Students' Area

Web links

These links to relevant websites are provided to offer students further advice and information on the topics covered by Academic Writing, A Handbook for International Students. The views and comments found on these websites do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the author.

1.1      Basics of Writing

https://library.leeds.ac.uk/info/485/academic_skills/331/academic_writing/1

http://www.uefap.com/writing/writfram.htm



1.2      Reading: Finding Suitable Sources

http://www.ncl.ac.uk/students/wdc/learning/academic/sources.htm

https://usingsources.fas.harvard.edu/

https://web.archive.org/web/20130726023918/http://www.lc.unsw.edu.au/onlib/read.html

http://writingcenter.unc.edu/esl/resources/academic-reading-strategies/



1.3      Reading: Developing Critical Approaches

http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/ld/resources/writing/writing-resources/critical-reading

http://www.humanities.manchester.ac.uk/humnet/our-services/postgraduate-research/researcher-development/resources/academic-writing/unit7/

http://advice.writing.utoronto.ca/researching/critical-reading/

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ioe-writing-centre/critical-reading-and-writing



1.4      Avoiding Plagiarism

https://www.ox.ac.uk/students/academic/guidance/skills/plagiarism?wssl=1

http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/ld/resources/study/avoiding-plagiarism

http://www.uefap.com/writing/plagiar/plagfram.htm



1.5      From Understanding Essay Titles to Planning

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/studentservices/documents/planning-and-preparing-to-write-assignments.pdf

https://canvas.hull.ac.uk/courses/778/pages/analysing-essay-titles

https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/libraryservices/library/skills/asc/documents/public/Short-Guide-Essay-Planning.pdf

http://www.sussex.ac.uk/skillshub/?id=356



1.6      Finding Key Points and Note-making

http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/ld/resources/study/notes

http://learnline.cdu.edu.au/studyskills/studyskills/intronotemaking.html

https://portal.uea.ac.uk/documents/6207125/7632456/Effective+Note+Making.pdf/ec9679ac-b977-4c95-9df6-df94c4c2fdbc



1.7      Summarising and Paraphrasing

http://learninghub.une.edu.au/tlc/aso/aso-online/academic-writing/summarising.php

http://www.humanities.manchester.ac.uk/humnet/our-services/postgraduate-research/researcher-development/resources/academic-writing/unit8/summarising/

http://aeo.sllf.qmul.ac.uk/Files/Summarizing/Summarising.html

http://www.uefap.com/writing/report/repfram.htm



1.8      References and Quotations

http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/ld/resources/writing/writing-resources/ref-bib

https://unilearning.uow.edu.au/academic/4ciii.html

https://student.unsw.edu.au/why-referencing-important

http://library.worc.ac.uk/guides/study-skills/referencing



1.9      Combining Sources

http://services.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/706946/Incorporating_Sources_100113_ST.pdf

https://www.una.edu/writingcenter/docs/Writing-Resources/Source%20Integration.pdf

https://www.bgsu.edu/content/dam/BGSU/learning-commons/documents/writing/synthesis/asked-to-synthesize.pdf



1.10    Organising Paragraphs

http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/ld/resources/writing/grammar/grammar-guides/paras

https://learn.solent.ac.uk/mod/book/view.php?id=2736&chapterid=3305

http://library.bcu.ac.uk/learner/writingguides/1.30.htm

https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/301/study-skills/writing/academic-writing/paragraph-flow-connectivity

1.11    Introductions and Conclusions

http://services.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/468862/Writing_introductions_and_conclusions_for_essays_Update_051112.pdf

http://www.library.dmu.ac.uk/Support/Heat/index.php?page=485

https://www.adelaide.edu.au/writingcentre/docs/learningguide-introductionsconclusions.pdf

http://advice.writing.utoronto.ca/planning/intros-and-conclusions/



1.12    Rewriting and Proofreading

https://lrweb.beds.ac.uk/guides/a-guide-to-referencing/avoid_plagiarism/proofreading

http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/ld/resources/writing/writing-essays-tour/finishing-touches

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/owlprint/561/

2.1 Argument and Discussion

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/al-archive/leap/writing/discursive/example1/

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/writing-purpose/essays-structure-1

http://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/discussion

2.2 Cause and Effect

https://www.roanestate.edu/owl/cause.html

http://www.uefap.com/writing/function/causeff.htm



2.3 Comparisons

http://library.bcu.ac.uk/learner/writingguides/1.18.htm

https://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/how-write-comparative-analysis

http://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/writingprocess/comparecontrast



2.4 Definitions

http://www.wou.edu/~corninr/wr135/definition.html



2.5 Examples

http://www.uefap.com/writing/function/examples.htm



2.6 Generalisations

http://www.uefap.com/writing/function/general.htm



2.7 Problems and Solutions

http://library.bcu.ac.uk/learner/writingguides/1.16.htm



2.8 Visual Information

http://learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org/skills/writing-skills-practice/writing-about-bar-chart

http://www.sussex.ac.uk/skillshub/?id=371

https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/libraryservices/library/skills/asc/documents/public/pgtreferencingtables.pdf

https://www.elanguages.ac.uk/los/eap/introduction_to_describing_graphs_and_tables.html



3.1 Cohesion

http://writesite.elearn.usyd.edu.au/m3/m3u5/m3u5s5/m3u5s5_1.htm

http://www.uefap.com/writing/parag/par_coh.htm



3.2 Definite Articles

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/540/1/



3.3 Numbers

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/exercises/grammar/grammar_tutorial/page_33.htm

https://canvas.hull.ac.uk/courses/213/pages/writing-numbers



3.4 Passive and Active

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/539/02/

https://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/CCS_activevoice.html

http://writing.umn.edu/sws/quickhelp/style/activepassive.html



3.5 Punctuation

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/punctuation

http://www.uefap.com/writing/punc/puncfram.htm

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/566/01/



3.6 Singular or Plural?

http://www.aje.com/en/arc/editing-tip-singular-and-plural-forms-scientific-writing/



3.7 Style

https://www.ox.ac.uk/sites/files/oxford/media_wysiwyg/University%20of%20Oxford%20Style%20Guide.pdf

http://library.bcu.ac.uk/learner/writingguides/1.20.htm

http://learninghub.une.edu.au/tlc/aso/aso-online/academic-writing/academic-style.php



3.8 Time Markers

https://www.york.ac.uk/res/elanguages/index/Modulecd/cu2s6/cu2s60702.htm



4.1 Approaches to Vocabulary

https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/al/globalpad/openhouse/academicenglishskills/vocabulary/academic_words/

http://www.uefap.com/vocab/select/awl.htm

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/alzsh3/acvocab/



4.2 Abbreviations

https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/~cll/lskills/WS/abbrevintro.html

http://public.oed.com/how-to-use-the-oed/abbreviations/



4.3 Academic Vocabulary: Nouns and Adjectives

http://elibrary.bsu.az/books_250/N_44.pdf

http://library.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/1924153/Vocabulary.pdf



4.4 Academic Vocabulary: Verbs and Adverbs

https://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/twc/sites/utsc.utoronto.ca.twc/files/resource-files/xAdjsandAdvs.pdf

http://www.worldclasslearning.com/english/list-of-verbs-nouns-adjectives-adverbs.html



4.5 Conjunctions

https://www.uow.edu.au/content/groups/public/@web/@stsv/@ld/documents/doc/uow195607.pdf

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/683/05/



4.6 Prefixes and Suffixes

https://www.cliffsnotes.com/~/media/038403db93114b9998a9ac2c86fc8d3a.ashx

http://write-site.athabascau.ca/esl/word_forms.php



4.7 Prepositions

http://www.flinders.edu.au/slc_files/Documents/Yellow%20Guides/Prepositions.pdf

http://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/grammar/prepositions



4.8 Synonyms

http://temple.edu/writingctr/english -language-learners/documents/AbridgedAcademicWordList.pdf

Extra Practice Materials Part 1

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Reading – Critical Approaches (Unit 1-3)

You have to write an essay entitled: ‘There are many practical benefits to separating girls and boys for secondary education – discuss’.

◊ In preparation, you read the two texts below, which have opposing viewpoints. How reliable do you find the texts? Complete the box below with extracts from the texts and your critical comments.

Text

Extracts from text

Comments

1

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

1. The benefits of co-education

For both girls and boys, co-education provides a more realistic way of training young people to take their places naturally in the wider community of men and women. It helps to break down the misconceptions of each sex about the other and provides an excellent foundation for the development of realistic, meaningful, and lasting relationships in later life.

A co-educational school is also very successful in challenging sexist attitudes. Many subjects in secondary school allow for considerable classroom discussion and debate. In a co-educational school, both the female and male perspectives will be explored in such discussions, and this is a very important learning experience for all. In this activity, students learn that 'equality' does not mean 'sameness' – that men and women often have different perspectives on the same issues and that each approach has a great deal to offer the other.

Advocates of single-sex schooling sometimes make exaggerated claims about the academic advantages of such schools, pointing to statistically significant disparities in examination results. In truth, such differences may be due more to the socio-economic background of the pupils at the school or the selectivity of the intake.

Co-educational schools better reflect the diversity of our society; they better prepare students to succeed in post-secondary education and to eventually enter the workforce. Students in co-educational schools are also more likely to feel safe in their school environment. Research shows students in co-educational schools grow to be confident in expressing their views in the presence of members of the opposite sex, while collaboration between the sexes in the classroom helps develop confidence in students who excel at university and beyond as leaders.

Teachers in co-educational schools recognise that some gender differences in learning do exist and are skilled in catering for diverse learning needs in the classroom. Furthermore, in a co-educational learning environment, students are exposed to both male and female role models in staff and senior students.

According to Professor Alan Smithers, director of education and employment research at the University of Buckingham: ‘There are no overriding advantages for single-sex schools on educational grounds. Studies all over the world have failed to detect any major differences.’ For both girls and boys, co-education provides a more realistic way of training young people to take their places naturally in the wider community of men and women: it helps to break down the misconceptions of each sex about the other and provides an excellent foundation for the development of realistic, meaningful and lasting relationships in later life.

It has been proved that the students who have got their education under a co-education system are more confident as compared to the students who have been learning in a single-sex school system throughout their educational career. Such students hesitate to interact with the opposite gender in their later lives; on the other hand, a student who has learned under co-education system freely interacts with the opposite sex and does not hesitate or feel uncomfortable in their presence. In mixed schooling systems, both the sexes can learn from each other, and they can also share their ideas on different topics. Girls and boys have different points of view so the mixed schooling system enables them to share their ideas and also creates a team spirit among them.

Co-education system enables the students of opposite sexes to freely interact with each other, which is an essential and mandatory skill for all adults who are working and living in society. It is important that the students should not feel uncomfortable in the presence of the opposite gender; they should feel comfortable when they are discussing something with the opposite gender. This is a very important aspect which will make them more confident in their future lives.

2. The advantages of single-sex schools

The age-old debate around single-sex schools versus mixed schools is back on the educational agenda once more, with experts from across the education sector still divided on the subject. The number of single-sex private schools may have halved in the last 20 years, but the advantages of single-sex schools have resurfaced yet again. This is partly due to recent news that girls in single-sex state schools get better GCSE results than those in mixed schools, including those from poorer backgrounds. The SchoolDash research found that 75% of pupils at single-sex schools achieved five good GCSEs compared to just 55% in mixed schools.

Why are single-sex schools good for education? Many educational experts believe that girls and boys have different learning needs and that in single-sex schools teachers can use particular techniques designed specifically to suit the gender of their school. Girls, for example, prefer collaborative and discussion-based learning while boys can dominate discussions and group-based teamwork. By using gender-specific teaching techniques, staff at single-sex schools can get the most out of lesson time and enhance the learning experience for their students.

Some research into gender differences in learning even looks at how girls and boys respond differently to changes in temperature, suggesting that girls prefer warmer rooms while boys prefer to learn in cooler conditions. Single-sex schools make it possible to adapt the learning environment to suit the differing needs of boys and girls.

There’s a widespread belief that single-sex schools help to challenge gender stereotypes and broaden the educational aspirations of both girls and boys. Single-sex schools enable girls and boys to feel free to learn and discover any subject, with girls able to pursue interest in male-dominated subjects such as maths and science, and boys able to explore music and the arts. Indeed, at the 26 Girls’ Day School Trust schools and academies, girls are more than twice as likely to opt for science or engineering degrees at university level as girls nationally.

According to multiple long-term studies of children from around the world, students achieve more and learn better in single-sex schools. An Australian study of 270,000 students found that both boys and girls performed significantly higher on standardised tests when they attended gender-specific schools. During an experiment in Virginia in 1995, 100 eighth graders were separated just for maths and science courses. Almost immediately, the girls began to achieve more, became more confident, and participated more often in class. In 2001, a British study concluded that every girl, regardless of her ability or socio-economic status, performed better in single-sex classrooms than co-ed ones. The study of 9,954 high schools and 979 primary schools showed that while boys at the lowest ends academically improved the most in single-sex schools, single-sex education was particularly beneficial to girls. Every one of the top 50 elementary schools in Britain are single-sex schools. At all-girls schools, teachers use the latest techniques in keeping with the female learning style. The textbooks and other materials don’t have a male bias. Girls are more able to participate in class discussions since there aren’t boys around to dominate as in co-educational schools. Girls become more confident in themselves as students and earn higher scores in their examinations.

Note-making, Summarising and Referencing (Units 1.6-1.8)

1. Finding key points

You have been told to write an essay on the title: ‘Can money buy happiness?’

You have found the following text which seems relevant to this topic. It is part of an article by A. Penec in a journal called Applied Econometrics (volume 44, pages 18–27) published in 2013.

◊ Read it and underline the key points.

The measurement of happiness
Economists have recently begun to pay more attention to studying happiness, instead of just using the more traditional GDP per person. They have found that in the last fifty years there has been no apparent increase in personal happiness in Western nations, despite steadily growing economic wealth. In both Europe and the USA, surveys have found no rise in the level of happiness since the 1950s, which seems surprising given that wealthier people generally claim to be happier than poorer people. In America, for example, more than a third of the richest group said they were ‘very happy’, while only one sixth of the poorest made the same claim. Although it would be logical to expect that rising national wealth would lead to greater general happiness, this has not happened. Individually, more money does seem to increase happiness, but when the whole society becomes richer, individuals do not appear to feel better off.

One possible explanation has been that people rapidly get used to improvements, and therefore devalue them because they are taken for granted. Central heating is a good example: whereas 50 years ago it was a luxury item, today it is standard in nearly every home. Another theory is that the figures for GDP per person, used to assess national wealth, do not take into account quality of life factors such as environmental damage or levels of stress, which must affect people’s feelings of happiness. The report of a commission set up by the French president recently claimed that the French were comparatively better off than had been previously thought, due to their generous holidays and effective health care system, factors which basic GDP figures had ignored.

The text contains five key points:

a) Economists have recently begun to pay more attention to studying happiness, instead of just using the more traditional GDP per person.

b) In the last fifty years there has been no apparent increase in personal happiness in Western nations, despite steadily growing economic wealth.

c) … which seems surprising given that wealthier people generally claim to be happier than poorer people.

d) One possible explanation has been that people rapidly get used to improvements, and therefore devalue them because they are taken for granted.

e) Another theory is that the figures for GDP per person, used to assess national wealth, do not take into account quality of life factors such as environmental damage or levels of stress ...

2. Note-making

The next step is to make notes of these points, using paraphrase:

a)  Economists have begun to research happiness, rather than rely on GDP.

b)  Although W. economies expanded since 1950s, no parallel growth in happiness.

c)  But more rich people say they are happy than poor.

d)  Seems that people soon get accustomed to gains, so don’t appreciate them.

e)  GDP does not measure environmental or social factors that affect individuals.

3. Writing a paragraph from notes

These points can now be combined into one paragraph of your essay, using conjunctions where necessary, and including a reference to your source:

A recent development in economics is the study of personal happiness. Penec (2003) argues that although Western economies have expanded since the 1950s, there has been no parallel growth in happiness. Surveys indicate that rich people generally say they are happier than poor people, but this does not apply to the whole society. One explanation is that people soon become accustomed to gains and so do not appreciate them. It also seems likely that GDP measurement ignores significant social and environmental factors which affect personal well-being.

4. Practice A

◊ Continue the same process with the next section of the text by underlining the key points.

A further explanation for the failure of wealth to increase happiness is the tendency for people to compare their own position to that of their neighbours. Studies show that people would prefer to have a lower income, if their colleagues got less, rather than a higher income while colleagues got more. In other words, happiness seems to depend on feeling better off than other people, rather than on any absolute measure of wealth. Further research suggests that having free time is also closely linked to happiness, so that the pattern of working harder in order to buy more goods is unlikely to increase well-being. Yet Western societies generally encourage employees to spend as much time at work as possible.

5. Practice B

◊ Make notes on the key points.

a)

b)

6.  Practice C

◊ Link the notes together to conclude this section of your essay.

7. Practice D

◊ Write a full reference for the source as it would appear in the list of references.

Combining Sources (Units 1.9)

You are writing an essay on government intervention in family matters with the title:
‘Is there a role for the state to influence family size?’

◊ You have found two possible sources. Read the extracts and then complete the paragraph from the essay’s introduction using both sources.

1. The demographic revolution

Fifty years ago, overpopulation was seen as a major threat to human survival. But since then, attitudes to family size have shifted significantly, so that many countries now have a fertility rate below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman. A recent poll asked people in 19 countries about their ideal family size, and also whether or not they would achieve their ideal, and why. In less than half the countries surveyed, people actually have more children than the ideal, notably Nigeria, where the ideal is 5.4 children but in fact they have 7.7. But the majority of countries display the opposite: people have fewer children than the ideal. Greeks, for example, would like 2.6 children in their families, but are likely to only have 1.7.

One reason often given for limiting family size is financial, especially in countries which have been most affected by economic collapse post-2009. The cost of education, especially private education, is a concern for many parents, as is the price of housing. In Spain, for instance, the average man cannot afford to set up his own household until the age of 30. But even in more dynamic economies, such as China, the fertility rate has fallen to 1.6, well below the replacement level. Urbanisation is an undoubted factor in discouraging large families, which are less of an asset when rural life is left behind.

Because couples are postponing getting married and starting a family for economic and social reasons, a new difficulty for older would-be mothers is actually getting pregnant. Many women in their 30s experience some problems, with an increasing number having to use IVF treatment. In addition to the suffering experienced by these families, many governments are increasingly concerned by the shortage of young working people to support the growing number of older citizens and their pensions.

(Deliban, K. Oxford Review, September 2016, pp 45-6)

2. Childlessness

In many European countries it is becoming common for women not to have children. Twenty-two per cent of German women in their early 40s, for example, are childless, and the figure is higher in cities, while the birth rate is only 1.5. In England childlessness is also common, at 17 per cent, although the birth rate is higher. But demographers argue that this is not a new situation, pointing out that in the nineteenth century and earlier many women delayed marriage for financial reasons or never married at all.

Social attitudes to childlessness are also changing, since it is decreasingly seen as something shameful. This may be due to the increasing economic necessity for both parents to work, especially in countries such as Japan where there is little provision for working mothers. Many well-educated women may simply prefer to follow their career path rather than raise children. Other reasons for childlessness include not finding a suitable partner or medical difficulties, especially among women whose postpone starting a family until they are over 30.

Although results vary from place to place, many studies have found that childless couples may often be happier than those with children, especially young children. Such people make significant contributions to society, being especially prominent (according to a German study) in setting up and running charities. They are also far more likely than couples with children to leave money in their wills to charity.

(Scarrow, W. and Langbein, R. The New Europeans, 2014)

'Is there a role for the state to influence family size?'

In the past governments have sometimes attempted to encourage or discourage their citizens from having children, for instance, offering financial incentives for having extra children. Today there is evidence of a worldwide trend to reducing family size ...

Proofreading (Unit 1.12)

1 Practice A

◊ Read the following text and underline the errors.

Capitol punishment is the most awful penalty that the state can employ. Although it’s use has declined worldwide in the next fifty years, it is still practiced in a significant number of countries including, China and United States. It has strong opponents and supporters, leading to fierce debate about their effectiveness. The supporters of capital punishments argue that it deters criminals from doing big crimes such as murder, because they know that they risk death themselves. Although critics argue that most murders is committed without planning, and that researches shows that murder rate is not higher in countries which haven’t the death penalty. They also says that everyone should have the chance of reform, which may be achieved by a long period of imprisonment, and that state execution is a inhumane act. You can see that this is a subject that creates strong feelings, and clearly this controversy was likely to continue for many years.

2. Practice B

◊ Rewrite the text with all the errors corrected.

3. Practice C

◊ Make a list of the different types of errors found in the text (e.g. spelling, with examples).

Answers

A  Reading - Developing Critical Approaches 

(Model answer - others possible)

Text

Extracts from text

Comments

1

A co-educational school is also very successful in challenging sexist attitudes.
Advocates of single-sex schooling sometimes make exaggerated claims about the academic advantages of such schools
It has been proved that the students which have got their education under co-education system are more confident …

Unsupported generalisation.

No source given for these claims.

No source given for these claims.

2

Some research into gender differences in learning even looks at how girls and boys respond differently to changes in temperature.
A British study concluded that every girl regardless of her ability or socio-economic status performed better in single-sex classrooms …
Every one of the top 50 elementary schools in Britain are single-sex schools.
At all-girls schools, teachers use the latest techniques in keeping with the female learning style. The textbooks and other materials don’t have a male bias.

Is this relevant?

 

Hard to believe.

How are these 50 measured?
What is a ‘female learning style’?
Are there really two types of textbooks?

B  Note-making, Summarising and Paraphrasing, References

(Model answers)

5. Practice B

a) Happiness often depends on feeling wealthier than others
b) People believe that leisure = happiness, so working longer to get extra goods
won’t lead to happiness

6. Practice C

Another explanation Penec presents is that happiness is often dependent on a comparison with others, so that if neighbours are also getting richer there is no apparent improvement. A further factor relates to leisure, which is widely equated with happiness. Consequently the idea of increasing workload to be able to purchase more goods or services is not going to result in greater happiness.

7. Practice D

Penec, A. (2008) ‘The measurement of happiness’ Applied Econometrics 44 18–27.

C Combining Sources

(Model answer)

‘Is there a role for the state to influence family size?’

In the past governments have sometimes attempted to encourage or discourage their citizens from having children, for instance, offering financial incentives for having extra children. Today there is evidence of a worldwide trend to reducing family size, due to pressures of urbanisation and related factors. Deliban (2016) states that this tendency is a concern for governments facing a future lack of the young workers needed to provide tax income. However, Scarrow and Langbein (2014) point out that in both Europe and Japan women are increasingly likely to have no children. Again, they see this partly as a response to the economic climate but also due to the difficulty of combining motherhood and a career.

D  Proofreading

1. Practice A

Capitol punishment is the most awful penalty that the state can employ. Although it’s use has declined worldwide in the next fifty years, it is still practiced in a significant number of countries including, China and United States. It has strong opponents and supporters, leading to fierce debate about their effectiveness. The supporters of capital punishments argue that it deters criminals from doing big crimes such as murder, because they know that they risk death themselves. Although critics argue that most murders is committed without planning, and that researches shows that murder rate is not higher in countries which haven’t the death penalty. They also says that everyone should have the chance of reform, which may be achieved by a long period of imprisonment, and that state execution is a inhumane act. You can see that this is a subject that creates strong feelings, and clearly this controversy was likely to continue for many years.

2. Practice B

Capital punishment is the most severe penalty that the state can employ. Although its use has declined worldwide in the last fifty years, it is still practised in a significant number of countries including China and the United States. It has strong opponents and supporters, leading to fierce debate about its effectiveness. The supporters of capital punishment argue that it deters criminals from committing serious crimes such as murder, because they know that they risk death themselves. But critics argue that most murders are committed without planning, and that research shows that the murder rate is not higher in countries which do not have the death penalty. They also say that everyone should have the chance of reform, which may be achieved by a long period of imprisonment, and that state execution is an inhumane act. It can be seen that this is a subject that creates strong feelings, and clearly this controversy is likely to continue for many years.

3. Practice C

Spelling: capitol/ capital
Vocabulary: awful/ severe
Punctuation: it’s/ its
Fact: next/ last
Articles: the United States
Agreement: their effectiveness/ its effectiveness
Singular/plural: punishments/ punishment
Style: big crimes/ serious crimes
Conjunctions: Although/ But
Tense: was/ is

Extra Practice Materials Part 2

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Discussion (Unit 2.1)

Essay structure

◊ Read the essay carefully and then decide which of the headings below match each of the paragraphs 1-7.

A.  The impact of education                    
B.  Discussion/ example                         
C.  Introduction - aims & overview          
D.  Conclusion
E.  Other factors
F.  Introduction - definitions
G.  Limits of education

Title: ‘Education is the most important factor in national development – Discuss’

  1. Education must be considered on several different levels, so that today most Western countries are concerned with provision from nursery to higher education, while developing countries attempt to deliver basic education (e.g. reading and writing) to their people. ‘National development’ will be defined in this essay as the development of a country’s economy, since this is most commonly seen as the function of education provided by the state. For example, many European countries began providing primary education for all citizens in the late nineteenth century, in the early phase of industrialisation.
  2. This paper attempts to evaluate the importance of these varying levels of educational provision in encouraging economic growth, compared to other factors such as national culture, natural resources, and governance. The role of education in fostering development will be examined first, and then other factors affecting growth will be considered.
  3. At its simplest, education sets out to teach literacy and numeracy. People who can read and count are capable of being trained for many roles in the industrial or service sectors, as well as learning by themselves. Even in the economies dependent mainly on agriculture, the education of women has been shown to lead to dramatic improvements in family welfare. In more developed economies, further skills are required, such as languages, engineering, and computing. Good education does not merely teach people how to function passively but provides them with the skills to ask questions and therefore make improvements. At university level, education is closely involved in research which leads to technical and social advances.
  4. Yet education does not operate in a vacuum: cultural, religious, legal, and other factors all influence the rate of economic growth. Soviet Russia, for example, had an advanced educational system, but many graduates were underemployed due to the restrictions of the political system. Similar situations exist in many countries today because of political restraints on the economy which prevent fast enough expansion to create sufficient jobs. Clearly, development requires efficient and honest government to encourage a dynamic economy.
  5. A strong work ethic, as found in the USA or Japan, also aids growth. In such societies, children are brought up to believe that both the individual and society will benefit from hard work. Natural resources such as oil are another consideration. Brunei, for instance, previously a poor country reliant on fishing, today has one of the highest per capita GDPs in the world ($83,000 in 2017). A clear and effective legal system also encourages development.
  6. It is difficult to think of a situation where education has been the principal agent in fostering growth. For example, in the world’s first industrial revolution, which occurred in eighteenth-century Britain, many people were still illiterate (some pioneer industrialists themselves could not read or write). It seems that the availability of capital through the banking system, and a secure political and legal environment were more crucial in this case.
  7. However, despite these considerations, education clearly has an important part to play in developing the skills and abilities of the people. Ultimately, they are the most important resource a country possesses, and their education is a priority for all successful states.

(Approximately 600 words)

Comparison (Unit 2.3)

1. Comparison essay

◊ Read the essay below carefully and find:

a) A definition
b) An example
c) A generalisation
d) A phrase expressing cause and effect
e) A passive
f) A phrase expressing caution
g) Three synonyms for ‘internet-based teaching’

Title: ‘Compare classroom learning with internet-based teaching. Is the latter likely to replace the former?’

Since the late 1990s internet-based teaching (also known as e-education) has emerged as a potential rival to traditional classroom learning. It normally involves having access to a secure site on the internet where a graded series of lessons are available, and having assignments sent and returned by email. Although online courses are now offered by many institutions, it is by no means clear that they offer real advantages compared to classroom education. Little research has been done so far on their effectiveness, but this essay sets out to examine the advantages of both approaches and attempts to draw conclusions.

Two main advantages of internet use in education are generally put forward. First, it is seen as more economical, since once a course is prepared it can be used by large numbers of students. The savings made by not having to employ so many teachers should be reflected in cheaper course fees. The second benefit is convenience; instead of having to attend classes at fixed times and places, students are free to study when they choose and progress at their own pace. Furthermore, by studying from home there is no need to travel to the college or university, saving both time and money. A student living in a small town in China, for example, can now study a course at an American college without the worry of travelling, accommodation, or homesickness.

Despite the considerations mentioned above, classroom learning shows no signs of being replaced by e-learning. It seems that face-to-face contact with a teacher is still widely regarded as the best way for students to make progress, despite the expense and inconvenience involved. Not only the personal contact with a teacher, but also the support and encouragement gained from being part of a class may be one reason for this. Membership of a group may also create a useful spirit of competition, which stimulates learning.

Given the increasing pressure on university places in many countries, internet-based teaching is often seen as a convenient development. However, e-learning eliminates personal contact and travel from education, which are possibly the aspects many students value. Sitting at home working on a computer may be economical but clearly cannot replace the social experience of attending courses. However, there are many people who are unable because of work or family commitments, or due to lack of funds, to go to classes and who would clearly find internet learning beneficial. Online courses can also be used to support taught courses, for instance, by providing access to extra materials. In many ways these kinds of courses are similar to ‘universities of the air’, such as Britain’s Open University, which have successfully developed distance learning in the last forty years.

Faced by growing demand for university places, more institutions are likely to develop online courses, but the apparent benefits of e-learning may be less than are generally believed. Students seem to value the personal contact of the classroom highly, despite its cost and inconvenience. There may be a role for internet-based courses to supplement teacher-taught ones, and certainly for people with other commitments they will be the only practical option. There is an urgent need for research on the effectiveness of this type of learning, which should help maximise its advantages in the future.

(Approximately 550 words)

2. Essay structure

◊ Suggest a suitable heading for each paragraph of the essay.

1

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

5

 



Problems and Solutions (Unit 2.7)

You have to discuss the issue of whether it is better to assess students by course work or examination.

◊ Study the points below, showing the advantages and drawbacks of each alternative. Then combine them into one paragraph using the framework given, providing your own conclusion.

 

Advantages

Disadvantages

A
Coursework

 

 

  • All student work during semester is assessed.
  • Students encouraged to work consistently during the course.
  • Students have some choice of topics.
  • Work can be plagiarised.
  • Requires time-management skills.
  • More difficult for teachers to assess all work fairly.

B
Examinations

 

 

  • All students compete on equal terms.
  • Encourages students to revise all their work.
  • Reduces risk of plagiarism.
  • Some students become nervous.
  • Only limited number of topics are assessed.
  • Time limits are unfair to non-native speakers.


Problem

 

 

Benefits of A

 

 

Drawbacks of A

 

 

Benefits of B

 

 

Drawbacks of B

 

 

Conclusion

 

 



Answers

E Discussion

1. Essay structure

1F
2C
3A
4G
5E
6B
7D

F  Comparison

1. Comparison essay

(Model answers, other answers possible)

  1. This normally involves having access to a secure site on the internet where a graded series of lessons are available, and which have assignments sent and returned by email.
  2. A student living in a small town in China, for example, can now study a course at an American college.
  3. Membership of a group may also create a useful spirit of competition which stimulates learning.
  4. There may be many people who are unable, either through work or family commitments, or due to lack of funds, to go to classes...
  5. Although online courses are now offered by many institutions...
  6. ...it is by no means clear that they offer real advantages compared to classroom education.
  7. e-education/ online courses/ internet use in education/ e-learning

2. Essay structure

  1. Introduction (definition/ background/ aim)
  2. Benefits of e-education
  3. Benefits of classroom teaching
  4. Discussion
  5. Conclusion – further research

G  Problems and Solutions

(Model answer)

Problem

 

Fair and accurate assessment of students’ performance has always been a difficult task. Coursework and examinations have both been used to grade student work.

Benefits of A

 

The benefits of assessment through coursework are the inclusion of all a student’s work over the period, as well as the encouragement to work consistently. In addition, it provides students, to some degree, with a choice of topics.

Drawbacks of A

 

However, there are concerns that plagiarism of coursework is quite easy, and doing coursework requires good time-management skills. The greater volume of work may also make it harder for teachers to assess everything fairly.

Benefits of B

 

Examinations, however, make plagiarism much more difficult, and also provide an incentive for thorough revision of the semester’s work. It is also claimed that all students have to compete on equal terms, answering the same questions in the same amount of time.

Drawbacks of B

 

Critics of exams point out that some students become too nervous to perform well, and that only a restricted range of topics can be assessed. Non-native speakers are also likely to be disadvantaged.

Conclusion

 

Because of the powerful arguments on both sides of this debate, most courses are actually assessed by a combination of both methods, and this seems to be the most satisfactory situation.