Tài liệu A study on strategies to improve writing skills for academics in a paragraph

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Tham gia: 23/09/2015

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itle “ Study on Strategies to Improve Writing Skills for Academics in a Paragraph” 1 A Study On Strategies To Improve Writing Skills For Academics In A Paragraph Part A. INTRODUCTION Part B. DEVELOPMENT I. RELATED LITERATURE REVIEW I.1. The definition of the word “Academic” I.2. The definition of Academic writing I.3. The organization of a paragraph in general II. FINDINGS ON STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE WRITING SKILLS FOR ACADEMICS IN A PARAGRAPH II.1. Strategies of pre-writing II.1.1. The audience II.1.2. The purpose II.1.3. The format II.2. Strategies of writing process II.2.1. Spelling, punctuation, and grammar II.2.1.1. Spelling II.2.1.2. Punctuation II.2.1.3. Grammar II.2.2. Style and tone Part C. CONCLUSION 2 A Study On Strategies To Improve Writing Skills For Academics In A Paragraph Part A. INTRODUCTION Obviously, the last of the four skills speaking, listening, reading, and writing has been grossly neglected in audio-lingual approach to language teaching. Especially, the importance of writing is not considered at its factual role. There have been a lot of neglect of writing in foreign language teaching and the lack of interests in it. John Carroll’s “Research on Teaching in Foreign Language” reports research on grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, and reading but none on writing reflecting the interests of language teachers. This paper is intended as a plea to restore teaching writing to its proper place in general, and the importance of writing a good paragraph in particular. It is clear that a good essay have components from good paragraphs. Good paragraphs are a key component of good academic writing. Therefore, this study explains on strategies to improve writing skills for academics in a paragraph. The first part of the paper seeks to examine the importance of how to write a good paragraph in teaching foreign language. The second part of the paper deals with the related literature review about the definition of academic writing and how is the organization of a paragraph in general. At the same time, some suggested strategies also are given to solve difficulties in writing an effective paragraph. Part B. DEVELOPMENT I. RELATED LITERATURE REVIEW I.1.The definition of the word “ cademic” According to Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, the definition of “Academic” is connected with education, especially studying in school and universities involving a lot of reading and studying rather than practical and 3 technical skills in order to be good at one or many subjects. Generally, the concept of “Academic” has no conventions in narrow lengths; it is commonly used in both of life situations as well as a variety of studies such as letter, report, notice or even diary. Basing on the definition of “Academic”, the set expression “academic writing” is seen as the use of formal and solemn language in a piece of writing often found in scientific activities. I.2. The definition of Academic writing As for Alice Oshima and Ann Hogue in “Writing Academic English”, “academic witing” as the name implies, is the kind of writing that you are required to do in college or university. It differs from other kinds of writing (personal, literacy, journalistic, business, etc). In academic writing, there is a variety in kinds of pieces of writing such as: - Notes (lectures) - Compositions (included the three parts as: Introduction, Development, and Conclusion) - Reports (factual pieces in basic sciences, history, psychology, and so on) - Projects (concentrated on researches) - Journal articles - Thesis and Dissertation With the view of improving writing skills in term of academic aspects, this study only concentrates on strategies of how to get an effective paragraph in academic style and tone. I.3. The organization of a paragraph in general The organization of a paragraph is rated at the complete when it contains three elements of paragraph structure: a topic sentence, supporting sentences and a concluding sentence. Furthermore, a paragraph is considered effective when it contains time-order transition signals such as: First, Second, and Third… An English paragraph is like a sandwich, the topic and concluding sentences are the top and bottom pieces of bread, and the supporting sentence are the filling. 4 The bread hold the sandwich together, and the supporting sentences are the meat and cheese. What is contained or the implication of the writer should be in the summing-up or re-emphasized in the concluding sentence; this seems to be repetitious, yet clear academic writing in English requires all of these parts. II. FINDINGS ON STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE WRITING SKILLS FOR ACADEMIC IN A PARAGRAPH II.1. Strategies of pre-writing It is obvious that each paragraph is used to bring certain information to the readers; through the channel of writing, the writer gives a direction of readers’ attention to his idea or thoughts; therefore, the elements of Academic writing are centred upon the factors as the writing’s purpose and the audience. At the first stage, the writer always starts with the question who the audience is and which information should be contained in the paragraph. In a natural way, the prewriting steps of Academic writing often take notice on audience, the purpose first and then to the format of the paragraph. II.1.1.The audience In order to write a paragraph effectively, the audience factor is seen as the most important one of the pre-writing strategies because of its main characteristics, that is, the people who read the written materials is the receiver of given information. For example, when writing a letter to a friend, the writer will express his/her intimate emotions and words to his/her friend; on the contrary, to the letter on business, the words and the style of language are used in the formal because of the characteristic of the relationship. The evidences show that each of written materials has its own audience regardless of the difference of categories such as history, political science, psychology, or English language exams. Therefore, knowing clearly who the audience is will help the sent message reach the goal of communicating in an effective way, especially in academic writing of a paragraph. 5 I.1.2. The purpose Not only the author should be concerned with the audience, but should be also concerned with purpose and the topic of the writing. To each kind of writing, there should be specific and clear purpose with the aims of satisfying the reader’s entertainments. In academic writing, the purpose are most often explained, that the reason why the purpose decide which field of study the topic is related, for example, an article that tries to persuade nuclear power plants are unsafe has an notice on the physics more than the evidences in politics or the perspective in the future of a Eastern country using it as a weapon. As a matter of fact, the author often raises the questions on their minds before starting to write just as: “Write for whom?”, “For which purpose to write” and so the last question is that “What to write?”. Dealing with these questions helps the writer has an over-look on the matter that he/she is facing at, the position of the standing view becomes more objective and realistic. I.1.3. The format Apart from the audience and the purpose factors, there still exists one of the main elements making pre-writing strategies is that the format of a paragraph in academic writing. It is obvious that without the factor of audience or purpose, the effectiveness of the paragraph will be loosened much more than ever; however, the format is also played an important role in forming a paragraph of academic standardizations. For example, the topic of an article is about nuclear weapon, the journalist has to decide which form/organization and style to write, the persuasive article is organized in one way, but the expository should be arranged in another way, that is the so-called format of the piece of writing. The format of the piece of writing in an English exam is quite different from an essay in a scientific journal or a report in the inter-disciplinary research; 6 therefore, the last step that needs to be determined is the format of the writing in such a way as to match the requirements of the early given purpose. II.2. Strategies of writing process II.2.1. Spelling, punctuation, and grammar II.2.1.1. Spelling When writing a paragraph, spelling mistake is one of realizable errors for the reason of English spelling is notoriously difficult to master for native speakers and language learners alike. Because English developed from several different language families, and because it so easily absorbs new words from other languages even today, the English language has many different ways to spell the same sound and many different ways to pronounce the same spelling. But improving English spelling is not impossible, with some patience such as using a good dictionary, learning the standard pronunciations for frequently misspelled words, watching out for homophones, near-homophones, and other easily confusable words,… spelling mistakes can be overcome. Example 1: Some common misspellings derive not from difficult combinations of letters but from pronunciations that do not reflect the word’s spelling. The word mischievous, for example, is often misspelled because of the common pronunciation "miss CHEEVY us." Learning the standard pronunciation "MISS chiv us" will aid you in properly spelling the word. Example 2: Many English words have identical or similar pronunciations but different spellings. Using the wrong word of a homophone pair is one of the most common spelling pitfalls for all writers. Learn to check these types of commonly misspelled words carefully during the proofreading. 7 accept/except discreet/discrete oral/aural adverse/averse elude/allude palette/palate affect/effect eminent/imminent populace/populous altar/alter ensure/insure precede/proceed boarder/border elicit/illicit prescribe/proscribe broach/brooch hanger/hangar principle/principal callous/callus illusion/allusion right/write/rite casual/causal incidents/incidence stationary/stationery censor/censure isle/aisle tenet/tenant cite/site/sight its/it's there/their/they're climactic/climatic led/lead tortuous/torturous compliment/complement liquor/liqueur waver/waiver conscience/conscious lose/loose whose/who's desert/dessert naval/navel your/you're II.2.1.2. Punctuation In order to write an effective paragraph, writers need to learn certain aspects of the English punctuation system, such as the way to punctuate direct speech. In general; however, the most serious of punctuation mistakes are made not only by ESL students, but by native speakers too. These mistakes are due to the lack of a clear understanding of what a sentence is, and they result in fragments (incomplete sentences) or run-ons ('sentences' that do not end when they should). Punctuation mistakes can often be spotted if the student reads the writing aloud. If a natural pause in the reading does not correspond with, say, a comma or a full-stop in the written text, then it is likely that the punctuation is faulty. Important writing should be given to a competent native-speaker to check. 8 Extensive reading, especially of non-fiction, both in English and the mother tongue, will help students understand the concept of the sentence as the basis of good writing. II.2.1.3. Grammar Grammar mistakes are the next type of error commonly made by ESL students. For example, learners often do not choose the correct English verb tense for expressing an idea or do not use it in its correct form. They may fail to use the articles (a/the) correctly, or place words in the wrong order in a sentence. Some grammar mistakes are easy for learners to correct themselves, particularly if they read their writing aloud. Other grammar mistakes are not easy to find; however, because the learner simply does not yet know the correct way to express an idea in English. Looking in a grammar book will not often help in such circumstances - the best thing to do is to ask a native speaker or a teacher to check the writing. In the long term most grammar mistakes will disappear by themselves, particularly if the learner does extensive reading in English II.2.2. Style and tone As a matter of course, the tone and the style of a piece of writing are determined more by its intended audience and the purpose than by its subjects. The tone of the writing is seen as the author’s attitude, and the style is the way of the piece of writing. In academic writing, the style is denoted as the rhetorical form, in which, the composition should be considered in a variety of styles such as formal, reasoned, elaborate, serious, objective, unbiased, and knowledgeable. The author can combine many styles in a composition to make his writing more informative and persuasive, for example, a scientific article should be elaborate and reasoned, objective, and unbiased; if possible, explained words in the article should not be terminology because the intended audience, the general public 9 might not understand highly technical or subjective words. In general, the tone and the style of academic writing are chosen in formal and rhetorical form. Part C. CONCLUSION Writing, particularly academic writing is not easy, that is, it takes study and practice to develop this skill. For both native speaker and new learners of English, it is important to note that writing is a process, not a “product”. This means a piece of writing, whether it is a composition for writing a paragraph or even an essay, is never complete; that is, it is always possible to review and revise, and review and revise again. This needs a nonstop attempt for a very long time, so that to start up, the recommended suggestion is to build up with each branch of an essay, each paragraph in particular. Due to the condition of sourcing materials and several different reasons, this study still contains some shortcomings regardless of the willing of the writer; yet it is not more than enough to remind that: if the writer knows how to write a good paragraph, he/she will know how to combine and expand paragraph to build essays. 10
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