Thursday, 22 October 2009

Academic Writing Course

This Academic Writing course that I've started last September in Harvard has been a challenge for all students. The class started with 15 students and now we are almost 9. I say almost because sometimes we are only 7 -- there are a couple of students who just come every other class.
Our teacher set the rules clearly: if you haven't done the readings and you're not ready to discuss it in the class, then you shouldn't come because it's not fair for other students.
Our portfolio has already 3 kinds of essays, written in MLA style: a compare-contrast essay, a reaction-essay and a personal one. We have a research paper with 8 to 10 pages to complete until the end of November. If we cannot do this one, then we will do a "book for poor", (regurgitate what we have been reading), in our teacher words.
We are reading an anthology with 50 essays from distinct authors as Martin Luther King, Henry Thoureau, Plato, Jonathan Swift, Virginia Wolf and Malcolm X, among others. We are also reading a novel by Mathew Pearl -- The Dante Club. This novel takes place in Harvard and is about the translation and introduction of Dante Alighieri's work in American Academy. It is a historic novel with real details and characters, such as the American poet Longfellow. We can even visit his house, which is in the same street where we have our classes (
We do all kinds of work in the class and at home: Harkness discussions, Socratic seminars, Fishbowl discussions, peer-editing, article workshop, grammar discussion, listening logs.
This week we are working hard on citing and paraphrase other authors and about plagiarism. This is a legal issue, punished with jail, and I get the feeling that, at Harvard, they take it seriously. Or, at least, they make us feel like that.

No comments:

Post a Comment