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English Composition - 1st year

Teaches the techniques of English composition with an emphasis on the process of learning to write clearly and effectively and to read analytically.


By the end of the course, students will be able to:

1. Compose effective thesis statements;

2. Demonstrate proficiency in writing skills based on the criteria of standard essay structure and English usage;

3. Compose a clear, coherent, unified essay organized around a single central idea and using a variety of techniques for support;

4. Demonstrate understanding of and effective use of paragraph structure, including topic sentences, supporting examples and transition sentences;

5. Demonstrate effective use of introductions and conclusions;

6. Read, analyze and discuss reading with an understanding of structure and mechanics;

7. Employ the various stages of the writing process, including brainstorming, outlining, drafting, revising and editing;

8. Identify effective writing techniques in his or her essays and peer writing;

9. Effectively employ quotation, paraphrase and summary;

10. Effectively employ correct citation style, including parenthetical, in-text citation, and works-cited pages;

11. Employ various forms of support for claims, including concrete, significant and specific examples, illustrations, anecdotes, facts and reasons;

12. Demonstrate an ability to recognize and avoid plagiarism;

13. Evaluate sources for relevance and reliability;

14. Demonstrate ability to write for an academic audience.


Course topics will include the following:

1. Essay structure (introduction, body, conclusion)

2. Paragraph structure (topic sentence, supporting example, transition sentences)

3. Basic rhetorical modes (narration, description, comparison/contrast, cause & effect)

4. Writing process (brainstorming, outlining, drafting, revising, editing)

5. Thesis statements

6. Fundamentals of persuasive writing: supporting claims, acknowledging counter-arguments, making concessions

7. Effective use of quotation, paraphrase and summary

8. Stylistics (syntax, vocabulary, conciseness, creating interest, tone)

9. Correct paper formatting

10. Grammar & mechanics as needed

11. Responding to and discussing assigned readings

Method of Instruction:

1. Lecture

2. Seminar discussion

3. In-class composition

4. Peer-revision

5. Assigned readings

Types of Assignments:

1. Short papers

2. Informal writing assignments, such as responses to readings or journal writing

3. Assigned readings

4. Independent reading

5. Class presentation

Sample Text:

1. Hairston, et al. The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers (San Francisco: Longman 2002 or latest edition)