Tag Archives: week 4

AW2: Week 4, October 25th, 2019


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.


  • 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

AW1: Week 4, May 10th, 2019

Write a paragraph (300-500 words) about what is an essay.

  • research the meaning and history of the English word “essay” (like I researched the meaning and history of the word “academic”) (this will be part of the answer to the questions
    • what is an essay?”
    • “when” did essay writing start (in the West)?
  • research and give the names of 1 or 2 famous Western essay writers (“who?”)
  • give 1 or 2 examples of famous English (or Western) essays.
  • print out and bring to class (May 24th)

Today’s class

  1. “A is A” in Japanese.
  2. Thinking in concepts:
    1. in English, water is qualified as “hot water” or “cold water”, whereas in Japanese they are given two completely different names.
      1. water does not change its identity (H2O) when its temperature changes.
      2. Below 0 degrees it does change its nature, from a liquid to a solid, therefore it is given a different name (ice)
      3. Above 100 degrees it does change its nature, from a liquid to a gas, therefore it is given a different name (steam).
    2. in English, the concept “brother” is qualified as “older brother” or “younger brother”, whereas in Japanese these concepts are given completely different names.
      1. In English, therefore, the essential concept is of brother, a male blood-relative; whether older or younger is a secondary qualifier, which does not change the essential identity.
      2. In Japanese, the names are different, suggesting perhaps that Japanese people think of “older brother” and “younger brother” as two quite different identities.
    3. Straw man argument: this is often used in propaganda so it is useful to be aware of it. Avoid using it yourself in academic writing. Here is the more complete explanation on Japanese Wikipedia: https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/ストローマン
    4. The importance of defining terms: see this example
    5. Free writing: how was your Golden Week?
    6. “What is study?”
      1. Who? What? When? Where? Why?
    7. 1-to-1 conferencing
    8. Collected homework

AW2: WEEK 4, OCTOBER 26TH, 2018


  • After receiving my comments and corrections, write draft #2 of your persuasive essay. If you wish, you may change topics.
  • Bring a hard copy (typed or hand-written) to class next Friday, and
  • email me a digital version by next Friday.
  • Format for your email AND your digital draft: AW2 Essay4 draft1 Name

Today’s class

  1. More practice writing arguments and counter-arguments (for and against)
  2. Argument = Claim (must be arguable), evidence and warrant.
  3. Sentence correction and practice identifying claims, evidence and warrants
  4. Textbook p. 100 Practice 5: practice writing arguments and counter-arguments in one sentence.



AW1: week 4, May 11th, 2018

Update: Next class will be Friday May 25th.


  1. Rewrite your draft #1. This will be Essay1 Draft2
  2. (Email me your draft ONE if you did not give it to me in class Friday May 11th).
  3. Title the file and your email <AW1_Essay1_draft2_(Your Name)> (without the <>)
  4. Email it to me by next Friday.
  5. Research
    1. What are the liberal arts?
    2. What is an essay, and why is it used in the West for academic training?
  6. (Optional) Leave a comment on this blog about today’s class

Today’s class

  1. Read classmates’ outlines and re-write the thesis statement and conclusion if necessary.
  2. Read the sample essay’s thesis statement (p. 4) and conclusion  (p. 5)
  3. In small groups, read and comment on your classmates’ draft #1.
  4. Read p. 29 “Hooks”
  5. Read p. 30 “Conclusion”

AW2: week 4, October 27th, 2017

Next class will be Nov. 10th (no class Nov. 3rd) and the classroom will be 69.


Write draft #3 of your persuasive essay (essay #4). You may choose either of the two view-points you chose for drafts #1 and #2. You may change subject if you wish. However, please remember

  • to make your subject controversial
  • to define your terms
  • to support your claims with evidence (if necessary, provide a reference for your source)
  • that your personal opinion alone is not an argument – you must support it with evidence and explain how the evidence supports your claim.
  • to let me know  which kind of feedback method you prefer me to use for you personally in future.

Today’s class

  1. We have been asked to change classrooms: from November 10th our classroom will be 69, which I believe is in building #6.
  2. General comments for all students:
    1. Define your terms – you must define the meaning of any and all key words you use in your essay.
      1. E.g. one essay on nuclear power included many mentions of “eco-friendly power generation”. The essay must therefore include a clear definition of the meaning of “eco-friendly power generation”. This definition must come near the beginning of the essay.
  3. I have used 2 different ways to give feedback:
    1. comments scribbled directly on student papers, explained orally in 1-to-1 conferences in class time
      1. the disadvantage of this is that I cannot always speak to every student within the 90 minutes, and
      2. students may not understand either my spoken explanations or my written comments
    2. Therefore I have preferred to use a computer program which lets me write my comments as well as categorize errors.
      1. The disadvantages of this method is that
        1. the software is designed to correct only grammatical mistakes, but most student difficulties are in the areas of logic and rhetoric, and
        2. because the software is designed to correct grammatical mistakes, the student’s paper becomes covered with  lots of  red highlighting, which may discourage students when in fact most of the grammatical mistakes are minor and unimportant for communication.
  4. Today I proposed a third method which I call “Black-Blue-Red” where
    • Black is student’s original writing
    • Blue is instructor’s version
    • Red is instructor’s comments/explanations

AW2 week 4, October 28th, 2016


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.

Academic Writing I, week 4: May 6th, 2016


Today’s class

  1. Easy reading exchange
  2. Draft essay exchange
  3. Free writing #3: about your easy reading/yr partner’s easy reading – 5 min
  4. Purposes of essays mini-lecture:
    1. Listen, take notes
    2. Discuss
    3. Write (not free writing): 5 mins
  5. Hand in draft #1
  6. P. 9 practice 4
  7. P 17 D
  8. P18  practice 2

Academic Writing II, week 4: October 23rd, 2015


Re-write your “Persuasive” essay. It must

  • be typed,
  • be double-spaced
  • have a clear, unambiguous title
  • include your position clearly stated in the introductory paragraph
  • include references if necessary,
  • and you must include counter-arguments.

Today’s class:

  1. Exchange essays.
    1. Give comments and
    2. a score out of 5 – 5 is “I agree 100%”, 0 is “I disagree 100%”.
  2. Textbook: p. 103-4 Practice 7. Answers on looseleaf.
  3. Textbook p. 106 Practice 8.
  4. Textbook p. 107 Practice 9.

Academic Writing II, week 3: October 16th, 2015


  • Write a detailed outline for your “Persuasive” essay.
  • Write the first draft of your essay (complete) and bring it to class next week.

Today’s class

  1. Exchange your arguments and counter-arguments with a classmate and give him/her some feedback.
  2. List your arguments in order of importance.
  3. Textbook p. 99 E: read.
  4. P. 00 Practice 5. Write your answers on a piece of looseleaf paper and hand in at the end of the class.
  5. Start writing your outline and essay.
  6. To be persuasive, an essay in English needs to consider opposing points of view, otherwise it is one-sided and a one-sided essay is not persuasive.  For example, an essay that only talks about the positive side of nuclear power, but not the negative, sounds like propaganda. The writer may be considered ignorant – doesn’t he know about the negative side of nuclear power? Is he stupid? Clearly, the writer has not thought about this matter seriously, or done any research.
  7. Some of the topics chosen by this class are:
    1. the death penalty
    2. global warming
    3. banning pets shops from selling animals
    4. improving cell-phone manners
    5. Whether or not to join a club
    6. Whether or not school uniform is a good idea.
    7. Downloading music without paying: should it be illegal?
  8. To write a good, persuasive essay, you need to know the main arguments both FOR and AGAINST.
  9. E.g.
    1. The death penalty:
      1. FOR: it is a deterrent. It deters criminals from committing violent crimes.
      2. AGAINST: life is a gift given by God. It is not man’s to give or to take away. Also, one of the Ten Commandments is “Thou shalt not kill.”
    2. Global warming:
      1. FOR: Human beings are responsible for a huge increase in “greenhouse gases” such as CO2, which are making the whole planet warmer. If this is not stopped, the ice caps will melt and the sea levels will rise resulting in much damage and loss of life.
      2. AGAINST: There has been no global warming for the past 18 years. In addition, CO2 levels have been continuously rising, yet global temperatures have not. This shows that CO2 is NOT the cause of global warming.
    3. Banning pet shows from selling animals:
      1. FOR: It is cruel to animals. People do not care for their pets properly and many are abandoned after a short time.
      2. AGAINST: Private property – what business people do is a private matter and the government has no right to interfere. Further, there are serious consequences if the government interferes in private business.
    4. Whether or not school uniform is a good idea:
      1. FOR: It avoids embarrassment for poor students who cannot afford the nice clothes that rich students would wear. In addition, another purpose is to distinguish between different schools.
      2. AGAINST: the original purpose of school uniform in Japan can be clearly seen by the origin for the design – the Prussian military. The differences between school uniforms is minimal (compare that between different British schools, for example), so this argument is weak. If the purpose was to distinguish between schools, why are all uniforms black?
    5. Downloading music from the Internet – should it be illegal?
      1. FOR: Property rights. The creator of the music is the one who should decide whether to give it away for free or to charge for it and how much. The music was created by the musician’s own brain and musical talent and hard work, therefore the rewards (the profits) also belong to that person. Downloading music without paying is stealing.
      2. AGAINST: Digital content cannot be “stolen”. The person downloading is only making a COPY of the original, not STEALING the original.
  10. In addition, if you are recommending some action by the government (as in topics 1, 2, 3 and 7 above), you should be aware of the main purpose of government. In the English-speaking world, the purpose of government is to protect the rights of the citizens.