No. 011  May 2015


What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers.

~ Logan Pearsall Smith

Logan Pearsall Smith (1865- 1946), born to prominent Quaker parents, is a noted essayist and critic. Educated in Harvard and Oxford, he is best known for the authority on the use of English.

文 / 江介維 (本中心教師) 

In most writing courses in Taiwan, students come to the classroom to learn how to write in a grammatically correct, semantically clear, and structurally solid manner; in response to students' learning expectations, most teachers prepare their materials and design their courses accordingly: a bundle of grammar rules, vocabulary notes, and recurrent emphases on the merits of a well-structured piece of writing. To be sure, these elements are the fundamental skills for all writing learners, especially second language (L2) learners, to get acquainted with. However, writing courses are not meant to cease there, serving merely as a tool for language acquisition or idea communication.

Instead, the writing courses held by the Academic Writing Education Center (AWEC) at National Taiwan University (NTU) seek to offer a more holistic and thought-provoking curriculum for a rapidly increasing number of graduate students with rising needs to write and publish in an academic context. More specifically, writing in this postgraduate context is supposed to be approached with a higher-order thinking and a more comprehensive way of deliberation. Graduate students are expected to treat their writing with a higher degree of caution and motivation. To achieve this, we have to reexamine and redefine our long-standing assumption about the role and operation of writing courses—that is, the conventional pattern of learning-to-write shall be modified and recognized as writing-to-learn.

The concept of writing-to-learn may appear unfamiliar to some writing learners in Taiwan. Actually, the idea is not as new as it may sound. Several L2 researchers (Tynjala, Mason, & Lonka, 2001; Indrisano & Paratore, 2005; Bean, 2011; Manchón, 2011) have studied the strategies of treating and utilizing writing as a potential medium for facilitating students’ bridging to content-area learning. The application of writing-to-learn could be understood as "writing in the content areas" or "writing across the curriculum," as Armbruster, McCarthey, and Cummings (2005, p. 71) put it in their clarification of this somewhat indefinite term. They contend and endeavor to justify that writing is no longer just a tool for language acquisition but a catalyst that renders disciplinary knowledge more reflexible and accessible. Quite a few researchers begin to tap into the potential of utilizing writing as an explorative means. For example, Alan Hirvela (2011) elaborates on the pedagogical application of writing as "a mode of discovery or negotiation to acquire greater knowledge of content, culture, or language" (p. 37). All the remarks above seem to present a promising picture of how much writing, reinforced with proper instruction, can do to help learners advance to a higher order of thinking and a broader horizon of learning.

However, the focal shift from learning-to-write to writing-to-learn entails not only pedagogical awareness but also subject matter knowledge. Joan Sedita (2015), for instance, foregrounds a pedagogical challenge to be aware of:

Writing to learn skills in particular are best taught by content teachers because they understand how to show examples of subject-specific writing teach students how to write about subject-specific text, and provide feedback to students about content-based writing assignments. (p. 97)

That is to say, the promotion of writing-to-learn in class is particularly suitable and effective when class instructors are content-area teachers capable of assigning and assessing subject-specific assignments. The premise here, if not a prerequisite to some extent, poses a challenge to those non-subject-specialized language teachers in charge of writing across the curriculum. While Sedita' s case study focuses particularly on secondary-school writing instruction, it also applies to the context of postgraduate writing curriculum. Moreover, how to practice writing-to-learn pedagogy in a postgraduate writing context is even more challenging and, as will be proven, more rewarding. John Bean (2011) approaches this issue neatly in the context of postgraduate writing, in an effort to provide useful suggestions and practical guidelines for combining and enhancing "subject matter knowledge and critical thinking" (p. 5) through the medium of writing as a learning catalyst. His target audience is aimed at university teaching faculty, especially those who instruct writing across the curriculum (WAC).

This WAC circumstance applies exactly to the context of teachers at writing centers. Irene Clark (2008) emphasizes the notable mission for writing centers to instruct and inspire students to not only enhance their grasp of writing as an explorative means but also develop a new perspective on the overall writing process. Robert Barnett and Jacob Blummer (1999) have co-edited a book, a collection of scholarly essays, to describe the role of writing centers as an emergent agent in facilitating writing across the curriculum and incubating writing-oriented programs and pedagogies. In this regard, the courses along with the driving pedagogy behind, offered and fueled by AWEC of NTU, could serve as an example for illustration.

We have courses designed to engage students in utilizing writing as a thinking and production mode. That is, we assume that our graduate students have already been equipped with a decent degree of English writing proficiency. Thus, instead of focusing on the technical part of writing solely, we endeavor more to delve into the structural, logical, and cognitive aspects of writing. More precisely, students in our class are not as much bothered about how to produce a neat piece of writing (as most of them can do that well on their own), as constantly confronted with how to manage an intricate piece of writing in a particular setting or field. In this respect, their concerns go beyond mere semantic expression and consideration to a more comprehensive vantage point of viewing and evaluating all the subtle steps involved in writing and forming knowledge. As is often the case, different fields develop their own patterns of written discourse; students from varied disciplines are spurred to reflex on the rationale behind their writing community and invited to defend or even challenge the established practice. Moreover, we often have students write down their initial thoughts toward a certain issue after a brief brainstorming. These still rough thoughts often serve as the freshest material for representing the depth and width of a student' s present cognition state. Through it, we become familiar with the linguistic and cognitive benchmark of students at this stage. Subsequently, we pose questions, rather than solutions, to identify students' blind spots in their writing samples, whereby they can simultaneously revise their own work and review peers' work. During this process of constant discussion and revision, students would begin to understand that their writing per se acts as the most crucial medium to get their thoughts across in an academic context. Seen in this way, writing turns from a barren land of grammar and sentences into a fertile soil on which they can not only deepen their thoughts and synthesize ideas from others, but also extend its possibilities into discovery learning and critical thinking.

The preliminary picture above is meant to give a glimpse of writing-to-learn practice in class. Hopefully, it helps illustrate the concept and practice of writing-to-learn on the rise: a potential and practical way of teaching that elevates the role of writing in intellectual exploration and academic discourse.



  1. Armbruster, B. B., McCarthey, S. J., & Cummings, S. (2005). Writing to learn in elementary classrooms. In R. Indrisano, & J. R. Paratore (Eds.), Learning to write, writing to learn: Theory and research in practice. (pp. 71-96). Boston, Massachusetts: International Reading Association.
  2. Barnett, R., & Blummer, J. (Eds.). (1999). Writing centers and writing across the curriculum programs: Building interdisciplinary partnerships. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press
  3. Bean, J. C. (2011). Engaging ideas: The professor' s guide to integrating writing, critical thinking, and active learning in the classroom (2nd ed.). San Francisco, Calif.: Jossey-Bass.
  4. Clark, I. (Ed.). (2008). Writing in the center: Teaching in a writing center setting. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt.
  5. Hirvela, A. (2011). Writing to learn in content areas: Research insights. In R. M. Manchón (Ed.), Learning-to-write and writing-to-learn in an additional language. (pp. 37-59). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 
  6. Indrisano, R., & Paratore, J. R. (2005). Learning to write, writing to learn: Theory and research in practice. Boston, Massachusetts: International Reading Association.
  7. Manchón, R. M. (Ed.). (2011). Learning-to-write and writing-to-learn in an additional language. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  8. Sedita, J. (2015). Learning to write and writing to learn. In M. C. Hougen (Ed.), Fundamentals of literacy instruction and assessment, 6-12. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.
  9. Tynjala, P., Mason L., & Lonka, K. (Eds.). (2001). Writing as a learning tool. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic.

【演講】06/02 Introductions: Creative Beginnings
【My Tutorial】本學期最後一週,請把握寫作輔導機會


Title: Introductions: Creative Beginnings
Time: 2015/06/02 (Tue) 10:30-12:10
Location: Rm 104, Common Subjects Classroom Bldg. (共同教學館104)
Speaker: Dana Liu (NTU Academic Writing Education Center)
(Talk in English 全場以英文演講)

For more information: http://www.awec.ntu.edu.tw/news.html?sn=129

Registration: myNTU Event Registration System (Event#20151260_01)
* Reservations will be held until 10 minutes before the talk.

【My Tutorial】本學期最後一週,請把握寫作輔導機會

免費個別學術寫作輔導服務 My Tutorial 是由本中心遴選培訓之輔導員 Writing Fellow,採一對一方式,針對文件寫作問題提供個別討論與建議。


輔導時段與申請辦法詳見活動網頁 http://www.awec.ntu.edu.tw/My_tutorial.html




為鼓勵校內研究生深入淺出地分享其學術研究成果,中心特取得3MT授權,在教務長鼎力支援下辦理「2015臺大三分鐘英語學術簡報競賽(Three-Minute Thesis Competition)」。複賽與決賽分於5月16日與5月23日假博雅教學館舉行,除了中心講師外,特別邀請王道一(經濟系教授)、林維紅(歷史系退休教授)、吳益群(生科院副院長,生科系教授)、郭鴻基(副教務長,大氣系教授)、雷庚玲(心理系教授)與謝尚賢(前國際事務處副處長,土木系教授)(依姓名筆畫排序)擔任評審委員。




I had a lot of fun participating in NTU 3MT-2015. I was happy to see NTU host its own 3MT competition. Being a non-native speaker of English myself, I was amazed to see the high level of competition and caliber displayed by the Taiwanese students. I hope there is a bigger turn out next year with more students coming forward to participate. I must also commend the people responsible for bringing this competition to fruition. Their tireless planning and hard work made the whole competition a memorable experience for me.

~ Rini Ravindranath (Department of Chemistry)



~ 劉耘非 (生醫電資所)


3MT is definitely a competition far beyond my expectation. It impressed me with Academic Writing Education Center's great efforts and enthusiasm. Every detail in the competition made me feel professional but profoundly warm and friendly. Though the competition was a long journey, it gave me a brand new academic experience about how remarkable fantasies can exist in a 180-second presentation with only one slide. Though I didn't make it to the top three, I never regret participating in this great competition and very proud of being one of the finalists. I strongly recommend 3MT to graduate students who are asking for challenges and excitements. You never know the limit of yourself.

~ I-An Su (Department of Psychology)
Photo credit: Hsin-Ning Wang


Thank you for hosting such great event, I am the second place winner Chia-Yuan Chang. I would like to share this achievement with those who have been helping me a lot. First, is my professor, Dr. Feng-Cheng Chang(張豐丞老師), who leads me in this great research and strongly recommends me to attend this competition. Moreover, the brilliant idea of combining spider-man and our research is also his credit. Secondly, the future great photographer, George Sagan who also is my instructor at word choice, grammar and winning strategy. Final thanks allow me to save it for myself. Because I think I've done a great job, no matter you like me or dislike me, I've done my best.

For those who wants to participate in this competition, I have a suggestion and that is to be confident. Good luck.

~ Chia-Yuan Chang (Department of Forestry)
Photo Credit: George Sagan


參加3MT過程中,我重新以非專業領域的角度去審視研究內容,最困難的是如何將複雜的研究轉換成平易近人、有趣卻又不失專業的言語,讓我更能夠站在觀眾的角度去想"我想要看到、聽到什麼樣的內容",讓觀眾能在演講得到一點收穫。在練習的過程中從助教、同學與老師中受到很多建議幫助和回饋,比賽中看到許多同學的演講的構思和表達呈現方法都是原先自己沒有想到的、以及評審們的建議,這些都是很好的經驗和學習! 謝謝寫作中心辦這麼有趣、有挑戰的3MT !!

~ 何宜洵 (藥學所)
Photo Credit: Cheng-Chieh Wu


3MT is a very meaningful competition to me. It made me think of how to rationalize my research and clearly present to the audience in three minutes. Through the competition (from the first round to the final round), my academic English writing skill and presentation skill were tremendously improved. Thanks to Academic Writing Education Center for holding this challenging competition. It was a really special experience to me because it gave me an opportunity to share my research to people who are unfamiliar with my topic. Thanks to professor of academic writing and presentation class, Miguel, who encouraged me to participate in this competition. Thanks to teaching assistants of academic writing and presentation class, Alex and Amy, who revised my speech and accent. Thanks to my girlfriend, Su I-An, who backed me up during the competition. She helped me practicing, gave me feedback, pointed out my flaws, and was a respectable competitor at the same time. I learned a great deal from this competition. I am looking forward to seeing more graduate students to participate in 3MT in the future.

~ Jiun-Wei Hu (Department of Mechanical Engineering)
Photo Credit: Alex Chang


講員:李惠敏 (英國Essex大學歷史系博士)
日期:2014/12/3 (週三)
整理:張瑜芸 (台大寫作教學中心教學助理)
「自由中國」的橋:戰後台灣 西螺大橋觀光景點的形成。(雲林科技大學)
Listen to the Free China: the Listening Culture and Soundscape of Taiwan, 1945-1970 (Aarhus University, Denmark / CHIME)





  1. 影像與照片(例如:麥克阿瑟將軍在冷戰時期與東亞各國領袖合照的照片意義解讀)、繪畫(例如:董希文的「開國大典」色彩用色轉為鮮明及原畫中人物高崗的消失等)
  2. 地景(地景應該被看作為一個動詞而非名詞,例如:高雄澄清湖的地景歷史如何由曹公圳轉變為澄清湖 的歷史過程)
  3. 建築室內設計與擺設(例如:圓山大飯店的地景轉變,關係到麥克阿瑟將軍於1950年代訪問臺灣)
  4. 聲音與音景(聲音的歷史研究之所以重要,是因為如果拘泥於紙本文件的探索,將會忽略許多動態的歷史訊息,且研究聲音更可以去發掘聲音產生背後的背景文化,例如:清室退位時的訊息皆以紙本詔書公告天下,到民初時,訊息的公告改由透過中央無線廣播電台發佈)
  5. 姿勢(例如:中國傳統文人在教導晚輩對長輩的禮節,皆為不可直視長輩,但現代與對方溝通時需要直視對方以示尊重禮貌;或是中國傳統文人在讀書時,皆需搖頭晃腦表示認真,但民國以後讀書姿勢已不再如此)
  6. 物質文化(主要關心人與物之間的關係,例如:現在歷史研究溥儀皇帝轉而專注於他的洋派穿著打扮以及圓框眼鏡)
  7. 新興社會文化現象(不需拘泥於文字,文化現象與社會事件也可以視為是原始資料的一種,例如:自拍、快閃、民宿、Live house、刺青、觀光活動、節慶等)
  8. 事件議題(例如:馬英九綠卡事件、火車性愛趴、同志大遊行、喬丹快閃事件、「台灣文學經典」論爭、高中歷史課綱爭議)

談完了原始資料,講者開始討論何謂批判性閱讀(critical reading)?講者列印了中央大學英美文學系何春蕤教授在台大城鄉所的一篇談論文寫作的演講,作為輔助資料。在該篇文章認為:「批判性閱讀並不是用一個固定的批判立場來套用於每一篇文章,而是將自己放在一個和主流不同的抵抗位置上面。因為閱讀過程中自己常常會被主流意見壓迫,被主流價值教訓,所以自己需要不斷想要找出可以自衛的論調,才比較容易發展出批判性思考,這種思考應該是一種不馴的、另闢蹊徑的思考。需要在閱讀過程中思考自己的包袱和問題。」,能夠在此篇閱讀裡找到什麼樣的共振或迴響或啟示或攪擾等等,這就是批判閱讀的主要活動內容。要達到批判閱讀,就必須主動帶著問題和過去積累的知識,去面對閱讀材料。


來信請寄 awec2014@ntu.edu.tw