All posts by Sheffner

Part-time instructor of Academic Writing in English @ Kyoto Prefectural University, Kyoto, Japan.

AW2: WEEK 3, OCTOBER 19TH, 2018

Homework

Write the first draft of your persuasive essay.

  • digital copy by email by Friday Oct. 26th
    • file name and email subject: AW2 Essay4 draft1 Name
  • hard copy, either typed or hand-written, to class Friday Oct. 26th

Today’s class

  1. Academic writing < liberal arts < trivium (grammar, logic, rhetoric)
  2. Liberal arts = essential education for free people (not slaves)
  3. Textbook p. 99 E
  4. Choose one of the topics you used for homework, and write a paragraph with the format counter-argument, argument, support.
  5. Argument
    1. Claim (must be arguable)
    2. Evidence
    3. Warrant (often uses a general rule or principle)
  6. Write an outline for your essay #4 (Persuasive)
  7. Textbook p. 96 Practice 3
    1. From sentences a and b, choose the one which is arguable.
    2. For questions 2 and 3, label the parts of the thesis statement as “claim” and “evidence”.
  8. Textbook p. 101: different kinds of support
    1. Which kind(s) do you think are most suitable for an academic essay? Why?


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AW2: WEEK 2, OCTOBER 12TH, 2018

Homework

  • Textbook p. 95 “Your Turn”: write 3 arguments FOR and 3 arguments AGAINST the 5 topics you did not write about in class.

Today’s class

  1. 3 questions:
    1. Write an example of a big personal decision.
    2. Would you consult with anyone before you decide? Why (not)?
    3. What was the purpose of Plato’s “akademia”?
  2. Sentence correction
  3. Difference between examples and definitions, with counter-examples:
    1. What is bravery?
      1. Fighting someone bigger than you
        1. Counter-example: Jumping into a river to save a drowning child is brave but does not involve fighting anyone.
      2. the power to cause some action
        1. Counter-example:  Turning on the engine of a car is “the power to cause action”, but is that bravery?
      3. deciding what is best and doing it
        1. Counter-example:  When your pen runs out of ink, you decide what is best and do it, but is that bravery?
  4. Textbook p. 93 Practice 1 – 1, 2, 3 & 5
  5. p. 95 “Your Turn” – choose one topic and write 3 arguments FOR and 3 arguments AGAINST (= counter-arguments)

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AW2: Week 1, October 5th, 2018

Homework

Read the sample essay in the textbook pp 91-2. The theme is decline birth-rate. Don’t read uncritically! Don’t drink the Koolaid! Ask yourself: “Is this really a problem? What is the problem, exactly?”

Today’s class

  1. Quiz about British universities
  2. Quick review of key points about academic writing
    1. History:
      1. Plato’s “akademia“: not a school as we understand it today, but rather a community of inquiry, discussing big questions and sharpening the minds of the participants through discussion and conversation.
      2. The Scientific Revolution: e.g. Copernicus, Galileo, Newton – questioning the accepted knowledge (what “everyone knows”), searching for objective evidence (what they can sense with their own senses and understand with their own minds)
      3. The trivium: grammar, logic, rhetoric – was the fundamental education used in the Middle Ages in Europe.
    2. THEREFORE, when you write your essay,
    3. Start with a question, e.g. “What is a good life? What is a good person?”  or question what everybody knows:  “Is the earth REALLY at the centre of the universe, AS EVERYONE BELIEVES? Is separating the garbage REALLY a good idea? Is homework REALLY beneficial?
    4. Check / re-confirm your understanding of key words (i.e. find objective meaning, not relying on your own “image” of the word). E.g., to teach “Academic Writing” I need to first clearly understand the meaning of “academic”: where does this word come from? What is the original meaning? Use a good English-English dictionary to help you learn the history of a word and the root meaning.
  3. “Dragons and Giants” (from “Frog and Toad Together”).
    1. Summarize the story: what did they do and who did they meet?
    2. Answer and discuss the discussion questions on the worksheet.

 


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AW1: MAKEUPS, JULY 28TH, 2018

Homework

  • Read my comments then re-write your draft #2 –> draft #3 and email it to me.
  • Would you like a (digital) copy of your classmates’ essays #2 and #3? If so, please email me by Tuesday July 31st, midnight.
  • If you have changed your mind about allowing your essay to appear in the class collection, please let me know ASAP. Otherwise, I will assume your answer for essay #1 holds true for essay #2 and #3.

Today’s class

  1. Individual conferencing
  2. Who is your audience (your readers)? – see textbook p. 8 A.
  3. why would you need or want to write  academic essays?
  4. Why would you need or want to write essays (including essays in Japanese)?
  5. In the real world, how would you decide what to write about?
  6. What are some difficulties you have in writing academic essays in this class?
  7. what are your biggest difficulties as a student @ kpu?

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AW1: WEEK 15, JULY 27TH, 2018

Homework

Look at my comments and re-write your draft #1 –> draft #2 and send it to me by email or bring it to the makeup class tomorrow.

Today’s class

  1. Textbook p. 79 F and practice 10
  2. Academic language is specific, accurate and as objective as possible. Avoid these vague, inaccurate or subjective expressions:
    1. hot (–> e.g. 35 degrees Centigrade)
    2. we
    3. nice
    4. good
    5. bad
  3. Check the MLA format for your references and/or bibliography
    1. See the MLA style guide here 
    2. Check the Academic Writing resources page for more helpful links.

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AW1: Week 13, July 20th, 2018

Announcement

No class on July 25th. Makeup on July 28th, 14:30 – 17:40

Homework

Essay 3 “Compare-contrast”, draft 1, by e-mail by Friday next.

Today’s class

  1. sample problem-solution essay 1: the four things
  2. sample problem-solution essay 2: how to learn freedom
  3. (option) “The Fountainhead” chapter 1
  4. sample compare-contrast essay: university – Britain vs Japan
  5. textbook p. 70 C Essay structure
  6. P. 72 – choose a topic
  7. P 73/74 create a Venn diagram for your essay topic.
  8. write your outline.

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AW1: Week 12, July 13th, 2018

Homework

Re-write your draft #2. This will be your final draft. Email it to me when completed, print it out and bring to class next week.

If you did not receive my feedback on your draft #2, please email me as soon as possible, and I will email it to you.

Today’s class

  • how cultural differences affect rhetoric.
  • subordinate clause worksheet.
  • one-to-one conferencing

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AW1: Week 10, June 29th, 2018

Announcement

July 25th (Wed) class cancelled. Make-up class will be on July 28th, 14:40. If you cannot attend the makeup class, please consult me in class.

Homework

Using the feedback you received from classmates and your instructor, re-write your draft #1 –> draft #2, email it to me by Friday, print it out and bring to the next class.

You may change topics if you wish.

Today’s class

  1. Distribution of Essay 1 Class Collection (for those who asked for it)
  2. Exchange draft#1 with classmates and give feedback using the feedback form on p. 55
  3. Textbook p. 58 C and Practice 10
  4. p. 60 A
  5. Handout – Sheffner’s sample Problem-solution essay

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AW1: week 9, June 22nd, 2018

Homework

  1. Write essay2 draft1 and email it to me by Friday. Bring it to class.

Today’s class

  1. Distribution of Essay 1 Class Collection (for those who asked for it)
    1. Apologies to those of you who asked for one and did not receive: I printed them Thursday night and ran out of ink before I finished. I will bring the remaining copies next week.
    2. Leave a comment about the essays (optional).
  2. Exchange homework.
  3. Textbook p. 50, practice 5
  4. p. 51, read C “Offering a solution”
  5. practice 6
  6. p. 53. Your turn – write your outline
    1. if necessary, re-write your thesis statement

 

Hooks are not strictly necessary for pure academic essays, but good hooks attract readers, so hook-writing is a very useful skill. Gary North has been writing articles, headlines and hooks for many years. Here is a recent sample. Do they make you want to read more?

 


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