ENG 434: English Writing for English Teachers

Kent Lee

Center for Teaching & Learning
Korea University




See also the Readings & materials page for assigned readings from the course packet, and other handouts.


If your assignments are late or incomplete, you may find yourself being followed by creatures like this.

Be sure to fill out your Google Form assignments in full, and on time.

Week 01-02

Google Form #1 (due date: 08 Sept.)

Fill out this form of basic information about yourself, and submit it. This counts as a minor grade. (The form works, though it won't send you a confirmation.)

Major homework #1: Diagnostic essay (due date: 08 Sept.)

Read the article by Stephen Pinker on "scientism" and the humanities (Science is not your enemy, Stephen Pinker, New Republic), and respond to one of his major arguments, in any way you like, for or against. This is an essay to assess students' overall writing abilities and needs. It will be graded based on relevance, argumentation, appropriate writing style, source use, depth of discussion, and other such factors. Your essay should be at least two pages (if double-spaced), but no more than ten pages.

Major homework #2: Writing process homework (due date: 15 Sept.)

Traditional writing classes viewed writing as a product. The teacher gives an assignment, the students go home, produce a paper, and turn it in. What happens in between was given little attention. Nowadays language teachers recognize the importance of the process of writing – how a writer goes about planning the essay, pre-writing methods, drafting, and multiple stages of revisions (ideally), and finally, a final version.

For you, it would be helpful to introspect on your your own writing process, and then guide those you tutor to do so as an initial exercise, before you two start working on an actual assignment. Describe your writing process from start to finish, including the following:

Reflect on your writing process, and write a paper describing your writing process(es), including difficulties that you have, how you overcome them, why you think you have these problems, etc. The focus of homework assignments is mainly the contents, so don't worry about minor grammatical or mechanical errors (spelling, punctuation, etc.) in your homework, and don't worry too much about the structure; as a homework, the form and style can be fairly flexible.

Your write-up should be 2-3 pages (1.5 or double spaced; you can print double-sided pages to save trees), due on 15 September via email. The easiest way is to wite it as a Google Document in your GMail, and share it with me; otherwise, you can email it to me. Afterwards, do Google Form #2, below.

Weeks 2-4

Google Form #2: About your academic field (due 15 Sept.)

Fill out this form about your field of study.

Google Form #3: About writing in your academic field (due Mon., 23 Sept.)

Fill out this form about writing in your field of study.

Google Form #4: Rhetorical style (due Mon., 29 Sept.)

Fill out this Google Form assignment. You will critique a few short writing samples here.

Essay assignment: How to write academic papers in your field

You are to write an essay on how to write academic papers in your field. This will include important questions such as

Length: 4 pages minimum (not counting references, graphs, tables, etc.)
Draft due date: 08 Oct. (at least 2 full pages); drafts will be returned to you before the midterm break
Final version due date: 29 Oct.
Assignment handout: See course packet, p. 35-36
Grading criteria: See the official rubric down below

Weeks 5-8

Argumentation assignments

You will write three papers, 1-2 pages each, n which you sketch out an argument on an issue. It could be a hot issue in your academic field. Or it could be whether you agree with Korea University's EMI policy (English mediated instruction), whereby professors in most fields, as of 2005, must teach in English, and students must take a certain number of courses in English. Do you think this is a good policy?

You should sketch out a thesis statement (no intro paragraph is necessary here), and an outline of your main arguments (main points and subpoints), which could become topic sentences in the body paragraphs. Take one of those argments, and develop it into a regular paragraph.

Weeks 9-16

Final paper proposal

Submit a one-paragraph description of your final paper. This will be a paper from another course that you are using in this class. Proposal due: 21 Nov.

Professional writing assignments

You are to turn in the following for this assignment; these will count as two HW grades. The grading criteria include: [1] neat, readable and attractive appearance for CVs and résumés; [2] good contents; [3] and convincing cover letters or SOPs.

  1. Job application option: Turn in a résumé and a cover letter (for applying for a non-academic position)
  2. Academic job option: Turn in a CV and a cover letter (for teaching, research, or academic jobs)
  3. Academic application option: Turn in a CV and an SOP (for applying to a Ph.D. program, especially for moving from a master's degree to a Ph.D. elsewhere)

Drafts are due on 05 Dec.; final versions are due 23 Dec.

Final topics

  1. Writing strategies inventory and scoring key
  2. Pedagogical issues in writing

Final paper

Bring a print-out of your draft to class on 12 Dec. for peer editing, then email your draft by 15 Dec.

The final version of your paper can be dropped off at my office, or emailed to me by midnight by the due date on 23 December. Please send it to both my email accounts.

Exit survey

Google Form: Please fill out the following anonymous survey regarding the previous genre analysis assignment. This will help me with some of my research. You will receive 10 points for filling out all the required items appropriately, regardless of your responses. Even if you give negative feedback, that is useful for me, and you will receive the same points for negative, neutral, or positive feedback, as long as your responses are honest and complete.

Survey: Genre analysis essay

Grading criteria

Major homework assignment & essays

I often use rubrics for grading assigments. The grading criteria for major assignments appear with the above, which form the basis of the grading rubrics. Some rubrics are shown here; otherwise, they are included in the emailed feedback. Please keep in mind that grades at or near 100 are rare, and are mainly reserved for superintelligent life forms.

Genre analysis essay: Official rubric

  1. Essay topic & introduction
    • Clear, specific introductory material, directly relevant to main thesis (not too general or vague)
    • Intro & thesis clearly indicate essay objectives and what will be discussed; clear, specific, appropriate thesis
    • Interesting, sufficient, & appropriate introduction; good segway to thesis
    • Paper topic and objective are specific and explicit; not too broad
    • Topic sentences / main arguments of body provide good support for thesis
    • Clear, interesting or effective summary / conclusion
  2. Organization and general focus
    • Overall structure and plan are clear
    • Good use of transitional words (conjunctions, etc.) and other cohesive devices for good flow of ideas
    • Clear, logical flow of ideas; all points are logically connected and coherent
    • Clear, specific main points (e.g., topic sentences); Topic sentences in ¶’s provide good support, information, and/or evidence for the topic sentences or main ideas
    • Body paragraph contents directly related to the thesis, main idea, or main objective of essay.
    • Appropriate, specific focus throughout the paper, without unnecessary or unrelated information
  3. Contents
    • Clear, specific information and supporting details; appropriate detail and coverage of contents
    • Effective analysis, discussion, and detail; informative for other students in the field
    • Good development of ideas
    • Well developed paragraphs (¶s); not too short and choppy, nor excessively long
    • The nature of the field and its expectations or academic culture are addressed (even if only in the intro), as well as major aspects of academic writing in the field.
    • Improvement and better development in your paper between the draft version and the final version (e.g., if the final version shows significant work, or looks just like the draft with little revision). Sufficient contents and length: At least 2 full pages for the draft, 4 pages for the final ve
    • rsion (not counting references page, or any optional tables or graphs)
  4. Style
    • Clarity: Clear, appropriate, and effective wording, word choice, word usage; coherent and precise expression
    • Appropriate tone & style: Appropriate academic writing style, tone and wording; no colloquial style or word choice
    • Good variety and use of sentence structure; appropriate sentence flow; not choppy, overly short or long
    • Well-formed sentences; no awkward sentences or expressions; no run-on sentences or fragments;
    • Paper format: proper line spacing (1.5-2X spacing), margins (2-2.5 cm), title page (final version), page numbers on each page (except the title page) No major mechanical, grammatical or style issues that affect clarity of expression
    • Papers should be read and revised carefully to eliminate any significant style problems or mechanical problems
  5. Source use
    • Appropriate use of information from sources to support main ideas
    • At least 3 academic sources cited and discussed effectively as examples (at least 2 for the draft)
    • Appropriate summarizing and paraphrasing of information
    • Proper source citation in the essay, e.g., in-text citations
    • Citations are used meaningfully as examples, as points of discussion, and in connection with the points or arguments discussed (i.e., not for padding or decoration)
    • References / works cited / bibliography at the end of the essay in proper format
    • All in-text references, and only references cited in the text, appear in the references section.
    • Proper referencing format (APA, MLA, or whatever format is used in your field)

Minor assignments

Short write-ups such as Google Form assignments (and maybe other minor assignments) will be graded along the following 10-piont scale. Thi is based on effort as well as the quality of your responses - not necessarily "correct," since many of these are open-ended questions.

points criteria criteria
2 minimal effort The student does not try to answer, indicates that s/he does not know, or offers minimal or no response.
4 incorrect answer; low effort The student tries to answer but shows no evidence of making effort; may show serious misconceptions; does not use any information from readings or lectures (or from previous courses, knowledge, or experience) to formulate the response.
8 partially correct answer, but still incomplete; medium effort The student shows some knowledge, but does not provide a complete explanation. Student does not use appropriate information from the readings or lectures (or prior knowledge). Little evidence of original thought or analysis.
8 correct or nearly correct; good effort Student answers the question in a generally accurate manner and with some explanation. The student incorporates information from the lectures and readings, and shows some original thought or analysis.
10 correct; very high effort The student has provided a very detailed explanation, and even information or ideas from outside the course materials, e.g., from outside sources, and/or shows great creativity, original thought, or critical thinking skills.

Final paper

In grading your final papers, I will look at the following kinds of criteria.

  1. Effective analysis, discussion, and/or argumentation; in-depth discussion with good, persuasive evidence or support for claims or arguments that you develop. Effective, informative, intellectually satisfying, and persuasive contents; in-depth, well-developed discussion of your ideas.
  2. Improvement and better development in your paper between the draft version and the final version (e.g., if the final looks just like the third essay with little or no improvement, that would hurt the final essay grade).
  3. Clear structure - specific intro, thesis, topic sentences, development of ideas, transitional expressions, and conclusion / summary. Appropriate paragraph style, transitions, etc.
  4. Appropriate uses of sources in your discussion and development of ideas, analysis, or argumentation; at least three scholarly / academic sources should be used. (Exception: If the professor in the class for whom you are writing wants no sources, e.g., no other sources other than a piece of literature that you are analyzing, then that is okay; just let me know when you email it to me.) Sources are properly cited in the body of the paper, and a final references or works cited section. All references cited in the body should be in the references / works cited section, and no sources should be listed in the final references / works cited section that are not cited and used in the body of the essay; also, use of proper citation style - proper APA, MLA, or whichever system you use in your field.
  5. Dealing well with potential counter-arguments (potential objections to your views), if applicable, for your topic.
  6. Proper format: title page (no headings except the title page; see the example under the Handouts page on the Wiki); proper line spacing (1.5-2X spacing), margins (2-2.5 cm), page numbers on each page (except the title page).
  7. Appropriate academic writing style, tone and wording. Papers should be proofread and revised carefully to eliminate any significant problems in word choice, clarity, flow, wordiness, overly informal or colloquial style, and grammar.
  8. Appropriate length. I won't necessarily insist on a word limit if papers in your courses are shorter than usual. But they should be long enough to sufficiently develop your ideas.