I teach a course in remedial academic writing. The students should learn to write at the graduate level.
Some of the students are ELLs. They tend to include many extraneous thoughts and ideas in their essays that do not directly contribute to their thesis statements. These extra ideas are present in writing from their home countries, but seem quite unusual for academic writing in English-speaking countries. I've tried discouraging this, however, they seem determined to keep such extra points in their essay. I thought an acceptable compromise would be to let them move these into footnotes. From a typical essay, their 500-word, 5-paragraph essays would have 3 or 4 footnotes each.
- Is that acceptable practice in academic writing for writers to throw any kind of extra thoughts about a subject into footnotes?
- Are there limits to what kind of extra thoughts can appear in footnotes?