Saturday, February 15, 2014

Self-Editing Guide

[This is designed for an English for Academic Purposes class.  It is a worksheet to help students self-edit their own first draft.  The idea is that students need specific guidance to help them fix their mistakes.  It is based off of the common mistakes that my own students were making.  This specific class was focusing on statistics, so many of the examples here relate to statistics.  The "fix the mistake section" is handed out first, and hopefully many of these mistakes are elicited before the explanation sheet is given. The information on articles is borrowed from another grammar book, although the examples given are my own.  (Given how hard correct article usage is for ESL students, it may have been unfair to include articles in this guide.  Perhaps I should just focus on the kind of mistakes that are easy for students to self-correct.  I'm still debating this.)
This particular sheet was designed for a group paper.  In an effort to give students motivation to correct specific grammar mistakes, I included a sheet at the end where each group member had to sign up to be responsible for specific self-editing tasks, and the students were told their grade would in part be determined by how well they performed their task.  I worry somewhat that by dividing up the paper into different tasks, this defeats the whole point of collaborative writing--that is, the goal of collaborative writing should be that students are teaching each other as they write and edit.  It's another point I'm still debating with myself.   However, when I used this worksheet in my own class, the students still seemed to be collaborating a lot on fixing the mistakes.]

Fix the mistake
1. Statistic is very useful in our everyday life.
2. Politician often uses statistics to mislead people.
3.  Jason, who is the leader of the boys, like to fight.
4. People used statistics every day.
5. People used statistics for a long time.
6. I am eat the hamburger
7. The paper was wrote by me.
8. There was a sharp increased in the graph.

Common Mistakes
1. Singular/Plural Forms
                Remember that in English, we use the plural form for situations in general.  For example, we say: "I like dogs," not "I like dog," because we are referring to all dogs in general.
Task 1: Go through the paper and carefully look at each noun.  Whenever you are referring to a situation in general(for example: statistics, students, politicians) make sure that the noun is in the plural form.
2. Articles
We use a/an in these ways:
                * before unspecified singular countable nouns
                                Would you like an apple?
                * with the names of professions and roles
                                He is a doctor
                * before a noun to mean all examples of the same type
                                A wild dog can be dangerous.
                * in expressions of measurement
                                Coca cola is $1 a liter.

We use the:
                * when it is clear what particular thing or place is meant
                                The school next to the Central Market is very expensive
                * before a noun that we have mentioned before
                                He took a bite from an apple.  The apple tasted very sweet in his mouth.
                * when two nouns are joined with of
                                He's the best student of the class.
                * before adjectives to specify a category
                                The poor are always hungry.   The rich are always full.
                * when someone or something is unique
                                The only student to get a perfect score was Steve.

We do not use an article before:
                * uncountable nouns used in a general sense
                                There is enough food in the world to feed everyone.
                * unspecified plural nouns
                                Companies often use misleading statistics.
                * the names of people and places
                                Phnom Penh is in Cambodia, which is next to Vietnam.
                Task 2: Go through and look carefully at each noun.  Should you use articles a, an, the, or no article?

Nouns and Verbs
3. Subject/Verb Agreement
                Remember that all verbs with a 3rd person noun should have an "s" form.  All plural verbs, and 1st and 2nd person verbs, should not have an "s". 
                When matching a noun to a verb, remember it is not necessarily the closest noun to each verb.  Pay attention to the grammar of the sentence, and which nouns go with which verbs.
Task 3: Go through and carefully match up each verb to a corresponding noun.  Do the subject and the verb agree?
4. Tense
                Verbs referring to past situations in English should use the past simple.  Verbs referring to present situations in English should use the present simple.  Verbs referring to something that started in the past but is still going on today should use the present perfect.
Task 4: Carefully go through the paper and look at every verb.  Is it in the right tense?
5. Active/Passive
                If the subject of the sentence is performing the action, the verb needs to be in the active.  If the subject of the verb is receiving the action, the verb needs to be in the passive.
                If the verb is not in the passive or continuous tense, you do not need to use a "be" verb. 
                If the verb is in the passive tense, make sure you use a "be" verb with a past-participle.
Task 5: Go through and carefully examine every verb in your sentences.  Should the verbs be in the active or in the passive?  If the  verb is in the passive, make sure you are using the  past participle form of the verb.  Correct any mistakes.
Parts of Speech
6. Parts of speech
                Be careful that all the words are the correct part of speech.  Don't confuse nouns, verbs, adjectives, or adverbs.
Task 6: Go through the paper and make sure all the words are being correctly used as the appropriate part of speech.
Structure and Readability
7. Structure
                In formal academic writing, each paragraph should have a topic sentence.  All the following  sentences in the paragraph should relate to the topic sentence.
Task 7: Go through and check every paragraph.  Does it have a topic sentence?  Do all the supporting sentences relate back to the topic sentence?
8. Readability
                Is it clear what the meaning of each sentence is?  If not, how can you make the meaning clearer?

Task 8: Go through and make sure all the sentences are clear and easy to read.

(3 people in a group version)
Nouns and Subject Agreement
This person is responsible for tasks 1, 2, and 3

Verbs and Parts of speech
This person is responsible for tasks 4,5 and 6

Structure and Readability
This person is responsible for tasks 7 and 8

 (4 people in a group version)
Nouns and Subject Agreement
This person is responsible for tasks 1, 2, and 3

This person is responsible for tasks 4,5

Structure and parts of speech
This person is responsible for tasks 6 & 7

This person is responsible for task 8

No comments: