An integrated approach

This is an academic writing course for upper-level students of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages). But it’s really a lot more than that. This course offers an integrated approach to metacognition and critical thinking skills, research and source evaluation skills, standard composition and grammar skills, and, of course, academic vocabulary skills. What does that mean? Well, it means we won’t just study one part alone, such as grammar. We study different parts of writing, and we learn how each of these tools works together.

This course also takes a particular approach to the writing process. For example  of course we will edit multiple drafts of the same essay in order to improve. However, we will also explore the advantages of writing about a single topic from different perspectives and then editing those pieces together into an organic research essay.

And that’s why it’s called Synthesis.

“synthesis: (noun) /ˈsɪnθəsɪs/ a combination of different ideas or styles that forms a new idea or style” – Macmillan American Dictionary


This term, you will research and write about technology in your career. Why? Technology surrounds you. And it’s not all about computers or the internet. In almost every job, you use some special tool to do your work. When you look more closely at the technology you use, you can better understand the problems it solves — and sometimes creates. Through research, you will explore these ideas and implications. By the end of this course, you will have the necessary skills and confidence to write a formal research paper as well as an informal self-reflection … two different, but essential styles of academic writing.

To reach this goal, you will practice these four sets of skills:

  • Grammar – You probably already know how to form complex grammar, including noun clauses, adjective clauses, and adverb clauses. Now you’ll learn more about when and why you use them. After you practice them, you’ll begin to use them more and more in your writing.
  • Composition – You probably already know that writing is a process. Now you’ll make the most of each step as you plan, organize, write, edit, and revise three short essays and four self-reflections. You’ll learn to sew together pieces of writing to form a complete and cohesive report.
  • Vocabulary – You probably already know basic writing terms, such as transition words and other types of vocabulary for specific kinds of essays. Now you’ll study academic words that will make your writing more efficient and more effective by being more specific.
  • Research – You probably already know how to find information on the internet, but now you’ll discover other useful sources of data. You’ll learn to evaluate those sources carefully in order to choose the best details to support the ideas and opinions in your writing.


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