AW2: Week 1, October 5th, 2018


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.