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  1. #1
    frankjohnli is offline Newbie
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    Default Albania Standards of Living

    Hello, I am a grade 11 anthropology student writing an essay for Albanian Standard of Living. I know that my English is not perfect, could some of the fellow peers and teachers out there please give me some suggestions? This is the first time I have written an essay like this.

    Albanian Standard of Living

    Albania is a country who was previously deprived of many human rights, but Albania is making improvements taking the steps needed to improve. Albanian living conditions do not come close to some living standards. However it’s not as bad off as many countries around the globe. Albania’s uniqueness is in their proud and glorious history, their unique lifestyle, last but not least their originality. In this essay I will be talking about three main topics: Freedom and religion, relationships, and how Albania gained their independence. Read through the wonderful new culture and be intrigued and interested in Albanian culture as many are.

    To further understand and reflect on their culture, one would first need to know their history. Albania’s current population is 3,639,45, the 130th largest in the world. (www.cia.org). Albania became an independent state in 1912 (Lands and Peoples), surprisingly Albania’s age of independence in about the same as Canada. However you will see things didn’t exactly turn out as peacefully. For 500 years Albania was controlled by the Turks of the Ottomon Empire. Albania’s people resisted to the Ottoman Empire in 1400s fighting twenty-five fierce battles. In 1912 Albania saw its chance for independence when the second Balkan wars began. The Balkan wars were for possession of European territories of the Ottoman Empire (www.infoplease.com). During this time Germany’s prince Willhelmzu was made the ruler of Albania (Lands and Peoples). William Prince of Wield soon fled the country because of World War 1 (www.qandu.encyclopedia.com). Ahmet Zogo became president and rules as a dictator. He encouraged education, and strengthened the country’s economy. “In 1967 Albania officially proclaimed itself to be the first atheistic state in the world. (Finngeir Hiorth). All religious related institutions were shutdown and forbidden to be exercised. (Finngeir Hiorth). Throughout the course of the communist ruled history many were “deprived the religious rights and of most of their property. By 1968 some 200 clergymen had been executed or send to labor camps” (Finngeir Hiorth). Freedom of religion was not allowed till 1989 (world cultures). Today however there are five major practices. The Albanian Orthodox Church is perhaps one of the most exotic of all of existing religions in Albania. A whole 12 major feasts are celebrated in the Albanian Christian year. There are four main periods of fasting; Wednesday and Fridays are also fast days. Fast include abstaining from meats, all animal products (butter, eggs, milk, cheese, fish), and olive oil. Great lent is also taken seriously even in Canada! (Framingham State College)

    Although many of Albania’s past were full of revolutions, wars, and riots. There are many indications that the Albanian Authorities are starting to respect freedom of religion. “Albanian Mussulmans have decided to break with the Caliphate, suppress polygamy and abolish the requirement for women to wear veils in public. It was also agreed that prayers may be said while standing. Resolutions to this effect were passed by the Albanian Mussulmans' Congress at Tirana.” (Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews - TIME.com)

    Albanian culture consists of many behaviors that North Americans are used to, but there are some major differences as well.“The Albanians are more expressive when it comes to language compared to Canadians. They emphasize their statements by gesturing with their hands, shrugging their shoulder, and rolling their eyes upwards. When Abanian men hug and kiss each other on the cheeks. It is even common for them to walk along together with their arms linked”. Where in Canadian such behavior would be considered homosexual in North American culture, it was a standard in Albania. “Men and women limit their greetings to a handshake; kissing in public is considered scandalous. There is also an interesting greeting ritual when one enters the home of an Albania family. A female of the family serves the gues a qerasje or treat. This consists of a jam like sweet, and a light drink such as Turkish coffee. It is said to be rude to refuse these refreshments. The visitor then inquires about the health of each member of the host’s family. Then the hostess inquires about the visitor’s family. Only after this exchange is completed do people relax and begin normal conversation. (World Cultures).

    There are still many things that have not been corrected since the communist rule from 1946 to 1992, many Albanians back then were forced to live in large, poorly made buildings that had been poorly constructed apartment buildings that provided only a couple of rooms for a family of four or sometimes more people. Many dwellings today even still lack central heating. There is a shortage of water, and there are frequent electric power outages in the larger cities. There is no regular rubbish collection, and cities are littered with trash. There are no regulations against smoking in Albania, people can smoke almost anywhere including in restraints and when visiting someone’s home. (World Cultures)

    Families in Albania are smaller than the average North American ones. The husband does not usually do housework. It is a mutual agreement that the household is the wife’s chore. Parents usually lived with their children. From the time the oldest son is born, he is trained to become the head of the family when his family dies. (World Cultures)

    Impressively about 88% of Albanians can read. The literacy rate in the US is given as 97% (Japan 99%) in the World Almanac and Book of Facts 2007. (WikiAnswers - The Q&A wiki) Albania has one of the highest literacy rates in the Balkan region. School there is mandatory from age 7-15. (World Cultures). Even though Albania has cut back on many services, the government knows the importance of education in one’s country.

    Albania’s culture is one that could easily be understood. From Albania’s bloody wars to freedom to its changed to improve individual rights. They have improved their country both physically and socially. In conclusion Albania hasn’t met the living standards of what Canadians are used to. They are well on their way to a better tomorrow; if progress continues Albania has much hope for the future.

  2. #2
    frankjohnli is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Albania Standards of Living

    Could someone please help me

  3. #3
    Ann1977 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Albania Standards of Living

    Quote Originally Posted by frankjohnli View Post
    Hello, I am a grade 11 anthropology student writing an essay for Albanian Standard of Living.
    DEAR STUDENT:

    This essay is entirely unfocused and completely disorganized. I can't even tell what it's even trying to be about.

    It's hopeless to try to edit it. There's nothing particularly wrong with the English, so it doesn't need any more than trivial proofreading.

    But it isn't about anything. An essay is not "Write down in random order the first seven things you Google about Albania."

    You must decide what you topic is ("Albanian Standard of Living" is okay for a topic), and then put what you find about the Albanian standard of living in logical order.

    And here's the hard part: Don't put anything in that isn't about the Albanian standard of living.

    See if this site helps you.
    Basic Guide to Essay Writing

    If you try again, writing an essay of 4 or 5 short paragraphs that are about the Albanian standard of living -- and nothing else -- please post it here. We are glad to help you when we can.

    Here is the meaning of "standard of living"
    A COMPARISON BETWEEN THE US AND OTHER RICH NATIONS
    standard of living Definition
    standard of living: Definition from Answers.com

    Here is a page of Google hits for "Albanian Standard of Living." There will be lots of stuff here that is off the topic of "standard of living" -- especially if you follow inside links. So just ignore the off-topic stuff.
    albanian standard of living - Google Search

    You might want to liven up a dull essay by comparing the facts and figures from Albania with one rich country and one poor one. The reason for this is that the raw numbers all by themselves are not informative. What is needed is some way to COMPARE the income of one place with that of another place.
    Just don't get mechanical -- keep it interesting. Don't make it into a chart.
    Here's a lively article that keeps on comparing US data to the matching information from other places
    Standard of living in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Rich countries: A COMPARISON BETWEEN THE US AND OTHER RICH NATIONS
    Cuba -- a poor country: http://www.google.com/search?q=cuba+...1,GGLD:en&aq=t

    Best wishes in your studies.


    Albanian Standard of Living

    Albania is a country who was previously deprived of many human rights, but Albania is making improvements taking the steps needed to improve.
    >This is not a good opening sentence.
    > delete

    Albanian living conditions do not come close to some living standards. However it’s not as bad off as many countries around the globe.
    > The essay starts here
    Although the standard of living in Albania cannot compare to those in wealthy nations, they are not the worst in the world.


    Albania’s uniqueness is in their proud and glorious history, their unique lifestyle, last but not least their originality. In this essay I will be talking about three main topics: Freedom and religion, relationships, and how Albania gained their independence.
    > Isn't this essay supposed to be about Albanian standards of living?
    > No matter what it's about, delete this passage


    Read through the wonderful new culture and be intrigued and interested in Albanian culture as many are.
    > delete

    To further understand and reflect on their culture, one would first need to know their history.
    > delete

    Albania’s current population is 3,639,45, the 130th largest in the world. (www.cia.org).
    > out of place in this location
    > Maybe this fact can be used somewhere else in this essay
    > move it or delete it

    Albania became an independent state in 1912 (Lands and Peoples), surprisingly Albania’s age of independence in about the same as Canada.
    > comma splice
    > It doesn't make any sense to start a paragraph on the history of Albania in 1912 -- especially if you are going to REALLY start in the 15th century.


    However you will see things didn’t exactly turn out as peacefully. For 500 years Albania was controlled by the Turks of the Ottomon Empire.. . .up through.... By 1968 some 200 clergymen had been executed or send to labor camps” (Finngeir Hiorth).
    > Most of this sounds like an unprocessed cut&paste dump.


    Freedom of religion was not allowed till 1989 (world cultures). Today however there are five major practices. The Albanian Orthodox Church is perhaps one of the most exotic of all of existing religions in Albania. A whole 12 major feasts are celebrated in the Albanian Christian year. There are four main periods of fasting; Wednesday and Fridays are also fast days. Fast include abstaining from meats, all animal products (butter, eggs, milk, cheese, fish), and olive oil. Great lent is also taken seriously even in Canada! (Framingham State College)

    Although many of Albania’s past were full of revolutions, wars, and riots. There are many indications that the Albanian Authorities are starting to respect freedom of religion. “Albanian Mussulmans have decided to break with the Caliphate, suppress polygamy and abolish the requirement for women to wear veils in public. It was also agreed that prayers may be said while standing. Resolutions to this effect were passed by the Albanian Mussulmans' Congress at Tirana.” (Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews - TIME.com)
    > There is something seriously wrong with this.
    > Muslims have not been called "Mussulmen" in a long time.
    > I followed the link without finding the reference
    > the CALIPHATE??



    Albanian culture consists of many behaviors that North Americans are used to, but there are some major differences as well.“The Albanians are more expressive when it comes to language compared to Canadians. They emphasize their statements by gesturing with their hands, shrugging their shoulder, and rolling their eyes upwards. When Abanian men hug and kiss each other on the cheeks. It is even common for them to walk along together with their arms linked”. Where in Canadian such behavior would be considered homosexual in North American culture, it was a standard in Albania. “Men and women limit their greetings to a handshake; kissing in public is considered scandalous. There is also an interesting greeting ritual when one enters the home of an Albania family. A female of the family serves the gues a qerasje or treat. This consists of a jam like sweet, and a light drink such as Turkish coffee. It is said to be rude to refuse these refreshments. The visitor then inquires about the health of each member of the host’s family. Then the hostess inquires about the visitor’s family. Only after this exchange is completed do people relax and begin normal conversation. (World Cultures).

    A LOT OF THIS STUFF IS GOOD AND ON TOPIC:
    There are still many things that have not been corrected since the communist rule from 1946 to 1992, many Albanians back then were forced to live in large, poorly made buildings that had been poorly constructed apartment buildings that provided only a couple of rooms for a family of four or sometimes more people. Many dwellings today even still lack central heating. There is a shortage of water, and there are frequent electric power outages in the larger cities. There is no regular rubbish collection, and cities are littered with trash. There are no regulations against smoking in Albania, people can smoke almost anywhere including in restraints and when visiting someone’s home. (World Cultures)

    Families in Albania are smaller than the average North American ones. The husband does not usually do housework. It is a mutual agreement that the household is the wife’s chore. Parents usually lived with their children. From the time the oldest son is born, he is trained to become the head of the family when his family dies. (World Cultures)

    Impressively about 88% of Albanians can read. The literacy rate in the US is given as 97% (Japan 99%) in the World Almanac and Book of Facts 2007. (WikiAnswers - The Q&A wiki) Albania has one of the highest literacy rates in the Balkan region. School there is mandatory from age 7-15. (World Cultures). Even though Albania has cut back on many services, the government knows the importance of education in one’s country.
    Last edited by Ann1977; 12-Oct-2009 at 17:13.

  4. #4
    frankjohnli is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Albania Standards of Living

    Thank you for your help! I didn't feel too confident with the way I wrote my essay. However I was unsure how what I had done wrong and how I could fix it. I will rewrite some parts of my essay.

    Here is my second draft could someone please take a look for me:

    Although the standard of living in Albania cannot compare to those in wealthy nations, they are not the worst in the world. I believe that countries such as Canada and the United states should create funds to support the development of Albania. This essay will be looking at Albania’s standard of living, and how it differs from the North American standards. To find the answers I had to choose a wealthy country (Canada) and an extremely un-wealthy one (Cuba). I answered the following questions as my definition of standard of living: What is the crime rate of Albania compared to United States and Cuba, and what are the criminal penalties. Medical Facilities and Health in Albania compared to Canada, United Nations, and Cuba. Traffic Safety and Road Conditions compared to Canada, United Nations, and Cuba.

    First we will be comparing crime rates between Albania and other countries. Crime is one of the top reasons for death in the United States. There are over 1500 deaths because of fire arms, 75% are young males between the ages of 14-25. (www.soyouwanna.com/site/toptens/accidents/accidentsfull.html). Crime in Cuba is also not uncommon, Cuban government often do not publish reports about the crime. However there are many cases of pick pocketing, purse snatching, or the taking of the unattended. (http://tavel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa.../cis_1097.html). Crime rate in Albania however is as the State Department assessment sated “medium”. Caution is exercised in bars, although that’s just common sense that everyone should be aware of. Within the last few years, there has been less carjacking because of enforced police control. Street crime are fairly common in the streets at night. However if this is nothing compared to the crime rates in Skopje where:

    “Over one half of criminal acts registered in the first half of 2009 took place in Skopje municipal area. To be exact, there were 6,285 criminal acts in the first six months of the year registered in Skopje.” – (http://macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/7733/45/)


    The development of the criminal justice system is similar to other socialist European countries. After the establishment of the people’s Republic of Albania in 1946, Albania constructed a criminal justice system that was partly taken from the USSR. The police is made up of the uniformed police, the criminal investigation police , the traffic department, the laboratory for criminalities, and the fire department. (www.lectlaw.com/files/int09.htm) Compared to the dozens of different departments and hundreds of Special Forces in North America this does not seem very impressive. Although, for a small country who does not have as much people (3, 100, 000 Albania compared to 307,681,079 America). The total police force is 5000 persons. (www.lectlaw.com/files/int09.htm)

    Medical Facilities and Health in Albania are very limited. Emergency and major medical care requiring care are not there due to lack of specialists, diagnostic aids, medical supplies and prescription drugs. There are also electricity shortages resulting in sporadic blackouts throughout e country. Which affected food and storage capabilities of restaurants and shops. Many restraints have generators to properly store food. To make matters worse road conditions are in very poor condition, traveling by road throughout Albania is the most dangerous activity for locals and tourists. Vehicles are said to be the main cause of death. During the winter months, one may encounter dangerous snow and icy conditions on the roads throughout mountainous regions.

    There are still many things that have not been corrected since the communist rule from 1946 to 1992, many Albanians back then were forced to live in large, poorly made buildings that had been poorly constructed apartment buildings that provided only a couple of rooms for a family of four or sometimes more people. Many dwellings today even still lack central heating. There is a shortage of water, and there are frequent electric power outages in the larger cities. There is no regular rubbish collection, and cities are littered with trash. There are no regulations against smoking in Albania, people can smoke almost anywhere including in restraints and when visiting someone’s home. (World Cultures)

    Families in Albania are smaller than the average North American ones. The husband does not usually do housework. It is a mutual agreement that the household is the wife’s chore. Parents usually lived with their children. From the time the oldest son is born, he is trained to become the head of the family when his family dies. Albanian culture consists of many behaviors that North Americans are used to, but there are some major differences as well. “The Albanians are more expressive when it comes to language compared to Canadians. They emphasize their statements by gesturing with their hands, shrugging their shoulder, and rolling their eyes upwards. When Albanian men hug and kiss each other on the cheeks. It is even common for them to walk along together with their arms linked”. Where in Canadian such behavior would be considered homosexual in North American culture, it was a standard in Albania. “Men and women limit their greetings to a handshake; kissing in public is considered scandalous. There is also an interesting greeting ritual when one enters the home of an Albania family. A female of the family serves the gues a qerasje or treat. This consists of a jam like sweet, and a light drink such as Turkish coffee. It is said to be rude to refuse these refreshments. The visitor then inquires about the health of each member of the host’s family. Then the hostess inquires about the visitor’s family. Only after this exchange is completed do people relax and begin normal conversation. (World Cultures).

    Impressively about 88% of Albanians can read. The literacy rate in the US is given as 97% (Japan 99%) in the World Almanac and Book of Facts 2007. (WikiAnswers - The Q&A wiki) Albania has one of the highest literacy rates in the Balkan region. School there is mandatory from age 7-15. (World Cultures). Even though Albania has cut back on many services, the government knows the importance of education in one’s country.

    Throughout this essay we have explored the crime rates, medical supplies, power shortages, and individual rights of Albania. Albania is a country slowly increasing standards of living, and one would wonder what this country could achieve if North Americans created funds to help them.
    Last edited by frankjohnli; 12-Oct-2009 at 21:48.

  5. #5
    Ann1977 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Albania Standards of Living

    I have a suggestion.

    Write an outline first.

    I. Introduction
    (content deferred until the body of the essay is finished)

    II. Cost and quality of food as the first measurement of the standard of living

    • The daily diet of Albania is inexpensive
    • But it is poor quality (give details)
    • Proteins are exorbitant because of low production (citation)
    • In contrast, in the US, a serving of protein is routine at every meal
    • (if you can find the data, talk about Cuban standards of food)


    III. Housing as a second measure of the standard of living

    • Housing is inexpensive in Albania
    • Particularly in comparison to US costs
    • But like food, it is of poor quality
    • Blah blah the Soviet Union's construction practices

    Dear Student:

    1) Just so you know, let me tell you that I am selecting these topics based on information I can easily find
    Albania Standard of Living - Flags, Maps, Economy, History, Climate, Natural Resources, Current Issues, International Agreements, Population, Social Statistics, Political System



    2) As I worked on this outline, I started to notice a theme -- a repeated observation -- that I think will do very nicely to be the thesis of this essay -- the principle that will guide which information to include and what I want to say about that information -- the theme around which I will organize this essay.

    What I noticed as I worked (I didn't expect it -- it just sort of called my attention as I worked on the outline) is this: In Albania, you can live VERY cheaply. But the problem is that you cannot live very WELL. The bare essentials for survival are government-subsidized, so everyone is surviving -- but that's all -- it's just bare survival, eating bread and sugar in a tiny, crumbling room; taking the bus (nearly free!) to a low-paid job, but absolutely unable to buy even a bicycle, never mind a car.

    Because of this theme, I can abandon the comparison with Cuba as off-topic (unless I want to include a few interesting details for color and zing -- like this imaginary example: "This is one of the worst diets in the developed world, exceeded even by marginal economies such as Cuba's" or something like that -- just to add color and refreshment.)

    Now I know what I will choose as a third measurement for evaluating "the standard of living in Albania." I can see that I have a readily available bit of facts about "durable goods" or "clothing" -- AND these facts support the theme "You can stay alive in Albania due to government subsidies, bu you sure can't live very well."

    One last paragraph may be included to point out that the Albanian government provides free or low cost health care and day care, which in the US is horribly expensive (so expensive that many US citizens have to go without). On the other hand, it is likely that the quality is poor here too (maybe some data about infant mortality and average life span to support this claim.)
    - OR -
    One last paragraph about how the standard of living is dropping
    - OR -
    One last paragraph about something else you noticed that was interesting about the Albanian standard of living



    I repeat: I am getting these ideas from the material I have available.
    Albania Standard of Living - Flags, Maps, Economy, History, Climate, Natural Resources, Current Issues, International Agreements, Population, Social Statistics, Political System

    What this essay (like many essays of this type) does is to start with some easily-available data and then form a "thesis" from that data.

    In this case, one possible thesis is that "the Albanian standard of living is low compared to that in most of Europe and N America. The government spends about 25% of its budget subsidizing the bare necessities of life, and so these are almost free. But even so, the poor quality of these essentials -- combined with the complete lack of consumer goods above the basic level -- makes Albania's one of the lowest standards of living among the developed nations."

  6. #6
    frankjohnli is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Albania Standards of Living

    Thanks for your suggestions.

  7. #7
    Ann1977 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Albania Standards of Living

    Quote Originally Posted by frankjohnli View Post
    Thanks for your suggestions.
    Your first two essays were too ambitious.

    Essay writing is a highly simplified form of writing.

    It consists of a small number of paragraphs, each one dedicated to one small point.

    If you don't limit the essay in this way, it just gets out of control and has no guiding principle regarding what to include, what to exclude -- or even what data to search for.

    Three paragraphs for the body of the essay, each one with only just enough data to make the point -- that is what you should be aiming at.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Albania Standards of Living

    Quote Originally Posted by Ann1977 View Post
    Your first two essays were too ambitious.

    Essay writing is a highly simplified form of writing.

    It consists of a small number of paragraphs, each one dedicated to one small point.

    If you don't limit the essay in this way, it just gets out of control and has no guiding principle regarding what to include, what to exclude -- or even what data to search for.

    Three paragraphs for the body of the essay, each one with only just enough data to make the point -- that is what you should be aiming at.
    I think you're being unnecessarily harsh on some of these essays, Ann. After all, you need to consider the purpose of them. The learners are not submitting them for inclusion in the Economist.
    The essays are exercises in writing English by EFL students. The essays posted here are never going to reach professional writing level.

  9. #9
    Ann1977 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Albania Standards of Living

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I think you're being unnecessarily harsh on some of these essays, Ann. After all, you need to consider the purpose of them. The learners are not submitting them for inclusion in the Economist.
    The essays are exercises in writing English by EFL students. The essays posted here are never going to reach professional writing level.
    Well, that's a good point, and I have often hesitated about what to say about a bad essay.

    It is compounded for me in this case because there are two different learning activities going on at the same time:
    - How to compose
    - Writing in English

    But once the level of English is good enough to be not a factor, then "how to compose" becomes a crucial issue.

    My competence in "How to write in English" is nil, and I don't have anything useful to offer.

    But it seems to me that copying verbatim large chunks of material from the internet -- material not only unrelated to the topic, but also unrelated to itself from section to section -- is learning neither how to compose nor how to write in English.

    Essays like this one cost the student a huge amount of work (not all the submissions here can make that claim.) So why is the product a defeat of its own purposes (to learn how to compose and to learn how to write in English)? The student could hardly have exerted more effort, yet the outcome is a flop.

    In my opinion, this failure is due to the student's not having a vision of how to go about it.

    With a little experience, an essay like this one can be knocked off in two hours, start to finish, and that includes research time and final proofreading -- AND it will earn an A. But the "experience" has to be in doing the right thing. It is not "getting experience in turning out satisfactory exercise essays" to write one bad paper from a bad non-plan, and then to write a second, completely different bad paper from the same bad non-plan. There's nothing more heartbreakingly discouraging for students than to find that their "revision" is really just another completely different essay with the same number and kind of faults as the first. This makes essay-writing a potentially unending task.

    I don't think it's harsh to show the student how to plan, or how to
    - to create a simple outline
    - to use readily-available references and data
    - to let what you decide to say be controlled by the data you can conveniently find
    - to cling to the topic like a barnacle so as to avoid pointless but infinite digressions
    - to be open to good ideas as the material takes shape

    Under the influence of NCLB Federal requirements and the inclusion of an essay on the SATs, high schools now teach essay writing as essentially an automated program (it's even developed its own vocabulary with phrases like "body paragraph.")

    I. Introduction
    II. First body paragraph
    III. Second body paragraph
    IV. Third body paragraph
    V. Conclusion

    The intro paragraph
    - makes a thesis statement
    - repeats the prompt in different words
    - has a hook

    Each body paragraph is to contain:
    - the transition phrase
    - three supporting details
    (or one extended example)

    The conclusion
    - repeats the thesis in different words
    - sums up the point of the essay

    One difficulty that the teachers are seeing with this automated essay-writing system is that it is churning out formulaic and stodgy compositions that plod dutifully along, hitting each step as predictably as a drumbeat.

    The Vietnamese students show this effect rather strongly, where the obediently-included conclusion is misinterpreted to be a tiresome summary, for example, and the intros are self-conscious and awkward. It is easy to spot the essays that have been written in conformity to this plan -- they list exactly three reasons that teenagers should work after school, for example, or have exactly three reasons for schools to offer a course in culture, or exactly three reasons why cell phones are bad for you.

    Even though the essays this plan creates are often far from inspired, it is still a good way to approach the task. The results can be mechanical and even narcoleptic, but even so, they are better than the completely unguided and out-of-control Google dumps. And at least the student who becomes adept in the "Automatic Essay-Writing Format" has it at his disposal in the event that he ever actually has something he wants to say.

    Students who are writing bad essays even though they have mastered the formulaic structure need to spread their wings a little, and work on the next step: Have something interesting to say. But students who aren't even up to that level can't benefit from a mere correction of a few infelicities in the use of English.

    When the number of proofreader's marks is no larger in an ESL student's paper than in a paper written by an American freshman, then their use of English is not an issue. If the essay is still bad, better they should hear it here than in a circumstance where its grade will matter.

    On the other hand, I don't want to be harsh to learners. I'm just not so sure that describing exactly what is wrong -- and how to fix it -- is being harsh. In any case, harsh or neutral, I bet it's more useful than fixing five wrong verb tenses and two misspellings and letting it go at that.
    Last edited by Ann1977; 13-Oct-2009 at 17:27.

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    Default Re: Albania Standards of Living

    Quote Originally Posted by Ann1977 View Post
    But once the level of English is good enough to be not a factor, then "how to compose" becomes a crucial issue.

    Very few of these learners are going to be writing essays for longer than they have to. Most essays are obviously associated with learning English.
    But I agree that it is useful to teach learners how to write essays.


    My competence in "How to write in English" is nil, and I don't have anything useful to offer.

    Oh, I think you're being too modest.
    You're a native speaker of English who is willing to spend some time helping here, and you obviously have a better command of English than some of the teachers here.

    With a little experience, an essay like this one can be knocked off in two hours, start to finish, and that includes research time and final proofreading -- AND it will earn an A.

    What percentage of students do you think you could achieve this goal with? And in what time period?

    Students who are writing bad essays even though they have mastered the formulaic structure need to spread their wings a little, and work on the next step: Have something interesting to say. But students who aren't even up to that level can't benefit from a mere correction of a few infelicities in the use of English.

    I agree. But there is also a limit to what a student can learn at one time - either in English grammar, usage or composition. And it's generally related to the level they're at now.

    On the other hand, I don't want to be harsh to learners. I'm just not so sure that describing exactly what is wrong -- and how to fix it -- is being harsh. In any case, harsh or neutral, I bet it's more useful than fixing five wrong verb tenses and two misspellings and letting it go at that.

    I don't see how that can be tested, especially here, so I won't take the bet. Yes, it's generally acknowledged that simple correction (that is, fixing a verb tense, etc.) without explicit instruction about the correct form is much less likely to lead to positive change. I'm encouraged by seeing learners starting to use tense forms, etc. that I've previously corrected and explained.

    I think your posts are useful. Even if they present material beyond the index learner's competence, then other learners are still likely to learn from them. I think your expectations of students are a little high, but I'm sure you can live with that.
    R.

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