Tag Archives: week 7

Academic Writing II, week 7: November 14th, 2014


Choose something that you disagree with – an idea in a story, novel or movie; a politician’s speech, a policy change in your town or university – and write about it, explaining why you disagree with it.

Today’s class

  1. Read ten thesis statements from students’ essays and decided if they were ok or not, and why.
  2. Re-write last week’s free-writing (about something you like) to be more academic.
  3. Freewriting: write about something you don’t like.
  4. Share with a classmate and comment.
  5. Re-write it as academic writing.


Academic Writing I, week 7: May 30th, 2014


Read the outline on p. 52, then write a similar outline for your essay #2, the problem-solution essay.

Today’s class:

  1. Academic writing principles:
    1. The reader is not interested in you.
    2. The writer and reader trade (exchange) value: the writer gives value to the reader, and hopes to receive value back from the reader in the future.
      1. Value = new ideas, new and useful information, a different (fresh) point of view, something funny, something sad, something shocking (=some new experience).
    3. The reader is someone outside your culture and group.
  2. Essay titles: what’s wrong? Listen to these actual essay titles and decide if they violate the three principles above or not.
    1. My English life
    2. Why I study American and European language and culture
    3. Is a bicycle just a tool?
    4. My school trip to Singapore
    5. A mother always influences her daughter
    6. A gift my teacher gave me
    7. The blind man’s gift:
  3. Textbook exercises
    1. p. 46  Practice 3
    2. p. 48 A Read the two different ways to organize a problem-solution essay
    3. p. 49: read the two outlines
    4. p. 50 Practice 5. Read the paragraph and answer the questions

Academic Writing II – week 7, November 15th, 2013


Read the sample essay in the textbook on pages 113-4.

Today’s class:

  1. Free writing #1: any topic, 5 minutes.
  2. Textbook p. 101 Practice 6
  3. Textbook p. 103-4 Practice  7
  4. Textbook p. 106 Practice 8
  5. Textbook p. 107 Practice 9
  6. Textbook p. 108 Practice 10
  7. Free writing #2: write about a book, song, movie, painting, poem, performance, etc. that you respond strongly to.
  8. Short talk about the history of the academic paper.
  9. Edit your free writing #2 to make it more academic.

Academic Writing II – week 7, November 16th, 2012


Finish your final draft of your 2nd essay, the persuasive essay, and bring it to class on Friday November 30th (there is no class next Friday, Nov. 23rd). Write or type your essay using double space, so as to allow room for others to leave comments.

Today’s class

Continue writing and editing your draft for your persuasive essay. Writing and editing should not be done at the same time; Ayn Rand wrote that these two activities are mutually incompatible (see “The Art of Non-Fiction“). Find someone you trust to read and give you feedback on your drafts before you write your final one.

Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I spoke with all students present today and discussed their compare and contrast essay.

Some general points:

  • The best essays gave the reader some new, fresh or interesting information. E.g. some names (e.g. “Benezet“), figures (e.g. the area of Kansai University), or some unique personal experience, such as learning math again as an adult.
  • Many essays, unfortunately, did not tell the reader anything new, but repeated tired old knowledge that most readers already knew. Give the reader something new, something fresh, something unique, something original, something interesting. Please!
  • All essays were well written in terms of formatting, and only a few had grammar or syntax or vocabulary problems that interfered with comprehension.
  • I did not correct minor errors of grammar, vocab and syntax, unless they interfered with comprehension.
  • Many essay titles were rather vague: you want to tell the reader quickly what your essay will be about. The title is a good way to do that. A title like “Universities” is too broad and does not tell the reader what to expect.

(The survey has moved to here.)



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Academic Writing I – week 7, June 1st, 2012

Today’s class:

  • Here are the opening lines of some famous English novels.
  • Which one do you like best? Have you read any of these books? If so, which one(s)?
  1. “This is the saddest story I have ever heard.” The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford.
  2. “Call me Ishmael.” Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  3. “… the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like… and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’T feel like going into it.” Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.
  4. “The past is a a foreign country. They do things differently there.” The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley.
  5. “Hale knew they meant to murder him before he had been in Brighton three hours.” Brighton Rock by Graham Greene.
  6. “You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s  new novel If on a winter’s night a traveller.” If on a winter’s night a traveller by Italo Calvino.
  • Read in the textbook p. 26 (“Transitions”) and p. 27 (“Because” and “however”).
  • p. 34, Practice 16; p. 35 Practice 17; p. 36 Practice 18; p. 37 Practice 19; p. 38 Practice 20.


  • If you were absent, of if you did not finish in class, do the exercises in the textbook above.
  • Bring your essay (latest draft) to class next week.