Tag Archives: week 5

AW2: WEEK 5, November 2nd, 2018


  • After receiving my comments and corrections, write draft #3 of your persuasive essay.
  • 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 draft3 Name

Today’s class

  1. Worksheet 1: combining sentences
    1. The claim and the evidence should be in the same sentence.
  2. Worksheet 2: Evidence and Warrants
    1. You must provide evidence for any claim made in an academic essay.
    2. A claim without evidence is simply a personal opinion and has no weight.
  3. Worksheet 3: weak arguments
    1. Personal opinions are not arguments unless supported by evidence.
    2. Citations or references are necessary evidence – where did you get this information from? You must cite it.
    3. Warrants are very often general principles. You need to know the general principles on which your society is based. Today we looked at the right to life and how this is related to arguments concerning the legalization of certain drugs and the private ownership of firearms.

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AW1: week 5, May 25th, 2018


  • Read the “Outlines” handout (black and blue) and see how I re-wrote the thesis statements and conclusions.
  • Look at the comments I made about your draft #2.
  • Re-write your draft #2 (this becomes draft #3)
  • Email me your draft #3 (Word document or RTF files only please, no PDFs)
    • Document and email title: AW1 Essay1 Draft3 Your Name
  • Print out your draft #3 and bring it to class.
  • Find an essay written in any European language (see the links below for some suggestions),
    • read it (in Japanese translation is fine)
    • make notes of your impressions – things you notice about the style, the structure, the topic, etc.
    • bring your notes to next week’s class to discuss with classmates.

Links to lists of famous essayists

Today’s class

  1. Using your notes and any Internet resources, write a short paragraph about
    1. what the liberal arts are and why they are taught in Western colleges/universities
    2. what an essay is and why essay writing is taught in Western schools and universities
  2. 1-to-1 conferencing to discuss your essay #1, draft #2.

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AW2: week 5, November 10th, 2017


  • Write draft #4
    • re-write your draft #3 after getting my comments and corrections.
  • Email me your draft #3 (if you have not already done so)
  • Email me your draft #4 or bring it to class next week.

Today’s class

  1. Some general comments about your essays
    1. You need to define your terms
    2. Every claim needs evidence (and if necessary, citations/references)
    3. Warrants: you need to explain how and why your evidence supports your claim or thesis.
  2. Option:  I am writing a simplified version of a very famous and fascinating story that teaches basic ideas about Western (especially American) culture and society, and I am looking for volunteers to give me some feedback about my writing. So far I have written two chapters.

    1. Here’s some info on the original book on Wikipedia   (and in Japanese here)

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AW1, Week 5, May 12th, 2017

Write the 2nd draft of your Explanatory essay. You can change topics if you want, but this is your last chance to do so. If you were absent today, read the parts of the textbook that we read in class today before re-writing your essay.

Next week (May 19th) the school is closed, so you have 2 weeks for this assignment. Next class will be May 26th.

Today’s class

  1. Read the topic sentences of the model essay.
  2. Read p. 17 “D Select a Topic”.
  3. P. 22 Practice 4 and 5
  4. p. 29 “Hooks”
  5. p. 26 “E Use transitions” and page 28 “Because and therefore”.
  6. Read again your introductory paragraph
    1. Is the thesis statement clear and specific?
    2. Do you have a good hook?
    3. Are you using transitions to create longer, more sophisticated sentences?

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AW2 week 5, November 4th, 2016


  1. Email me your essay #4 in Word or RTF format.
    1. Format for document name and title (subject) of the email: AW2_Essay4_Final_(Your_Name)
  2. Read something interesting in English. This is preparation for Essay #5: Responding to a reading. It should be something you have strong feelings about – either you like it or hate it.
    1. A novel
    2. a book
    3. a movie
    4. an article
    5. an essay (can be the one in the textbook if you cannot find anything else)

Today’s class

  1. Remember, remember, the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.
  2. Write an outline for your essay:
    1. Title – (check: does it express your position about the topic?)
    2. Thesis statement -(check:  Is it in the first paragraph? Does it summarize your arguments?)
    3. 1st counter-argument and argument
    4. 2nd counter-argument and argument
    5. 3rd counter-argument and argument
    6. Conclusion – (check: does it repeat the introduction and thesis statement? No new information in the conclusion.)
  3. In groups of 4, choose one of the quotes from the handout (#4, #5, & #6 are one set), and translate it into Japanese. Click here to download the handout: analyzing_political_comments

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Academic Writing I, week 5: May 13th, 2016


  • send me an email
    • email me your essay draft if you did not give it to me in class today.
  • I will send you by email your essay draft #2 with some comments.
    • Read my comments, re-write your draft (this will be your final version) and email it to me.
  • Print out your final version and bring to the next class, May 27th (in 2 weeks’ time).

Today’s class

  1. Checked the answers to the Bloom’s Taxonomy quiz.
  2. Free writing: what did you read in English recently?
  3. Mini-lecture: the value of learning academic writing.
    1. Briefly, the value of studying academic writing is that you learn not to be tricked by other people’s propaganda, of which the world is full.
  4. Textbook, p. 4: find the thesis statement.
  5. p. 21,  A (read)
  6. p. 22 Practice 4
  7. p. 22 Practice 5 – write your answers on loose leaf.
  8. p. 24 D  (read).
  9. p. 24 Practice 7- answers on looseleaf
  10. p. 25 Practice 8 – answers on loose leaf.
  11. Write an outline for your explanatory essay (on loose leaf).
  12. Hand in your explanatory essay draft #2.

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Academic Writing II, week 5: October 30th, 2015


Today was the deadline for the essay #4, the Persuasive essay. If you did not hand it in, you need to get it to me PDQ.

  • Read the sample academic reading #2 on the class blog and leave a comment. Do you agree with the writer? Give your reasons.
  • Read the model essay in the textbook Unit 5 pp 113-4.

Today’s class:

  1. Hand in your “Persuasive” essay.
  2. Western civilization went through a historical period called “the Enlightenment”. From Wikipedia: “The Enlightenment, known in French as the ‘’Siècle des Lumières’’ (Century of Enlightenment), and in German as the ‘’Aufklärung’’, was a philosophical movement which dominated the world of ideas in Europe in the 18th century. The principal goals of Enlightenment thinkers were liberty, progress, reason, tolerance, and ending the abuses of the church and state. In France, the central doctrines of the Lumières were individual liberty and religious tolerance, in opposition to the principle of absolute monarchy and the fixed dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church.[3] The Enlightenment was marked by increasing empiricism, scientific rigor, and reductionism, along with increased questioning of religious orthodoxy… The Age of Enlightenment was preceded by and closely associated with the scientific revolution. Earlier philosophers whose work influenced the Enlightenment included Francis Bacon, Descartes, Locke, and Spinoza.[6] The major figures of the Enlightenment included Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, David Hume, Adam Smith, and Immanuel Kant. …The Americans Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson came to Europe during the period and contributed actively to the scientific and political debate, and the ideals of the Enlightenment were incorporated into the United States Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.
    1. Did Japan go through a similar period?
    2. One effect of this was the importance given to debate and discussion in order to arrive at the truth.
    3. In order to write a persuasive essay in English, therefore, the writer needs to adopt an oppositional  or discussion style.
      1. This means not giving a one-sided argument, but including both arguments and counter-arguments.
  3. Discuss: automatic Internet filters for pornography.
    1. What do you think?
    2. The main argument in favour of such filters is to protect children.
    3. Read the sample academic reading #3, then summarize the writer’s arguments against such a filter.

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Academic Writing I, week 5: May 8th, 2015


No class May 15th. Next class is May 22nd

  1. (For those students who have not done so, send me an email. If you can’t, leave a comment on the blog)
  2. Choose a topic from the list in “Your Turn” p. 19.
  3. Write an explanatory essay. Use the same format as the essay on pages 4-5. It must be typed.
  4. Read the class blog (below) for this week, including the explanations of academic writing, and tell me your response in the comments.
  5. Continue with your easy reading. When you’ve finished reading something, add it to the class library on Zotero.  (Read the instructions here.)

Today’s class

  1. Free reading: 10-15 minutes
  2. Reading report (On “My Reading List”)
  3. Free writing – 10 min
    1. No dictionaries
    2. No erasers
    3. Free topic (and can change topic as often as you want)
    4. No rules.
  4. Mini-lecture on the origins of academic writing in Europe
  5. Discussion of 4 in small groups.
  6. Write the key points in English on loose leaf paper
  7. Look at the essay on pages 4-5 in the textbook
    1. How many paragraphs?
    2. How many blue sentences in each paragraph?
  8. The blue sentences are the topic sentences, that give the topic for that paragraph.
  9. Read the explanatory essay on pages 15-16.
  10. Do Practice 7 on your loose leaf paper (pp 24-5)

Read these explanations of academic writing. Are they useful for you? Tell me what you think in the comments.

1) Bell, Debra. “What Is Academic Writing?” Debra Bell. 22 June 2012. Web. 8 May 2015.

What is Academic Writing?

Academic writing is the type of writing students are expected to produce in response to content they learn about in an academic setting; i.e. school. It’s how they formally join the “scholarly conversation.” And it can begin at a very young age, when a child writes a report about a book he has read or a topic she has learned about. It is not a personal experience, nor a story, nor merely a description. Academic writing tells us what the writer thinks and what evidence has contributed to that thinking. The evidence can include the writer’s personal experiences, information found in other books or sources, or information gleaned from talking with others (such as, a parent or expert).  The standard for good academic writing is how logical or reasonable the writer’s thinking is — is the author’s opinion based in evidence that is credible and convincing?

As students mature in their writing skills, we expect them to back-up their thinking with credible evidence (e.g. research) and we expect them to provide citations for where that research has come from (using the style guide associated with the particular discipline; for instance, MLA formatting for the humanities or APA formatting for the social sciences). …

Just ask yourself often what do you think about this? And why do you believe that? What evidence can you provide to support your opinion? Where did you find the facts, ideas and examples you are using to back-up the conclusions you have drawn.

From http://debrabell.com/2012/06/what-is-academic-writing/

2) Mirza, Ozzy. “Definition of Academic Writing.”Write A Writing. Web. 8 May 2015.

  • writing about a specific subject from an authoritative perspective; your tone will be that of an expert on the field who has references from other experts backing up his claim.
    gather & quote as many possible references from other experts who have shared your point of view in the past and published their work.
  • In addition to making a claim, you can also write an academic paper for exploratory purposes i.e. you try to find out more about a particular issue and add your findings to the (sometimes) already existing “knowledge bank”.
  • my definition of scholarly writing is, “Any writing that can either be backed up by past research to validate a certain claim or is conducted to explore a particular subject; commonly assigned by universities & colleges”.
    From http://www.writeawriting.com/academic-writing/definition-academic-writing/


3) Jones, Rosemary. “Academic Writing.” EFL Laboratory. Web. 8 May 2015

Academic Writing

By Rosemary Jones

Looking at the big picture

Academic writing is based on analysis – the process of breaking down ideas – to increase one’s understanding. It uses deductive reasoning, semi-formal voice, and third person point-of-view.

Use of deductive reasoning – Stating the thesis (main idea) early and then following with supporting examples and details make complicated ideas easier to understand.
Semi-formal voice – This means no slang, colloquialism (common expressions of ordinary speech), contractions of nouns and verbs, etc.
Third person point-of-view – Third person points-of-view (e.g., he, she, it, and they) should be used.
Characteristics of academic writing


General purpose – to present information that displays a clear understanding of a subject

Specific purpose – varies according to the assignment:

Argument and Persuasion – To persuade readers to accept the writer’s opinion

Exposition* – To explain something

Description – To describe something

Narration – To tell a story

What is expository writing?

Expository writing is an explanation of a topic by answering the following questions:

What is it?
What does it do?
What does it resemble?
How does it work?
How does it come about?
Why is it important?
What types of development are used for expository writing?

  • Cause and Effect
  • Comparison and Contrast
  • Definition
  • Description
  • Process

From http://amarris.homestead.com/files/Academic_Writing.htm







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Academic Writing I, week 5: May 9th, 2014

Kamogawa River, May 9th, 2014
Kamogawa River, May 9th, 2014


  • Rewrite your essay, print it out and hand it in next time (May 23rd).
  • (If you were absent today, read my comments below before re-writing your essay.)
  • If you were absent today, email me your essay as soon as possible.

Today’s class:

  1. In groups of 4~5, students read each other’s essays and commented positively on them.
  2. Students wrote a few sentences about what it was like to read classmates’ essays and give and receive feedback.
  3. Textbook exercises:
    1. p. 27 Practice 9, 10, 11
    2. p. 34 Practice 16
    3. p. 36 Practice 18
    4. p. 37 Practice 19
  4. Some of Sheffner’s comments on students’ writing:
    1. In English-speaking countries, only children (and poets, sometimes) write a new sentence on a new line. I understand it may be common practice in Japan, but in English it makes the writer look childish. This applies to emails as well, by the way.
    2. In English, expressions of time usually come at the end of a sentence rather than the beginning as in Japanese. E.g.: “I went to Nagano last week” (rather than “Last week, I went to Nagano”).
    3. Don’t use “so” when you mean “very”. Use “so” as a conjunction, e.g. “Last week was Golden Week, so I went on a trip to Nagano”, or use it in the construction “so that…”
    4. When writing about yourself and other people, the convention in English is to put yourself last, e.g. “My sister and I”, not “I and my sister”, or “Keita, Kyoko, Akiko and I…”, not “I, Keita, Kyoko and Akiko”.
    5. Update: When a car driver wants to turn left or right, the driver indicates this wish by using a signal – the flashing orange indicator. car_lights_rear But in writing in English, it is not always necessary to signal what you are going to do. E.g., it is not necessary to write (or to say) “Now I will introduce myself.” Just introduce yourself directly, without the “signal”.
      1. How can you learn when to signal in English and when it is not necessary? By reading lots of English.
    6. In English, a sentence is a complete idea. “So I went to Nagano” is not a complete idea, only half an idea, therefore it cannot be a sentence on its own. “Because it was Golden Week” is also not a complete idea; it is part of the idea “I went to Nagano last week”, and therefore should not be a sentence on its own. Short rule: Avoid using “Because”, “So”, and “And” at the beginning of English sentences.
    7. Generally speaking, unless the reader is your mother or some other member of your family, or your best friend (and you would not use academic writing style when writing to these people, probably), the reader is not interested in you, the writer. Therefore, a title like “Why I study English” is not going to interest most readers. Who cares why you study English?! Therefore, please think about your title and your opening sentences, i.e. your “hook” (see textbook p. 29), and catch the reader’s interest. E.g. “My Grandmother’s Diary”, or “The Shocking but True Reason Why I Study English”. Of course, the content of your essay should also be of interest to an academic reader!


Today, I mentioned that to seriously improve your English writing skills, there is no alternative to reading and writing a lot. I suggest reading easy materials that you can understand 90% of without a dictionary (i.e., English materials that you don’t need a dictionary to read).

I also mentioned some blogs:

  • some English blogs written by Japanese people living in the Nara area, and
  • some videos of an Irishman who regularly learns new languages, including Japanese, Chinese and Arabic.

Here are my Nara Lady English Bloggers:

And here are some videos of Benny Lewis, the polyglot Irishman:

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