Lesson 2: macGoals

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Instructions for Lesson 2

    1. Read the English 101 Final Exam from Fall 2003.
    2. Read this page. 
    3. Be sure that you have submitted your writing sample
        from Lesson 1. 
If you have not submitted it yet, please
        deliver it to the instructor as soon as possible.
        According to college policy, students who do not pass
        the writing sample exercise in the first week must be
         removed from the course.

    4. Don't forget your positive daily thoughts about college
        and your success!


class discussion
for Lesson 2


Module 1

1: Orientation  
2: Goals   

Module 2

  3: Euthyphro  
     4: The Library
 5: The Apology   
    6: Citation   
    7: Crito
    8: Phaedo  
    9: Exam Prep   
10: Plato Exam

Module 3

11: Research Project 
12: Research 101   
13: Books   
14: the Librarian   
15: the Web   
16: conferences  
17: Joy of Research 
18: Reasoning 

Module 4

19: Outlines 
20: Review the Plan:
21: Language 
22: Dr E's Grammar
23: Peer Review  
24: Hit Parade 

Module 5

25: About the Exam
26: Mock Final 
27: Exam Prep
28: Graduation 



Dr G, emperor of this web site.
1. The English 101
Final Exam

The reading for today's lesson is the English 101 Final Exam from Fall 2003. None of you who are newcomers to English 101 would pass, if the exam were held today. I've written a sample answer to the Fall 2003 Final Exam to help you realize how strange a correct answer is! Take a look at it. 

My essay follows the academic writing rules of the Modern Language Association of America (MLA), and your answer to the Final Exam this semester will need to follow them, too. These rules govern how to quote, paraphrase and summarize source information in academic writing. They are described in Hacker's A Pocket Style Manual, and we will begin to study them in a few Lessons from now.

In addition to testing the MLA rules, the examiners evaluate English 101 final exams on the basis of essay content, essay organization, and technical correctness in using standard American academic English. They want to know that you can make logical, well-supported arguments in correct form. 

What areas will you need to work on in order to pass the Final Exam? Include this work in your goals for this course.

2. Dr. G's Comment on Goals
be sure they're measurable, achievable and challenging

In connection with the writing sample from Lesson 1, I would like to comment on goals in general, because the topic is so vital, and its profound importance is so often unrecognized.

Zeno the stoic philosopher from Raphael's School of Athens.The problem with the future is that the present appears to come first. Instead of pursuing critical long-term goals, most of us tend to get trapped in the distractions of the moment. When the present devours all of our attention, we have lost control, our environment has taken command, and our lives are leading us.

I had this problem in spades when I was president of a growing business with 200 employees. My job as leader required me to lead. That is, I was responsible for the future of the business, and there was a lot of future to address: development of facilities in other states, entry into new lines of business, expansion of sales into foreign countries, key personnel additions, and other ambitious changes. But each workday was a series of temptations to forget the future because of crises of the moment. There were always current sales problems, personnel problems, mechanical problems, quality control problems, financial problems, immediate issues of every sort. I worked very hard--long hours seven days every week--much of the time on the wrong things. It feels good to sweat, but never mistake sweating for doing your job.

In our personal lives, we hold all of the job titles, from laborer to president. We can't forget to labor, but we can't forget to lead our lives, either. Will we lead or be led? One of the two will occur.

Students often express their goals in generalities, such as these:

my life goals = to get as much as possible out of life;
my education goals = to learn as much as I can:
my English 101 goals = to improve my writing.

Vague goals of this sort are a dodge. They don't provide any accountability. That is, they are not specific enough for the goal-maker ever to know if they have been met or not, so in the end they don't matter. Business management books say that, to be effective, goals must be:

1. measurable (specific things will be done
    in specific periods of time),
2. achievable (not set too high), and
3. challenging (not set too low).

Review your writing sample and your actual plans for the future. Do your goals meet these three criteria? If they don't, redefine your goals. Sharpen them so that they can work to motivate you. 

To achieve your full potential, sit down with yourself at least every year on a specific date (on New Years or a special anniversary date, for example) to review how well you achieved the past year's goals, and then plan the program for the coming year. Use a planner, personal organizer or calendar to establish a schedule of the practical steps that you will need to take to reach your goals. Writing can be extremely useful in this goal-setting and goal-reviewing process, as it forces you to articulate your goals clearly, and it leaves an undeniable record of them.

As was said in Lesson 1, we tend to believe what we say to ourselves. If you want something to happen, say it to yourself again and again. Tell your goals to yourself repeatedly, at least every day, if you want to accomplish them. Each day that goes by without hearing your goals is likely to be a day that ends no closer to them.

Lesson Acronym MAC: goals are measurable, achievable, challenging.

3. What's been accomplished in Module 1?

So far, active enrolled course participants should have learned:

  1. how to navigate this course web site; 

  2. how to contact Dr. G; 

  3. what the goals, schedule and policies of Dr. G's course are; 

  4. what the English 101 final exam will look like; 

  5. what main purposes higher education is said to serve; 

  6. why positive thinking, proper study and acceptance of change are keys for success; 

  7. why goal setting, and frequent review of progress toward goals, are keys for self-discipline.

If any item in this list is not clear to you, review the module before moving ahead. If questions remain after review, ask Dr. G.

Women are admitted to the School of Athens.Apology to Ladies in this course: I am sure that you have noticed that Raphael's School of Athens, my main image source for this web, is 98% male. (The other 2% are presented in the image to the left.) Gender discrimination was an ordinary feature of the ancient world, in Greece and in Athens as elsewhere. Yet Socrates respected minds, not the bodies that housed them, and he knew that women and men were equal in their abilities to learn and practice philosophy. One of his favorite teachers had been a woman named Philotima. Moreover, in the famous dialogue called The Republic, Socrates is the first European on record to state that women should be educated and should hold the same political offices as men. Maybe this revolutionary teaching of his was another reason that the Athenian jury (all male) did him in.

PlatoAssignment: Heads up for Lesson 3
Higher education began in a school in ancient Athens, Plato's Academy (founded c.387 BCE). Plato promoted his school and its unorthodox learning processes by writing at least twenty little skits or "dialogues" involving his teacher, the famous Socrates. These dialogues were the first academic writing in history, and eventually they became world famous. Next to the Bible and possibly Shakespeare, the works of Plato have been read and studied more often than any other documents in western history. They're particular favorites of college and university professors.

For Lesson 3 read the short dialogue Euthyphro from Plato's Five Dialogues. To prepare, I strongly suggest that you read the general historical background information on Dr. G's page called Hellenics for Dummies and also the specific background for the dialogue, Dr. G's introduction to "Euthyphro." These pages should help you to approach "Euthyphro," and after you've read the dialogue, Dr. G's study notes to "Euthyphro" may help you to understand it more clearly. 

Where is this headed? In Module 2, we will cover four of Plato's dialogues, a sequence often referred to as the Last Days of Socrates ("Euthyphro," "The Apology," "Crito," and "Phaedo"), and then we will write an essay exam on this material. The exam question will ask for a description of the character of Socrates, as it is revealed in these dialogues. 

As you read Plato in the next few weeks, think about what you will write in your essay. For example, as you read "Euthyphro," you might ask yourself: if I made a movie version of this little scene, what sort of actor would I want to play Socrates, and how would I direct him to act? How sarcastic is he? Is he trying to be funny? Is he serious about the arguments that are being discussed, or is he simply trying to destroy Euthyphro's ideas? Is he religious or irreligious? Plato provides no stage directions or introduction in any of his dialogues, so it's up to each of us to interpret these scenes. 

Take notes, as you read, and mark key passages so that you can find and refer to them later. The format of the exam will be open book, open note, so advance preparation and note taking will help your performance on the exam.


Left: Dr. G demonstrates 
positive thinking.











''Perfection of means and confusion of goals seem to characterize our age" (Albert Einstein).




Image left:
the stoic philosopher Zeno, from Raphael's School of Athens.
















goals should be MAC




  "A goal without a plan is just a wish" (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)































Left: a classical bust of Plato.




gutchess@englishare.net                    Academic writing home page                    Gary Gutchess 2003