One French newspaper dubbed the President-elect ‘American Psycho’.
    2. French newspaper Liberation called Mr. Trump ‘American Psycho’ – a reference to the book and film about a murderous stockbroker.

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AW2 week 5, November 4th, 2016

Homework

  1. Email me your essay #4 in Word or RTF format.
    1. Format for document name and title (subject) of the email: AW2_Essay4_Final_(Your_Name)
  2. Read something interesting in English. This is preparation for Essay #5: Responding to a reading. It should be something you have strong feelings about – either you like it or hate it.
    1. A novel
    2. a book
    3. a movie
    4. an article
    5. an essay (can be the one in the textbook if you cannot find anything else)

Today’s class

  1. Remember, remember, the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.
  2. Write an outline for your essay:
    1. Title – (check: does it express your position about the topic?)
    2. Thesis statement -(check:  Is it in the first paragraph? Does it summarize your arguments?)
    3. 1st counter-argument and argument
    4. 2nd counter-argument and argument
    5. 3rd counter-argument and argument
    6. Conclusion – (check: does it repeat the introduction and thesis statement? No new information in the conclusion.)
  3. In groups of 4, choose one of the quotes from the handout (#4, #5, & #6 are one set), and translate it into Japanese. Click here to download the handout: analyzing_political_comments


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AW2 week 4, October 28th, 2016

Homework

Re-write your persuasive essay draft #1, print out and bring to class next week.

Common problems:

  1. Incomplete or missing thesis statement.
    1. Your thesis statement must include a summary of all your arguments.
  2. Incomplete or missing counter-arguments.
    1. Counter-arguments show that you have thought about this topic deeply, and that you understand the objections that others have on this topic. Incomplete or missing counter-arguments show that you have not thought enough about this topic, or only thought about one side of the matter.
    2. E.g. “the government should…”
      1. Who will pay for this?
      2. How will the government get the cooperation of citizens and businesses?
      3. Is this the best solution that will respect the individual’s rights and freedoms?

I have updated the “Academic Writing Resources” page. Check it out.

Today’s class

George and the ice-cream story.

“It’s the rule” will not convince Westerners.  Whose rule? Who decided? Where is it written?

Conferencing with students about their draft #1.

Handout with quotes about the role and nature of government.


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Academic Writing II (AW2): week 2, October 14th, 2016

Homework

  1. Watch this video and list the evidence provided to support the argument: Click here to watch the video on YouTube 
    1. What do you think?  Include your opinion of the evidence. Leave your opinion in the comments below.
  2. Write 3 arguments and counter-arguments for
    1. unrestricted gun ownership
    2. legalizing all drugs.

Today’s class

Textbook exercises p. 92 Practice 1.

Arguments and counter-arguments for holding  the 2020  Olympics in Tokyo

Choose a topic from “My Turn”, and do a 5-minute freewriting about the topic.

 


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