How to write the best academic papers
What is the best practice to write academic papers
Historically, one of the most common and least questioned assumptions about academic papers writing has been that the academic papers must be written in standardized English. This article highlights salient characteristics of academic papers writing process and how you can master the art of writing academic papers by following certain rules outlined by our uk based dissertation writers.
As Paul Matsuda contends, “Implicit in most teachers’ definitions of ‘writing well’ is the ability to produce English that is unmarked in the eyes of teachers who are custodians of privileged varieties of English” (“Myth of Homogeneity” 640). Therefore, pedagogical materials such as composition textbooks regularly tell students things like “Spoken dialect generally doesn’t fit into the kind of public academic papers writing you’ll be doing in college” (Ruszkiewicz et al. 231) or, more bluntly, “Never use nonstandard English” (Troyka and Hesse 262). A number of composition scholars (e.g., Canagarajah, “Place of World Englishes”; Lu; Matsuda, “Myth of Homogeneity”) have worked in recent decades to wear away at many of the assumptions made about nonstandardized language varieties in relation to academic work, such as that such varieties are less effective for clear communication or formal, complex messages.
Canagarajah has in fact argued that “the creative strategies multilingual speakers use to negotiate their differences and…accomplish their purposes” are so effective that monolingual speakers are at a disadvantage by comparison (“Place of World Englishes” 590). Thus, our field has rich theoretical resources through which to consider the power of nonstandardized language use.
Many scholars (Tyler, 1971; Walker, 1990; Eisner, 2002) elaborated on developing curriculum with the focus on learners’ learning experiences. And they construed this issue from different perspectives. Tyler (1971) put forward the four-step procedure to develop curriculum. Specifically, in Tyler’s thinking, we need to first establish the curriculum objectives, then design the learning experiences, and then organize the experiences, and finally evaluate the educational effect.
In comparison, Walker (1990) advocated the process be a three-phase procedure. In sequence, voices from all people concerned (including the teachers, students, etc.) be gathered, consensus in the voices be established as the platform for further meditation, which is then followed by the curriculum design. To Eisner (2002) curriculum is supposed to provide learners an experience as in art appreciation. Creation in the learning process is intrinsic to learning; diverse perspectives on the same content are crucial. Therefore, the learning experience is unpredictable and varies from one learner to another.
Thus, curriculum designers (including teachers) should endeavor to diversify the presentation forms and seek innovative teaching methods to help learners transform through the learning experiences. In brief, all three scholars pondered on what kind of learning experience we provide for learners, though they differed in whether the experiences could be explicitly pre-designed or not.
The above scholars conceived curriculum and curriculum development from the standpoint of the curriculum developers though they gave full attention to learners’ experiences. In other words, they all sought answers to the question “what we could do to provide learners the ideal learning experience?”
In contrast, Pinar, Grumet, and other reconceptualists tried to understand curriculum from the standpoint of learners. In other words, they sought answers to the question “what the learners experienced, are experiencing, and desire to experience in our designed curriculum?”
There are also realistic reasons to heed to learners’ learning experiences. In China, though many scholars are beginning to learn about the reconceptualists’ curriculum views, Tyler’s model (1949) is still popular with the scholars and widely applied in textbook design. Teaching and learning is unfolded around the designed objectives, the texts and exercises, and the teacher’s reference books which provide strategies on how to organize teaching and how to evaluate.
The central problem with the designed curriculum is that teaching stays disconnected with learners’ life and desires. In other words, learners are not learning what they want, but what they have to.
Research in classrooms, schools, and among learners (Nunan, 1988; Bacon & Finnemann, 1990; Anton, 1999; Spielmann & Radnofsky, 2001; Zamel & Spack, 2004; Lamb, 2007; Guilloteaux & Dornyei, 2008) has demonstrated that there is one part that functions powerfully in reality but is often ignored in curriculum design. That is, the learner’s inner experience in the learning process. Spielmann and Radnofsky (2001) concluded that in the second / foreign language acquisition process, “the validity of a particular studying or teaching method seemed far less important than the learners’ deeply ingrained beliefs and expectations about what was supposed to work” (p. 270).
Researchers (Gan, Humphreys, & Hamp-Lyons, 2004; Chen, Warden, & Chang, 2005) also found that “successful” learners were better in manipulating learning strategies than “unsuccessful” learners. However, strategies cannot be taught directly, instead, they are closely linked with learners’ perceptions of their learning goals (Lantolf, 1994). Therefore, learners’ inner feelings such as their beliefs, perceptions, learning purposes etc. are more powerfully influencing their learning than such designed teaching activities as teaching strategies or a teaching method.
Knowledge of learners’ experiences in the learning process is crucial for effective teaching and learning (Nunan, 1988; Lantolf, 1994; Nunan, 1999). For instance, in foreign language education, people have long been supporting teaching with authentic materials to facilitate authentic communication. However, a study showed that to the adult foreign language learners, it was hard to let them conduct authentic communication because their explicit perception of genuineness and awareness of the restrictions challenge their self-esteem to committing themselves to authentic communication (Bacon et al., 1990). Althouth more similar studies are needed especially in recent years to confirm this finding among a larger group of learners, it did suggest that learning of learners’ experience is very crucial for smooth implementation of a teaching method or material.
Cultural and Learning Contexts of the Eight Participants for writing the academic papers
In this part, I would like to introduce the cultural context in which these participants experienced their English learning. I mainly summarized three characteristics.
Conception of Learners as Objective Entity
Under the influence of the Confucian culture, learning is regarded as a serious matter and the learner has to distance himself from his emotion. In a corresponding manner, teachers do not need to heed to learners’ emotional needs. This kind of conception of teaching and learning leads to the following problems:
curriculum objectives and learning content are distant from students’ life; teaching is technical and is like a task to be predetermined and strictly implemented; topics outside of classroom are regarded as “non-knowledge”; teachers and students are endeavoring to fit into the stereotyped roles in the fixed model in school; as they are fitting into their roles, teaching and learning gradually become a repetitive course day after day; everyone engaged in this educational process is seeking success in obtaining objective knowledge and scores at exams; students could not feel care and love they need in their learning. Day by day, teachers and students not only get used to such a school life, but also take it for granted. Consequently, they are enslaved to this kind of school life (Greene, 1977, 1995): both teachers and students are working hard towards high scores at national exams while ignoring who they are and who they want to become.
Large Class Size
This constitutes a real problem to the existing English education and reform: teachers find it hard to practice Communicative Language Teaching in their classrooms (Yu, 2001; Hu, 2002; Rao, 2002); they can not break the lecturing style in their teaching (Gan et al., 2004); students have rare opportunities to apply their knowledge in class; interaction between teachers and students are limited; students’ various needs are not identified by teachers; teaching is uniform to students of all different backgrounds; students can not have their voices heard by their teachers. All these lead to a gap between learning and teaching. Under such a circumstance, the reform goal to transform English education from teacher-centered to learner-centered is built upon unrealistic conditions, and could be attained only superficially.
Teacher-centered teaching and learning and large class size constitute a learning environment that constrains both teachers and students from emancipation. Compared with the pressure from exams, this pressure is hidden. Under this hidden pressure, teachers focus on how to get prepared information across to students and how to organize their class. In comparison, students try to figure out how to write down notes as detailed as possible. Another effect on students is that they gradually develop a low expectation about participating in class and form an inert habit which further inhibits them from being active learners. As a response to such a situation, most Chinese learners rely on their own hard work after class. Classroom learning becomes an external pressure and task. The difference between in-class and out-of class learning causes a great waste of time and energy for college students.
Lack of Qualified Teachers
Teachers’ capacity affects how a reform is implemented and what impact it may leave on students. Nunan (1988) argued that learner-centered curriculum in EFL should be an on-going process with teachers and students developing the learning content and style together. However, Burnaby and Sun (1989) found that college English teachers in China felt it hard to teach without teaching materials at hand.
Though the finding was twenty years ago, according to my teaching experiences in China before 2004, it is still quite true. Therefore, the qualities of teachers limit the reform possibilities. As Eisner (2002) argued, goals and aims could only be “empty hopes” if they are not to students’ interest and within teachers’ capacity (p. 139). Students’ interest and teachers’ capacity have to be considered at the same time.
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