Using the Longman Academic Writing SeriesMichiko Ueki, Associate professor, Faculty of Foreign Language Studies, Kansai University
I used Longman Academic Writing Series 3 as a textbook for the mandatory English class for freshmen at Ochanomizu University, where I used to work.
This book starts with paragraph-level tutorials and steps up to essay writing by the end of the course through writing paragraphs of different styles. The first chapter provides academic writing guidance on such thing as how to come up with ideas such using brainstorming. It may sound quite elementary, but this gives students a quality warm-up (or “hop”) before they start writing anything. This is important as they often say they have not been explicitly taught the basics of academic writing.
The chapters that follow on paragraph writing are very clear and concise. Each chapter succinctly introduces a variety of paragraph writing with information on the kinds of elements and expressions to keep the text cohesive, followed by relevant exercises. While this provides a big “step” leading to the final “jump” and makes lessons flow, it’s so smooth that it sometimes leave students behind without full understanding of what has just been taught.
To make up for this disadvantage, I made a point of asking them questions like “Why did you choose that answer?” or “What is the basis for your answer?” and then having them discuss in pairs or groups. When we conducted a questionnaire, I received a lot of feedback like: “Stopping and reflecting gave me the opportunities to deepen my comprehension. As it became clear to me what points I should include in my paragraphs, I felt very comfortable writing.” I personally believe it is essential to include in lessons the time for students to reflect in order to reinforce their learning so that they can “jump” to the next level.
In addition, I found the most of the free writing topics at the end of chapter quite unique and they effectively led to diverse writing products unique to each student. As a result, the students enjoyed very animated peer-review sessions each time. Of course, I was reviewing their writing with a great pleasure.
To sum up, Longman Academic Writing Series 3 is a well-designed, well-balanced textbook presenting chapters and exercises in steps in order to help students learn the basics of paragraph writing with enjoyable topics that motivate them to write. I’m certain this book will be useful to a lot of English teachers too.
Longman Academic Writing Series
The Longman Academic Writing Series helps students master the academic writing skills needed to succeed in their academic careers. The five-level series spans writing topics from composing sentences to writing research papers. Each level covers the complete writing process from prewriting to revision.
Click the links below to request an inspection copy: Level 1 | Level 2 | Level 3 | Level 4 | Level 5