Writing for Research

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A brief description of the ways EFL teachers can help their students write better essays and research papers.

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Writing for Research

  1. 1. Teaching Academic Writing: from essays to research Thomas TaskerEnglish Language Fellow Program tct118@psu.edu
  2. 2. PowerPoints and handouts…1. tesolukrainesummerinstitute.pb works.com2.personal.psu.edu/tct118/presen tations
  3. 3. Overview• Linking reading and writing• Academic writing: essays• Process vs. product approach• Portfolios• Research projects• Teacher / student writing consultations• Plagiarism• Creating a writing goal
  4. 4. Writing skills1. What do students need to be able to do to become good essay writers?2. What do students need to be able to do to become good research paper writers?Be specific!
  5. 5. Writing tied to reading• Students need to write often about what they read, and publish what they write• Have students react to the reading they are doing for class.• Have students react to topics they read in depth ▫ Research a curriculum topic ▫ Give a presentation in class ▫ Write a paper about what they discovered
  6. 6. Publishing what students write• Writing in the real world is public• Teacher Class World• Ways to publish: ▫ Pass out copies of student work ▫ Students write on blogs ▫ Students write on wikis
  7. 7. BlogsA blog is an online, semi-public journal that displays the user’s posts, and allows visitors to post responsesBlogging = individual reaction to something + the comments of othersInformal, independent writing
  8. 8. Blogging• What are the potential problems your students might have with blogging?• Not all students will have access ▫ Kontakt; Facebook; World of Warcraft ▫ Students can work in pairs ▫ Give students time to post ▫ Students can turn in the work on paper
  9. 9. Blogging projects• Autobiography • Add a new chapter each month • Other students read, comment on• Student responses to reading, films, class discussions, curriculum topics • Follow-up writing task from class work • Students can add pictures, video, Powerpoints• Reading blog • Add 10 entries per semester about class / home reading
  10. 10. Wikis Wiki = web-based collaborative writing space• Wiki wiki means ‘quick’ in Hawai’ian• Allows multiple users to add and edit content of one shared space• Users add new pages to create a network of hyperlinked documents• More student control = more success
  11. 11. Wiki projects• A student newsletter ▫ Students add information monthly• A town / district information source ▫ A resource for tourists• Extra information on curriculum topics ▫ Assign students different topics, they create a page on the class wiki with links, pictures, videos, etc.• Student cookbook• Student essays ▫ Students have their own page for essays; other students proofread their writing, make suggestions
  12. 12. Academic writing• http://owl.english.purdue.edu/• ESL writing, style guides, how to run a writing tutorial, resumes, cover letters, writing exercises
  13. 13. Essay writing• Builds on paragraph writing work• Learning essay structure essential• Formulaic to creative• Student’s voice to informed opinion
  14. 14. Rearrange the steps of the writing process• ___ Publish• ___ Brainstorming• ___ Assess the topic• ___ Write the second draft• ___ Editing• ___ Revising• ___ Write the first draft
  15. 15. The 5-paragraph essay• Introduction (1 paragraph, 4-5 sentences) ▫ Hook ▫ Thesis statement• Body (3 paragraphs, 3-4 sentences) ▫ Topic sentence ▫ Supporting statements• Conclusion (1 paragraph, 4-5 sentences) ▫ Re-stated thesis statement ▫ Closing statement
  16. 16. • During the cold months of winter, I often dream of the white, sandy beaches of an island country, where the sun shines warmly upon my face. Then I wander to another corner of the world, where I find myself walking among trees tall like giants and I feel as if I am one of Hook the exotic animals running freely below. Yet each time I begin to dream of traveling to another country, my mind keeps returning to a place with historical pyramids where strange spices waft through the air and beautiful, rhythmic music lures me into a trance. For me, Introduction Egypt has always been a place that has an indelible mark of history, culture and mystery and is a place I hope to visit one day. Thesis statement• If you study history closely, you will notice that Egypt has played a central role in world history time and again. Books tell us stories from the beginning of time when pharaohs ruled the land, to today, when the fight between democracy and extreme Islamic views make Egypt a powerful player in world politics. Yet, books can only provide us with a limited view. To fully understand and experience a country, we must travel to this place, Body where we can walk on the streets where these leaders walked, visit the places where these important decisions were made, touch the monuments crafted in their honor.• Also, the culture of the Egyptians has infiltrated the ways of life in countries near and far. Today, we can see Egyptian influences in our food, clothes and even furniture. Often popular culture is influenced by Egyptian music and fashion. In America, belly dancing, Topic sentences which originated in Egypt, is popular among young women. Although the proverb reminds us that imitation is the best form of flattery, American belly dancing classes and Egyptian jewelry purchased in Ukraine are only artificial representations of this country’s culture. I want to visit Egypt’s bazaars and eat in its restaurants because such authentic experiences Supporting will create memories that I will be able to remember the next time I watch belly dancers or wear an Egyptian necklace. sentences• Finally, people often travel around the world trying to find answers to its mysteries, and Egypt has always been a place of intrigue for many travelers, including myself. I hope that my adventures will help me understand that culture’s place in history and explain why the rest of the world is so fascinated with their traditions. It is possible that my travels will only create more questions, but these questions can be the beginning of a lifetime of globetrotting.• In conclusion, Egypt’s history, culture and mysteries have transfixed the world for Conclusion centuries and its influence can be seen across the globe. I believe that we can find answers through our experiences. Books are helpful but limited, and traveling is the best way to discover unknown worlds. I hope that one day I will be able to visit Egypt so that I can satisfy my curiosity about this country, its people and traditions. Last message
  17. 17. Graphic organizers for essays Essay thesis or question
  18. 18. Make an outlineIntroductionThesis Statement ____________________________________________Reason #1Topic Sentence ____________________________________________ Support A _____________________________________________ Support B _____________________________________________ Support C ______________________________________________
  19. 19. Reason #2, 3Topic Sentence ______________________________________________ Support A ______________________________________________ Support B ______________________________________________ Support C ____________________________________________ConclusionThesis Statement (restated in different words ) _____________________________________________
  20. 20. Revising and editing• Students revise and edit the first draft of their essays• Students can read each others’ first draft and underline parts they don’t understand, or underline words and grammar they aren’t sure about• The teacher revises the students’ first drafts
  21. 21. RevisingCheck list for students: ▫ Is my argument clear? ▫ Did I include the necessary background information? ▫ Do I present only one idea per paragraph in the body? ▫ Do my supporting statements support my topic? ▫ Do the paragraphs fit together in a way that makes sense? ▫ Does my conclusion summarize the key parts of my essay?
  22. 22. Teacher (and peer) feedback: revising• Higher order concerns first ▫ Clear focus / thesis ▫ Appropriate for Audience/Readers ▫ Good organization (paragraphs and structure) ▫ Good development (relevant & sufficient)
  23. 23. Lower Order Concerns• Grammar ▫ sentence structure ▫ punctuation ▫ prepositions ▫ articles ▫ verb tense• Word choice• Spelling
  24. 24. Process vs. product approach• Multiple drafts of essays• Self editing and revising• Peer editing• Teacher editing, and suggestions about revising• Publishing
  25. 25. Portfolios: a process approach• Portfolios are used to collect samples of student work over time to track student development.• A portfolio should contain samples of a student’s work and teacher and student reflection of that work.
  26. 26. Portfolios• Writing samples such as dialogue journal entries, book reports, essays, reading log entries• All versions of the writing (1st draft, 2nd draft)• Interview notes• Peer-editing notes; teacher comments• Writing checklists (by student, peers and teacher)• A reflective report about the student’s writing development - written by the student
  27. 27. Research papersTasks for improving research writing:• Paraphrasing (sentences)• Summarizing (passages, then whole articles)• Citations – what style?• Give students a 5 sources (article, chapter, from Internet, etc) and they write a bibliography
  28. 28. Essays to research papers1. Students start with a personal essay, already written.2. They find three (expert) articles that are relevant to their thesis statement3. They cite appropriate information from the articles to support their position4. Cite the sources appropriately, and add a ‘references cited’ list on the last page
  29. 29. Essays to research papers1. Everyone in the class gets the same three sources (articles, chapters, etc.), chosen by the teacher2. Students write brief summaries of each article3. Students write an essay appropriately citing information from all three sources, and include a the references at the end of the paper
  30. 30. Summarizing articles: organizers• Title (student own • Title (student own title for article) title for article)• Full citation (MLA, • Full citation (MLA, APA, etc) APA, etc)• Research question • Thesis / question• Sample • Discussion points• Methods • Conclusions• Results • Theory• Theory • Links• Links
  31. 31. Linking the research topics together
  32. 32. Research Project Overview• Title• Background• Problem• Aims / research questions• Participants• Method and Analysis• Significance (answering ‘why should anyone care?’)
  33. 33. Typical ‘moves’ in a thesis introduction• Move 1 Establishing a research territory ▫ By introducing previous research in the specific area• Move 2 Establishing a niche ▫ By indicating a gap in the previous research, or raising a question about it• Move 3 Occupying the niche ▫ By outlining purposes/aims, or research questions/hypotheses; By providing previews of each chapter in the thesis
  34. 34. Academic writing conferences• Purdue Online Writing Lab ▫ English as a second language  ESL Instructors, Tutors  ESL Orientation for Writing Lab Tutorials
  35. 35. Tips for Success• Be a guide, not a ‘guru’: help the student to discover his/her own methods and ideas.• Model, don’t prescribe: demonstrate how to apply something once, then let the student invent on his/her own.• Review and/or refer: let the student leave with a task or a resource so they stay focused beyond their conference.
  36. 36. Setting an Agenda• What does the student want to work on?• Why is agenda-setting important? ▫ Tutorials are different from the instruction in the classroom setting. Tutors usually ask what students want to work on. ▫ Students know their own writing best. ▫ They (and you) should be realistic about what can be done in one tutorial and set priorities.
  37. 37. Plagiarism• What is plagiarism?• What do you do when your students plagiarize a source?• How can you encourage students to stop plagiarizing?
  38. 38. Writing goals• What is a writing goal your students could achieve this year?• By the end of the year, I want my students to…• Write complex sentences, cohesive & unified paragraph, well-structured composition, properly cited research paper
  39. 39. Questions, comments? Thomas Tasker Senior English Language Fellow tct118@psu.edu

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