ENGLISH 125 - Writing and Academic Inquiry
Section: 028 Practicing
Term: FA 2017
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Credits:
4
Requirements & Distribution:
FYWR
Waitlist Capacity:
unlimited
Consent:
With permission of instructor.
Other Course Info:
F, W, Sp, Su.
Repeatability:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This class is about writing and academic inquiry. Effective arguments stem from well formulated questions, and academic essays allow writers to gain deeper understanding of the questions that they are exploring. In this course, you will learn to create complex, analytic, well supported arguments that matter in academic contexts. The course will also hone your critical thinking and reading skills. Working closely with your peers and instructor, you will develop your essays through workshops and extensive revision. Our course readings will cover a variety of genres and serve as models or prompts for assigned essays. The specific questions that you pursue in your essays will be guided by your own interests.

Practice doesn’t make perfect because nothing is perfect. “Practice” is a noun (“the practice of writing”) and a verb (“I practice my writing”), but it is not a promise. If we practice only in order to achieve an end, to achieve perfection, we are so much less likely to be curious, excited, and transformed by the process. Practicing can seem like a first-step, a rehearsal, something one does on the way to doing the bigger, better, more important real thing; and it’s true that there is a difference between a first draft and a final paper, between giving CPR to a rubber dummy and saving someone’s life. However, it’s also true that practice is important in and of itself. A university degree certifies that you have been trained to provide certain products, but it also certifies that you have been trained to engage in the practice of critical thinking. Critical thinking is not a straightforward set of hoops to jump through on the way to an ‘A.’ It is easily stifled if one knows exactly where one wants it to lead.

One of the central products a university education trains you to provide is the academic essay, a piece of writing in which you stake a claim in a larger world of ideas by communicating your own critical thinking process. In this course, we will practice writing such essays by working on the tools that help us to think critically and to express that critical thinking to ourselves and to others. You’ll notice that the first learning goal for students in all sections of English 125 at the University of Michigan is to “create…arguments that matter in academic contexts.” For students in this particular section of English 125, though, there is another equally important goal: to create arguments that matter to you. We’ll work on that goal by focusing on the practices you can use to claim the academic authority that allows you to be curious, excited, and transformed by your education.

ENGLISH 125 - Writing and Academic Inquiry
Schedule Listing
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