Integrating Academic Writing Skills Into General English Classes
This paper looks at the way of teaching academic writing skills to first-year students in General English classes. It describes the stages, the exercises and the material. Every stage is assessed and recommendations are sometimes given. At the end the analysis of the course is offered.
Настоящее учебное пособие предназначено для обучения академическим навыкам письма и подготовки к сдаче международного экзамена IELTS по аспектy «Академическое письмо».
Целью пособия является формирование и закрепление академических навыков, необходимых для создания англоязычных текстов учебной и научной направленности на микро и макроуровнях. Пособие направлено на формирование компетенций, необходимых для использования английского языка в учебной, научной, и профессиональной деятельности. Пособие включает разделы, посвященные особенностям написания параграфа, изучения структуры академического эссе, а также эссе формата международного экзамена IELTS.
Материал пособия рекомендуется использовать для аудиторной и самостоятельной работы студентов. Пособие может быть полезно студентам преподавателям вузов, а также для всех желающих приобрести академические навыки письма на английском языке.
The focus of the article is the place of Academic Writing in English in the overall system of courses and the university curricula of philological faculties (schools of linguistic and literary studies), general principles of such courses and ways and challenges of their implementation. The theoretical part is followed by a case study: the Academic Writing (English) course taught at the Faculty of Philology (School of Linguistic and Literary Studies) of the Higher School of Economics.
The paper covers a case of teaching critical reading and speaking to students of Economics, ICT and Mechanics at senior levels at National Research University Higher School of Economics. Relevant tested teaching materials aimed at the development of required competencies in reading and speaking are presented as well as the methodical principles used in elaboration of these materials.
The paper under consideration deals with the quantitative category in the English language as one of the most significant aspects. As quantitative elements are expressed by all parts of speech, their appropriate use allows developing students’ lexical competence. Firstly, the paper is aimed at drawing special attention to both formation and use of quantitative components in terms of the development of ELL writing and listening skills. Secondly, some numerical elements in German and English are compared in order to highlight a lot of similarities in these related languages. This fact implies that a good knowledge of German makes it possible to develop ELL linguistic competences much quicker. At the same time, language transfer can lead to the inverted order of writing English numerals, which is likely to influence the communicative act in a negative way. Some most common mistakes, made by students in their listening and writing papers, have been analysed from the theoretical point of view. Typical writing mistakes result from either a lack of elementary skills of the formation of numerals or gaps in the knowledge of other quantitative elements that are presented by all parts of speech. Omission, approximation, lexical errors, syntactical errors, phonemic errors, and inversion are the main reasons for the wrong perception of audible texts. The results of the further analysis as well as a case study are presented in the paper. In outline, the use of a variety of quantitative components should be practised on a regular basis so that students might benefit from it not only in their classroom activities but also in the preparation for their IELTS exam.
The book is to be used as a supplement to an Upper Intermediate course in General English aiming to develop academic skills of reading and writing around the topics and vocabulary of 5 Units in the course book «Upstream Upper Intermediate» by Bob Obee –Virginia Evans (1, 2, 3, 6 and 9). Each section of the book includes instructions on developing basic reading and writing skills and several tasks to practise the skills.
To help graduate students with academic writing, a college of education at a large university implemented a new service, Writing Support Circles. Based on the results of the first series of this service, we changed its design. The purpose of this article is to share how changes in the design affected these adult learners’ writing self-efficacy and workshop satisfaction.
Contemporary argumentation theorists claim that argumentation has interactive, social, dynamic and dialogical nature and reflect social constructivist perspective. Yet, there are multiple approaches to promoting a most effective learning approach and instruction. How can students learn to construct strong arguments and distinguish between facts and opinions?
There are three educational approaches for developing argument skills: oral, written and web-based discussions. Research results reveal that expended engagement in argumentative discourse improves the quality of arguments even if there is no instruction provided.
In our book we take a mixed approach to teaching which is based on experiential learning and direct instruction. Direct instruction provides students with requirements for their writing while the experiential approach emphasizes their engagement and practice.
For Russian students, engaging in a “two-sided” argument (versus "one-sided") seems to be challenging. A two-sided argument addresses the opposing argument, rather than simply arguing for one's own position. It is crucial that Russian students learn to engage in evidence-based argumentation where they provide a claim and support it by evidence or reasons in a certain way.
Another challenge is that English instructors may also have difficulty in explaining how to make arguments and how evidence can be applied in reading and writing. Many teachers seem to be unprepared to provide instructional support for learning argumentation skills.
Development of cognitive competence requires acknowledging the academic and disciplinary discourses. Russian students often struggle to attend to opponent's claims and stay focused on their own claims. They also fail to identify any weaknesses in the opponent’s arguments. However, when proper instruction is available students are able to apply arguments.
There are various approaches to defining argument structure. Some researchers highlight a claim supported by grounds, warrants and backing. Others suggest argument-counterargument integration for defining an argument schema and suggest strategies to construct an integrative argument: refutation, constructing a design claim and weighing.
Whatever approach is chosen, one learning goal is for teachers and for students to become aware of the existing strategies and decide why they follow it. This is part of the goal of metacognitive development. It is also important to incorporate reflective activities into learning as they help to ensure that reasoning skills become internalized.
In addition to gaining awareness of the strategies and reflection, a learner should gain a deeper understanding of the content and persuading others with their arguments. Students should learn generate arguments that incorporate multiple perspectives of an issue. Our book employs reflective activities as a primary pedagogical tool for the improving argument and reasoning skills.
Our book is in line with the experiential learning which we see as the process of learning when students’ knowledge is based on their experience. “Knowledge results from the combination of grasping and transforming experience" (Kolb, 1984, p. 41 in Kolb, et al., 2000). The learning process is structured in four stages including first experience (preliminary questions in each section), reflective observation (theoretical excerpts and sample writings), abstract conceptualization (end-of-the-section questions) and active experimentation (thinking, speaking, writing activities).
In our book we also scaffold argumentative written discourse and break up learning activities into different aspects. There are such techniques as working in collaborative pairs, reflective activities, dialogues and discussions.
The development of metacognition is based on extended reading activities and speaking. It will help ensure students become reflective about their reasoning and evidence. Apart from having students develop stronger arguments, we invite them to engage more with the opposing position which isn't necessarily false.
We do believe that mastering critical writing skills help students become better critical thinkers.
Institutions affect investment decisions, including investments in human capital. Hence institutions are relevant for the allocation of talent. Good market-supporting institutions attract talent to productive value-creating activities, whereas poor ones raise the appeal of rent-seeking. We propose a theoretical model that predicts that more talented individuals are particularly sensitive in their career choices to the quality of institutions, and test these predictions on a sample of around 95 countries of the world. We find a strong positive association between the quality of institutions and graduation of college and university students in science, and an even stronger negative correlation with graduation in law. Our findings are robust to various specifications of empirical models, including smaller samples of former colonies and transition countries. The quality of human capital makes the distinction between educational choices under strong and weak institutions particularly sharp. We show that the allocation of talent is an important link between institutions and growth.