An English 101 Reflection

What English 101 has (and has not) Done for Me as a Freshman

Chase Yaw

Over the years of schooling most Americans have gone through (elementary and secondary) school and English has always been a requirement. It seems like every year in high school I think I had to take an English class. And for what purpose does it serve the students? For me English has never been a fun class and I don’t think I’ve ever had any interest in it. That’s why I’m writing this article, I’m going to be explaining what entry level required English at Western Washington University teaches its students from a non-biased perspective. What does an English class really teach its students in a quarters time? Also, is it really beneficial for every student to be taking this course or should it be spent on something more worth the students’ time?

The first thing we did in English 101 was spend the first three days getting to know each other. Since it is such a small class (25 students), it was more like a little family and I think those three days getting to know each other helped out the class a lot. It made us more cohesive as a class and it helped us understand each other and why we chose certain topics for our projects a little more. Also knowing your classmates well made a nice transition from high school to first quarter in college. Despite not liking the subject of English I appreciated the class overall because of how close we all were and how much fun the class was because of all the people, not so much the content of the class.

As for actual coursework, we started research on our podcast project. Each of u students had to make a podcast on a topic related to the university or college as a whole. The criteria was simple as it had a time limit and you had to use certain sounds and certain programs to produce an adequate podcast. During the project I thought that it was complete bullshit and busy work. Once we turned them in and then listened to the class’ elite podcasts (mine definitely was not one of them) I could appreciate them more. I understand now that it was a nice project that wasn’t just writing, editing, revising a paper. It was a nice creative outlet for some students and now all the students know how to use a podcast making program and are aware of what a podcast is. The part of the project was that we got donuts during our “listening party” that made all the hard work worth it.

The next big project we worked on was our O.A.T. project. Observe, Analyze, and Theorize. This project was a continuation of our podcast project as our topic (theory) had to be related to our podcast topic. This project proved to be a lot easier as you had to research on a computer and type up a paper. When I say easier, I mean more familiar as I think this is what most students are used to and have been taught most of their educational careers. For me, I enjoyed this project a lot more than the podcast because it taught me a lot more about my topic through online articles and books than interviewing people did. I also think I got a better grade on that so maybe that’s why I liked it better. No donuts at the end of this project though.

As a course in general, I think Western Washington University does a good job with their English 101 course. It wasn’t completely essays on essays and reading old classic texts and analyzing them. I know myself and many other students can appreciate and be grateful for that. My professor was also an awesome person and made the class much more enjoyable. He made the classroom a very casual setting and always told us what we were going to be doing that day before we started on it. As a person that’s an extremist for anti-English classes, this ended up being my favorite class this quarter.

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