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"Seven-Step Method" Revisited

I experimented "Seven-Step Method (SSM)” with the e-mail passage taken from "Dokkai Tokkyuu 1" a week ago. I’ll try SSM again with a passage from a different source than the last time. As I argued in the previous post (“Seven-Step Method Trial 2”), SSM is a good training method to practice writing with the assistance of passages written by professional native English speaking writers while learning the typical styles of the TOEIC Part 7 passages and high frequency vocabulary appearing on the TOEIC test items simultaneously. The model passage that I'll try SSM on today is the short e-mail message from the TOEIC Official Book Vol. 4 Test 1 page 60.

【Seven-Step Method】
STEP 1) Read the passage. (Day 1)
SETP 2) Copy the passage and rewrite it as your own.
STEP 3) Read the same passage again. (Day 2)
STEP 4) Rewrite it again.
STEP 5) Listen to the audio file of the same passage. (Day 3)
STEP 6) Rewrite the same passage again, but this time you do so based on what you've listened to without reading the passage.
STEP 7) Rewrite again without listening or reading. You do so on your memory only. (Day 4)
Reference: DOKKAI 1 AGAIN 2 by FADED DEAD JADED

*Ideally, SSM is implemented for four days as mentioned above for the sake of repeated exposure to the passage and opportunities to refresh what you learned from the passage on the previous days.


STEP 1&2) First rewrite
Dear Mr. Murdoch

This e-mail is in response to your letter of October 22, which stated that my membership at your English speaking salon will expire on November 30. I wish to let you know that I have chosen not to renew it.

When I first became a member, the cost was 19,800 yen per month. Now the cost is 39,800 yen per month. Aside from this significant increase in cost, I have been dissatisfied with some of the services at your salon. There never seem to be enough native English speaking conversation partners available to practice speaking with even for peak hours on weekday nights. In addition, many of the members claim that they haven’t realized recognizable progress or improvement of their speaking ability, which I myself absolutely agree with.

Sincerely,

Ryo Ichikawa


STEP 3&4) Second rewrite
Dear Ms. Stevenson

This e-mail is in response to your letter of October 1, which stated that my membership at your match-making service will expire on December 31. I wish to let you know that I have no intention to renew it.

When I first became a member, I was expecting to see a lot of cute, sexy, fabulous-looking, decent males. But the reality is, I’ll be 50 next month and I’m single. Aside from the sad truth, I have been disappointed with the fact that I learned recently. There never seems to be a lady who’s successfully found her ideal partner through your service. In addition, I can no longer afford to pay the monthly membership fee of $198, let alone the renewal fee of $ 498.

Sincerely

Samantha Jones


STEP 6) Third rewrite based on memory
(*The audio file is not available for this passage.)
Dear Mr. Choi

This e-mail is in response to the notification that arrived on October 31, which indicated that my membership at your cooking school will expire at the end of November. I wish to let to know that I have decided not to renew it.

When I entered your cooking school, I was excited to learn various recipes of Hawaiian food. Now the number of recipes that I’ve learned so far is only “four” during those six months. Aside from it, I have been dissatisfied with the punctuality of the instructor. He always comes late to class, and leaves 5 or 10 minutes earlier. In addition, most of the ingredients that the instructor uses for his recipes are unavailable in my neighborhood, and I’m unable to try out the recipes I learned at home.

Regards,

Miranda Hobbes


STEP 7) Fourth rewrite based on memory again
Dear Dr. Goldenblatt,

This e-mail is in response to the notification as of November 1, which invites me to renew the contract of a yearly subscription to your e-mail magazine by the end of December. I’d like to let you know that I won’t renew my subscription contract.

When I started reading your publication, I learned quite a lot from what you wrote. These days, however, you repeat yourself, and I don’t think I’m learning much from you. Plus, multiple instruction videos attached to each issue are unnecessary to me, and I don’t want to bother to delete all of the files every time I receive e-mail magazines. Lastly, I’d like you to make sure that you’ll delete all of my contact information after my subscription contract expires on December 31.

Regards,

Charlotte York


【My impression on SSM Revisited】
This time I rewrote a short e-mail passage without the audio file, so I skipped STEP 5 (It was “Six-Step Method”, but still “SSM”!). I initially tried to rewrite an article available online, but I couldn’t find a good one in terms of the TOEIC-wise authenticity by quick search. There must be nice online articles and passages that make you want to copy and rewrite if you invest ample time on searching.

What I learned from the four-time rewriting today is how I can end this type of message. I wouldn’t end my e-mail message like the model one. Instead, I’d conclude the message by saying something apologetic or make some excuses in an attempt to make my statement a little more acceptable to its recipient. Rewriting passages that someone else wrote gives you opportunities to add variations to your writing style that tends to fall into mannerism otherwise. SSM invites you to rewrite the same passage four times, so by the end of the last rewriting, you’ll have familiarized yourself with words, phrases, sentence constructions, and organizations of the passage of your choice. Yes, I bet SSM works.

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"Seven-Step Method" Trial 2

This is the sequel to "Seven-Step Method" Trial 1 posted a day ago. Let me start today’s post by refreshing your memory of, or newly introducing "Seven-Step Method" that my friend proposed.

【Seven-Step Method】
STEP 1) Read the passage. (Day 1)
SETP 2) Copy the passage and rewrite it as your own.
STEP 3) Read the same passage again. (Day 2)
STEP 4) Rewrite it again.
STEP 5) Listen to the audio file of the same passage. (Day 3)
STEP 6) Rewrite the same passage again, but this time you do so based on what you've listened to without reading the passage.
STEP 7) Rewrite again without listening or reading. You do so on your memory only. (Day 4)
Reference: DOKKAI 1 AGAIN 2 by FADED DEAD JADED

I’ve done with STEP 1-4 in one day, which actually is not very recommendable to learners who’re going to read, comprehend and memorize what they’ve chosen to rewrite multiple times. The reason why I tried doing all the seven steps over the weekend is simply my "urge" and "desire" to experiment SSM myself as soon as possible. Anyway, I’ll go into STEP 3 and 4, hoping my rendition would be of any help or reference to those who would like to "kill two birds with one stone", meaning learn how to write in English well and how to read TOEIC Part 7 passages well simultaneously.


STEP 5&6) Third rewrite w/ the audio file
Dear Watson:

Thank you for spending some of your valuable time and attending my seminar in Melbourne. It was a pleasure to speak with you after the lecture...

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Robert Barnegat

*I did my third rewriting pretty much like the "listening-dictation" practice. What I did is 1) Listen to the audio file "paragraph by paragraph", not sentence by sentence, 2) Reproduce the paragraph as much as possible based on my memory, 3) Listen to the audio file again "paragraph by paragraph", and fill in the missing parts in my reproduced paragraphs, 4) Proofread the whole reproduced passage on my own. I couldn’t dictate the phrase [on star-up], which was all the more memorable and I think I’ve memorized completely.


STEP 7) Fourth rewrite
Dear Robert,

Thank you for spending your time coming over to my office last week. It was very kind of you to hand me the document in person after all the discussions that we’d had. I am very sorry for saying this, but I’m now quite relieved to be able to obtain what I’ve been wanting for such a long time.

I’m very happy with your offer and would like to discuss the possibility of signing the document any sooner. I am now in New York, and will be here until the end of this week, at which time I will be flying to Cancun for a short vacation. I will be back here, however, on October 25th and would like to meet with you and/or your attorney at some point after that and before the end of next month. I would also appreciate seeing a draft of your property division plan, including a proposed schedule and its procedures. You can bring it to our meeting.

Please let me know the date, place and time of the meeting by e-mail.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,
Aysha

*After having confirmed my understanding and memory on the passage through STEP 5&6, I rewrote the passage without reading it. My fourth rewriting was based on the idea that a soon-to-divorce working woman in New York (No worries, readers. It’s a sheer fiction, and has nothing to do with my personal life) is sending a letter of confirmation on the receipt of their divorce document, and arranging a meeting. Yes, you can be anyone, any characters in dramas, movies, sitcoms, or the persons you know in your real life to play with the passage. It must be simply fun.


【My impression on SSM】
In a nutshell, SSM is, at least to me, much more approachable and doable than many learners would imagine. At first you may be overwhelmed by as many as “seven” steps SSM requires, but you can do it in four days, which shouldn’t bother you much. STEP 1-4 might be okay for those who are good at creating stories or brainstorming ideas, but those who are not will need to obtain some help from other sources such as Googling or dictionaries, or minimize the parts to be rewritten. STEP 5&6 can be done as the "listening-dictation" practice as I tried, but the learners who already have a good grasp of the passage by then might want to rewrite the passage freely as they listen to the audio. In both cases, it’d be better to set the direction of how the fourth rewriting is going to be, meaning “who the sender is, who the recipient is, what the purpose of the passage is” kind of settings before the actual writing. STEP 7&8 are the expansion practice in which you can do whatever you want. You can reproduce the original with a minimum twist, or drastically arrange the whole plot as long as the basic structure remains as they are.

I won’t be ridiculously wrong if I say that the writing practice is, to many English language learners, something that they know they have to do, but don’t really know “what” and “how” to do. For such learners, SSM is surely one good way to start writing with the assistance of preexisting passages written by professional native English speaking writers while learning the typical styles and frequently used vocabulary appearing on the TOEIC test items. If you do SSM once or twice per week for, say, six months, your writing will be upgraded to the next level, you will become wont to write English effortlessly, and this English learning routine will make you a much, much better writer of English. In case you need a venue to do the SSM practice, visit "Quick Write Forum" that I’m moderating and post your SSM pieces there. I’d be more than happy to read your products. YOU TRY IT OUT!

"Dokkai 1"- 1駅1題 新TOEIC(R) TEST 読解 特急 (著) 神崎正哉、TEX加藤、Daniel Warriner

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"Seven-Step Method" Trial 1

My friend has proposed "Seven-Step Method" in his recent blog post, which I find very effective to learn about writing in English while learning a great deal of TOEIC Part 7 passages. I haven’t try rewriting the whole passage, or a part of it, multiple times with a different theme each time for the sake of writing practice, yet I sense that it should do good to my writing. Now let me get down to business without further delay. The following is “Seven-Step Method (SSM)”.

【Seven-Step Method】
STEP 1) Read the passage. (Day 1)
SETP 2) Copy the passage and rewrite it as your own.
STEP 3) Read the same passage again. (Day 2)
STEP 4) Rewrite it again.
STEP 5) Listen to the audio file of the same passage. (Day 3)
STEP 6) Rewrite the same passage again, but this time you do so based on what you've listened to without reading the passage.
STEP 7) Rewrite again without listening or reading. You do so on your memory only. (Day 4)
Reference: DOKKAI 1 AGAIN 2 by FADED DEAD JADED

SSM includes the listening practice on Day 3 and 4, which really is innovative for the conventional writing practice. Dr. Beglar, whose class I’m currently taking on Friday nights, always tells us that teachers should try to include the four-skill practice (listening/reading/speaking/writing) even when focusing on one particular skill. SSM conforms to this philosophy in a sense that it combines the writing practice with that of reading and listening. If you read the original passages and your rewritten passages aloud (Ondoku), it will add a bit of the speaking practice to SSM.

As you see, SSM is supposed to be implemented for four consecutive days, and I agree that it’s much better for learners to spend that number of days in order to become familiar with and memorize the TOEIC Part 7 passage that they’re working on. I regret to sacrifice the beauty of this four-day practice due to my “urge” (of course in a good sense) to experiment SSM myself, and report the results to my dear readers who might be interested in learning how to write and how to read TOEIC Part 7 passages better simultaneously. I’ll do Day 1 and 2 steps today, and Day 3 and 4 steps another day, hopefully tomorrow.

I’ve picked up the letter to Mr. Watson on page 170-171 from Dokkai 1 because it is more likely for us to write this type of letter than the passages on job openings or product descriptions in real life. In fact there are other good candidates for rewriting, but I chose the letter for my first trial so as to make my 2nd, 3rd, 4th rewritings a little more approachable.  


STEP 1&2) First rewrite
Dear Mr. Watson:

Thank you for spending some of your precious time attending my seminar in Eifukucho two weekends ago. It was nice talking to you after the seminar about your new language institute that is scheduled to open next year. I am very sorry for this belated reply. After finishing the seminar, I was pretty tied up and did not have a spare moment to reply to you.

I am very intrigued by your offer and would like to discuss the possibility of going over it further with you in person. I am currently based in the Kanto area, and have several work contracts until next March, at which time I will be able to move elsewhere. I would like to meet with you at some point before the end of the academic year of 2011. I would also very much appreciate seeing your offer, including the job title, estimated salary, requirements and qualifications, and a benefits package. You can bring it to our meeting.

Please let me know the date, place and time of the meeting by e-mail.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,
Robert Barnegat

*I rewrote the above letter based on the facts that actually happened to me. (I didn’t meet such a person, and was not offered such a job,though.) It might make your 1st rewriting smoother if you try writing on what actually happened to you or people around you.


STEP 3&4) Second rewrite
Dear Mr. Watson:

Thank you for spending some of your valuable time coming to see my stage last weekend. It was an honor for me to speak with you after the performance about your new film script. I am very sorry for this late reply. After finishing the show, I went to New York, Chicago, and London to take several auditions and did not have time to sit in front of my PC and write to you.

I am very much interested in your offer and would like to hear more about my role in your movie script. I am now in Tokyo and will be here until the end of the week, at which time I will be flying to Los Angeles for a ten-day audition tour with my agent. I will be back in Tokyo, however, by the end of this month and would like to meet with you at some point while you’re casting other roles. I would also appreciate reading a draft of your script, including a proposed shooting schedule. You can mail it to me if it’s okay with you, or bring it to our meeting. Either would be fine with me.

Please let me know the date, place, and time of the meeting by e-mailing to me or my agent.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,
Rin Kikuchi

*For the 2nd rewriting, I added a bit of my imagination to the letter. I tried thinking of a person who was likely to hold an event to the public (a Japanese actress), and conceive a situation in which she’d be offered a job (a role in a movie) about which Mr. Watson will be talking in their upcoming meeting. This is the phrase on which you’ll need to churn something out on your own.

(This entry continues to "Seven-Step Method" Trial 2)

Reference: "Dokkai 1"- 1駅1題 新TOEIC(R) TEST 読解 特急 (著) 神崎正哉、TEX加藤、Daniel Warriner

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