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* Effective Writing Eric S. Rabkin Ph.D. SUPERSTAR TEACHERS™ The Teaching Company * ERIC S. RABKIN, Ph.D. Professor of English Language and Literature, University of Michigan Eric Rabkin is Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Born (1946) and raised in New York City and educated at Stuyvesant H.S., Cornell University (A.B., 1967) and the University of Iowa (Ph.D., 1970), he joined the Michigan faculty as an assistant professor in 1970, became associate professor in 1974, and full professor in 1977. As a teacher, Rabkin is especially known for his large, popular lecture courses on science fiction and fantasy, and for his many teaching innovations, including the development of the highly successful Practical English writing program for those who will use writing in their work lives. He received the University Teaching Award in 1990, and for his teaching contributions, was named Arthur F. Thurnau Professor (1990-1993). Rabkin has over one hundred publications, including twenty-five books written, co-written, edited, or co-edited, including Narrative Suspense (1973); The Fantastic in Literature (1976), Science Fiction: History, Science, Vision (with Robert Scholes, 1977); Teaching Writing That Works: A Group Approach to Practical English (with Macklin Smith, 1990); and /t’s A Gas: A Study of Flatulance (with Eugene M. Silverman, 1991). Rabkin’s awards include a Fellowship from the American Council for Learned Societies (1973) and research funding from the American Philosophical Society (1991). He lives in Ann Arbor with his wife, Elizabeth Rabkin, an elementary-school teacher. They have two children, David Ivan (b. 1970) and Rachel Ann (b. 1975). © 1995 The Teaching Company Limited Partnership ] Lecture One: Audience and Purpose CUBANS STILL HOPE TO REACH U.S. I. Audience and Purpose: Deciding Whom You're Addressing and Why The Coast Guard picked more than 1,600 Cuban refugees Thursday, although A. Discussion there were many empty rafts, and it was clear that they still thought they were 1. Everybody's Language Tools headed to the United States. a. Linguistic Competence v. Linguistic Performance 1. We all maike mistrakes." TOURISTS ATTACKED IN EGYPT 2, "There was a rabbi, a priest, and a German shepherd." b. A good dictionary (¢.g., American Heritage) Militant Muslims gunmen attacked a tourist bus in Egypt, killing a 13-year-old c. A good handbook (e.g., Harbrace College Handbook) Spanish youth and wounding his father, a setback to the Government, which has d. A good written model (e.g., a newspaper movie review or an been trying to control the violence. interoffice memo) 2. Overview of the ABC's of Effective Writing: Bold-initial headings on this sheet 3. Focus on Audience and Purpose (key concepts: all good writing maintains a focus on an explicit idea of the writer’s primary audience and an explicit idea of the writer’s main purpose in writing to that audience) a. What's wrong with this picture postcard? (see video) b. How does the writer of The New York Times reveal his/her attitude? c. The kind of thing you say is more important than what you say. B. Exercise: Formal and Informal Letters 1. Singly or in a group, decide on the audience and purpose for cach of two contrasting letters. 2. Write statements of audience and purpose (a total of four statements). 3. Write the bodies of the letters (one hand-printed page maximum per letter). 4. Ifneed be, revise the statements of audience and purpose. 5. Ifneed be, revise the bodies of the letters. 6. After a wait of at least one day and/or after having received editorial comments from a colleague, revise the statements of audience and purpose and the letters. 7. All four documents may be sent in as Assignment | in this course in Effective Writing. Il. Blueprinting: Deciding What Materials You Need and How They Should Be Arranged 111. Construction: Writing Just Enough For Your Audience and Purpose IV. Dissent: Revising With the Eyes of a Potentially Dissenting Reader V. Editing: Getting Grammar, Spelling, and Mechanics Right VI. Field Testing: Learning From a Colleague 2 © 1995 The Teaching Company Limited Partnership © 1995 The Teaching Company Limited Partnership 3