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Intensive English Program

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Read, Think, Write - Approaching the College Essay

Course enrollment will be available for this course once it is scheduled.

Course Description

Despite our increasing reliance on screens in our 21st-century lives, writing remains a crucial skill that one must have. The texts we will read are not only important for their philosophical and social content, but also for their exemplification of various modes of written argumentation. Our discussion of the various texts will focus on the three levels of reading: summary, analysis, and application (of theory). Students will be asked to produce thesis-centered essays in which they apply the theory to the particular social context found in the literary text. Not only will we focus on reading, thinking, and writing skills, but we will also reflect upon how we can apply the lessons found in the texts to our lives today.

Readings are used to stimulate critical thinking and to provide students with models for effective writing. Students will become acquainted with the process of writing, from pre-writing activities to producing a final, proofread draft. Grammar and syntax are discussed as needed. The textbook that we will use pairs a wide variety of canonical readings in the humanities with an equally wide variety of diverse autobiographical essays and short stories. The texts are clustered in units: One disciplinary essay representing an important insight in the history of ideas is grouped with two shorter selections, one a short story, one a non-fiction essay (usually, but not always autobiographical). The lead essay in each unit demonstrates a theory; the following two pieces give a social context for the theory. The task of the student writer is to make an argument placing the theory in each unit within a social context, thereby juxtaposing at least two texts from each cluster. These pairings of texts help student writers learn to move between the abstract and the concrete--a necessary component to successful college writing in any discipline.

Learning goals:

  • Analyze an essay or short-story based on the three levels of reading: summary, analysis, and application.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the various modes of argumentation.
  • Compose cogent, thesis-centered essays that apply a theory to the social context found within various literary texts.
  • Confidently approach the task of writing and re-writing a college-level essay.

    This course is only open to students enrolled in IEP (Intensive English Program).

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