M-Tu, Sept. 10-11 (Week III)
Key Terms and Concepts
a social situation or a social interaction
the audience for a piece of writing
the subtext of what someone says / writes
to imply [sth]
to infer [sth]
Preview: Social Situations Workshop
I reminded the class that on the morning of Friday Sept 21 we will be having a “mini on-campus field trip,” part of which will be a workshop with Li Shuhan from the Language Learning Studio, about “Social Situations in and Around the Classroom.”
I explained what “social situations” or “social interactions” means, and asked the class to write down suggestions for specific types of social interactions related to academics that they’d like to act out in the workshop.
Open Letter #1: Paraphrasing vs. Summarizing
I reviewed the concept of paraphrasing — “putting something in one’s own words” — and asked the class to explain the difference between paraphrasing and summarizing. Here are two key distinctions you made:
One usually summarizes something long, such an article or a book, whereas one paraphrases something short, like a passage or a single sentence.
Summarizing involves “condensing” a longer text into a handful of “main points,” while paraphrasing is more like “translating” an idea into other words.
I asked you to look over my open letter to you and find one good example of summarizing and one good example of paraphrasing.
The Purpose of Summarizing
I asked the class to look over my open letter and notice how many paragraphs were dedicated to summarizing students’ letters and how many were offering my own views and posing questions.
You noted that roughly 1/2 of the text was dedicated to summarizing. I asked, “Why do you think I spent so much time summarizing your ideas?”
We arrived at the following explanations:
Because my views and questions arose as a response to students’ letters, the reader needs to know why I came up with those ideas — as Graff and Birkenstein put it, what “motivated” my response.
Because you, the students, are my main audience, and not everybody knows what their classmates wrote in their letters.
Because although you are the main audience, there are other potential audiences for this piece of writing — DKU students not in my EAP class, other faculty, your parents, my friends and family back in the U.S. — and they do not know what you wrote.
Your “Two Cents”
For homework, I invited you to respond to the questions I raised in my open letter, and told you that I hoped to publish some of your responses on Two Cents.
I asked students to identify which of my questions they were most interested in responding to. In each section I asked one student to verbally summarize the question they wanted to respond to, using the template “Austin wrote _______. Austin asked, ______?” Then I invited students to offer responses to this question verbally, and we had a brief, free-ranging conversation on the topic.
Preview: Yiyun Li, “Listening is Believing”
In the last five minutes of class I had students read out loud the beginning of Yiyun Li’s essay “Listening is Believing,” and explained some of the subtext that is easy to miss. In this essay, what the author implies is just as important as what she states explicitly, and this makes it a challenging text to read in a second language.
➤ Skim TSIS Chapters 2 and 3. Before you do so, read my summary of "Graff and Birkenstein's Do's and Don'ts" for each of those chapters. Skim the chapters looking for the answers to the question: "Why do Graff and Birkenstein believe I should (or shouldn't) do these things?" Also, keep a list of any of G&B's templates that you think you would find useful.
Note: Yiyun Li doesn't say explicitly what her motivation was. Rather, she implies it -- so you will need to infer her motivation. What do you understand her motivation for learning English to be, and why do believe that's her motivation?
Note: Not only does Angela Lin tell us a story about her English-learning experiences, she also has a point. What is her main point -- what does she want us to believe about her English-learning experiences?
➤ Letter to Austin #3
Pick one or two of the questions I asked (or points I made) in my open letter to you, and respond to it/them.
When responding to a question or point, please first summarize it so that the reader can understand what you're responding to. This will also let me see how you understand that question or point. When summarizing, try to practice both quoting me and paraphrasing me. (Note: Though this assignment, like all Letters to Austin, will be ungraded, to get full credit you must make an honest effort to do this. This is an opportunity to practice the "moves" we've learned for the purposes of genuine communication.)
I would like to publish a handful of your responses on Two Cents. If I want to publish your response, I'll message you to ask for your permission. However, if you especially want your response to appear on the website, please let me know!