As we went through this English 101 course together, I know that I and the other students and you put in much work. I am sure you have spent much time researching and analyzing various materials to discover the best ways to instruct us, particularly during this pandemic. So, first and foremost, thank you very much. Furthermore, toward the term’s conclusion, you may need some reflections from us as one of your students to help you improve and better prepare for the following semester. And so on; in fact, it is the primary reason I am sending this letter to you to reflect on what I have learned throughout this course.
But before talking about that, I want to introduce a bit about why I chose English 101 this semester. First, it was because, at first, the course was a requirement for my transfer path. Furthermore, it seems that not just only in my case, if a student wants to earn a higher-education degree at least at the level of Associate Degree or more, he needs to register English 101 prior to any other classes. Besides, the second reason why I chose this class was that I wanted to improve my English, especially for my writing. Before taking English 101, as I did not go to high school here in America or the other English-speaking countries, my English, when used in academic writing, did have flops. For example, I did not know how to write an extended essay that needed such a certain amount of research. Alternatively, sometimes, I just use the grammar wrong. Therefore, when choosing English 101, I hoped that this course would help me solve my issues.
Then it comes to my primary reflection on what skills I have learned during the course. At first, I feel that I have had a chance to improve my knowledge in writing by trying four different types of papers that I have never experienced before. In detail, I learned from the first paper, the Narrative Paper, how to write about one of my life experiences. Next, I learned from the second paper, which is the Summary and Response Paper, how to write a summary from one’s reading and then give out my own opinions on that reading; while, from the third paper, which is the Investigation of Problem and Solutions, I learned how to introduce one specific problem and then bring in the appropriate solutions. Finally, from the fourth paper, the Reflection Paper, I learned how to demonstrate what I have learned from and thought about one specific experience in the form of a letter. In general, I think those different writing experiences came from the course’s primary purpose: to help students build up their overall writing knowledge.
Furthermore, the overall writing knowledge here is about how students approach each type of paper differently. For example, in the first paper of the course, which is to write about one part of my life story, I approached this writing by thinking of the rhetorical elements such as my writing’s purpose and context and then finding and organizing different information of my life events based on these two elements as a road map. Alternatively, in the third paper, the Problem and Solutions, I approached this writing by asking questions about the problem’s concept and the solutions’ criteria, then researched and found information based on these questions.
Besides, I also learned a little skill from module 2 and found it very helpful. That skill was “annotation,” which is all about highlighting, underlining, and noting the main points of our thoughts for a specific text. Mainly, I think that annotation has helped me research and learn course materials since I first knew about it. For example, when it came to a harsh text lesson coming from a specific web page, by using “annotation,” I could note out and extract its main point from each part of that lesson and then decide whether I should approach to study that section or not. Alternatively, like when it came to a specific source that I researched to prepare for my draft, annotation helped me find the parts that I needed instead of absorbing the complete information. Therefore, I give you, professor Karlen, kudos for bringing the lesson of this small skill into the course.
After taking this English 101 class, it seems that, now, I feel a bit more confident in writing than before. It is not just about how I know to approach different types of papers as mentioned above; it is also about how I know to organize information for each of my papers. Indeed, I believe that the way you, professor Cameron, have divided each module into small assignments from outlines, then to the first drafts, and then to the final drafts has helped students know how to build up the structure of a paper. As a result, now, I can think more thoroughly about developing good ideas and information for any paper based on its original outline, unlike the way I used to start my writing straight away without any planning.
From those parts mentioned above in the letter, it sounds like I have learned a lot of things from the course. However, there are two aspects that I think I will spend more time improving in the future. The first aspect is my vocabulary. As I am not a native English speaker, there are still many words that I do not know their meanings or how to use in the proper context. Therefore, reading more books with different topics and genres will help me solve this issue. Also, the second aspect that I need to improve is my grammar again.
Furthermore, like you, professor Cameron has recommended to me once that I should go to check this problem with the tutors at school; I think I am going to do it in the following semesters. Actually, until this point, I still do not know how it feels like to work with a tutor as I have never met one before in my life. So, with this grammar problem, maybe this is a chance for me to have this academic experience once.
In general, this is all about what I have learned from and thought of this English 101 course. Also, I hope that information will help you, professor Karlen, collect some valuable insights to prepare well for your next semester. Moreover, again, thank you very much for your diligent teaching during this semester.