Simple yet powerful Tips for Writing

FRG Writing Process that can be useful for your early writing.writing-cycle

The Thinking phase includes looking over your readings, making plans, and conceptualizing. This is where you talk about the work, make senses of the readings, highlights some main points, bring together some main ideas and shape it into an argument.

The Writing Phase is the jump from blank document to prose, the jump from ideas to words. It’s the first draft, it’s ‘generative writing’. It’s all about all about getting enough words onto the page.  Don’t worry if they are not good words. This is just the beginning.

Then there is an Editing phase. Structural Editing involves seeing the work as a whole and working on structure and argument. ‘This paragraph would be better to put here’ and ‘I need to unpack this sentence to explain what I mean here’ are both editing comments.  So is, ‘There is a major gap here that requires more readings and writing’. Editing includes re-writing, arranging, and shaping, as well as writing topic sentences that connect paragraphs to the argument.

Finally there is a Polishing phase, which includes proof-reading (or copy editing), spelling, grammar, punctuation and referencing. This phase involves seeing the work in detail. This is where you adjust your word choices, check that your quote and don’t forget to put the Bibliography.

Do this cycle for writing no less than 500 words.

Adapted from :


10 tips for more concise writing

A very good article to improve your writing!

Research Degree Voodoo

Writing concisely is a great skill–useful for 200-word conference abstracts, 7000-word articles, elegant emails and effective cover letters.

Here are 10 tips that I have gleaned over time.

1. Start sentences with the subject. 
This is both a grammatical point and a content point. Grammatically, the ‘subject’ is the noun in the sentence that does the verb. (I walked to the shops= I am the subject, I do the walking, the shops are just there for me to walk to).

Starting sentences with the subject makes your writing clearer because it’s obvious right up who or what the sentence is about.


As I have previously argued, it was not until after the last batch of votes was counted, that the Senator was able to declare victory. 

The Senator declared victory after the last batch of votes was counted.  

2. Use the active verb.

Verbs are tricky. You can…

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Highlight from FRG Season II

We did much fun in our FRG Season II. We learned to write and did mini research as all the members got the oppurtunity to present in 2nd International Seminar on Literacy and Language Teaching “Literacy and Language Teaching in the 21st Century” conducted in Pattimura University-Ambon. There were 3 groups that presented in the conference:

  1. Inggrit & Dommy (Raising Students’ awareness on current issues of English through Focused-Reading Group)
  2. Nora, Mima & Bella (Students’ Perspective on the Use of English as a Cyber Lingua Franca on Facebook)
  3. Ayu, Dilla, Henry & Chris (Students’ attitude toward NEST & NNEST in EFL Context)


They did remarkable jobs as novice researchers, yet it was the milestone of their academic journey. I’m very excited to see more from them.

A Simple Poem by Emily Dickinson

Essential Oils — are wrung

emily_dickenson colorful.jpg

Essential Oils — are wrung –

The Attar from the Rose

Be not expressed by Suns — alone –

It is the gift of Screws –

The general Rose — decay –

But this — in Lady ‘s Drawer

Make Summer — When the Lady lie

In Ceaseless Rosemary –


This poem represents Nature, Culture and Language.

Reading : Kramsch, C.J (1998) Language and Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press


Here are some analysis of this poem by  the FRG groups :

Group 1 (Ayu, Resti & Richard)

In the poem of Emily Dickinson about Roses, the use of “General Rose” which represents Nature, “The Lady” as Language, and “The Attar” or fragrance of the Roses as Culture. This poem put language and culture to weird relationship where they can both influence each other in so many ways. Naturally, rose is just one of beautiful flowers which can be wilted anytime. Unfortunately, the natural characteristic of a flower makes it only beautiful when we see it directly. On the flip side, culture and language can do things nature cannot. Time has no effect on both culture and language. Culture brings Rose to so many ears through language. It makes people imagine how beautiful Rose is. Every time someone mention Rose, the definition of Rose develop in society will lead them to define it by the culture they kept and language they heard. Roses may be only a kind of flower but culturally, Rose is a sign of true love and sometimes can also be a sign of a Lady. The Lady and the Rose is not immortal, the Lady can die and the Rose can “decay”, but the Rose can be immortal when the perfume maker change the rose petal into high cost perfume. From the perfume, the Lady can use it, and the fragrance of the rose made her

immortal. We can conclude that, “Culture is never died, when Language make it immortals”. We can know about the culture of one community because of language. There is the “screw” as socialization or acculturation to be a “gift” of the culture to know about the community. Language and culture need each other by supporting each of their existences in society.

 Facilitator’s comment: Language can make culture immortal, a very brilliant opinion to see that how language is very powerful to shape community by preserving its culture.

Group 2 (Mima & Noora)

This poem is quite difficult to be understood without the explanation but after read the explanation, we can get that the rose is the symbol for nature, the lady for culture and the Attar is the language. Simply, this poem implied that nature, culture and language need each other and to maintain the nature and the culture, language is needed. Just like the metaphor, when the lady dies,

the fragrance will make the people remind her as the culture could die but the language will bring it alive but the fragrance will not exist if there is no rose.

Facilitator’s comment: I agree this poem is a bit challenging to comprehend, yet you have a good start by giving comments. It’s not just simply understanding that lady is for culture and the attar as language. consider how attar has gone through the process of extracting. is this process can be defined as culture? and how language is responsible to execute this process? Have some thoughts!

Group 3 (Christ, Dilla & Dewi)

About the metaphor of the rose regarding to culture and language is as we mentioned earlier that they need each other to exist. The rose in the metaphor was born by nature, and preserved by culture or the habit of giving roses to people they love, but without language that utters the meaning behind it, the rose itself will never have a meaning. So in simple way, we can conclude that the rose as the nature is just like as human. Human can pass away but the culture will live from one generation to another through language just like the essence of rose that live even after the rose no longer exist.

Facilitator’s comment: Yes, language is needed to communicate the meaning within the culture, otherwise the rose is meaningless. Good highlight!

Group 4 (Eugenie & Bella)

It is a little bit confused try to understand the meaning of Dickinson’s poem. But one thing that interested is how we can reflect the poem to conclude about culture and language itself. From the poem by Emily Dickinson about the metaphor of roses I found that that between Culture and Language is related each other, both of them cannot be separated. Why it cannot be separated? Quoting a lyric from the poem “The Attar from the Rose” it is a metaphor Language and Culture which is Attar is analogy as Language and Rose is analogy as the culture. As we know that Attar is an essential oil which drips from Rose, in this case it is same with Language which can present and exit until now because of culture.

Culture has been grown because the habit of human and the language is presence among them because people need to communicate so they can interact. Language also can be a sign of people in one culture. For example, we can notice the differences of the speakers through the way they speak using their language. The differences can we feel through the differences of the tone, accent, vocal, event how they express from their conversational style. Where there is a culture, there is a language. Surely, it cannot be avoided both of them is related and cannot be separated.

Facilitator’s comment:  This poem is not easy to understand, agree! Now think about how rose can decay,  whose characteristic of this ? Nature, culture or language? then when Roses can become essence, it will get through labor and finally can be immortal, what kind of process is this? natural or cultural process? try to consider it!


Reflective Writing


Reflective writing is:

  • your response to experiences, opinions, events or new information
  • your response to thoughts and feelings
  • a way of thinking to explore your learning
  • an opportunity to gain self-knowledge
  • a way to achieve clarity and better understanding of what you are learning
  • a chance to develop and reinforce writing skills
  • a way of making meaning out of what you study

Reflective writing is not:

  • just conveying information, instruction or argument
  • pure description, though there may be descriptive elements
  • straightforward decision or judgement (e.g. about whether something is right or wrong, good or bad)
  • simple problem-solving
  • a summary of course notes
  • a standard university essay


To make connections

The idea behind reflective writing is that what you learn at university builds on your prior knowledge, whether it is formal (e.g. education) orinformal (e.g. gained through experience).

Reflective writing helps you develop and clarify the connections:

  • between what you already know and what you are learning
  • between theory and practice
  • between what you are doing and how and why you do it.

To examine your learning processes

Reflective writing encourages you to consider and comment on your learning experiences—not only WHAT you’ve learned, but HOW you learned it.

To clarify what you are learning

Reflecting helps you to:

  • clarify what you have studied
  • integrate new knowledge with previous knowledge
  • identify the questions you have
  • identify what you have yet to learn.

To reflect on mistakes and successes

Reflecting on mistakes can help you avoid repeating them. At the same time, reflecting on your discoveries helps identify successful principles to use again.

To become an active and aware learner

To become a reflective practitioner once you graduate and begin your professional life


What can I discuss?

  • Your perceptions of the course and the content.
  • Experiences, ideas and observations you have had, and how they relate to the course or topic.
  • What you found confusing, inspiring, difficult, interesting and why.
  • Questions you have
  • How you:
    • solved a problem;
    • reached a conclusion;
    • found an answer;
    • reached a point of understanding.
  • Possibilities, speculations, hypotheses or solutions.
  • Alternative interpretations or different perspectives on what you have read or done in your course.
  • Comparisons and connections between what your are learning and:
    • your prior knowledge and experience;
    • your prior assumptions and preconceptions;
    • what you know from other courses or disciplines.
  • How new ideas challenge what you already know.
  • What you need to explore next in terms of thoughts and actions.


Journal: requires you to write weekly entries throughout a semester. May require you to base your reflection on course content.

Learning diary: similar to a journal, but may require group participation. The diary then becomes a place for you to communicate in writing with other group members.

Log book: often used in disciplines based on experimental work, such as science. You note down or ‘log’ what you have done. A log gives you an accurate record of a process and helps you reflect on past actions and make better decisions for future actions.

Reflective note: often used in law. A reflective note encourages you to think about your personal reaction to a legal issue raised in a course.

Essay diary: can take the form of an annotated bibliography (where you examine sources of evidence you might include in your essay) and a critique (where you reflect on your own writing and research processes).

Peer review: usually involves students showing their work to their peers for feedback.

Self-assessment: requires you to to comment on your own work.


Clarify your task

Clarify the practical aspects

Find out what form your task should take. You may need to submit a book or folder or complete an online component. In addition to writing, you may be able to include pictures, diagrams, media clippings etc.

Gather your ideas

Before you write, you need to think and reflect. Start by drawing up a Mindmap. 

Mindmapping is a technique that can help you expand your thinking, structure your ideas and make connections. You can use a Mindmap to plan your assignment and arrange items to create the structure of your writing.

  1. Write your topic in the centre of a blank page.
  2. Draw related ideas on ‘branches’ that radiate from the central topic. When you get a new idea, start a new branch from the centre. Include any ideas, topics, authors, theories, experiences associated with your topic.
  3. Map quickly, without pausing, to maintain a flow of ideas. Associate freely and do not self-edit; at this stage anything and everything is OK.
  4. Circle the key points or ideas. Look at each item and consider how it relates to others, and to the topic as a whole.
  5. Map the relationships between the ideas or key points using lines, arrows, colours. Use words or phrases to link them.

See for complete readings :

FRG Contract


To join Focus Reading Group you must commit to complete all the terms below during the course.


  • ATTENDANCE: Your attendance will be the main determination of your receiving a certificate. You are required to attend at least 80 % of the FRG meetings including online and offline. If you know you will be absent for a class, you should contact the coordinator prior to your absence. Please inform 2-3 days before and download the available reading materials on our Facebook group.
  • PARTICIPATION: Alongside necessary attendance, participation is your opportunity to interact with one another by active contribution of your thoughts and questions. This is a key component to success since much of the course work, communication (via online discussion or email), and readings are to be completed outside the time we meet.
  • READING AND DISCUSSION: The main activities in this FRG are readings and discussing relevant themes, related experience and implication in society. Your participation will be measured based on your discussion.
  • ASSIGNMENT: All participants are required to write the reflective writing in response to the readings in the form of journal or they can post it in Edmodo.
  • INDIVIDUAL/GROUP PROJECT: In the focus group, there will be opportunity for doing mini research as a part of group project. The activity will be mediated by course facilitators. Every participant is invited to join the project.


If you acknowledge, accept and agree, please fill out the details

Name                    :

Telephone          :

Email                    :

Date                      :






FRG Guidelines

Focused Reading Group Season III

Pendidikan Bahasa Inggris, Pattimura University-2016


Course Guidelines


Inggrit Tanasale, M.Ed (TESOL International)


Phone +6281230575546



Coordinator:  Ayu A. Sari Abdullah


Secretary : Astri Mardilla Ramli



Group Meeting Time: By appointment


Group Meeting Location: PGSD office




Materials: All readings will be shared one week before and/or available to download via the Edmodo, blog, Google Drive.




  1. Selecting and posting readings
  2. Facilitating the online and offline discussion
  3. Meeting with individuals/small teams to advise follow-up projects and initiative
  4. Granting certificates to individuals



  1. Recruiting participants
  2. Arranging and communicating the scheduling for meetings
  3. Organizing group discussion leaders
  4. Helping Facilitator to manage virtual platform



  1. Collecting all contact info of participants
  2. Distributing attendance list
  3. Helping Coordinator for administrative stuff
  4. Keep group meeting minutes and distribute them within three days of the meeting


We’ve got ‘English fever’, not declining English proficiency

Setiono Sugiharto, Jakarta | Opinion | Sat, November 21 2015, 4:19 PM

A recent report by the 2015 Education First (EF) English Proficiency Index (EPI) reveals a rather appalling finding — compared to other ASEAN countries, Indonesia suffers a serious decline in English proficiency. Indonesia ranks below Malaysia and Singapore, yet the status of English differs in these countries. English is a second language in Singapore and Malaysia, while a foreign language in Indonesia.

Singaporeans and Malaysians use English as a medium of communication in addition to other languages spoken in these respective countries, while Indonesians treat this language only as an object to be learned in a school context.

Furthermore, there is no explicit mention as to what constitutes the notion of language proficiency. The notion by no means refers to a unitary ability, as has been generally assumed, but consists of several distinct but interrelated subabilities.

The term “proficiency in language” is a sweeping generalization to claim that Indonesia is experiencing a setback in English proficiency.

The report is also in stark contrast to what today’s education experts are concerned about: Our young generation’s prowess in conversing in English supersedes their ability in speaking in their home languages.

This concern is hardly surprising because Indonesia is suffering from “English fever”, a metaphor used by American linguist Stephen Krashen to illustrate an overwhelming desire to acquire the English language at an early age.

A growing demand for English has paved the way for the establishment of schools bearing the “international” label, with English being used primarily as a medium of instruction.

What’s more, private tutorials offering English for toddlers are ubiquitous.

The teaching of English today is radically different from that in the past. Students today attend schools and private tutorials that offer an international benchmark in terms of curriculum, learning materials and assessment. This clearly speeds up acquisition of the language.

The richness of learning input makes the acquisition of English most effective and efficient. Take the case of teaching English to young learners, a mushrooming trend in our big cities. Many private schools and tutorials provide interesting, child-friendly learning input, as well as a cozy learning ambience where children can practice the language in a relaxed way without fear or anxiety.

This greatly differs from the English-teaching practice in the past where the systematic learning of aspects of language such as grammar and vocabulary prevailed. The main materials from textbooks were unappealing.

Further, the goal of contemporary English pedagogy emphasizes more on language practice –a pedagogical shift from the emphasis on language rules or correctness.

School children today learn English to be the users of the language, with language rules being learnt subconsciously through story books, games, song, etc, while students in past learnt the language to be the “language experts”, with language rules being analyzed and verbally explained — and these students of the past stumbled in English even after years of studying.

Finally, the greatest factor contributing to the rapid acquisition of English among children today is exposure to advanced technology. Children can do web-surfing, finding and reading texts that interest them. Thus they unconsciously acquire vocabulary and grammar at exponential rates.

Interestingly, not many people are aware that the internet has become an important source of input for language development, and has tremendously helped young people improve their English proficiency .

They instead still cling to their faith that it is formal education that can equip children with learning input, and that can help them improve their English proficiency. This belief is understandable because many people stick to the perception that language is consciously rather than subconsciously learned.


The writer is an associate professor of English at the School of Education and Language, Atma Jaya Catholic University, Jakarta.

– See more at:

Greetings for FRG Season III

Hi everyone,

Welcome aboard…thank you for sign up in this FRG Season III. We have done FRG Season I and II last years, and gained valuable and rich learning and experiences. We hope that in this season we will have breakthrough in our learning experience and be fruitful and innovative in our learning products. This FRG will be based on Distance Learning. Therefore, we won’t always meet face to face. There are some virtual platform that we are using in this FRG including Edmodo, Blog and Google Drive. Please sign up for Edmodo as a students with group code (f5ky2v) to get you on board.

I would also would like to introduce our new coordinator, Ms. Ayu A. Sari Abdullah. She will help for our FRG arrangement and work together with Facilitator for  managing the flow of FRG. while our fresh secretary, Ms. Astri Mardilla Ramli who will be Ms. Ayu’s assistant. The further information regarding the contract and regulation will be post later so stay tuned.

Once again, I would welcome all of you….old school friends a.k.a Senior graduates from FRG season I & II and all newbies in this group. Enjoy the learning and looking forward to work with you all.


Ma’am Inggrit

picture :