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Title: ACADEMIC WRITING Author: wrem Last modified by: fhss Created Date: 11/13/2007 8:04:28 AM Document presentation format: On-screen Show Company – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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  • English for Water Managers

Activity 1
  • When did you first start writing?
  • Looking back through your school years, can you
    think of a specific writing task that challenged,
    frustrated or made you satisfied with the writing
    task given.

Activity 2
  • Can you verbalise what goes on in your mind as
    you write.
  • Verbalise your thoughts in whatever language you

Activity 3
  • How difficult was it to speak aloud while
  • Have you ever thought about what you do when you
    are composing a piece of writing?
  • What did you think about before you started
    writing this time?
  • What do you think you were doing when

Activity 3 cont.
  • when not speaking?
  • Do you think it helpful to know what sort of
    things you do when you compose a piece of

Aims of this unit
  • To give an insight into what is involved in the
    writing process
  • To help reconstruct the train of thoughts which
    underlie the text one is to write.

  • Through writing we are able to
  • Share ideas
  • Arouse feelings
  • Persuade and convince other people
  • Discover and articulate ideas in ways that only
    writing makes possible it becomes a permanent
    record, as a form of expression and as means of

  • Writing is a complex process it is a learned
    craft which requires a lot of practice, and no
    formula can guarantee a good essay especially in
    the medium of the written word, the communication
    of complex ideas is a process--a process that
    requires thinking and rethinking, working and

Writing cont.
  • Writing is a form of problem solving which
  • involves processes such as
  • Generating ideas
  • Discovering a voice with which to write
  • Planning
  • Goal setting
  • Monitoring and Evaluation what is going to be
    written as well as what has been written
  • Searching for language with which to express
    exact meanings.

  • The great Chinese writer, Lu Chi, reflected in
    his essay Wen Fu (The Art of Letters) upon the
    process of writing and being a writer,
    acknowledged the power of the written word
  • Behold now the utility of letters
  • It extends over a thousand miles and nothing can
    stop its course
  • It penetrates a million years, the ferry from one
    to the other

Writing Process Model
  • Generating Ideas
  • Focusing Re-viewing Evaluating
  • Structuring Drafting

  • Writing primarily is about organising
  • information and communicating ideas, generating
    ideas is a crucial part of the writing process
    generating ideas involves drawing upon long-term
    memory which consists of 3 main kinds of memory
  • Episodic which is devoted to events,
    experiences and visual and auditory images

Generating ideas cont
  • Semantic memory which is devoted to
    information, ideas, attitudes and values
  • Unconscious memory which includes emotions and
  • For example
  • Imaginative writing will tap episodic and
    unconscious memory as part of the process of
    creating an imaginary world.

  • Discursive writing will tend to call upon
    semantic memory in which logically interconnected
    ides will be important.
  • Authors of reports, proposals where one has to
    focus on facts and information might tap into
    semantic memory.
  • One of the techniques one might use is to brain
    storm with colleagues to get ideas on intended
    research topic.

  • Is the ability by a writer to choose and decide
    what is will be the focal point of their essay or
  • To communicate their message effectively, writers
    need to focus upon a central idea, viewpoint
    which will unify and inform the text they
  • The focal idea or thesis should address a key
    question from the reader which is what are

Focusing cont.
  • you trying to tell me?
  • Readers expect the writers to have certain
    attitude towards their subject matter that the
    writer will make their viewpoint clear. Their
    attitude could be one of approval, disapproval,
    belief, doubt, support, or favour.
  • Note
  • It is important for writers to establish this

Focusing cont.
  • attitude to their writing because uncertainty
  • confuses the reader who will be left at a loss
  • as to how to respond to the text presented.

Lack of focus or thesis statement
  • Consequence is that the writer will find it
    difficult to organise ideas coherently, since
    there will be no central idea around which to
    structure them
  • The reader will find it difficult to grasp what
    it is the writer is trying to get across and may
    react to the text with a variety of negative
    responses such as boredom,

  • Disdain, rejection, frustration, anger and even
  • ACTIVITIY 2 Choose controversial issue or event
    in groups students do the following

Focus cont.
  • What is the focal (central) idea in the text?
  • What information does the writer highlight or
    make prominent?
  • How is the information made prominent?
  • Where does it appear in the text?
  • How much space is given to it?
  • Does the writer choose words with powerful
    emotive associations?

  • Sometimes writers fear that they havent enough
    ideas to write about therefore selecting useful
    ideas and rejecting irrelevant ones is therefore
    an important part of the writing process.
  • In pairs students write down ideas on Role played
    by traditional leaders in allocation

Ideas cont.
  • of resources.
  • Pool suggestions together, students compile a
    list of ideas from the bank of ideas produced
  • Select ideas most useful for their purpose,
    groups report back to class on ideas they
    consider most useful for their purpose
  • Discuss reasons for inclusion / exclusion of

ideas cont.
  • of information and ideas where there are any
    controversial choices
  • Decide on what purpose the selected ideas would
    be useful to the essay.
  • How we use data depends upon the purpose we have
    in mind for our next text. For example

ideas cont.
  • Do you want to persuade your reader of a certain
  • Do you want to give positive/optimistic/pessimisti
    c impression of the situation
  • Are you going to focus on one aspect of your
    situation, if so, which one and why?

Establishing a viewpoint
  • If communication through writing is to take
    place, writers need to be able to convey their
    viewpoint to the reader purpose to enable the
    reader to see things from the writers angle,
    even if in the end the writer does not agree with
    their viewpoint or find it strange and absurd

Considering Audience
  • Effective writers are critical readers of what
    they write they have to see their text through
    someones eyes and anticipate places where the
    message might not be clear, readers attitudes and
    expectations will be different from their own, or
    things they take for granted will have to be
    explained to the reader.

Audience cont.
  1. What audience is the text aimed at?
  2. What is the purpose of the text?
  3. What ideas and persuasive points are used?
  4. Which ideas are most effective?
  5. Which language features help to influence
    readers reactions to the text?

  • Conveying a message through writing is
    essentially a matter of selecting information,
    both linguistic and factual and arranging it or
    structuring it
  • It entails grouping ideas together and deciding
    how to sequence them.
  • As we start writing, new ideas are constantly
    generated, writer has to re-adjust

Structuring cont.
  • original plan writing should not be thought of
    as a process where organisation of ideas is a
    preliminary and finite stage, but rather where
    on-going re-organisation is the key.
  • For example, in an analytical or argumentative
    text, readers expect to be given a clear
    understanding of at least the

Structuring cont.
  1. The general background to the discussion or
  2. The specific issue or case being considered or
  3. The problems related to it, and possible
  4. The writers evaluation of these problems.

  • Concerns of the reader should now begin to assume
    more significance how to attract the attention
    of their audience, how to continue appealing to
    them, how to lead them through the text to a
  • Introduction to essay
  • Is the opening interesting

  • Is the opening interesting? What form does it
    take e.g. quotation, statement, generalisation
  • How is the opening related to the rest of the
  • How is the ending linked to the opening?
  • How is the ending linked to the rest of the text?

  • Focuses on the notion that the writer should be
    ones own critic do not assume that it is the
    role of the teacher/supervisor to evaluate your
    work have to get a sense of what is wrong with
    a text and have to put it right.
  • What you write will be read by many people this
    should give you capacity for

Evaluating cont.
  • self-assessment, become an observant reader of
    your own work.
  • Remember
  • Once completed a written record is permanent
  • Readers have plenty of opportunity to notice and
    remember any places where language, presentation
    are found

Evaluating cont.
  • to be inadequate
  • Readers can choose not to read what the writer
    offers them should they find it uninteresting,
    pointless or incomprehensible.
  • Writers to consider the following questions as
    they assess how coherently they have presented
    the information and ideas

  • Type of writing what type of writing is
  • this text intended to be for example
  • The Expository Essay
  • The function of the expository essay is to
  • explain, or to acquaint your reader with a
  • body of knowledge. By explaining a topic to
  • the reader, you are demonstrating your own
  • knowledge.

Evaluating cont
  • The Persuasive Essay
  • In the persuasive essay, you must defend your
    side of an argument. You are no longer merely
    showing, you are convincing.
  • The persuasive essay must choose a side, make a
    case for it, consider and refute alternative
    arguments, and prove to the

  • undecided reader that the opinion it presents is
    the best one. You must be aware of other sides
    and be fair to them dismissing them completely
    will weaken your own argument. It is always best
    to take a side that you believe in, preferably
    with the most supporting evidence. It can often
    be educational to adopt a different position from
    what you might normally choose (debating requires
    this kind of flexibility).

Evaluating cont
  • The informal essay is written mainly for
    enjoyment. This is not to say that it cannot be
    informative or persuasive however, it is less a
    formal statement than a relaxed expression of
    opinion, observation, humour or pleasure. A good
    informal essay has a relaxed style but retains a
    strong structure, though that structure may be
    less rigid than in a formal paper.

Evaluating cont..
  • A review may be either formal or informal,
    depending on the context. Its goal is to evaluate
    a work, which implies that the reviewer's
    personal opinion plays a significant role in the
    process. However, a certain objective standard
    needs to be maintained and, as in a persuasive
    essay, your assertions need to be proved.

Evaluating cont..
  • The formality of the review will be determined by
    how much of the essay is analysis, how much is
    summary, and how much is your reaction to the
    work you are reviewing. A more formal review will
    not only discuss the work on its own merits but
    also place it in context. A good review will
    discuss both the qualities and the importance of
    a given work.

  • The research essay leads you into the works of
    others and asks you to compare their thoughts
    with your own. Writing a research paper involves
    going to source material and synthesizing what
    you learn from it with your own ideas. You must
    find texts on the subject and use them to support
    the topic you have been given to explore

Evaluating cont.
  • Because it is easy to become lost in a wilderness
    of outside material, you must take particular
    care to narrow your topic.
  • A research paper should demonstrate what you have
    learned, but it should also show that you have a
    perspective of your own on the subject.

  • In the literary essay, you are exploring the
    meaning and construction of a piece of
    literature. This task is more complicated than
    reviewing, though the two are similarly
    evaluative. In a review you are discussing the
    overall effect and validity of written work,
    while in a literary essay you are paying more
    attention to specifics.
  • and work to support your viewpoint.

  • A literary essay focuses on such elements as
    structure, character, theme, style, tone, and
    subtext. You are taking a piece of writing and
    trying to discover how and why it is put together
    the way it is. You must adopt a viewpoint on the
    work in question and show how the details of the
    work support your view

Evaluating cont.
  • Purpose and ideas
  • Is the writers purpose clear?
  • Do we as readers understand the main ideas
  • Is it easy to follow to follow