Writing and Essay Format

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Expository English Essay Writing

Chapter I Course Orientation

1. General Introduction

This course is designed as an advanced writing course for advancced English learners. As is suggested by the title, the course will focus on one mode of English writing: exposition. We will first discuss briefly some essential issues about writing and the relationship between reading and writing as an introduction, laying special emphasis on the importance of mutual enhancement of critical reading and effective writing. The Expository Mode is discussed briefly in comparison with other modes of writing to strengthen the learners’ awareness of writing modes for effective writing and then the Three-Part Essay Format is introduced in detail as a universal essay organization in the hope that learners keep in mind the basic structure of English essays when they write in English. For the core contents we will move on to different specific Expository Modes, such as Exemplification/Illustration, Classification/Division, Comparison/Contrast, and Process Analysis, Cause / Effect, Definition and so on. Throughout the course, we will examine some expository essays written for both a general and academic audience. We will pay particular attention to critical analysis of quite a few essays (or "articles") that are widely regarded as writing models by both professional and amateur writers. Reading is assumed to be vital to effective writing — to provide effective models, help generate ideas for meaningful essays and develop and reinforce critical thinking skills. Therefore, critical reading will take precedence throughout this writing course. Of course, the focus of the course will be on what you can write with what you may learn from your readings — that is, on the essays you write yourselves as English learners and non-professional writers. For writing practice, you are supposed to keep a Reading Journal and write altogether four formal essays — one Classification / Division (Assignment 1), one Comparison / Contrast (Assignment 2), one Cause / Effect (Assignment 3) and one Definition (Assignment 4). You will learn to organize and develop your ideas in a coherent and unified way, to revise, edit and proofread your own work and the work of others. The course is hopefully intended to help you break out of a conventional way of approaching the world, through practicing the art of written exposition, with the purpose of becoming well-versed in the different uses of rhetoric and the aims of various types of exposition. You will further practice actively critical thinking in order to be able to intelligently question and analyze multiple topics — while in each case keeping your particular audiences in mind — and to become comfortable writing rhetorical critiques, examining contemporary controversial subjects, evaluating forms of socio-cultural terminology/articulation/visual expression, and constructing rebuttals. Topics will be discussed relating to arts, social issues, politics, business, and other areas of your interest, all of which are important to the development of an educated mind. Class discussions will usually begin with students’ presentation of the reading materials concerned. The presenter might relate the material to the themes of the course, compare it to previous readings, and/or ask questions of the readings for the class to consider. Audio-visual aids or other relevant media are preferable in students’ presentation. Many class periods or partial class periods will be spent on peer, group and class discussions of the structural, stylistic and thematic features of the assigned readings, and of course, more discussions will be about your own writing.

2. Students’ Class Presentation of the Assigned Readings

Length: 10 ~ 15 minutes (not to exceed 20 minutes). Allow several minutes at the end to invite and address questions from your audience. Format:Reading, lecture, discussion, or some...
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