Center For Language Education-SUSTech | Professor Zhihui Fang on Academic Writing
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Professor Zhihui Fang on Academic Writing

Professor Zhihui Fang on Academic Writing

On July 14th 2016, Professor Zhihui Fang from the University of Florida gave a lecture on “Writing for Academic Purposes: Moves, Strategies, and Skills” in Room 110, Teaching Building 1. 

Professor Fang is currently a Professor of Education in the School of Teaching and Learning at the University of Florida, where he also coordinates the Language Arts, Reading and Children’s Literature (LARC) program. He is author of more than 100 publications that include books, book chapters, and refereed journal articles, as well as over 200 refereed, invited, keynote, and featured presentations at national and international venues. Hosted by Dr. Kathy O’Sullivan, the director of SUSTech’s Center for Language Education (CLE), Professor Fang’s lecture signified CLE’s lecture series kicked off at SUSTech. 


Professor Fang talked about academic writing.

 This lecture started with an impromptu rap by Frederick, Professor’s teenage son. Frederick invited the audiences to give him 10 English words and then did a freestyle rap with those words given. All warmly applauded Frederick’s impressive sophistication of language use and stunning on-stage reaction. Frederic defined the lyrics of his favorite pop songs as a type of creative writing, which helped to subtly shift the topic to his father’s research on academic writing. This 16-year old American high school student firmly expressed that pop music and academic research should not be taken incompatible. Instead, they supplemented each other in everyone’s multiliterate experience.


A special warm-up by Frederick’s freestyle rap 

After the special warm-up, Professor Fang introduced the features of academic writing, the common problems and their solutions. Professor Fang provided sufficient examples to gave all a systematic view about the moves and strategies that can be used in academic writing. Having had all audiences engaged in reflecting on and identifying the challenges they encounter in academic writing, Professor Fang demonstrated evidence-based strategies for coping with these challenges.


Audiences attentively listened to the lecture.

In the following Q&A sessions, the students actively participated in asking questions about their own writing problems. Professor Fang gave detailed suggestions of how to avoid over quoting and some logic problems such as incoherence in argumentation, which are often detected in Chinese students ’writing.

Professor Fang’s expertise in academic writing instruction was highly appreciated by the audiences. According to the students, as part of outreach service of CLE’s academic writing courses, this lecture could not only enhance their understanding about essay writing in some language tests such as TOEFL and IELTS, but also help them prepared for thesis writing. The postdoctoral researchers and research assistants responded that this lecture was extremely helpful with their research writing.

During his three-day visit at SUSTech, Professor Fang was also invited by CLE to give three teacher training sessions about teaching English reading and writing and hold two meetings with English instructors and students, respectively. All attendees benefited enormously from Professor’s valuable guidance on English teaching and learning


Reported by CLE

Written by: Jishu Gao, Zhuo Li

Photos by: Gary Moran