Topic outline

  • Identifikační popis


    Toto je nový kurz Jazykového centra FF UK zaměřený na rozvoj kompetence akademického psaní. Kurz je určen pro studenty a studentky bakalářských oborů Filozofické fakulty.

    Vznik tohoto kurzu byl podpořen v rámci projektu Projekt pro zvýšení kvality vzdělávání UK a jeho relevance pro potřeby trhu práce. (CZ.02.2.69/0.0./16_015/0002362)

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  • Unit 1: Introduction to Writing in English

    • Let's share your experience with writing!

      Lead-In: What was your last encounter with the English language like?

      Did you read a text? If so, what kind of text? Did you listen to spoken English? Where? What type of speech was it? How would you describe the language? Take a moment to think about that.

    • Read possible strategies to apply when writing an academic text.

      Which ones do/would you use? Do you miss any on the list?

    • Having read the list of strategies, write your answers here.

    • Read the selected sample texts. Define the typical features of each of them.

    • In this text, you'll learn about different writing styles used in different languages.

      Source: University of Rochester. Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program.

      Available from:

    • Write your answers after having analysed the different types of text.

      • Write a short paragraph explaining the differences among the writing styles described in the text.
      • What are the typical features of essay writing in Czech (or your mother tongue)?

    • How much do you know about academic writing? Find out by doing this quiz!

    • Task 4: Identify the typical features of spoken and written language.

      Decide which phrases are more likely to be examples of spoken and which of written language.

      Write an S to those which are spoken and a W to those which are written.

      Source: Crystal, D. The Encyclopedia of the English Language (Second Ed.). Cambridge: CUP, 2003. Macpherson, R. Základy anglické stylistiky. Praha: Academia, 1997.

    • Practice formal vocabulary concerning language here!

    • Write a short reflection on your learning process.

      Suggested questions:

      What was new to you?

      What did you learn? 

      What did you enjoy?

      Have you noticed any change in your confidence when using English or when applying the skills, for example?

  • Topic 2: The Process of Writing

    • Who is likely to read your text?

      How can you explain your ideas to the readers effectively? Although there is no fixed standard of academic writing, it is clearly different from the written style of newspapers or novels. Similarly, it is generally agreed that academic writing attempts to be accurate and objective.

      What are its other features?

      Write your answers here.

      Source: Bailey, S. (2011). Academic Writing. A Handbook for International Students. London: Routledge, p. 3-4.

    • Below are the most common types of written work produced by students.

      Match the terms to the definitions.

      Source: Bailey, S. (2011). Academic Writing. A Handbook for International Students. London: Routledge, p. 5.

    • In this exercise you will get more familiar with the style and structure of popular science articles.

    • Complete the exercises 2 - 5 from the worksheet and write your answers here.

    • Academic writing is a specific genre.

      Look at the ten crucial principles and try to integrate them in your writing practice.

    • Test your knowledge of English words using this test.

      After you have completed it, try to come up with a synonym for each word used.

    • In this exercise you're going to focus on the purpose of different pieces of academic writing. The purpose is firmly connected with the genre a scholar will choose.

      Task: Take a look at the first table and read the overview of purposes and genres. Then read the table below and decide what the genre might be.

      Finally check your answers by clicking on Answers at the bottom of the website.

    • Write a short reflection on your learning process.

      Suggested questions:

      Have you completed all tasks? How did it go?

      What change have you observed in your knowledge or skills?

      How can you explore more about the topics you have studied?

  • Topic 3: Pre-Writing Phase, Choosing a Topic

    • Think of the last time you wrote something. How did you go about it? Briefly describe the steps you took. 

      Were they useful? Would you change anything?


    • Try to order the various steps of the phases of the writing process.

    • When you need to come up with ideas, how do you go about it?

      Do you list your ideas? Do you write freely? Do you use mind maps to connect your ideas?

      Chat about it with your peers here. Certainly, there will be someone who has used the same techniques as you or who has some tips for you.

    • You can learn more about the strategies to gather ideas using this link.

    • Write your answers about the topics here.

      Comment on the answers of other groups/students.

    • Read 3 pages of an academic text related to your study programme.

      • Underline the main points and ideas.
      • Write down the key words you've found.
      • Then narrow the topic for a paragraph. It means you are expected to come up with a new topic which would be appropriate for one paragraph. You can check if it is a suitable topic by asking "Will I be able to write 5 - 10 sentences about it?".
      • Finally, complete the pre-writing phase using the techniques of freewriting, making a list, or mapping, or others incl. editing. Editing means that you select the ideas you are going to include in your writing.
      • Submit a photo of your work /if written by hand) or a document here.
  • Topic 4: Paragraph - Structure

    • Read this text to learn more about the structure of a paragraph.

    • Read the explanation of what a topic sentence is and why it is important for your writing.

    • See the analysis of the structure of a paragraph.

    • Practice what you have learned about the structure of a paragraph.

      Complete the worksheet. The answer key will be revealed next week.

    • After you have completed the tasks on the topic of paragraph, briefly answer the following questions. Please be specific, it will help you reflect on your learning process.

      1. Is the srtucture of a paragraph clear now? Where would you need more explanation? 

      2. Has your reading/writing of paragraphs changed since you learned more about their structure?

      3. What have you learned? How will that contribute to your writing skills in English?

      The deadline is April 5.

    • Choose two topics and write a paragraph about each (5 - 10 sentences). Underline the topic sentence. Mark the supporting sentences and the concluding sentence if there is one. The audience should be other university students.

      Paragraph 1 should explain/define a term from your field.

      Example: You choose to answer the question 'What is emotional intelligence?' if you study psychology.

      You are free to choose an appropriate topic for Paragraph 2.

      The deadline is April 5.

  • Topic 5: Formal Letter

    • Have you ever written a cover letter in English?

      Watch this video. Which piece of advice do you find helpful? Did you follow similar guidelines in your writing? Share oyur answer in the chat below.

    • Read the tips for writing a letter of motivation. Which one(s) do you find helpful?

      Share oyur answer in the chat below.

    • Write you answers here.

    • Source: British Council. English for Academics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Module 4 Writing, Unit 1, p 132-134.

      Download the worksheet and complete the exercises. The answr key will be revealed in a week.

    • Choose one of the topics below and write a formal letter (approx. number of words 180). Indicate which topic you have chosen. Try to be specific and choose a type of letter which is usable for you (real university, real job, real programme).

      A) You'd like to participate in a summer school related to your study programme. Write a letter to the person in charge to ask for detailed information regarding the dates, programme, accommodation and cost.

      B) You decided to apply for a study abroad programme. Write a letter of motivation to the person in charge from the chosen university and explain why you're a good candidate.

      C) You would like to get a particular job. Write a cover letter to the person in charge and explain why you're a good candidate.

      D) You need funding for your research project. Your university offers small grants. Write a letter to the person in charge and apply for a grant for your research project. Introduce yourself and give details about your project and the use of funding.

      The deadline is April 19, 2023.

  • Topic 6: Academic Style I

    • Using this excerpt from Swales, J. M., Feak, C., B. (2012). Academic Writing for Graduate Students: Essential Tasks and Skills. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press you will learn more about academic style in English.

      Complete all exercises. The answer key will be revealed next week.

    • An appropriate use of collocations increases your level of English.

      Learn more in this study material.

    • Read the list of collocations commonly used in academic writing.

      Use eight collocations of your choice from the list in sentences about your subject of study.

      Deadline: April 26, 2023.

    • Nominalisation is a common feature of academic writing in English.

      Using this worksheet you'll practice changing word forms. Please complete all exercises. 

    • Practice the use of articles. The answer key will be revealed next week.

      Source: Vince, M., Emmerson, P. First Certificate Language Practice. Oxford: Macmillan, 2003.

    • Cohesion is an important feature of academic writing.

      Cohesion is the grammatical and lexical linking within a text or sentence that holds a text together and gives it meaning. It is related to the broader concept of coherence. A cohesive text is created in many different ways.

      Watch a short lecture on cohesion by John Kotnarowski, English language fellow from the Academic Writing University Centre of the National University for Science and Technology in Moscow. 

    • Find the nominalised phrases. Retell the content of this paragraph in your own words (e.g. trying to avoid the nominalised constructions). Describe the difference.
      The Value of College Degree
      The escalating cost of higher education is causing many to question the value of continuing education beyond high school. There is a raising wonder whether the high cost of tuition, the opportunity cost of choosing college over full-time employment, and the accumulation of thousands of dollars of debt is, in the long run, worth the investment. The risk is especially large for low-income families, since there is the additional burden of college tuition and fees.

      Deadline: April 26, 2023

  • Topic 7: Academic Style II

    • Test your knowledge of academic vocabulary!

      Source: Štěpánek, Libor, De Haaf, Janice. (2011). Akademická angličtina. Praha: Grada.

    • Hedging

      Important feature of academic writing due to its concept of cautious language, based on the vagueness of the statement. In other words, it is necessary to make decisions about your stance on a particular subject

      Introductory verbs: seem, tend, look like, appear to be, think, believe, doubt, be sure, indicate, assume, suggest etc.

      Modal verbs: will, would, may, might, could

      Adverbs of frequency, modal adjectives, adverbs or nouns (certainly, probably, perhaps; probable, possible, conceivable; assumption, possibility, probability)


      Compare the following statements and find the hedging expressions

      A. The lives they chose may seem overly ascetic to most women today.

      The lives they chose seem overly ascetic to most women today.


      B. Weismann suggested that animals become old because, if they did not, there could be no successive replacement of individuals and hence no evolution.

      Weismann proved that animals become old because, if they did not, there could be no successive replacement of individuals and hence no evolution.


      C. Recent work on the religious demography of Northern Ireland shows a separating out of protestant and catholic, with the catholic populations drifting westwards and vice versa.

      Recent work on the religious demography of Northern Ireland indicates a separating out of protestant and catholic, with the catholic populations drifting westwards and vice versa.

      Deadline: May 3, 2023


    • Do you know how to express different levels of certainty about the facts or opinions you want to present in your text?

      Look at the difference.

      Girls are better at learning languages than boys. = The author is 100 % sure.


      There is some evidence to prove that girls may be better at learning languages than boys.

      It can be argued that girls are better at learning languages than boys.

      We can presume that all humans have the ability to learn a second language. = believe something to be true because it seems very likely


      Write five facts or opinions related to your field of study using chosen words from the list below.

      • There is a tendency
      • Of course it is
      • There is every likelihood that
      • Is/are considered
      • Undoubtedly
      • There is some evidence that
      • We can presume that
      • It would seem/appear that
      • It may well
      • The perception of
      • It can be argued that
      • It may not be the case that

      Deadline: May 15

    • Scan five pages of an academic article in English related to your field of study and create a personal set of vocabulary items you would like to use. Define them and try to use them in a phrase.

      It should be between 8 - 10 words.

      You can use to search for free articles. This service is pre-paid for you by Charles University. Therefore you should log in through the institution.

      Deadline: May 3, 2023

    • You're going to apply your knowledge of academic English.

      1) Choose a presentation, watch it and write down specific phrases and words typical of academic style. Share your notes in the forum and discuss the particular choices of the speakers.

      You may also want to note something about the speakers' presentation skills.

      2) Answer the question 'What's the presentation about?' in 3 - 5 sentences. Use your own words to summarize it.

      Remeber to mark the presentation you've selected in your answers.

    • How to foster productive and responsible debate

    • Want to be happier? Stay in the moment

    • Sleep is your superpower

    • Txtng is killing language

  • Topic 8: Summary

    • What do you know about a summary?

      Answer the questions below.

    • Source: British Council. English for Academics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Module 4 Writing, Unit 2, p 142-146.

      The answer key will be revealed next week.


    • Divide the following verbs into categories.

    • Choose an academic article or a chapter from a book (approx. 20 standard pages) that deals with your research topic and write a summary of it.

      Deadline: June 30

  • Topic 9: Review

    • Here you'll find study materials focused on review.

    • Return to your summary and add one final paragraph evaluating the original text.

      How does the text contribute to the body of knowledge of the topic?

      What is the innovative aspect of the text?

      Has the author succeeded at fulfulling the objective stated?

      What else would you point out?

      Deadline: June 30

  • Topic 10: Essay

    • Let's practice vocabulary!

    • To learn more about the structure of an opinion essay, follow this lesson.

    • In this video you can learn what to do and what to avoid when writing an essay.

    • Choose one of the topics below and write an essay on it (approx. 220 words). Time this essay. You should finish it in 60 minutes. Indicate the letter of the topic and the number of words. 

      A) Some people have the same type of job throughout their lifetime, while others prefer to change the type of job they do. Discuss why people choose both and give your opinion.

      B) It is suggested that all young people should undertake a period of unpaid work to help people in the community. Does it bring more benefits or drawbacks to the community and the young people?

      C) Some people believe that in the near future there will be no borders between countries, while others feel that national borders will always remain. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

      D) Your own topic 

      Remeber that it should be an argumentative essay, i. e. you are expected to present your opinion.

  • Revision

    • Practice academic English vocabulary using this worksheet.

    • Complete this worksheet to practice vocabulary.

    • Check your answers here.

    • Test your reading comprehension skill by completing all the tasks.

    • Here you can check your answers.

    • You can test your knowledge of punctuation in English here. There's always an explanation of the correct answer.

    • Let's practice punctuation once more! This is an advanced test.

    • In the Use-of-English part of the B2 exam, you'll find an exercise in which you will have to rewrite the given sentences so that the meaning stays the same (or similar).

      Practice here.

    • By completing this exercise you'll practice the skill of forming different word-classes in English.

      Such exrcise is not included in the B2 exam.

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