3 Ways to Model Academic Discourse for High School Students


  1. Have students compare/contrast popular journal articles with scholarly articles. Have students list their observations.  Great databases to use for popular journals: Newsela and Proquest.  Great databases for scholarly articles: Jstor and Google Scholar. Students will usually note (among the possibilities): a Works Cited page in scholarly articles (although sources will be cited informally in popular journal articles, students will not see formal citations with bibliography in popular journal articles); jargon is more specialized in scholarly articles; subjective point of view/thesis may be implied or explicitly stated in a scholarly article and it serves as organizing principle, shaping the article into an academic argument.
  2. Have students write an essay modeled on a scholarly essay in the discipline framework based on the subject you are teaching. Scholars of English literature and scholars of biology use different academic citation styles and there are different conventions in constructing scholarly essays in the various subject disciplines: Humanities/Social Sciences/Sciences.  Have students explore Jstor database and read several essays in the discipline before assigning the mimesis essay.
  3. Have students present a scholarly article (accessed via a database or anthology of published scholarly essays) to the class — see my NCTE Lesson Plan http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/modeling-academic-writing-through-1133.html on this for details. Essentially, to give you the condensed version here, students should identify thesis (explicitly stated or implied); discuss rhetorical strategies used by scholar (comparison/contrast, description, synthesis, narration, process analysis, analysis, cause and effect,…); determine if scholar balanced claim and evidence and if scholar fully developed claims with evidence; consider transitions among ideas; determine whether thesis is restated or a final thought is offered or both.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s