Midterm Paper Instructions

EAP101 ~ Fall 2018 ~ Duke Kunshan University

Midterm Paper: Language-learning Memoir

Write a 1000-1500-word essay, with citations and a reference list in APA format, in which you narrate your experiences as a language learner and draw connections between them and 2 or more theories of motivation that we've encountered in this class.

A good paper will:

  • describe you experiences concretely: paint a clear, detailed picture in the reader's mind of what you did and/or what happened to you

  • explain the theories you discuss clearly enough that a reader with no background knowledge can easily understand the ideas

  • make the reader (not me -- any reader) understand clearly and specifically how the theoretical ideas you discuss relate (or do not relate) to the experiences you describe in your story; in other words, convince the reader that there is a meaningful connection between these ideas and these experiences

  • Follow my Rules of Thumb

Some suggestions:

  • When writing the "story" part of your essay, think about the moments that were most significant in your language study. Try describing a moment in detail. (Li and Hessler are full of good examples!)

  • Support abstract statements with concrete evidence. If you say, "My teacher was strict," follow it up with evidence: "She frowned at use whenever we spoke and returned our papers covered with red scribbles." This applies equally to telling stories and making points.

  • You can structure your essay however you wish; however, the simplest way to do it would be to tell your story first, then afterward discuss the theories and their relevance to your experiences. Angel Lin's article is structured in exactly this way.

About citations and reference lists

Whenever you refer to another author's ideas or quote their words, you must include an in-text citation (in parentheses) that would help the reader locate the words or ideas in the original source if they wanted to. 

For each source, you must also include a reference in your reference list to help the reader find that source.

In class we will discuss in detail how to format in-text citations and reference lists.

Revising your papers

Unlike your Short Essays, this paper will go through a revision process

You will submit a first draft, and I will give you detailed feedback on how to improve it. I will meet one on one with every student to discuss how to revise your paper. Then you will revise your paper on your own and hand in a final draft on the due date.


I will use the same grading criteria I've been using for your Short Essays, but with two differences: 

  1. the Formatting component will also be based on how well you format your citations and reference lists

  2. you will get a letter grade on the assignment as well as check marks

Important: When I give you feedback on your rough draft, you will receive a "soft grade." This is the grade you would get if you handed in this version of the paper as your final draft. Your goal is to improve the paper and thereby raise your grade. If you take the revision process seriously, your grade on the final draft will almost certainly be higher than your grade on the first draft.

Only the grade on the final draft counts. The soft grade you receive on your first draft will not count when calculating your final grade for the course.