This course addresses the growing need that has arisen in the last couple of years to equip our students with the relevant skills to progress onto universities in the United Kingdom and the United States. One of the most important skills they need to posses is a strong understanding of how to research and write academic essays. These sets of skills are usually taught under the so-called academic writing courses. These courses address issues such as research methodology, critical evaluation and categorisation of sources, essay structure (introduction, body, conclusion, topic sentence, thesis statement), academic writing styles, sentence structures, bibliography, referencing and citing sources (footnotes, endnotes), advanced punctuation issues, plagiarism and writing tools (signposting, hedging).
This course aims to develop an awareness of the theory and conventions of academic literacy, from structure to style, with an increased focus on the academic essay and research project.
Features of academic writing that are introduced and practiced include:
- The structure of paragraphs and inter-paragraph cohesion
- The distinction between register and style; the conventions of register in academic writing and the development of personal style
- Academic conventions of citing sources and creating footnotes and reference lists
- The structure of longer texts such as essays
- Techniques of generation of ideas by individual brainstorming and per consultation
- Appropriate grammar and vocabulary to consolidate writing skills
Classroom activities include a mixture of individual, pair and small group work based on a variety of material and exercises. Students also complete pieces of writing in class and at home.
- Research project
- Written assignments
Goals for the year:
The goal of the course is to build on the foundation of strong English that students have, and to improve both their skills of using it and to expand their knowledge base in the areas of "future skills" and their interest, along with relevant language structures and vocabulary.
The activities include:
Oratory skills: Students will learn more about giving oral presentations, how to structure presentations and how to use their voice and direct their attention when talking in front of an audience.
Elements of system thinking: System thinking and understanding complexity are skills that are becoming more and more valuable for the future. Through games, examples, light reading and activities, students will learn the foundations of systems thinking and learn to look at the world around them in new light, especially through the lens of their chosen areas of interest.
Elements of design thinking: Design thinking, another "future skill" is, at its core, the ability to look at a problem, task of opportunity in a structured way, and choose from and apply an array of tools and methods that help arrive at a solution. Through a series of workshop-like activities, students will identify some of the problems and opportunities in the environemnt, focus, and arrive at a possible solution or idea, and develop it to a theoretical (non-technical) prototype/paper based model. The steps of design include a lot of discussion and debating, allowing students to practice these skills as well.
Business English: Based on their design ideas, students will go through the basic motions of founding a company based on their design idea, and through this simulation will learn all relevant vocabulary and language structures as well as the process.
Student interest: The materials described above contain some substance, but also a lot of form and framework that is to be filled and augmented by their own areas of interest, giving the basis of the vocabulary to be learned.
Age appropriate handouts, photocopies, video clips and internet links provided by the teacher as well as searched by the students.
Assessment will be based on the following:
Students will be required to complete any assignments given as homework.
Students will prepare at least one, thoroughly researched 30 minute presentation that will be held in front of a larger audience within the school.
Students will use system and design thinking to identify problems and opportunities in their environment, and, choosing one, will use the acquired skills and knowledge to develop a possible solution to the theoretical prototype/paper model level. The solution will not be evaluated, only the application of the method and its presentation.
Students will be expected to actively and constructively participate in class, and to refrain from disrupting it.