Home Writing HE previous write-ups on academic writing defined what it is, described the four types of academic writing and identified the specific type appropriate in writing the sections of a research report. Included were writing tips common to all types; using quotes from appropriate experts in a discipline, and what the several types of citations are and for which discipline or disciplines they are often used. Described, too, were cohesion and coherence, distinguishing one from the other and providing tips and examples to achieve both. That written assignments are often used to assess graduate students on their learning gains demonstrate the importance for graduate students to hone their academic writing skills — a show window of their mental dynamics. Written assignments demonstrate the depth and breadth of thought and the logic; how their readings helped them shape the ideas they put forward with clarity via their written discourse. Besides indicators of their kind of thinking and how well their thoughts are expressed, academic writing does not only ensure their success in graduate studies, it also helps them attain success career-wise. How to do a written assignment. I take time to devise written assignment questions for students to reduce mere copying from web material without their giving much thought on what is copied. Instead of “Explain what culture shock means” which could tempt a student who, likely for lack of time, would copy an entire Wikipedia material on culture shock, the assignment is revised as: 1) define culture shock; 2) give examples you experienced personally or by any one in your professional circle; 3) choose one of the examples; describe the adjustment process to the new cultural environment anchored on any transition-to-adjustment model. In this case, the student can organize the essay indicating subheadings, making full expression of his or her learning gains. Responses to capstones. Herewith is a capstone for a leadership subject using font 12, Times New Roman, double space on A4: “(1) Write a 5-page minimum essay describing your philosophy of leadership. (2) Explain how such fits the mission and vision of your organization, or in one you hope to lead.” This assignment yielded two types of approach from a Leadership class. One response referred to web material which described what great leaders are. Three pages dwelt on leadership styles of Matsushita, John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, Warren Buffet and Alexander the Great. The last two pages described what a leadership philosophy is and its importance, ending with transformational leadership as the most effective style. Nowhere in the essay was a statement of the student’s own leadership philosophy. The second response was a six-page essay. Three pages described two contrasting types of leadership then commented on the more likely philosophy of leadership influencing each style. The student wrote that in an autocratic leadership style, the leader believes human beings are frail and easily tempted to evil. With such a belief, the leader tends to be punitive. A second leadership style, the democratic, would likely have a leader who believes that human beings are essentially good. Hence, the leader trusts the staff and provides needed encouragement and support. The last three pages contained the student’s choice of a leadership philosophy which believes that man is essentially good. The student proceeded to describe her personal leadership philosophy when, as she hopes, she would be a school principal someday. Her essay illustrated what her leadership philosophy practices would be — how she would stress on the continuing professional development of her teachers and seek funds to support their training. Her last page described how her leadership philosophy has impacted on her as a teacher, citing instances of her supporting, encouraging, fostering the skills of her pupils to meet learning outcomes. These are examples of the quality of academic writing a lecturer could come across in graduate school. Tools to improve grammar, avoid plagiarism. For a better harvest of deep thought — persuasive, descriptive, analytic and critical thinking — from our students, we lecturers/professors could craft our questions in such a manner that simply copying excerpts from the web would not suffice. Students may quote from the web, but quoting must be with thought. Besides a rational structure, an essay should have coherence and cohesion and avoid plagiarism. It is advantageous to have questions which hint on the structure of the written assignment. Here are two essay assignments in Inter-intra Communication in Organizations — both hinting on the likely headings/subheadings of the essay: “Define any three specific communication theories we took up. Illustrate through local examples how each of these theories could enhance your professional and work experience.” Another capstone assignment, quite more challenging: “Communication privacy management (CPM) is a systematic research theory that suggests that individuals maintain and coordinate privacy boundaries. Privacy boundaries refer to the limits of what individuals are willing to share with various communication partners depending on the perceived benefits and costs of information disclosure. Whether to reveal or conceal private information is based on principle of the nature of the private information. Give at least five other principles that guide people to reveal or conceal private information to another person. Describe organizational consequences if such principles are ignored.” The introduction of the essay could expand the first four sentences.

HE previous write-ups on academic writing defined what it is, described the four types of academic writing and identified the specific type appropriate in writing the sections of a research report. Included were writing tips common to all types; using quotes from appropriate experts in a discipline, and what the several types of citations are and for which discipline or disciplines they are often used. Described, too, were cohesion and coherence, distinguishing one from the other and providing tips and examples to achieve both. That written assignments are often used to assess graduate students on their learning gains demonstrate the importance for graduate students to hone their academic writing skills — a show window of their mental dynamics. Written assignments demonstrate the depth and breadth of thought and the logic; how their readings helped them shape the ideas they put forward with clarity via their written discourse. Besides indicators of their kind of thinking and how well their thoughts are expressed, academic writing does not only ensure their success in graduate studies, it also helps them attain success career-wise. How to do a written assignment. I take time to devise written assignment questions for students to reduce mere copying from web material without their giving much thought on what is copied. Instead of “Explain what culture shock means” which could tempt a student who, likely for lack of time, would copy an entire Wikipedia material on culture shock, the assignment is revised as: 1) define culture shock; 2) give examples you experienced personally or by any one in your professional circle; 3) choose one of the examples; describe the adjustment process to the new cultural environment anchored on any transition-to-adjustment model. In this case, the student can organize the essay indicating subheadings, making full expression of his or her learning gains. Responses to capstones. Herewith is a capstone for a leadership subject using font 12, Times New Roman, double space on A4: “(1) Write a 5-page minimum essay describing your philosophy of leadership. (2) Explain how such fits the mission and vision of your organization, or in one you hope to lead.” This assignment yielded two types of approach from a Leadership class. One response referred to web material which described what great leaders are. Three pages dwelt on leadership styles of Matsushita, John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, Warren Buffet and Alexander the Great. The last two pages described what a leadership philosophy is and its importance, ending with transformational leadership as the most effective style. Nowhere in the essay was a statement of the student’s own leadership philosophy. The second response was a six-page essay. Three pages described two contrasting types of leadership then commented on the more likely philosophy of leadership influencing each style. The student wrote that in an autocratic leadership style, the leader believes human beings are frail and easily tempted to evil. With such a belief, the leader tends to be punitive. A second leadership style, the democratic, would likely have a leader who believes that human beings are essentially good. Hence, the leader trusts the staff and provides needed encouragement and support. The last three pages contained the student’s choice of a leadership philosophy which believes that man is essentially good. The student proceeded to describe her personal leadership philosophy when, as she hopes, she would be a school principal someday. Her essay illustrated what her leadership philosophy practices would be — how she would stress on the continuing professional development of her teachers and seek funds to support their training. Her last page described how her leadership philosophy has impacted on her as a teacher, citing instances of her supporting, encouraging, fostering the skills of her pupils to meet learning outcomes. These are examples of the quality of academic writing a lecturer could come across in graduate school. Tools to improve grammar, avoid plagiarism. For a better harvest of deep thought — persuasive, descriptive, analytic and critical thinking — from our students, we lecturers/professors could craft our questions in such a manner that simply copying excerpts from the web would not suffice. Students may quote from the web, but quoting must be with thought. Besides a rational structure, an essay should have coherence and cohesion and avoid plagiarism. It is advantageous to have questions which hint on the structure of the written assignment. Here are two essay assignments in Inter-intra Communication in Organizations — both hinting on the likely headings/subheadings of the essay: “Define any three specific communication theories we took up. Illustrate through local examples how each of these theories could enhance your professional and work experience.” Another capstone assignment, quite more challenging: “Communication privacy management (CPM) is a systematic research theory that suggests that individuals maintain and coordinate privacy boundaries. Privacy boundaries refer to the limits of what individuals are willing to share with various communication partners depending on the perceived benefits and costs of information disclosure. Whether to reveal or conceal private information is based on principle of the nature of the private information. Give at least five other principles that guide people to reveal or conceal private information to another person. Describe organizational consequences if such principles are ignored.” The introduction of the essay could expand the first four sentences.

by Maurice A. Miller

Is there an easy way to make a story? I don’t want to talk sweet to say that you will get an easy way to write here. If indeed writing is that easy, then everyone would be a writer, and professional writers will not be special anymore. Writing is a process of creative work that will require the uniqueness of each author. Therefore, the most effective writing method is the way you find and develop while you write your pieces. So, what I will share with you is the approach that you can take to find a way to write the most suitable for you.

academic

I have written several short fiction stories that have been published in various places. Also, several original plays or that I composed from short stories that I wrote myself and have been widely used in several performances at local theaters. So far, I am still productive in producing work in a way that I developed myself. This method is assembled from several methods used by famous writers and some adjustments that I make to keep me feel comfortable while writing.

1. Take a Closer Look on Anything and Begin to Wonder About Everything

“Let’s say that he should go out and hang himself because he finds that writing well is impossibly difficult.” – Ernest Hemingway. It is a fragment of a sentence spoken by a great writer, Ernest Hemingway, when interviewed by George Plimpton on best practice to be an aspiring writer. In the final sentence of the answer to the interview questions, Hemingway said, “At least he will have the story of the hanging to commence with.” Sounds reasonable but don’t you start to think to hang yourself to produce a masterpiece. I can assure you that you don’t need to do that. I prefer to think that we should always be in research mode to create brand new and fresh ideas. We have to be more creative and critical, looking for new perspectives in seeing everything. When you want to tell something big, you don’t always have to start your idea with something big like an elephant, skyscrapers, or the sun. You can write about ants, dust, or even germs because everything will look great if you look at it from a closer distance.

2. Start by Writing Anything Then You Can Write Everything

“Don’t just plan to write – write. It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style.” – P. D. James.
The above quote is the thing that I always remember when I would start to write. There will always be doubts that arise when you start to write, whether it’s the idea you write or how you present your ideas in your writing. Sometimes, even when you find great ideas for your writing, you still can find your readers’ fear would not understand the purpose that you want to convey from your writing. However, if you continue to be doubtful, you will not be able to start your writing, let alone create a masterpiece. Maybe you want to think: There will always be the possibility that readers will not understand what I mean by my writing, but they will be more difficult to understand if I keep my ideas always in my head. With such a mindset, I write my ideas more freely and always try to think that my writings are smart readers so I will not be too bothered by how I should write my writings.

But what should you write? It would be easy to start your writing if you already have an idea, right? If so, any idea in your head is an idea that may be of interest to some people or even all people worldwide. Don’t think too much, write! Rest assured that every human being is unique; any simple thing you are thinking could be the thing that never crossed at all in the mind of anyone, anywhere.

3. There is Nothing Good about Excessive

“Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet.” – Zadie Smith Good writing is writing that can touch with things that are familiar to the reader, so they will immediately understand the text without having too much to think. Therefore, being a good writer requires extensive knowledge, but too much information can also be a double-edged sword. With too much information in your head, it won’t be easy to find an original idea for your writing. When you read too much person’s writings, you will unconsciously imitate the manner and style of writing, including the ideas presented in the text. When you realize that, the hesitation will re-appear on the uniqueness and the originality of your writings.
So, what should you do? I usually went out to find a quiet place where my eyes can see a wide. Sometimes I bring a few friends to talk to because I often get a good idea for my work from that conversation. I didn’t immediately look for things that I should write in my writing; I sit there and enjoy the surroundings. If you are always keeping yourself in a ‘research mode’ state, you will always think creatively and can see things through a new perspective, and this is what will make interesting ideas will emerge by themselves without you having to force yourself to think hard because it will only make yourself more reluctant to write.

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