Thursday, October 25, 2012

English 2010

When I was registering for my first semester of college, my academic adviser told me that I needed to take English 2010 here at Weber State. I had successfully passed both the AP LIT and AP LANG tests, so I found it weird that I had to take it again. I later found out that the academic adviser was wrong, and that I didn't have to take 2010 again, but I am glad that I had the experience of taking an English class outside of high school.

My professor for 2010 was an adjunct professor who primarily teaches ESL, so my class had a lot of ESL students in it. For the first few weeks of my class I felt like we reviewed a lot of very basic English concepts, and I remember deliberately thinking how weird it was that my AP classes seemed harder than what I was doing in college.

The structure of my 2010 class was that we had to write a reading response paper at least once a week, as well as three major essays throughout the course of the semester. We used They Say I Say as the primary text book, and our reading responses were based on its articles. The reading responses consisted of three parts: a summary, an evaluation of the piece, and connections to other readings. I never did an assignment like this in my AP courses, but I feel like learning how to complete the three sections of a reading response really improved my ability to analyze and evaluate articles.

Our three major essays for the class were mostly just a step up from the reading responses. The topics for the essays were two of the main ideas talked about in They Say I Say, obesity and technology, and the third essay we got to choose our own topic. We could use the articles from the book as support, so the first two essays were very simple. The last essay had to be 7-10 pages long, and having to gather our own research for a change was hard for a lot of my class members.

The most frustrating part of my 2010 course was the complete lack of feedback I got on my writing. My professor never gave me anything less than a 95 on assignments, and her commentary was limited to a few small comments to the side of my text that said generic things like "Great" and "Nice job." This lack of criticism towards my writing prohibited me from really growing as a writer, as I never knew what aspect of my writing was earning me praise and what aspects needed to be improved.

The day to day experience in my class consisted primarily of discussion about the readings in They Say I Say. My professor would mediate and direct this discussion, but for the most part the students were great at contributing their thoughts and analysis of the articles. When I think about why my teacher ran our class this way, I believe that her goal was to teach people how to formulate and state opinions. Many students in my class were just coming out of ESL, so listening to others speak English and having to state their own ideas in English was really beneficial to them. I also think that she didn't want us to have to interpret and analyze the articles all by ourselves, and she thought discussing as a group would help us to write better papers.


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