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Science Honours Academy


Masterclass Academic English

On 14th and 16th of December, a series of Masterclasses on Academic English writing was organized by one of the committees of the Science Honours Academy.

Many people are confident in using their English in everyday situations, however the kind of English they need for study is different. Academic English is the type of language that is essential for reading and understanding study materials and also writing about a certain subject. Academic English is different from everyday spoken English. It might be used to describe a process or how something works, explain something, write an essay or scientific paper. Much of academic English is about expressing the relationship between ideas.

Academic English sometimes can be more complex than everyday English, however the aim of academic English is to be as clear, precise and simple as possible. It means taking into account what readers know already, and guide them towards less familiar areas and topics.

Imagine the future you; working hard on different experiments and trials where outcomes finally become significant. Translating this knowledge to the outside world is of utmost importance in science and in any field for that matter. This is the crucial point, how are you going to write a report in such a way that it will be understandable and interesting to other people? A key factor to achieve this goal is language. From the complicated structure of a conclusion, to the painful reference list and the simple rules of grammar, it all adds to convey your message. Having this in mind, the SHA organized a series of masterclasses in order to help students improve their academic English skills. Prior the masterclass, students were given a small homework assignment where they had to practice their knowledge of academic English.

The first masterclass, that took place on the 14th of December, stuck to an essential part of academic English; referencing. We all know that moment when you finally finish your paper, you checked the content of your report twice, you want to close your computer and you think you are done… but then… If you are anything like me, the painful task of the reference list is still waiting for you. An overlooked but essential part of writing a paper. We all know the dreaded term plagiarism, which happens when you don’t reference an idea that is not yours. The masterclass focussed on how to write down references correctly in the right format and why they are important.

On the second day, grammar and common mistakes were in the spotlight. I do not want to bore you with the niceties of English language but I do want to stress the importance. The results of your paper can be mind blowing but other scientists may doubt the credibility when grammar and or spelling flaws are present. Besides that, it can come across as unprofessional which is simply a sin when the results are significant. Therefore, the SHA committee presented examples with commonly made mistakes to point out the importance of Academic English skills.

As scientists, we like to focus on the theory behind everything while sharing the knowledge in a way that others understand is key to success. The SHA committee nicely put together this masterclass to attend students on the greatest flaws which are often overlooked by many.