NU Ideas

NU Ideas Volume 4, Number 2


Nagoya University Multidisciplinary Journal

Proceedings of the Second
Symposium on Academic Writing and Critical Thinking

Guest editor
Chad Nilep


Dear reader:

The second Symposium on Academic Writing and Critical Thinking (AWCT2015) was held at Nagoya University on 21 February 2015. Following on the success of the first international symposium in 2013, AWCT2015 once again brought together scholars from around Japan to talk about writing, publishing, teaching, and the dissemination of academic knowledge and research. This second symposium featured five sessions of presentations from teachers, researchers, and graduate scholars involved in many aspects of academic writing and communication. Several of the papers presented during those sessions are gathered in this special issue of NU Ideas.

In addition to those sessions, the symposium featured a session of plenary and invited talks, and a roundtable discussion on academic writing and critical thinking.

During the plenary session, Professor Paul W.L. Lai from Nagoya University discussed "The Mei-Writing Approach", which provides training in logical argumentation, as well as specific instruction in the various steps necessary in writing up research findings, from crafting the thesis statement, to building the logical argument, and writing the abstract. Professor Lai's talk, "How to be Clear and Convincing in Research Writing", described practical applications of logic to research writing.

The plenary session also featured two invited talks. Professor Christopher J. Long of Tohoku Gakuin University analyzed recent history as well as the current state of language education in his talk, "Critical Thinking and English Education in Japan". Professor Long discussed the relationship between language education and research writing, as well as the effect of government and other stake-holders on the planning and practice of education in Japan. Professor Katerina Petchko of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies reflected on the development of an integrated writing education program at GRIPS to serve the needs of policy leaders and researchers from diverse backgrounds. Her presentation, "Developing a Graduate Writing Curriculum", included insights into the relationships among assessment, research training, and the teaching of writing and communication skills for specific purposes.

Pre-conference abstracts are available here for all plenary, invited, and session talks.

Later in the day Professor Kazuhisa Todayama of Nagoya University chaired a roundtable discussion on Academic Writing and Critical Thinking Education. Professor Todayama was joined by Paul Lai, Christopher Long, and Katerina Petchko, as well as Professor Yumi Takagaki of Osaka Prefecture University and Professor Hiroshi Yama of Osaka City University. The discussants, together with a large and actively involved audience, touched on such issues as the definition of "critical thinking" and its relationship to logic, rhetoric, and analysis. There was also a lively discussion on the tension between the need to write convincingly, versus the need to approach research skeptically. While ultimate answers to these questions are elusive, the process of discussion and reflection is invaluable.

The papers gathered in this special issue of NU Ideas represent a portion of the work presented at the Second Symposium on Academic Writing and Critical Thinking. The organizers wish to thank all symposium participants, especially those who share their work in this volume. We are also grateful to the editors of NU Ideas and to the faculty of the Department of Academic Writing at Nagoya University for their assistance.

Chad Nilep
Mei-Writing, Nagoya University

Table of contents


NU Ideas Volume 4, Number 2
Guest editor
Chad Nilep

NU Ideas editorial board
Hsu Peihsin
Isabelle Vea
Wang Qian Ran



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