Academic Writing for ESL Students 1

Course Description

You will receive one Hub unit for this course: The Individual in Community

WR 111 is designed to lay the foundation of your academic communication. The course places you in an international group of learners and provides opportunities to explore how individual personality is cultivated in relationship to larger communities through various communicative acts. Practicing specific linguistic and rhetorical conventions, along with contextualized review of advanced grammar and prose mechanics, will help you achieve the balance of language skills necessary to perform competently the academic writing tasks of college. You will discuss and analyze complex texts of different genres and topics, explore multiple intellectual perspectives, and gain critical insights into people from different national, cultural, social, and linguistic backgrounds. You will also interact with diverse communities on campus and the Boston area, and work on collaborative writing projects, developing the ability to communicate effectively in a variety of modes. You will thus become a member of a diverse community of writers who learn from and support each other.

Course Objectives

All WR 111 sections follow the same curriculum, use the same designated texts, and aim to achieve the common goals for the level. You will develop your abilities to:

  • understand the culture of American academia and fluently perform varied language functions
  • build awareness of situation, audience, purpose, and diverse points of view in order to participate in discourse communities, both on campus and beyond
  • use effective strategies for reading college-level texts and acquiring new vocabulary to communicate in academic and public contexts
  • express ideas in appropriate rhetorical structures, using multiple modes of expression
  • identify and practice various writing styles and formats
  • acquire and apply knowledge of advanced grammar and meta-language
  • perform meta-cognitive and self-reflective tasks that situate your beliefs and experiences in the new context of an American university and community

Instructional Format, Course Pedagogy, and Approach to Learning

This course allows students to learn to employ the structures and vocabulary appropriate to academic writing. Assigned readings provide models for analysis and discussion that help recognize and emulate the processes used in academic texts. The syllabus is organized in units which illustrate different genres and disciplines and progressively build fundamental writing skills. The teaching of grammar is in context, organized in targeted structures to respond to linguistic needs across the class, as well as to map out individual student agendas. The special emphasis on public speaking facilitates fluency and communicative confidence. As this is the entry level to college, there is a special component on academic acculturation—developing academic literacy skills.

Course Requirements

  • Assigned readings with written assignments (journals, summaries, outlines, vocabulary logs, multimodal projects)
  • Frequent in-class writing
  • Two formal papers with drafts
  • Several minor papers
  • Oral presentations
  • Two instructor conferences (and recommended writing center tutoring appointments)
  • Active class participation