Category Archives: Academic Writing I

AW1: WEEK 2, APRIL 19TH, 2019

Homework

Today’s class

  1. Principles of academic writing (review)
    1. Ask questions before judging, deciding, writing or speaking – in order to get correct and accurate information.
      1. E.g. before writing about Trump’s “America First” slogan, ask
        1. what does it mean (not what you think it means but an objectively verifiable meaning)?
        2. who first used this expression?
        3. when was it used?
    2. Define your terms.
      1. e.g. when writing about the American principle of “mind your own business”, first define “business” and the meaning of the expression “mind your own business”.
      2. This definition should be objectively verifiable, i.e. not your own personal interpretation.
    3. “A is A” – Aristotle’s Law of Identity. I found a Japanese explanation of it. You can download it here.
  2. Free writing (5 minutes): what was your week like since last class? How many classes do you have in a week?
  3. It is important for you, as students learning to write in English, that you have some understanding of Western principles, otherwise your writing may not be persuasive.
    1. E.g., suggesting people should do something “because everyone else is doing it” is unlikely to persuade a Western reader. It is not a reason for action. Why not? (Explanation next week.)
    2. I explained about the behaviour of sheep. (People who behave like sheep, i.e. doing what everyone else does without thinking, are sometimes called “sheeple” (sheep + people)).
  4. Watch this video and
    1. Summarize in English what the man (Sakuragi) says;
    2. Give your opinion about what he says, explaining the reason for your opinion.


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AW1: WEEK 1, April 12th, 2019

Welcome to Sheffner’s Academic Writing I (AW1) class.

The textbook is

Writers at Work: The Essay (Upper-Intermediate) Student’s Book. Publisher: Cambridge University Press. Dorothy Zemach & Lynn Stafford-Yilmaz (authors) ISBN: 978-0521-693-028

We will start using this from next week.

You can download today’s (Friday April 12th) presentation here:

Homework: send me an email.

  • Introduce yourself briefly
  • tell me why you are taking this class (briefly)
  • make a short comment about today’s class (April 12th).
  • Use a current email address that you check regularly. I will use this to contact you from time to time during the semester.

Check out the email format image if you’re not sure of the format.

I’m looking forward to this semester. See you next Friday, April 19th.

Today’s class

  • Course intro (see link above)
  • What is academic writing?
  • What is the origin of the word “academic”?
  • Who started it? Where?
  • What are the characteristics of academic writing?
    • Asking questions BEFORE judging
      • What? When? Where? Who? How?Why?
    • Defininitions / define your terms
  • Liberal Arts:
    • grammar
    • logic
    • rhetoric
  • Free writing – 5 minutes – tell me about your spring vacation. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling or logical order. Just write. Do not edit while writing. Writing and editing are two different activities that use different parts of the brain. Trying to do both at the same time is a bad idea.
  • 5 American principles:
    1. God helps those who help themselves
    2. Mind your own business
    3. Live and let live
    4. Let’s make a deal
    5. Our children’s future will be better
  • Write your own list of Japanese or your own personal principles, and a brief comparison with the 5 American ones.
  • Rhetoric is the art of persuasion. To persuade others, it is necessary to understand how they think. Therefore, it is important and necessary for writing persuasively in English to understand English-speakers’ principles and values.


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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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AW1: Week 8, June 15th, 2018

Homework

Write at least the introduction paragraph  of Essay2 draft1 and bring to class next week.

Today’s class

  1. Textbook p. 42, questions 1-5 (on looseleaf)
  2. Read the sample essay pp 43-4.
  3. Answer the questions p. 44 Practice 1, 1-8
  4. p. 45 Practice 2
  5. p. 46 Your Turn: choose a topic. Free writing for 10 minutes.


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AW1: Week 7, June 8th, 2018

Homework

  • Email me your Essay #1 Final draft, if you have not already done so.
  • Please tell me by email (if you did not tell me in class today)
    1. if you would like to read a collection of your classmates’ essays #1 (yes or no)
    2. if you agree to your essay #1 being included in the class collection (yes or no)
    3. if yes to #2, do you wish your name to appear on your essay or not?
    4. what method of feedback you prefer in future
      1. face-to-face
      2. handwritten comments on your paper
      3. error correction software (pink highlights, etc)
      4. some combination of the above

Today’s class

  1. Expressive vs communicative writing
    1. Communicative writing is writing with the reader in mind. 
  2. Essay writing is standard in most secondary schools in English-speaking countries in order to develop mental discipline, the ability to think objectively, logically and critically, and to express oneself clearly for the benefit of others.
    1. Essay writing is communicative rather than expressive writing.
    2. Some good examples are the essays by Francis Bacon and the Frenchman Michel Eyquem de Montaigne.
      1. Montaigne’s essays repay study, as he wrote his thoughts and feelings but somehow made them interesting and useful to his readers.
  3. Error correction – although most students expect their instructor to correct their English, error correction is not always an efficient method of learning, because
    1. the natural order of acquisition (I subscribe to Krashen’s theory of second language acquisition)
  4. Common errors among Japanese EFL students
    1. insufficient use of pronouns (resulting in too much repetition of nouns)
    2. insufficient use of relative pronouns and adverbs (which, that, whose, there, where, when, etc.), resulting in unnecessary repetition, unnecessarily long sentences or unnecessary multiple sentences.
  5. Discussion of typical errors in a sample student essay, marked using marking software. Download the sample essay here: AW1 Essay1 draft3 sample_4class
  6. 1-to-1 conferencing


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