“No Longer Going It Alone” with Mikael Toulza

photoMikael Toulza, an undergraduate English major at the University of Toulouse, Le Mirail, discusses his move from an individualistic writing culture at the University of Toulouse to the more collaborative and feedback-oriented writing culture at Dickinson College.  He imagines how his introduction to research writing, thesis statements, and the annotated bibliography will help him further his writing goals when he returns to France.   joelle_lizzy_claire_grace_final


Edited and produced by Claire Brawdy, Joelle Cicak, Lizzy Hardison, and Grace McCrocklin. 

3 thoughts on ““No Longer Going It Alone” with Mikael Toulza

  1. I enjoyed listening to this, surprised that research papers or research for papers (or even MLA!) were not very common until later on in an academic career. Papers seemed to be mostly about opinion as long as they were well linked to the book or political context. Personally, I wouldn’t mind a structure like that, as I think it might push someone to come up with really unique points of view. However the fact that you would have to be on your own once given an assignment, seemingly without chance for feedback – I would be slightly terrified. I find feedback important. The chance to discuss my own papers with others helps my writing develop further. Feedback is a big help. Also, when the thesis was discussed – I could understand the difficulty of writing a clear thesis (I still have trouble with that myself). The idea of asking a question and then answering it at the end sounds more loose, and I can see why so many more words could be used in such an essay with that particular structure. I feel like it could give someone more of a chance to explore a topic, and that kind of discovery sounds exciting.

  2. Very interesting that he did not see any similarities between courses at Dickinson and courses back in France. Also interesting that in France the student addresses the paper alone, without guidance from the professor or other students.

  3. It was fascinating to hear about the differences between writing academically in France and in the U.S. Having spent countless hours throughout my academic career on learning how to craft a thesis, it is difficult to imagine writing a paper with anything other than an assertive thesis in the introduction. I don’t believe either country’s method is incorrect. I assume they simply reflect the cultural differences in expectations on how the student is to go about getting his or her point across.
    This was a very interesting interview, thanks for sharing!

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