首页
英语攻略
阅读推荐
花生团
好的英文作文一定得要深刻吗?分享三封美国老教授写给中国家长的信
原创 , 图片1
2020-2-25 18:40

提到孩子的英文写作,不少宝爸宝妈就头疼。孩子要么拿到题目就抓瞎,要么洋洋洒洒缺乏逻辑,再或者语法错误连篇,表达不规范,多半也往往达不到我们心里预期的“有深度”。


到底写作难在哪里,好作文的标准又是什么呢?


我有幸认识了一位非常有心的写作老师,他是加利福尼亚州立大学副教授。因为是学艺术史出身,在过去的26年里,他一直在大学里教艺术系的学生如何鉴赏艺术作品,然后将自己的理解和分析组织成文。


另我比较意外的是,一直以来,我们焦虑的家长视为不认真、水平不行的中国孩子,他却赞誉有加,甚至不止一次提到,中国孩子的勤奋和写作能力对比他所教的美国孩子来说,都让他刮目相看。


作为一位老师,他对每一个所教授的中国孩子都倾注了超乎寻常的关注和关心,也在教学之余,思考着如何能与孩子的家长一起帮助孩子成长,所以他常常给家长们写信。我挑选了其中三封分享给大家,希望对孩子们的写作有所帮助。

James老师

★ 加州大学伯克利分校艺术史专业学士,伦敦大学考陶尔德艺术学院艺术史专业硕士

★ 26年艺术史和英语写作教学经验

★ 加利福尼亚州立大学副教授,教授美国文化与艺术、英文写作等课程

★ 艺术评论家,发表过2000多篇艺术、戏剧和电影评论文章


01

第一封信,James老师谈到了写作“思路”的重要性,语言可以慢慢磨练,但学会思考,孩子就可以写好任何一种作文。
 

Dear Parents of Students in the "Great Writing #3 - From Great Paragraphs to Great Essays" class.

亲爱的写作课学生家长,你们好!


I'm writing to explain how I'm teaching this class. I've told this to the students but I think it's important for parents to know this, as well.

我想写一封信跟大家说说我是怎么教这门课的。我在课上跟学生其实也说过了,但是我觉得最好跟各位家长们也汇报一下,因为这非常重要。


I don't think of this as a beginning to English class. The students already have a good, sometimes great, grasp of English.

我认为这门课其实不能算是入门课程,因为学生们的英语程度都已经非常好了。


Instead, I'm teaching the students how to think. I'm teaching them how to construct paragraphs and then apply to various kinds of essays like compare-contrast, description, narrative, et cetera. Then, once they master that, I'm teaching them how to expand paragraphs into essays. I use a metaphor: paragraphs are the bricks of a wall, the bricks are the essay.

所以,其实我更注重的是教学生们如何思考。我会教他们如何组织段落,并将这些段落运用在比较类、描述类、叙述类等各种类型的作文中,当他们掌握了段落的写法,我再教他们把段落扩展为整篇作文。我是这样比喻的:段落就像砌墙的砖块,作文就是砌好的墙。


If they know how to think before they write, they'll be able to write any kind of essay. The homework is timed. They have 40- minutes to do each assignment. I believe this is very good practice for learning how to write high school and college essays under the pressure of a time deadline. That's also why I stress the importance of making an outline before beginning to write. By taking a little bit of time to think before they write by making an outline, it will make the writing that much easier and much more effective.

如果学生们知道下笔之前如何思考,他们就能写好任何一种作文。我们布置的作业是要求孩子在40分钟内完成的,因为他们高中和大学考试的时候写作文是有时间限制的,我相信这是非常好的操练。这也是为什么我要求学生们一定要先列提纲再写作文,写作文之前先花一点时间思考,你后面的写作将更加顺利和高效。


That's why I'm focusing my grading on their thinking, on whether they at least have an essay with good structure. They'll learn English by reading long after this class ends. By teaching them how to think (in English, in Chinese), I think they'll be able to apply what they're learned in a much better way.

我在给学生打分的时候,也主要看的是他们的思路,文章结构组织得好不好。至于他们的英语,随着阅读量的增加,一定会慢慢进步的,而我们这门课,主要是教孩子们梳理思路,帮助他们以后更好地应用。


That's why I tend to give Excellents when I grade if the students have structured their essays in a good manner.

所以,如果孩子作文体现出比较好的思路,我一般都会给他们“优秀”,就此跟各位家长们解释一下。


I hope this clarifies things for you. Please don't hesitate to contact me through Pepper if you have any questions. I'm always available.

如果大家有任何问题,欢迎大家跟助教Pepper提问,我随时乐意为大家解答。


Best regards,

祝好,


James


02

第二封信,James老师强调了写完作文之后编辑和修改的重要性,很多语言上的问题其实通过这个步骤都可以改正过来。
 

Greetings everyone!

各位家长好!


I'm in the process of reading the Process essays as well as getting set to formulate final grades.

我正在阅读学生们的Process essay作文,同时准备给他们打一个最终的分数。


As I re-read your earlier essays, I've realized one thing. It has nothing to do with your analysis, structure, and content of your essays. Those are fine. It has to do with your language.

当我重读孩子们之前的作文时,我发现一件事:他们作文的分析、结构和内容都没问题,问题出在语言上。


As I said at the end of our last class, a lot of language issues can easily be fixed by editing. As I mentioned last week, write the essay, as you always do. Then, set it aside. Ideally, you can set it aside overnight, so you can sleep on it, as we say. Otherwise, a hour or two is fine.

就像我之前在最后一节课说过的,很多语言上的问题是可以通过再次编辑轻松修改好的。大家可以写好作文后,放一放,比如睡一觉起来再检查一遍,或者过一两个小时再来看。


Then come to it, not as a writer, but as an editor. Pretend that someone else wrote it. Focus, not on the ideas, the content, the structure. Focus, instead, on the language. Look for those pesky run-on sentences. Make sure that your noun and verb agree with each other. Those are the two biggest issues I found with your work. The good news is, these issues can be easily be remedied by editing.

当你重新看自己的作文时,不要把自己当做写作者,把自己当成编辑,假装文章是别人写的。要重点看的不是思想内容或结构,而是语言。找出那些错误的断句,确认名词和动词单复数是否一致,这两个是我在大家的作文中发现最多的问题,好在这些都是通过编辑很容易改正的。


Think of it like this. When you write, you're wearing a beret or a hat that suggests that you're a creative person. When you edit, wear one of those visors that accounts (At least American accountants) sometimes wear.

试着这样想:当你写作时,你戴着一顶贝雷帽,这代表你是一个有创造性的作家;当你审校时,你戴的是一顶(美国会计常戴的)鸭舌帽,这代表你需要严谨。


Writing and editing are two entirely different thought processes. I can appreciate how, if you're busy, it's hard to not do the essay at the last minute. Still, I will guarantee that, if you spend a little time going over your essay afterwards as an accountant and not a poet, you will write superior English essays in no time.

写作和编辑是两个完全不同的思维过程。我知道大家都很忙,所以常常在最后一刻才写作文,但我向大家保证,如果你们能多花一点点时间——像一名会计一样,而不是像诗人那样——检查和修改自己的作文,你会很快就完成一篇优秀的英语作文。


If you have any questions or comments, please inform Pepper. She'll pass comments on to me. Then I'll get back to you, okay?

如果大家有任何问题或建议,欢迎向Pepper反映,她会转达我,我很乐意为大家解答。


Thanks, guys, it's been a pleasure and an honor!

Best wishes!

谢谢你们,很荣幸与大家一起度过了愉快的八次写作课,祝你们一切都好!


James


03

最后一封信,James老师回答了一位家长的疑问。这位家长提出了一个在写作领域经常被问到的一个问题:如何让孩子的写作立意深刻?James老师指出,清晰地表达自己的观点比立意深刻更重要。


Dear ***’s mother,

亲爱的家长,


Thank you for writing to Pepper. I’m glad that you’re so concerned about ***'s education. She’s a gifted student.

谢谢您给Pepper写信,我很高兴您对孩子的教育非常关心,您的孩子是一个有天赋的学生。


The way I teach writing is this. I first get the students to think clearly. I ask them to have an idea of what they want to say (a thesis statement) and then formulate evidence to back up whatever they’re saying. The thesis statement + the evidence = an ARGUMENT, which means the proving of a point.

我是这样教写作的。首先,我会让学生清晰地思考,想好自己想说的是什么(中心论点),然后构想出证据来支撑你的想法。中心论点+证据=一个论点的论证(Argument)。


That’s the important thing here, thinking and writing clearly, making sure that what they want to write is indeed what they end up writing.

这就是非常重要的一点——清晰地思考和写作,确保写出来的东西是自己真正想表达的。


Profound ideas are good, but they’re not required. The ideas in an essay come from the type of essay (Description. Narrative. Compare/contrast. Process, et cetera.) and the subject matter of the essay. Not all essays result in profound ideas but in clearly expressed ones. I'd rather have students express themselves clearly and sincerely, and not try to be PROFOUND.

深刻的思想很好,但不是必须。一篇作文的思想内容来自于文章的类型(描述型、叙述型、比较型、过程型等等)和主题。不是所有的作文一定都会有深刻的思想,但一定要清晰地表达出来。我宁可让学生做到清晰和真诚地表达自己,而不是努力表现地很深刻。


For instance, *** wrote a lovely essay about why you and your husband are her heroes. It’s simply stated and well-written. It’s full of love for the two of you. That, to my way of thinking, is a VERY profound thing to write. It’s monumental in its simplicity.

例如,您的孩子写了一篇非常可爱的作文,讲述您和您的丈夫是她的英雄,很简单,但写得很好,充满了对您二位的爱。在我看来,这就是非常深刻的一个内容,极为天真朴素。


I hope this makes sense. If you want to talk, please let Pepper know and I’ll be available after class.

我希望以上说明对您有用。如果您想跟我再聊一聊,请跟Pepper说,我上完课有时间。


Best regards,

祝好,


James

回应 收藏36 举报