My experiences in this six-week English Composition-I class have been challenging and rewarding, as well as educating and developing. As far as challenging, I have only been able to attend half of the classes and therefore have only learned half as much as I could have learned otherwise. Although extenuating circumstances have kept me from attending every class, it has been a pleasure sitting under the teaching of the course instructor. As far as rewarding, I have been able to gain knowledge, understanding, and wisdom in the realm of the writing process.
As far as educating, I have been informed of the basic foundation of the writing process. As far as developing, my confidence and skills have steadily improved. Over fourteen years ago, I took English Composition-I for the first time. I attended every class, wrote descent papers, and completed all of my homework. I managed to get a high grade in the class. However, since those days, I have lost touch with the fundamentals of English Composition.
I am retaking a full academic year of English Composition for mainly two reasons: First, I need the courses as prerequisites for admission into a foreign medical school, which prefer higher grades. Secondly, I need to improve my writing skills for the Medical College Aptitude Testing (MCAT) writing sample. Taking English Composition-I for the second time has been a rejuvenating experience. Relearning the precious essentials of English Composition-I have caused me to be a better writer.
There have been several highlights in the class that have made the experience better: The insight and enthusiasm of the instructor; the hand-chosen homework assignments; the concepts of the standard composition textbook; the illustrative stories of The Longman Reader; the detailed look into process analysis; the peer review practice; and, the revising, editing and reflections have been priceless. I believe these elements of English Composition-I have adequately prepared me for English Composition-II.
The insight and enthusiasm of the instructor has been of utmost importance. As far as insight, the instructor was very knowledgeable in the subject of English Composition. Also, he was able to correct mistakes made by the students, as well as encourage the students to excel. As far as enthusiasm, he had a good personality, a positive attitude, a smile on his face, and was able to effectively communicate to the level of his audience. I was captivated by these teaching characteristics.
The experience I gained as a result of the instructor is that he influenced me to take composition by the heart and be meticulous with the writing process. The hand-chosen homework assignments were given with directions to read particular illustrative stories taken from “The Longman Reader. ” This manual gave detailed portrayals of specific types of writing such as metaphors, narration, process analysis, compare and contrast, cause and effect, and argumentation and persuasion.
The Longman Reader was designed to give short stories with many examples of each type of free writing. I was impressed by the organization of the manual. Taken as a whole, I was fascinated by the short stories; specifically the detailed breakdown and analysis of each short story. The homework seemed to always request the selection thesis for each narrative. The experience I gained from reading the short stories and answering the questions is that I formulated a methodical mindset to locate the selection thesis in every narrative.
This has been an asset to my experiences gained through English Composition-I. The concepts of the English Composition textbook called “A Writer’s Reference” have been a major influence to the writing process. The book covered subjects such as: composing and revising, academic writing, sentence style, word choices, grammatical sentences, ESL challenges, punctuation, basic mechanics, researching, MLA papers, and basic grammar. This book has saved me a lot of time. It is divided into several sub-sections, which have quickly led me to the information needed.
The experience I have gained from this book has caused me to realize there is a detailed and meticulous system to being a good writer. It seems almost impossible to be a perfect writer with all of the rules involved. Perfection or not, the manual is a guide to being the best writer possible. The detailed look into process analysis has been vital to understanding the organization of a particular subject. Some of basics I have learned from the study of process analysis are: to recognize the desired product of the process analysis; to put together a thesis that clarifies my attitude owards the process; keeping the audience in mind; utilizing basic prewriting to identify the best route to take in organization; identifying the directional and informational aspects of process analysis; explaining the process one step at a time; making it easy for the readers to follow the sequence of the analysis; establishing the right tone throughout the process; and, how to open and close the process analysis effectively. My experiences learned from process analysis is the recognition of how important it is to explain the steps or sequences involved in doing something.
This satisfies our need to learn as well as our curiosity about a particular matter. The peer review aspect of the class was very intriguing. My experience from peer review involved looking at other student’s papers from a constructive critical viewpoint. I learned to use a balance of tact, kindness, honesty, rigor, care, and positive reinforcement in each review. In the past, peer review seemed like a waste of time and an unnecessary step. However, as a result of this English Composition-I class, I have recanted my feeble position on the matter. My new opinion is that peer review is absolutely critical to achieve the best success in writing.
The revising, editing, and reflections are the final stages of perfecting the writing process. Although no work is absolutely perfect, these final stages are necessary in developing the writing as an effective communicator. It follows this stage of the writing process separates the professional writers from the amateur writers. The scrupulous work of revising, editing, and reflection is the case in point. My experience gained from this class, concerning the final stages of the writing process, should be done with a planned strategy. This will save precious time, and will systematically help to polish the final draft of any paper or writing.
In conclusion, I believe the English Composition-I class has helped me to exchange ideas and information, offer suggestions, and receive constructive, thoughtful criticism from my teacher and peers. Furthermore, the class has expanded my abilities as a writer; it has enhanced my abilities of reading, organizing, revising, and proof-reading skills; it has aided me to accentuate my ideas effectively and has brought clarity to my writing. My experiences gained through English Composition-I have been positive, beneficial, and foundational.