Wednesday, August 20, 2014

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Advanced Writing: Reflections from My Students

At the end of my summer writing course, I asked my students to write a short essay about how their English writing skills had improved. Here are a few excerpts from what they wrote:
  • I have learned to summarize any kind of source, using only the main ideas. Then, I learned how to do good quotations and paraphrases to support my ideas in the body paragraphs. Finally, improved my argumentative writing by learning how to properly use opposing viewpoints and rebuttals with meaningful and relevant details.
  • Another point that I want to mention is the correction that my teacher wrote in my drafts because those comments have helped me to recognize when I make mistakes like fragments or word choices.
  • I used to struggle while doing an essay, but now, it is easy for me to face with it. Furthermore, I am capable of doing a lab report and an academic essay. It will be very important to me in my academic classes and in my whole life.
  • For me writing class is very important because I have to write my dissertation, so it needs accurate and perfect grammar. Fortunately, this writing class has learned me a lot. Commonly, I had problem with making summary, thesis sentence, and topic sentence; fortunately, homework, short and long assignments, grammar practices have made clear and easy for me.
  • Before joining this program, I had many grammatical errors and text organization problems in my writing. Moreover, I had no idea how to join my sentences using FANBOYS or other connectors, and how to have the variety of sentences in my essay. In addition, in my essay or writing I had been using “and” or “but” and the same kinds of structures over and over.
  • When I started my ELP classes, I was not confident about my writing skills. However, this has changed because of four main reasons. First, I have learned how to write a strong introduction, or a summary to my essays. Second, I have learned how to use different clauses. Moreover, now I can use punctuation correctly, which makes my ideas more clear. In addition, I noticed that while I’m writing, the words come more easily in my mind, so I can write faster in comparison to the beginning of the semester.
  • I learned much more by doing 8 weeks of ELP classes than in five years of English courses in Brazil.
  • I have learned some grammar tools, such as noun clauses, adjective clauses, and passive voice, which helped me to write structured sentences. The grades of my essays, if compared with each other, not changed too much, but is possible to realize that my way to write had an expressive evolution.
  • I have never been a good writer in Portuguese; however, I find myself using these skills when I am writing something important and big in Portuguese. There are similar structures between English and Portuguese, so what I have learned has helped both languages. To conclude, even though it was not too long, my time in ELP improved me more than I could expect.