Advanced English Course Description
Some Key Concepts
Thomas Jefferson: “This institution (University of Virginia) will be based on the illimitable freedom of human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”
温家宝:大学应独立思考~自由表达 (independent thinking and free expression )
Education: intellectual growth / develop your mind / mind economy/ mind is money / with the help of teachers and fellow students you identify your potential and develop that potential to the full/ IQ & EQ, not only fill a bottle but light a candle / learning strategies: give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him how to fish and he eats fish for a lifetime.
Learning: discover your self / Know yourself / where are you and where you should go / know yourself and do your best for being guilty of nothing in this life
My motto: learn to learn and teach is not to teach. Teaching is not to fill a bottle
(information), but to light a candle (inspiration, creative).
Four kinds of students:
Smart and hardworking: always a success
Smart but lazy: always a survival if not always a success
Slow but hardworking: always survival and sometimes a success
Slow and lazy: hopeless if not helpless (parents, teachers and fellow students)
1. Why people read
To keep informed, question and think more deeply about their own ideas and experiences, consider the ideas and experiences of others, confirm their own ideas; For entertainment, escape, intellectual stimulation, emotional stimulation;
Because they like to play with ideas, compare and explore different points of views; Because they are interested in a particular subject, particular author‟s style and
Getting started: Scan and Topic-Audience-Purpose
Strategies for Analysis: Purpose-Achieved-Conclusions / Questions P: What is the author‟s purpose?
A: How is that purpose achieved?
CQ: What are the author‟s conclusions or questions?
2. Reading Hints: Making Your Mark
1. It articulates the author‟s thesis or one of his / her major ideas.
2. It suggests the author‟s purpose in writing the essay.
3. It indicates the author‟s feelings, attitudes, or point of view about the subject
4. It is an example of a strategy used by the author to develop or support his / her
argument or explain his / her point of view (e.g., C&C, C&E, definition, example,
statistics, humor, etc.)
5. It summarizes an important idea.
6. It is an example of effective use of language (e.g., a vivid metaphor, simile, or
7. It has a personal meaning for the reader (perhaps it corroborates their own
experience or suggests insights and ideas that seem particularly interesting).
3. Some Important Reading Skills
1. vocabulary in context (语境中的词汇)
2. main ideas (主题思想)
3. supporting details (支持性细节)
4. implied main ideas and the central point (隐含的主题思想和中心论点)
5. relationship 1 ：语句或段落的关系1；
Transitions ：过渡；,words that show addition and time ：补充性和时间过渡词；
6. relationship 2 ：语句或段落的关系2；
7. fact and opinion ：事实和观点；
8. inferences ：推理；
9. purpose and tone ：目的和语气；
10. argument ：thesis, evidence, reasoning论点、论据、论证；
4. Our Task: Language Skills and Learning Strategies (at an Advanced Level, with focus on Critical Reading and Critical Thinking)
Critical: comes from the Greek root krito, meaning to discern, discover, or differentiate
A. You read purposefully, with expectations arising from the context and your awareness of the kind of writing you are reading.
B. You read sympathetically, with an appreciation for what the writer is trying to say. C. You read analytically, examining the different parts of the text to see how they are related.
D. You read systematically, looking for contradictions in logic and shifts in meaning.
E. You read imaginatively, fulfilling in gaps, extending and applying ideas.
You become the writer‟s partner, completing the circuit of communication.
Critical readers do not just read for information, although they do work to notice important details. They do not simply accept the text‟s authority, but question
its assertions and information. For such readers, texts are not merely monologues addressed by active authors to passive readers but dialogues between active authors and active readers.
Strategies for Critical Reading?
4.1 Critical reading:
a. reading in which the reader reacts critically to what he or she is reading, through relating the content of the reading material to personal standards, values, attitudes or beliefs, i.g. going beyond what is given in the text and critically evaluating the relevancy and value of what is read.
b. a level of reading in which the reader seeks to identify the underlying ideology of a text, which is realized not so much by what the writer writes about but by how people, events and places are talked about. Critical reading focuses on the analysis of textual ideologies and cultural messages, and an understanding of the linguistic and discourse techniques with which texts represent social reality. Critical reading is one dimension of critical pedagogy.
4.2 Critical pedagogy:
An approach to teaching that seeks to examine critically the conditions under which language is used and the social and cultural purposes of its use, rather than transmitting the dominant view of linguistic, cultural and other kinds of information. Both the process of teaching and learning and its study are viewed as inherently evaluative or ideological in character.
4.3 Critical thinking:
A level of reading comprehension or discussion skills when the learner is able to question and evaluate what is read or heard. In language teaching this is said to engage students more actively with materials in the target language, encourage a deeper processing of it, and show respect for students as independent (creative) thinkers.
4.4 Critical Reading Skills (make the 5 important distinctions between) 1. the person and the idea
2. matters of taste and matters of judgment
3. fact and opinion
4. literal statement and ironic statement
5. idea‟s validity and the quality of its expression
5. Distinguish Facts, Interpretations, and Value Judgments.
Making such distinctions and learning to defend them prove critical reading, writing, and thinking skills. Because learning to identify our ideas as facts, interpretations, or value judgments facilitates critical thinking, we need to define these terms very carefully.
What is a Fact?
Scientists define facts as statements that are empirically verifiable, statements that no
one can disprove. For instance, if it is a fact there are 6 ounces of liquid in a measuring cup, every one who correctly measures the liquid in the cup should come up with the same figure.
Remember, however, that a fact, by itself, usually tells us very little. It is only when it is connected to other facts and interpreted that it comes to have a significant meaning. Furthermore, in complex situations, what many people call a “fact” may eventually be
disproved when new data are uncovered.
Question: How do we know whether a factual statement is true or false? Answer: We call a factual statement “true” when it can be checked out and
empirically verified by other reliable observers.
What is an Interpretation?
An interpretation is an explanation or opinion about some aspect of human experience. Interpretations may be used upon factual data and logical analysis, or they may simply be assertions of belief with little or no reference to factual data. We say that a person has an “informed opinion” or a “considered opinion” when he or
she has arrived at an interpretation through careful thought and careful accumulation of supporting data. On the other hand, many interpretations, while they seem to make sense, are merely ideas that someone has accepted without looking for evidence or logical arguments to support them; or perhaps the supporting evidence is faulty or inadequate.
The following words denote various kinds of interpretations:
Beliefs, opinions, attitudes, assumptions, theories, hypotheses, arguments, claims, inferences, deductions, generalizations, value judgments, prejudices, biases
A scientific theory would rank as an “informed opinion” insofar as it is based upon
carefully collected data that has been checked and verified by trained scientists; a prejudice or bias is an uninformed opinion; it is an interpretation based upon inaccurate or very limited evidence.
Question: How can we decide whether an interpretation is an accurate interpretation? Answer: We must evaluate the evidence upon which it is based, and we must consider whether the interpretation is logical.
What is a Value Judgment?
A value judgment is a special kind of interpretation that indicates whether someone approves or disapproves, likes or dislikes, or considers something “good” or “bad.”
Some value judgments are gut reactions, indicating the spontaneous (not necessarily rationally considered) personal preferences of an individual. For instance, the statement “I love ice cream” indicates a personal preference for this food. The
statement “Ice cream is good for you,” however, is more than a personal preference,
and the listener would expect you to have evidence to support your opinion. Here is another example. The statement, “That was a good movie” may really mean “I
enjoyed that movie,” indicating nothing more than a personal reaction of one
individual. However, if you have some knowledge of movie making, you might move from the gut reaction type of statement to a considered opinion, backing up your preference with an assessment of the camera technique, the acting, the editing, or other aspects of film production.
Value judgments, then, like any interpretations, may be mere opinions or they may be what we call “considered opinions” or “informed opinions.”
Question: Can one value judgment be better than another?
Answer: When a value judgment is a personal preference and affects no one but that individual (as when someone says, “I like ice cream”), then one judgment is a s good
as another. It is simply each person‟s private preference. However, when a value
judgment indicates that something is good or bad in and of itself, good or bad, that is, for everyone (for example, when some claims “ice cream is good [or bad] for you”),
then we expect that judgment to be supported by evidence and logical arguments, and
we reject it if it lacks such support.
6. Major Writing Strategies
Analysis: the writer takes something apart (e.g. an issue, an article, etc.), examining the different parts of it separately and seeing how the parts relate to each other. In an analysis, the writer uses one or more of the strategies listed below Argumentation: the writer takes a strong position on an issue (often a controversial
issue) and provides supporting evidence and logical reasons to defend that position. Cause & Effect: the writer explains what caused something and / or traces the effects or consequences or results of something.
Classification: the writer sorts or groups things according to certain categories. Comparison & Contrast: the writer compares and contrasts two or more things, noting similarities and differences.
Definition: the writer explains or defines what a word or a phrase or an idea means. Description: the writer vividly describes something so that the reader can form a mental image of it.
Exemplification: the writer explains or defines or analyzes something by giving specific examples.
Narration: the writer tells a story to illustrate a point or examine an issue. Process: the writer describes a process, step by step. This becomes an analysis when, in addition to describing the process, the writer also explains the significance of some of the steps of the process or analyzes the relationship of one step to another.
Secondary Writing Strategies:
Anticipation criticism, asking a question, diagram and picture, dialogue, figurative language, historical data, humor, hyperbole, personal experience, quotation, reference to authority, repetition, rhetorical question, statistics
7. Recognizing Patterns:
1. Personal writing and human interest writing:
Personal Essay, Literary Essay, Social Comment Essay, Human Interest Journalism, 2. Expository writing:
News Report, Editorial, Social or Public Analysis, Professional Article, Satire
8. Organizing Patterns
A. Writing about what someone else has written
a. T-A-P the author‟s topic, audience, purpose
b. T-A-Cq the author‟s purpose
how it is achieved
the author‟s conclusions (or questions raised)
c. F-A-N what is the author for?
What is the author against?
What is the author (or what are you, the reader) not sure about? d. Summary-analysis-evaluation (this pattern may incorporate T-A-P, P-A-Cq, and F-A-N strategies)
B. C&E: Cause and Effect Analysis
Sample patterns: introduction: the situation or condition
Short term causes
Short term effects
Long range causes
C. C&C: Comparison and Contrast
D. Process: Description of How Something Is (or Was) Done or Made
Sample pattern: first, next, then, after…
E. Problem-Solution: Analysis of a Problem and Possible Solution(s)
introduction: describe the problem
cause or causes of problem (theoretical, 理论分析色彩)
way (or alternative ways) of solving (or dealing with) the problem
possible drawbacks (practical, 可操作性~从理论到实践)
anticipated effects and benefits of this approach to the problem
F. Paper Comparing Two Articles
a. part-to-part organization
a. overview of the problem or issue
b. introduce articles X and Y
?.Audience (who is being addressed and why?)
?. How authors develop their main ideas (writing strategies)
?. Conclusion reached
b. Whole-to-whole organization
a. overview of the problem or issue
b. introduce articles X and Y
?.Analysis of article X
?. Analysis of article Y
This type of paper is a comparison of two articles. No matter what organizational
pattern you use, you can link the different parts of your paper by using appropriate
transition words. For instance:
Like X, Y also…Unlike X, Y…X is…, while Y…Comparing X to Y, we see…
Compared to X, Y is…X and Y are both… Both are…Neither are…X is similar to Y X differs from Y…X agrees…Y disagrees
9. Distinguish Summary, Analysis, and Evaluation Summary (T-A-P)
a. author‟s thesis
b. other major ideas
c. conclusions reached, or questions raised
a. author‟s purpose
b. how achieved
c. conclusions reached, or questions raised
Analysis / Evaluation
Does the author achieve his or her purpose?
Are techniques of exposition effective?
Is there evidence to support the thesis or argument developed by the author?
Is the evidence persuasive?
Is there any evidence or counterargument you can think of that might contradict or
undermine the author‟s conclusion or any specific points made along the way? Do you think the author left out anything important? Evaluation / Personal Response
Your reactions: Did you like the essay? Why? Why not? Were you convinced by it?
o you agree or disagree? D
What are your ideas about the issues being discussed? Did you learn something you didn‟t know?
What idea seemed particularly interesting or significant? What do you question or wonder about?
a. Tone: Is it informal? conversational? professional? Critical? Satirical? Amused?
Encouraged? Pensive? Etc.
b. Audience: is it general? Professional? Etc.
c. Purpose: identifying the tone of the essay should help you define the author‟s
purpose to persuade, explain, criticize, report, encourage, advise, reassure, influence,
d. How achieved: through personal experience, comparison and contrast, cause and
effect, definition, classification, figurative language, reference to authority, statistics,
telling a story, specific examples, satire, humor, etc. e. Conclusions reached
f. Consider the title
g. Can you see any relationship between the following?
What is being said
Who is saying it
Who is being addressed (audience)
How it is said (tone, style, writing starategies)
A summary identifies the thesis and the other major ideas and indicates the author‟s
conclusions. Sometimes, the summary briefly suggests how the author develops his or her ideas. Remember: in a summary you report the author‟s ideas as accurately as
possibly. Do not include your own opinions.
An Analysis explains what, why, and how: that is, the analysis explains why the author wrote the article or essay (purpose), what his or her point of view is, and how he or she develops the main ideas (writing strategies). The analysis might also consider why the author chose those particular writing and argument strategies. An analysis may be developed without including any value judgment. That is, it is possible to interpret an article‟s meaning and explain the writing strategies used
without saying whether you think the article was well-written or whether you agree or disagree.
An Evaluation is a special kind of analysis that includes value judgment. Thus, in addition to interpreting and explaining the author‟s meaning and writing strategies, it
also evaluates them. Because a persuasive evaluation depends on a thorough understanding of the material, careful analysis provides the groundwork for an evaluation. Most reviewers of articles, books, films, or the arts combine analysis with evaluation. When a review combines analysis and evaluation, it is called a critique.
A Personal response can be a legitimate part of an evaluation, but a reader should attempt to separate his or her own response and personal convictions from the evaluation of the validity of the author‟s ideas, writing style, arguments, and insights.
You must always supply evidence to support your interpretations and your evaluations.
10. Guidelines for Writing about Summary, Analysis, and Evaluation (书112,待
11. Some Important Words
Although, however, while, nevertheless, but, still
Since, because, consequently, thus
Briefly, in conclusion
On the one hand, on the other hand, in contrast, comparing
Then, therefore as a result, so that
Certainly, obviously, of course
For example, for instance, in other words
Moreover, furthermore, in addition, first, second, third, etc.
Next, later, finally,
Words to replace “Yes”
Declares, states, asserts explains, analyzes, considers, assumes, implies, indicates, Ridicules, laughs at, makes fun of, pokes fun at, notes, writes, informs, review,
Mentions, compares, contrasts, suggests, recommends, advocates, assures, stresses, Remarks, comments, claims, connects, correlates, advises, emphasizes, Approves of, applauds, agrees, favors, argues, criticizes, complains, disapproves of, Is shocked by, believes, thinks, decides, protests, resolves
Words that describe Tone
Calm, casual, conversational, informal, objective, technical, scientific, formal, nalytic, subjective, expressive, emotional, charged, unemotional, low-keyed, a
detached, concerned, worried, bewildered, confused, authoritative, scholarly, academic, satiric, ironic, harsh, sarcastic, biting, bitter, cynical, dogmatic, didactic preachy, optimistic, encouraging, reassuring, hopeful, enthusiastic, pessimistic, serious, grim, cranky, complaining, scolding, critical, caustic, angry, hostile, antagonistic, adversarial, playful, lighthearted, amused
11. Classroom approach:
Read aloud (pronunciation, intonation, etc) ? interpret (faithful, expressive,
elegant?) ? paraphrase (word, phrase, sentence, think in English, conceptual thinking closely related to abstract nouns) ? ideas, language awareness, analysis,
appreciation or admiration (style, tone, sensitive to language form and function and conveying of meaning )
12. Thinking about Language
a. Denotation and Connotation
Denotation: dictionary meaning, what a word really refers to.
Connotation: emotional coloring or association that affect the way we perceive
what they represent.
b. The Language Ladder
Moving down the language ladder:
When we write and talk, our language is a mixture of concrete and abstract words.
Words that describe what one can see, hear, touch and even smell. Specific details
like these make writing more vivid and clear, helping the reader to understand
what the writer means.
Moving up the language ladder:
In order to talk or write what you see or read or experience, it is also useful to be
able to move up the language ladder and find a general idea that the specific
details illustrate or suggest
c. Classifying and Categorizing