AS2: WEEK 1, September 28th, 2018

Hi, and welcome to Academic Skills second semester.

I hope you enjoyed the summer vacation.  I made a short trip to Lake Biwa and Nagano. How about you? You can let me know in the comments.

This semester, the theme is history of the USA, and the textbook is

This semester, we will also read some simple stories about the USA and discuss them.

There will be a presentation by all Academic Skills class representatives on Thursday December 20th  16:45 (5th period) in the Rakushinkan. We will choose one representative from this class on Friday December 14th.

Like last semester, students will do 2 presentations (before Dec. 14th) and 1 final essay (due Jan. 25th, 2019) on topics of American history.


  1. The important thing about (2 from your American list) is that ….
    1. E.g. “The important thing about New York is the Statue of Liberty”, or “The important thing about Lincoln is that he was president during the Civil War, he ended slavery and he was assassinated.”
  2. The important thing about academic writing is that…

Today’s class

What is academic writing?
What do you know about USA history?
  • People
  • Places
  • Events
Why Sheffner does not take attendance
  • In my British university, there was
    • No attendance taken
    • no credit system, instead, there was a test/exam system:
      • a test at the end of the first year
      • “finals” at the end of the 3rd (final) year
      • no graduation certificate, but instead a degree certificate
    • Therefore I don’t put much emphasis on attendance but rather on the work that you do.
    • If you miss a class find out what we did (see this blog) and do the work
Academic writing
  • Plato’s academy
    • Not a school, more a community of learners, people who like to discuss and think about big questions, e.g. “what is a good person? How to live a good life?” etc.
  • Scientific revolution (Europe, 16th/17th centuries
    • Galileo, Copernicus, Newton, etc.
    • Questioning: is the earth really the centre? If so, there must be objective, sensory evidence.
      • I.e. looking for more than religious belief
The Important Book (photocopies)
  • Read
  • Fill in the table
  • What is the meaning of “the important thing”?
  • Do you agree?
Pick 1 or 2 objects from the list that you disagree with and write what you think is the important thing about it.