Postgraduate Students at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) Yaoundé comment on the Academic Writing class with Prof. Nkemleke, and the Network Centre for Academic Writing Excellence (Posted by the class committee, Dec. 4, 2016)
One of the objectives of higher education is for students to express ideas coherently in writing. In the university students are usually expected to write in a way that reflects the training they have received. At the postgraduate level, we are expected to conduct research and present data with a certain degree of maturity in language use and writing style. Academic writing therefore comes in handy as the course that helps to train students in this project. In the Department of English at ENS Yaoundé, Professor Daniel Nkemleke teaches academic writing with a lot of assiduity and attention. The classes are usually very interactive and spiced with variety, as the professor exposes us to sample texts from different academic genres (e.g. research articles, book blurbs, dissertation excerpts, posters, abstracts). In addition, he created a forum for us to interact with Neele-Frederiche Mundt, a PhD student-in-resident at ENS from the University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany. We have learned many things about academic writing conventions from her input, including anecdotes from her experience in Germany about academic writing, and student-professor relationship. To say the least, the 14-week academic writing lectures have been very enriching for us.
As novices in the field of research, and as teachers-to-be, the importance of this enriching course content cannot be overemphasized. In fact, the course lays a solid foundation for would-be teachers to grasp basic notions like hedging, signposting, and academic humility, which will eventually help us to teach students different ways of approaching specific text-types, as the case may be. Rather than merely brooding in the dark like most new brooms in the domain of research do, we have been exposed to writing conventions, which we believe will help consolidate our research presentation skills. Bearing all these in mind, it will not be an overstatement to say that the Academic Writing lessons we have received have prepared us to face the academic world, at least with a degree of confidence.
Above all, the Network Centre for Academic Writing Excellence, which we constantly visit to provide us with additional resources and motivation, including networking ideas and opportunities. Although we have learned a lot for this course, we regret that the time allocated for it is not enough. Consequently, we believe that if more time is allocated for this course, future students at ENS will even derived the most benefit than we have done.