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Course Outline for Critical Thinking and Writing in Linguistics – 8-10 week module                           

Week

Topic

Macro-focus / concepts

Micro-focus / materials & skills

Purpose / Learning outcomes

Week 1

No teaching / registration

Week 2

Introduction

Aims & objectives of the course / modes of work

Range and types of assignments in LIN

Standards of argumentation

Marking criteria

Diagnostic test (how much Ss know on different types of writing)

 

The process of Writing

Features of Academic Writing

Identifying relevant skills

The writing process

 

 

 

 

  • Concepts & approaches to AW / academic standards
  • Analysing criteria and standards of assessment
  • Needs analysis
  • Introduction to general AW processes and features
  • Cognitive awareness and introduction of some of the metalanguage

 

 

Skills:

- identify target features

- goal setting

- logic and ordering skills

- develop basic understanding of how knowledge is presented and discussed in the discipline

 

Materials:

- ppt / team-teaching (first part)

- quiz (polling website)

- HOs

- QM+ / QMHub

 

Introduce the concept of AW

Introduce the writing process

Clarify SLLF demands & marking schemes

Raise student awareness: differences between AW and A-Levels / other types

Instigate motivation

 

Ss should be able to:

  • Distinguish between different types of written assignments
  • Have a clear idea of what the tutors expectations are
  • Identify some of their own weaknesses
  • Distinguish between AW and other types of writing
  • Be aware of the complexity of the task and the skills involved

 

Week 3

Researching topics

Using the Library catalogue to research for a specific topic

Using search engines and databases

Narrowing down search terms / using Boolean operators

Reliability of sources

 

Writing for a purpose

Identifying different types of writing

Exploring different essay frameworks

Analysing / interpreting assignment questions

 

 

 

  • Developing/extending library skills
  • Exploring types of resources
  • Raising awareness: source reliability & peer reviewing
  • ‘Hands-on’ learning experience that allows for varied levels of individual development
  • Raising cognitive awareness: purpose and structure of texts
  • Focus on the concept of analysis as a tool for interpretation.

 

 

Skills:

- doing online search for books and articles

- selecting reliable sources

- familiarisation with search engines & operators

- develop peer review and negotiation skills

- identify fundamental parts of assignment questions and what options they have in terms of structure

 

Materials:

- Ss’ own laptops/tablets

- HOs

- selection of LIN texts

- selection of LIN questions

Provide know-how and support in Ss’ first steps in researching for sources

Familiarise Ss with Library tools and search engines

Raise student awareness: reliability of sources

Expose Ss to different types of essay frameworks and the typws of questions they normally correspond to

 

Ss should be able to:

  • Use basic Library search tools
  • Locate and access sources on the internet
  • Identify different types of essay structure
  • Interpret different types of assignment questions and identify what form of writing is required

 

Week 4

Reading Critically

Selecting sources

Effective reading and info selection

Identifying arguments, claims, support and evidence

 

Organising ideas 1

What makes a logical structure / linear rhetoric

Essay structure: academic reports, expository, critical review, cause-effect, argumentative

Essay planning tips

 

What is an argument

Argument structure

What makes a good argument / developing an argument

Logical fallacies

 

 

 

 

  • Introduction to the concept of argument
  • Raising cognitive awareness: basic principles of logic
  • Develop confidence in identifying and selecting information
  • Introduction to linear rhetoric
  • Focus on how meaning is conveyed within different writing frameworks

 

 

 

 

Skills:

- identifying reliable sources

- developing effective reading skills i.e. skimming, scanning, identifying important info

- understanding the logic of Linear Rhetoric structures

- develop basic understanding of how knowledge can be presented in different writing frameworks

- distinguishing between a statement, an argument and a logical fallacy

- arrange ideas in a coherent whole

 

Materials:

- selected LIN texts / extracts

- ppt (part 2)

- HOs

- planning frameworks [essay, reports, critical reviews etc]

Introduce linear rhetoric structure

Introduce and elaborate on the notion and structure of the argument

Relate arguments to developing a thesis

 

Ss should be able to:

  • Identify linear structure and roughly design in linear fashion
  • Distinguish between strong/sound/valid arguments
  • Identify basic fallacies
  • Identifying arguments, claims, support and evidence in academic work
  • Know how to select sources and particular information from sources effectively

Week 5

Structuring paragraphs

Importance of structure / expected conventions

Topic sentences : topic & controlling idea

Cohesive devices e.g. linking words, anaphoric references

 

Organising ideas 2

Understanding relationships between ideas e.g. cause-effect, contradiction, support, problem-solution

 

Incorporating sources 1

Plagiarism as an academic offence

Paraphrasing

Using quotations

Referencing: using APA/Harvard format

(now in week 6)

 

 

 

  • Discussion of the concept of plagiarism as an academic offence
  • Raising cognitive awareness: paraphrasing, referencing, quotations as tools for incorporating evidence
  • Exploring the relationship between semantic and syntactic representations of the relationships between ideas in essay structure
  • Understand the process of analysis and evaluation
  • Developing effective paragraphs
  • Explore ways of linking facts and ideas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skills:

- distinguish between facts and ideas

- identify relationships between ideas

- identify problems in terms of incorporating ideas

- paraphrasing skills

- developing structured paragraphs

- writing effective topic sentences

 

 

Materials:

- ppt (including Ss own work)

- HOs

- self-evaluation checklist for scientific reports

Introduce and elaborate on a variety of relations and interactions between ideas

Provide practice on paragraphing

Familiarise Ss with reference systems

Raise student awareness: plagiarism as an academic offence

 

Ss should be able to:

  • Fully understand the importance of plagiarism and why they should avoid it
  • Incorporate evidence / support from sources in their paragraphs
  • Design effective paragraphs
  • Identify and produce effective topic sentences
  • Paraphrase effectively
  • Use in-text and end-of-text references correctly

Week 6

Improving readability

 

Incorporating sources 1

Incorporating sources: examples, data, glossing

Using quotations

Referencing: using APA/Harvard format

 

Re-visiting the brief

Responding to the task

Signposting and cohesion

 

Editing & proofreading 1

Focusing on first writing assignment: content, conventions, language

 

Revision

Writing academic reports: structure and language

Incorporating sources

Coherence

 

Writing surgery 1

Focusing on first writing assignment

 

 

 

 

 

  • Focus on synthesis and coherence in report structure
  • Developing peer-review skills and solid academic standards in reviewing work

 

 

 

 

 

Skills:

- revising and verifying their approach to their task

- applying practical knowledge

- peer-reviewing skills

 

Materials:

- Ss’ own writing (first assignment)

Revise report structure & style

Practise the concept of study/writing groups

Identify structural problems in peers’ work

 

Ss should be able to:

  • Identify whether they have addressed the question
  • Identify relationships between ideas as required for their assignment
  • Identify flaws in logic / essay structure
  • Structure coherent paragraphs and spot incoherencies
  • Express views on whether and how the points are supported in the essay

Week 7

Reading Week

Week 8

Developing a thesis

Unpacking the essay question to form a thesis

Developing substantive arguments

 

Incorporating sources 2

Summarising

Synthesising sources

Signposting and cohesion

 

Language focus 1

Accuracy: paraphrasing

Denotation / collocation + word search engines / AWL (week 11)

 

 

  • Discussion of the concept of synthesis
  • Raising cognitive awareness: summarising as a tool for incorporating evidence
  • Exploring the relationship between ideas and evidence
  • Developing accuracy

 

 

 

Skills:

- building on essay title analysis assignment brief analysis

- distinguishing between statements and arguments

- summarising skills

- synthesising and maintaining cohesion

- developing accuracy: vocab

 

Materials:

- ppt

- HOs

- selected LIN texts / extracts

- Ss own work

Elaborate on developing a strong thesis

Introduce and provide practice on synthesising and integrating sources

Raise student awareness: being concise – how to choose the right words

Familiarise with word search engines

 

Ss should be able to:

  • Develop a thesis statement in the form of an argument
  • Summarise effectively
  • Identify relevant claims from a variety of sources and synthesise them
  • Use cohesive devices effectively
  • Utilise word search engines and AWL

 

Week 9

Introductions and conclusions

Role and structure

Variations between different assignment briefs

 

Cohesion

Interim summaries

Linking findings/ evidence/assumptions to the question

Revision: forming a strong thesis

 

Language focus 2

Dependent/independent clauses, avoiding stringy/run-on sentences

Nominalisation (week 11)

 

 

 

  • Exploring types of introductions and conclusions
  • Raising cognitive awareness: relevance to task type
  • Forming interim summaries and their cohesive role
  • Exploring essay cohesion: claims, evidence & interim summaries
  • Focus on sentence level: clauses and style

 

 

 

Skills:

- writing effective introductions and conclusions

- writing interim summaries

- developing a sense of cohesion: relating different parts of the essay with thesis

- producing effective sentences

- improving academic writing style: nominalisation (week 11)

 

Materials:

- ppt

- HOs

- selected LIN texts / extracts

- Ss own essay outlines

- self-evaluation checklist for essays

Introduce role and structure of INTRO & CONCLU

Introduce and elaborate on interim summaries

Raise student awareness: variations between different types of academic texts assignments

Introduce nominalisation and practice on nominalising selectively

Enhance editing skills: clauses

 

Ss should be able to:

  • Write up an appropriate introduction and conclusion
  • Identify important info and write an interim summary
  • Relate interim summaries to overall cohesion and argument design
  • Identify nominalisation in academic texts and locate Head Nouns
  • Produce nominalised sentences

Week 10

Expressing voice in AW

Your voice / placing your voice strategically in your essay

The voice of ‘others’ / making the author’s voice evident by introducing and interpreting

 

Language focus 3 Expressing caution

‘Hedging’: language of caution and academic convention.

Avoiding generalisations, emotive language and assertive claims.

Reporting verbs

 

 

 

  • Introduction to the concept of ‘voice’
  • Raising cognitive awareness: basic principles of expressing caution
  • Exploring effects of emotive language & generalisations
  • Develop confidence in interpreting and integrating other authors’ views

 

 

 

Skills:

- conveying other authors’ voice

- identifying differences among voices in academic texts

- expressing your voice

- placing your voice strategically

- using language of caution and voice

 

Materials:

- ppt

- HOs

- selected LIN texts / extracts

- Ss own work

Introduce and elaborate on expressing voice in academic writing

Expose students to ways of introducing and interpreting views

Raise student awareness: avoiding descriptive writing

 

Ss should be able to:

  • identify features of critical and analytical writing
  • Identify and integrate the writer’s voice
  • Integrate their own voice
  • Use hedging techniques
  • Use reporting verbs effectively

 

Week 11

Readability and audience

Revisiting the task and the response: purpose and audience

 

Editing and proofreading 2

Improving language (word level): working with the AWL, collocation, denotation, word search engines i.e. flax

 

Improving language (sentence level): avoiding stringy/run-on sentences

Nominalisation

 

Writing surgery 2

Revision and reflection (week 12)

 

  • Focus on the concepts of purpose and audience and their importance
  • Focus on register and style
  • Developing editing skills and solid academic standards in reviewing work

 

  • Focus on synthesis and coherence in essay structure
  • Developing peer-review skills and solid academic standards in reviewing work
  • Focus on individual weaknesses

 

 

 

Skills:

- revising and verifying their approach to their task

- applying practical knowledge

- peer-reviewing editing skills

 

Materials:

- Ss’ own writing (second assignment)

Revise essay structure & style

Practise the concept of study/writing groups

Identify structural problems in peers’ work

 

Ss should be able to:

  • Identify whether they have addressed the question
  • Identify relationships between ideas as required for their assignment
  • Identify flaws in logic / essay structure
  • Structure coherent paragraphs and spot incoherencies
  • Express views on whether and how the points are supported in the essay

Week 12

Writing surgery 3

Individual writing surgeries

 

Reading List

Anglia Ruskin University, Library (nd). Guide to the Harvard System of reference [online] Available at: http://libweb.anglia.ac.uk/referencing/harvard.htm [Accessed 17/05/2016]

Burns, T. and Sinfield, S (2016). Essential Study Skills, 4th ed. London: Sage Publications Ltd

Cottrell, S. (2011). Critical Thinking Skills: developing effective analysis and argument, 2nd ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Cottrell, S. (2013). The study skills handbook. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Osmond, A. (2016). Academic writing and grammar for students, 2nd ed. London: Sage Publications Ltd

Pears, R. and Shields, G. J. (2013). Cite them right, 9th ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Queen Mary University of London, SLLF, Language Centre (2012). Academic English Online. [online] Available at: http://aeo.sllf.qmul.ac.uk/ [Accessed 17/05/2016]

Swales, J. M. and Feak, C. B. (2012). Academic writing for graduate students, 3rd ed. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press

Critical Thinking and Writing for Modern Foreign Languages – General Scheme of Work

Week

Topic

Skills/Tasks

Learning Outcomes

Week 1

Introduction

Aims & objectives of course

Range & types of assignment

Marking criteria/expectations

The differences between A-level and academic writing

Introduction to the process of writing

 

Language focus:

Key features of academic language

 

Identifying key features of AW

Develop basic understanding of how knowledge is presented and discussed in the discipline

Practice academic style (paragraph writing)

 

Ss should be able to:

  • Distinguish between different types of written assignments
  • Have a clear idea of what the tutors expectations are
  • Identify some of their own weaknesses
  • Be aware of the complexity of the task and the skills involved
  • Begin to develop an awareness of the features of academic writing

 

Week 2

Working with Sources

Why we use source material

Criteria for selecting source material

Introduction to referencing

 

Language focus:

Academic vocabulary: introduction to AWL and the vocabulary of the discipline

 

Finding and selecting sources (brief)

Linking primary and secondary material

Understanding the contribution of secondary sources to writing

Unpacking sources from a text

Analysing referencing conventions

Exercises to develop vocabulary awareness

 

 

Ss should be able to:

  • Search for and identify quality source material
  • Understand the importance of using secondary material and how it us used
  • Identify secondary material in a piece of writing
  • Identify and understand referencing conventions
  • Begin to develop an awareness of academic and discipline-specific vocabulary

Week 3

Critical Thinking & Reading

Approaching assignment questions critically

Ways of engaging with academic texts

Moving from description to analysis

 

Language focus:

Paraphrasing

 

 

Unpacking assignment tasks, brainstorming ideas and drafting developing questions (possible topic: what is an essay?)

Reading for gist, skimming and reading for detail

Understanding voice and argument in a text

Developing a critical response to assignment tasks (collaborative writing exercise)

 

Ss should be able to:

  • Interpret assignment tasks accurately
  • Begin to develop a critical approach to assignment tasks
  • Identify relevant parts of a text and isolate arguments
  • Understand the difference between description and analysis and begin to show this in their writing
  • Begin to develop effective paraphrasing skills

Week 4

Developing Arguments & Incorporating Source Material

The structure of academic arguments

Integrating sources in support of arguments

Making the author’s voice evident by introducing and interpreting

 

Language focus:

Reporting verbs/expressing voice

 

Looking at ways to structure arguments and their implications

Using source material to support arguments (synthesis grid)

Working with language to express voice

 

 

Ss should be able to:

  • Structure an argument in a manner appropriate to the task
  • Begin to apply academic rigour through use of source material to support arguments
  • Understand the nuances of reporting verbs and other features of language to express voice

Week 5

Structuring Writing

The stages of planning

Working with mind maps to express ideas

Transforming a mind map into a coherent essay plan

Focus on academic paragraphs

 

Language focus:

Topic and supporting sentences

 

Identifying relationships between ideas

Deconstruct an essay to extrapolate structure and analyse paragraphs

Practice writing topic and supporting sentences

 

Ss should be able to:

  • Understand the benefits of planning and mind-mapping
  • Structure an assignment in a coherent, logical way
  • Write coherent paragraphs with strong topic sentences

Week 6

Improving Readability

Word level: collocation, denotation

Sentence level:

Defining and non-defining relative clauses

Avoiding stringy/run-on sentences

Nominalisation

Text level:

Identifying flaws in logic/coherence

Language focus:

Sentence structure

 

Correcting and improving paragraphs and own writing

Reading samples to identify flaws (working with feedback, criteria and checklists)

 

 

Ss should be able to:

  • Use a variety of accurate, appropriate, discipline-specific lexical items
  • Write coherent sentences in a suitable academic style
  • Identify problems in own writing (grammatical, structural, content and coherence)

Week 7

Writing a Text Commentary

Understanding structure and selecting ideas

Commenting on content and language

Rooting comment in close reading and the language of the text

Understanding what is meant by a “common thread”

Language focus:

 

Using a sample commentary to assess conventions, structure and rationale

 

Ss should be able to:

  • Plan and structure a text commentary effectively
  • Organise thoughts into topics
  • Base analysis on close reading and successfully move between language and ideas

Week 8

Focus on Cohesion

From title to thesis statement

Paragraph and textual cohesion

Introductions and conclusions

Language focus:

Word chains and cohesive devices

 

Using linking devices to create cohesion  within and across paragraphs

Practice writing introduction and conclusions

 

Ss should be able to:

  • Produce strong thesis statements
  • Write effective introductions and conclusions
  • Use language effectively (including anaphoric reference) to create cohesive paragraphs and texts

Week 9

Expressing stance: interpretation, criticality and caution

Placing voice strategically in writing

Avoiding generalisation, emotive language and assertive claims

Review reporting language

Referencing: revision and extension

 

Language focus:

Hedging language

 

Identifying differences among voices in academic texts

Exploring effects of emotive language and generalisations

Practicing using language of caution

Further practice in expressing Ss own voice in their writing

 

Ss should be able to:

  • Identify and integrate the voices of other writers
  • Integrate their own voice with greater confidence
  • Use hedging techniques
  • Use reporting verbs effectively

Week 10

Proofreading, Editing & Working with Feedback

Checking for language errors

Checking for coherence and cohesion

Peer reviewing

Using feedback to improve writing

Prioritising and targeting weaknesses

Course revision and summary

 

Language focus:

Checking for superfluous words and improving style

 

 

Correcting and improving own work

Peer reviewing the work of others

Applying own feedback to improve writing

Setting future goals

 

Ss should be able to:

  • Critically review own writing and that of others and make appropriate adjustments
  • Eliminate superfluous content with confidence
  • Understand feedback and use it constructively
  • Have a clear idea of areas for future improvement

 

COURSE OUTLINE

 

Module in Critical Thinking and Writing for B.A in Comparative Literature.

10 week course over Semesters 1 and 2.

Level: 4   It is mandatory for all 1st year students.

 

 

It is non-credit bearing.

 

Assessment:

No formal assessment.  However the course will include plenty of opportunity for peer feedback and correction, and feedback/advice from the teacher.  

 

 

Skills developed on this course:

 

This course aims to help you develop your academic writing and thinking skills.  This is for you to gain a solid grounding on which to build your assignment ambition for the entire degree, and also to help you with immediate questions you may have on your feedback and work so far.

 

This course will enable you to:

  • Look critically at your own writing and gain a better understanding of your weaknesses and strengths in relation to University academic criteria.
  • Practise purposeful writing and understand how writing links to thinking.
  • Write with greater clarity and accuracy, looking at things such as good sentence structure, academic register, use of vocabulary and how these link to thinking.
  • Develop your ability to voice argument in assignments.
  • Develop your ability to structure thought and argument into coherent essays.
  • Increase your skills in citation and referencing.
  • Better understand aspects of critical thinking such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
  • Feel more confident in absorbing and using the discourse of your discipline, including aspects of ‘hedging’ language.
  • Ultimately, improve your grades!

 

 

How the course is taught:

 

The course will be a 2 hour taught class, in which approximately 40% will be input, and 60% writing and planning practice.   The writing work will draw on your essay experience and feedback so far, as well as give you practice and preparation for your coming assignments.

You will be expected to work in groups as well as on your own.  You don’t need to bring anything except pen and paper (and a laptop if you wish).

 

 

 

 

 

Module teachers:

Mira Shapur  and Alan Hart

Room: Bancroft 1.29

Telephone: 0207 882 2759; email: m.shapur@qmul.ac.uk

 

Module convenor:

Dr. Saima Sherazi

Room: Bancroft 1.26

Telephone: 0207 882 2832; email: s.n.sherazi@qmul.ac.uk

 

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