My Latest Book: French on English: A Guide To Writing Better Essays by Dr. Charles F. French

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I am very happy to announce that I have been published! I wrote a book aimed at helping students learn how to improve their writing called French on English: A Guide To Writing Better Essays.

I have been teaching writing in higher education for over 25 years, primarily at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA and Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, and I have written many handouts that I use in my classes. Among the topics covered in these handouts are drafting, editing, revision, confused words, and grammar. Many years ago, one of my students suggested that I put them into a book and call it French On English. The idea germinated inside me for a long time, and I finally decided I should do it.

I finally used those handouts as a basis for the book, and I added to them to create this text on writing essays.

Then I had the good fortune of speaking with a new publisher, who wanted to publish the book! Firebrand Literary Press is a wonderful organization, and I am extremely pleased by their work on this book and their support of me in my efforts! Thank you!

French on English: A Guide To Writing Better Essays is available now on Amazon.

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Available on Amazon

Classroom Trials!

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I frequently end some of my college classes with courtroom trials, and this semester I was able to incorporate this activity into both a traditional day and an evening non-traditional First Year Writing class.  In both classes, held at different schools–Lehigh University and the Wescoe School of Muhlenberg College, the students conducted criminal trials of characters from Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

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https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horror-literatur

From having my students perform this exercise over many years of teaching, I have found that it gives the students a dynamic path into understanding the text. By having them produce, what I name a living paper, they gain a very deep comprehension of many aspects of the book; among them are theme, motif, character development, and social critique.

I serve as the judge, while students are prosecutors, defense, characters, and, in the traditional class, jurors.  Because the class size is smaller in the non-traditional class, I had various people from the Wescoe School act as jurors.  To the guest jurors–thank you! You did an excellent job in judging the charges.

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The traditional class was conducting their trial against the Creature, while the non-traditional class was trying Victor Frankenstein.

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http://eng10frankenwiki.wikispaces.com/franken+pics

Both classes performed lively and informed events.  In both, the prosecutors presented a list of potential criminal charges, and the defense challenged them.  I made the final decision and eliminated some so that we would have a manageable number of charges to handle in a short time. These are not law classes, so the jury judged on who did the better job of making and supporting arguments not on issues of jurisprudence.  I was deeply impressed with both classes and the effort they invested in their respective projects. They did excellent work, and they all seemed to enjoy the project. I am convinced that adding a creative component to a class almost always adds to students’ comprehension of the material being learned.

In both classes, the decisions on the charges were split.  Both defendants were found guilty on some charges and not guilty on others.  I find it interesting that in all the years I have done similar trials, there has never been one with a unanimous sweep either for the prosecution or the defense.  While the verdicts were split, my opinion on my students’ work is definitive–they did an excellent job!

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