Writing in English
Imparte: Mary Williams
Horario: martes y jueves de 17 a 20 horas
The Writing in English Seminar Part 2 is a continuation of Seminar I, and offers an opportunity for participants to practice writing and developing texts in English. The focus of the sessions is on the elaboration, development and analysis of articles and essays. Despite this focus, it has to be recognized that academic and professional writing requires input from other types of texts such as journalism, short story, memoir and occasionally poetry, all of which play a supporting role in the work and development of the Seminar.
Writing is often a more time-consuming skill to acquire than the other language skills. Unlike reading, listening or speaking, the learning process for writing requires the coincidence between our personal way of expressing ourselves and thinking clearly. Putting words down on paper, or on the computer screen, is influenced by our approach to a given subject, our knowledge and our desire to express our feelings about it. Even our experiences can influence the way we communicate a message in writing. There are two fundamental qualities in the act of writing that the other language skills don’t possess: 1) the writer has to be prepared to spend sufficient time developing the text, and ii) writing has a degree of permanence, where our written words can have legal, scientific, artistic or historic value.
The processes involved in the elaboration of a written text can be compared with road construction: both require the application of rules, knowledge of techniques and theoretical understanding. However, there is a major difference between the two activities in that the first has to be interesting otherwise it won’t be read, whilst the second just has to be functional. This is why our pen, or the keys of our computer, are constantly seeking the right expression that transmits our message.
- Encourage the significant improvement of written English among the participants of Seminar 2. This includes the elaboration and structuring of texts, the thorough understanding and use of the main technical aspects of writing in English, as well as the elements of good (correct) writing style and the sense and interpretation of English words.
- Offer participants the opportunity to develop criticism and appreciation skills with respect to their own writing, as well as the necessary skills of dialogue and commentary on the work of their peers and fellow participants in the Seminar.
- Offer the participants a context to evaluate and recognize the quality of texts that have been written by professional writers.
English is a global language that is increasingly required for work and social and cultural life. The use of written English is particularly important for university life and is used for everything from the writing of simple messages to the development of complex programs, events and projects. Writing in English is also important as not all academic and administrative texts, or documents containing information which is essential for professional and university life, are translated, thus increasing the need to prepare documents in English.
There are many advantages to writing well in English, including students who wish to undertake academic studies abroad, administrators whose work includes the coordination with their counterparts abroad, and also professionals whose work deserves greater diffusion.
Seminar 2 uses a variety of teaching methods including the following: studying the rules of writing and of writing style; analysis of texts; writing exercises during the weekly sessions; readings of the work of the participants; visual materials (relevant videos and Interviews); and, homework: (1) three one-page essays; 2) one three-page homework in first and second versions, and 3) one four-page homework in first and second versions). Grammar correction in the Seminar is done mainly on the basis of the errors committed by the participants, sin embargo, the Seminar does include the teaching of some formal grammar.
The Seminar uses the mechanism of individual tutorials for the participants with a minimum of two tutorial sessions per student during the course of the Seminar. The tutorials are programed during the first half hour of the Seminar sessions, which are three hours.
A packet of materials is available to all participants and covers all the materials that will be used during the Seminar.
The Seminar focusses on writing in English, it is therefore necessary that all the participants have a good level of English reading comprehension and are able to converse and listen to English without difficulty.
There are several evaluation mechanisms for the Seminar including the following: 1) the homework schedule described above, and particularly the two longer homework assignments that require major revisions; 2) the participant´s assistance at the formal sessions, willingness to listen and contribute to the dialogue on the issues raised by the readings, visual materials and by the dynamic of the group.