All posts by Sheffner

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

AW2: Week 10, December 6th, 2019

Homework

Read the following before next Friday for a class discussion:

  1. Philosophy – who needs it?  http://bit.ly/aw2randphwhneit  
  2. Philosophy – who needs it? Japanese translation
  3. (Bastiat’s “The Broken Window Fallacy”, if you have not yet done so).
    1. Read about it here in Japanese
    2. Read about it here in English

Update:

I’ve reduced the number of essays to read, as I think 3 essays (even if one is in Japanese) is probably too much to ask in one week. If you have already read the “I, Pencil” essay, don’t worry! You can talk about it in class Dec. 13th and read the “Philosophy” essay for next week’s homework.

Announcement

Makeup class:

  • Date: Saturday, December 14th
  • Time: 2nd period (10:30-12:00)
  • Place: same room as usual (205).

For those who cannot attend, you can do a reading and writing assignment which I will post next Friday.

Today’s class

  1. “a right to…” In English, it means a demand for – a right to a job, for instance, means if you do not have a job, someone must give you one.
  2. an effective advertisement and an effective persuasive essay
    1. both need objective information and both good and bad points
  3. Discussion of “The Broken Window Fallacy”: the original title of this short 1850 essay by Bastiat is “What is Seen and What is Unseen” (Ce qu’on voit et ce qu’on ne voit pas)
  4. identifying claims (worksheet): any claim (any statement that seems to be a fact) must be supported by evidence, especially by citations 
  5. translating news headlines from Japanese into English (worksheet)

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AW2: Week 9, November 29th, 2019

Homework

Write your final draft, save it as “AW2 Essay4 Final Lastname” (use the same for the subject of your email) and email it to me by Friday Dec. 6th. No need to print out or bring to class.

Today’s class

  1. Citation MLA style.
    1. Notice how Japanese books and articles are cited (with titles given in Japanese but in Roman characters.)
    2. Notice how articles which have no author (or where the author is unknown) are cited.
    3. worksheet.
      Completed worksheet is here:
    4. Notice how citations are done in this model essay (notice how the in-text citations refer to the “works cited” section). 
  2. Counter-arguments. Read this extract from a popular Japanese manga. How does this relate to academic essay writing? What did you learn about the importance of counter-arguments from reading this extract? 
    1. Successful advertisements and academic essays need objective, factual information (e.g. “1 km from the station” or “5 minutes’ walk from bus-stop”) not subjective impressions such as “convenient” or “close”.
    2. Successful advertisements and academic essays need objective facts about both good and bad points.  These make the advertisement (and essay) more persuasive because they suggest impartiality and let the reader judge whether this is good or bad, positive or negative.
  3. Here is the MLA guideline for a multivolume work (which “Angel Bank” is)  (from the Purdue University  Online Writing Lab).
    1. A Multivolume Work
    2. When citing only one volume of a multivolume work, include the volume number after the work’s title, or after the work’s editor or translator.
      1. Quintilian. Institutio Oratoria. Translated by H. E. Butler, vol. 2, Loeb-Harvard UP, 1980.
  4. Using the biographic information below, write a citation for this manga using the MLA style.
    1.  2009
    2. Kodansha
    3. Angel Bank (but you must write the title in Japanese)
    4. Norifusa Mita
    5. Volume 5

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AW2: Week 8, November 22nd, 2019

Homework

  • Re-read the essays handed out in class today (you can download them below).
  • Watch the videos about citations and references if you have not yet done so.
  • Re-write your draft #3, save as “AW2 Essay4 Draft4 LastName” (without the ” of course”), and send it to me by email. The email should have the same subject line “AW2 Essay4 Draft4 LastName”.
  • Print it out and bring to class next week.
  • NEW! Checklist for your draft #4:
    • Does your title and thesis statement clearly show your position on the topic?
    • Do you have a clear thesis statement?
    • Have you done some research and found at least two articles or websites – one that supports your position and one that supports the opposite opinion? 
      • Have you listed both articles in your “Works Cited” section and referred to them in the body of your essay (in-text citation)?
      • Have you used the correct (MLA) format for each one? See this model MLA-style essay for examples.
      • Have you included counter-arguments? WITHOUT A COUNTER-ARGUMENT, AND WITHOUT CITATIONS, YOUR ESSAY IS NOT AN ACADEMIC ESSAY, IT’S JUST AN OPINION PIECE (意見記事)
    • Have you avoided rhetorical questions? (E.g. “Do you like to read books?”)
    • Have you avoided using subjective expressions? (E.g., “I think the 2020 Olympics will be good for Japan.”
    • Have you included objective facts as evidence to support your claims (position and opinions)?
    • Have you included references for all these pieces of evidence (i.e. have you cited all your sources)?
    • Does your conclusion restate your position and summarize your main points?

Today’s class

  1. Brief discussion of citations and references (see last week’s homework)
  2. Wrong logic
  3. In small groups, discuss the key main points of the following essays (click the titles below to download the essay)
    1. Tips on How to Write an Argumentative Essay
    2. 5 Steps to Writing a Position Paper
    3. Refutation
    4. Usage and Examples of a Rebuttal
    5. An Introduction to Academic Writing (essay + discussion questions)

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AW2: Week 7, November 15th, 2019

Homework

  1. Re-write draft #2. Save as “AW2 Essay4 Draft3 Lastname”. Email it to me (subject line should be the same) by next Friday. I will email those students whom I did not get a chance to speak to in class today (Nov. 15th).
    1. Print out and bring your draft #3 to the next class.
  2. If you have not yet done so, please read the essay by Bastiat entitled “The Broken Window Fallacy” 
  3. I suggest you read the Japanese explanation first, then the English. Here’s a link to the Japanese one (Wikipedia).
    1. We will discuss this essay in class next week (Nov. 22nd).
  4. Watch these videos about citations:
    1. Video 1 is here: http://bit.ly/2BvWN6d
    2. Video 2 is here: http://bit.ly/2BliTpw 
    3. Video 3 is here: http://bit.ly/aw2citationsjpns 
  5. Read section 3 below on citations and references.

Today’s class

  1. The difference between “uninterested” and “disinterested”. Small differences but important. Academic writers and students (that means you!) are interested in such small differences and understand their importance.
  2. Rights: positive and negative. Group discussions and individual answers in writing.
    1. Right to life (negative)
      1. Who has the right to life?
      2. Where does life come from?
      3. What does “right to life” mean?
      4. Why is the right to life a human right?
    2. Right to an education (positive)
      1. Who has the right to an education?
      2. Where does education come from?
      3. What does “right to an education” mean?
      4. Why is it considered (by many but not by all) as a human right? (see Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; but not everyone agrees it is a right: for example, French lawyer Bastiat wrote, “

        The most urgent necessity is, not that the State should teach, but that it should allow education. All [legal] monopolies are detestable, but the worst of all is the monopoly of education.

        — By. Frédéric Bastiat

    3. Citations and references. At KPU, Academic Writing students are supposed to use the MLA style. There are two parts to citations:
      1. the in-text citations which are in the main body of your essay, and
      2. the “Works Cited” section which comes after your conclusion at the end of your essay.
      3. Every work cited, that means every website, newspaper and magazine or journal article or book that you use in your essay should be referred to both in the body of your essay and listed in the “Works Cited” section at the end of your essay. The list should be in alphabetical order of authors’ names.
      4. Why should you include citations in your academic essay?
        1. You need to show that you have done some reading about your topic. 
        2. You need to support the points that you are making, i.e. you must give evidence to support your claims.
          1. You must show where you got your information from – not just “the Internet”,
          2. you must give enough information for your reader to find the same article or website or book that you found:
            1. the title of the article or website or book;
            2. the author;
            3. the publisher (Wikipedia is a publisher, for example);
            4. the date of the article, web page or book;
            5. the URL if it’s a website or web page;
            6. the date you accessed it (if it’s a website or web page).
      5. 2 videos (in English) on how to write citations and a bibliography:
          1. Video 1 is here: http://bit.ly/2BvWN6d
          2. Video 2 is here: http://bit.ly/2BliTpw 
            1. This screenshot from video 2 shows the relationship between the in-text citation and the Works Cited (or References) section (click on the picture below to see a bigger one): screenshot
          3. The examples in the video do not use the MLA style but you should.
            1. Overall guide: http://bit.ly/OWL_MLA4aw2  
            2. MLA in-text citations: http://bit.ly/OWLMLAin-text
            3. MLA Works Cited page basic format: http://bit.ly/MLA4awworkscited
          4. And here is a video in Japanese on how to make citations and a Works Cited page using Microsoft Word. The style used in this video is the APA style (see 1:30 in the video; click the picture below to see a bigger one) but you should choose “MLA” from the drop-down list instead of APA. Screenshot

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AW2: Week 6, November 8th, 2019

Announcement

  • Makeup class to replace Nov. 1st’s cancelled class will be held on Saturday Dec. 14th. Check the noticeboard for the time and place.
  • For those who cannot attend, I will prepare some assignments and post them on this blog.

Homework

Today’s class

  • In groups of 4-5, exchange your draft #2, read and comment.
  • Some general points:
    • show the relationship between ideas. Why do schools require young people to write essays? 
      1. To train the young mind to organize their thinking, to think more logically and abstractly, to learn to base their opinion on objective facts and evidence
      2. The written essay shows the instructor the strengths and weaknesses of a student’s thinking.
    • don’t use your personal opinion as an argument: arguments should be supported by objective evidence. A personal opinion is not an argument. 
    • don’t be vague. Some Japanese expressions sound coy in English, e.g. “People should think more seriously about X” when the person really means “People should stop doing X”.
    • Use positive rather than negative expressions at the beginning of a sentence. E.g. instead of “Not only… but also”, use “In addition to…” or “as well as…”
  • Worksheet: download it here
    Icon

    2019-11-08 Sentence combining worksheet 333.43 KB 2 downloads

    Sentence-combining worksheet for AW2 November 8th, 2019. ...

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AW2: Week 4, October 25th, 2019

Announcement

No class Nov. 1st. Next class will be Nov. 8th. A make-up class will be held Dec. 14th (Sat). Please watch for the official announcement.

Homework

  • Write your draft 2 for your essay #4. 
  • Title of your email AND your document: AW2 Essay4 Draft2 Your Name
  • I will send you some comments/suggestions in the next few days about your draft 1 (which you handed in today Oct. 25th). 

Today’s class

  1. Discussion in small groups about essay #4 draft #1
  2. Review of Toulmin model of argumentation: 
    1. Claim
    2. Evidence (also called data or grounds)
    3. Warrant – often a general rule about how the world works
    4. Counter-argument (also called rebuttal)
  3. Importance of evidence in an academic essay. Some examples from news reports that make claims but provide no data to support them.
  4. Textbook:
    1. p. 99 E Use argumentative language
    2. p. 100 Practice 5
    3. p. 106 Concluding statements
    4. Practice 8
    5. p. 107 Practice 9

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AW2: WEEK 3, OCTOBER 18TH, 2019

Homework

  • Choose ONE topic for your persuasive essay. This can be one of the two topics you used for last week’s homework, or a different topic (if you want to choose something NOT on the list in the textbook, email me first).
  • Start writing your essay: at least write the 3 body paragraphs with topic sentences. Type or write it, and bring it to class next week.

Today’s class

  1. Group discussions of homework (2 persuasive essay topics’ arguments and counter-arguments)
  2. How to persuade people?
    1. Aristotle identified three basic ways:
      1. Logos – appeal to reason (e.g. explaining advantages and disadvantages)
      2. ethos – appeal to morality (e.g. appeal to justice, to doing good or doing the right thing)
      3. pathos – appeal to emotion (e.g. using fear, greed, passion, desire)
    2. Aristotle thought good (effective) speakers should use whichever would be most effective, depending on their audience.
    3. However, generally speaking, for academic writing, use #1.
  3. Structure of an argument (Toulmin model)
      1. Argument = opinion + evidence + support /explanation
          1. Opinion = claim (often using words like “should” or “should not”, “good” or “bad”, etc)
          2. evidence = evidence to support the claim (also called “grounds” or “data”)
          3. support/explanation = warrant. The warrant is often a general rule or principle about how the world works.
            1. “An author usually will not bother to explain the warrant because it is too obvious. It is usually an assumption or a generalization. However, the author must make sure the warrant is clear because the reader must understand the author’s assumptions and why the author assumes these opinions.” (Wikipedia)
          4. counter-argument (also called “rebuttal”)
            1. Often introduced by “However”, “Some people say that…” or similar phrase.
        1. Practice writing warrants for these sample arguments:
          1. Claim 1 – “The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo are a good idea”
          2. Evidence 1  – “because the economy will develop”.
          3. Warrant 1  –
          4. Claim  2 – “The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo are not a good idea”
          5. Evidence 2  – “because Japan will become unsafe”
          6. Warrant 2 –
          7. Evidence 2a – “because there will be a risk of terrorism”
          8. Warrant 2a –
          9. Claim 3 – “Nuclear power is good”
          10. Evidence 3 – because of a positive effect on the economy”
          11. Warrant 3 –
          12. Claim 4 – “Nuclear power is not good”
          13. Evidence 4 – “because it is dangerous”
          14. Warrant 4 –
        2. Counter-argument 4 – “However, …(complete) 

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AW2: Week 2, October 11th, 2019

Homework

  • Choose 2 topics from the list on p. 95 (change #4 to “2020 Tokyo Olympics”)
  • write 2 or 3 arguments FOR and AGAINST the topic (you may need to do a bit of research). You are not just expressing YOUR opinion, but also what OTHER people think about this topic.
  • Bring to class next week.

Today’s class

  1. Body paragraph 1: compare the student originals and Sheffner’s rewrites. What changes did he make and why? Discuss in small groups. Download today’s handout here.
  2. Typical rewrite reasons:
    1. colloquial (= non-academic) language –> academic (formal, scientific) language. E.g. don’t –> do not, get better –> improve, get –> buy/purchase, even so –> nonetheless/however, so –> therefore, etc.
    2. avoid repetition (e.g. replace nouns with pronouns). AVOID USING “WE”.
    3. less is more (generally speaking), e.g. 3 words are better than 6. E.g. clothes we buy for every day –> everyday clothes, school uniform that public junior high school students wore –> public junior high school uniforms, etc.
    4. detail in the wrong place – details do not belong in the introductory paragraph but in the body paragraphs. E.g. According to Mainichi Shimbun on February 14 in 2018, Taimei elementary school in Tokyo decided to use school uniforms designed by Italian luxury brand “Armani” –> According to a 2018 newspaper article, a Tokyo school decided to use uniforms designed by a luxury brand.
    5. expand to make a point clearer – sometimes less is NOT more. Sometimes, arguments need to be explained explicitly (especially warrants; more on this later). E.g., we cannot contact with them –> they may not know who or how to contact them.
  3. Textbook p. 93 Practice 1

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AW2: WEEK 1, October 4th, 2019

Homework

  1. Refresh your memory about the correct email format here
  2. Send me an email with a short comment about today’s class. Use the correct format! Subject: AW2 HW1
  3. Finish noting about the introductory paragraphs in today’s handout (download today’s handout here)
  4. Read the sample essay in the textbook pp 91-2. We will answer questions about this essay in class next week. Be prepared.

Today’s class

  • Textbook for this semester is the same: Writers at Work – The Essay. We will use chapters 4-6.
  • To pass the course, you must write and hand in by the deadline THREE essays of a satisfactory quality.
  • Checklist for introductory paragraphs + sample paragraphs from previous years.
    • read the student introductory paragraphs and evaluate them using the 4-point checklist . If you attended this class, you received everything on a single handout. If not, you can download them as two separate handouts below:
  • Here’s the checklist:
    1. The title should clearly state the content and author’s position.
      • Good example – “School Uniforms are Necessary”
      • Not so good example – “Take it for Free?”
    2. Avoid rhetorical questions: “a question asked in order to create a dramatic effect or to make a point rather than to get an answer.”
    3. Introductory paragraph must contain a thesis statement.
    4. Detailed information belongs in the body paragraphs, not the introduction. The introduction is to introduce the topic (the problem, the matter being discussed in the essay) and the author’s position on it.
  • DIscuss in groups.
  • Textbook p. 94 D, p. 96 Practice 3, p. 98 D, p. 99 E.


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AW1: WEEK 14, JULY 19TH, 2019

Announcement

Next week, July 26th (last class, week 15), the classroom will be in a different building – Room 23.

Homework

  • Use my comments and suggestions to rewrite your draft 1,
  • save as AW1 Essay3 Draft1 YourName, then
  • print it out and bring it to class next Friday.

Today’s class

  • Exchange your draft 1 with a classmate and assess it using the “Peer Review Form” on p. 81
  • Textbook p. 79 Practice 10,
  • Textbook p. 80 Practice 11
  • Textbook p. 84 Practice 14
  • Textbook p. 86 Practice 16

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