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Los Angeles Pierce College Impact of English on Individual Cultures Paper


Length Requirement
: 1000-1500 words (4-6 pages).

Question asked of your thesis: Does being forced to rigorously adhere to an academic/formal standard in English classes silence those for whom academic language is not preferred, or, is learning to write a formal composition paper merely like learning an English dialect? Or both?

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For this assignment, watch educator Jamila Lyiscott’s Ted Talks: (Links to an external site.) and Why English Class is Silencing Students of Color | Jamila Lyiscott | TEDxTheBenjaminSchool (Links to an external site.)Why English Class is Silencing Students of Color | Jamila Lyiscott | TEDxTheBenjaminSchoolchoose at least one of the Lysicott talks to reference in your paper and find at least two additional sources that evaluate the use of academic English in any setting (as relates to your position). Incorporate those three sources into your essay as you argue for or against the continued emphasis placed on academic English in higher learning.

Because this assignment asks you to think critically about language and its history, you will find yourself glad that language does generate controversy. Make use of that and remember that your job is to take a position and prove why it is the correct one. Consider Lysicott’s position that academic and/or formal English erases students’ individual cultures and ignores the mastery of language that every student already has and answer the question of the prompt based on your experience and critical thinking (while maintaining the formal third-person perspective).

Remember that this is an argument, not an exploratory or informative essay. The basic rule is that your audience is at least as familiar with any text and with history as you are: never summarize. Critical thought means moving beyond the obvious. Be sure you are directly addressing the question of the prompt. This is the work. A workable thesis must be debatable, researchable, and of some general relevance.

It will be useful to review the sections offered by the Purdue OWL that pertain to planning and composing an essay. Not every word will be relevant for this particular analytic paper, but the strategies offered will prove valuable.

The purpose of this paper is for you to demonstrate your ability to comprehend the material, gathering information and ideas, and using those to formulate ideas of your own. Critical thinking and analysis is about the ability to see beyond the surface of things, this paper asks that you deduce something about the way language is handled in academia and then describe the basis of your deduction by discussion of Lysicott’s philosophy as presented and carefully selecting passages that support, or perhaps disagree with, your insights. Your deduction, that is, your opinion, is the THESIS STATEMENT.

Structurally, your paper should have an introductory paragraph that concludes with a thesis statement – the assertion of the point of your paper. The body of the paper should consist of a close, careful discussion of passages from Lyiscott that you briefly quote or paraphrase and then analyze to show how they support, or even disagree with, your assertion. The concluding paragraph should bring together all the points made in the body of the paper and offer a reassertion of the thesis statement.

Be sure to cite all sources (including Lyiscott) properly using in-text citations and Works Cited page according to MLA Guidelines. Papers should be double-spaced, have a meaningful title, and otherwise follow MLA formatting guidelines.

In your essay:
1. Make a clear thesis statement.

2. Use a clear plan of organization. In your essay, go beyond the five-paragraph essay format, and include the following:
An attention-grabbing introduction that includes a brief explanation of the discussion with your thesis statement.
Support for your thesis including as many supporting paragraphs as necessary while still keeping within the length requirement of the paper.
An address of the most reasonable and educated counterargument to your thesis.
A strong conclusion.
3. Format
your paper and cite your sources according to MLA style guidelines (Links to an external site.).
Refer also to Hacker “Research and Documentation” (Links to an external site.) for examples of MLA essay format and guidelines for documenting sources in MLA style. As I grade this essay, I will hold you accountable for all the instruction available from this go-to source. This three-minute video on how to use quotations in writing essays (Links to an external site.)offers a helpful review of some of the material in Hacker. Remember to answer the question directly and completely, to provide clear reasoning, and to provide specific evidence to support your claims.


Double-space the document and use one inch margins all around as well as a reasonably sized and designed font in black only. Do not justify margins. (Follow MLA formatting guidelines.)
Include your name on the first page and include a worthwhile and original title.
Introduce your topic clearly in the opening paragraph and offer a clear, argumentative thesis at the end of your opening paragraph.
Be sure to include at least one selection from the talks listed above in your discussion and to formally introduce the text(s) as well as at least two additional sources.
Include proper MLA citations when necessary.
The final submission should be approximately 1,000 to 1,500 words (or 4-6 standard pages).

Submit your essay as an editable Microsoft Word or compatible document (no cut-and-paste, pdfs, .pages, etc)

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