Wanting Zhao - GEC Academic Writing Instructor

In December 2021, we invited our beloved Academic Writing Instructor Wanting Zhao to share her teaching experience at GEC.

Wanting Zhao -  GEC Academic Writing Instructor

Till now, I have instructed more than 200 students on their academic writing, and I have found out some common issues among our students. Many students do not know the aims of their topics, i.e., what they want to find out in the end. Thus, it is difficult for them to write a clear outline and to form a clear path towards writing a successful paper. Many students also lacked the ability to solve problems independently. Writing a paper in essence is to find a solution to a problem, and it is very important to cultivate skills in critical thinking and analysis. During the teaching process, I find that project-based studies indeed is a good way for students to cultivate necessary abilities. According to their own traits, students can develop skills in logic, analysis, writing, and communication.

As the saying goes: every student is unique. Some students have many interesting thoughts but lack implementation capability; some students like to follow others but lack the courage to innovate; some students are very hard-working but lack study techniques. In project-based learning, we can tailor our teachings towards each student, and find out the proper way of teaching, so each one can develop uniquely. I usually would find ways to encourage students and ask them to engage in classes actively and think for themselves. Of course, I would guide them in their process of studying. For instance, I always introduce academic paper structure in the first class and tell them the difference among various types of papers. I would teach them how to choose a topic direction based on certain principles and clarify the research purpose. During the entire teaching process, I always focus on cultivating students’ ability in problem-solving, critical thinking, analysis skills, and flowing logic. The most satisfying time is when I hear positive feedback from students; what they have learned and improved. I am really proud of being a teacher.