What Have I Learned In My English Class Essay
Below we offer an example of a thoughtful reflective essay that effectively and substantively capture the author's growth over time at California State University Channel Islands (CI). We suggest that you write your own essay before reading either of these models-then, having completed your first draft, read these over to consider areas in your own background that you have not yet addressed and which may be relevant to your growth as a reader, writer, or thinker.
Any reference to either of these essays must be correctly cited and attributed; failure to do so constitutes plagiarism and will result in a failing grade on the portfolio and possible other serious consequences as stated in the CI Code of Conduct.
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Sample Reflective Essay #2
Author: Nekisa Mahzad
I have been a student at California State University Channel Islands (CI) for 5 semesters, and over the course of my stay I have grown and learned more that I thought possible. I came to this school from Moorpark Community College already knowing that I wanted to be an English teacher; I had taken numerous English courses and though I knew exactly what I was headed for-was I ever wrong. Going through the English program has taught me so much more than stuff about literature and language, it has taught me how to be me. I have learned here how to write and express myself, how to think for myself, and how to find the answers to the things that I don't know. Most importantly I have learned how important literature and language are.
When I started at CI, I thought I was going to spend the next 3 years reading classics, discussing them and then writing about them. That was what I did in community college English courses, so I didn't think it would be much different here. On the surface, to an outsider, I am sure that this is what it appears that C.I. English majors do. In most all my classes I did read, discuss, and write papers; however, I quickly found out that that there was so much more to it. One specific experience I had while at C.I. really shows how integrated this learning is. Instead of writing a paper for my final project in Perspectives of Multicultural Literature (ENGL 449), I decided with a friend to venture to an Indian reservation and compare it to a book we read by Sherman Alexie. We had a great time and we learned so much more that we ever could have done from writing a paper. The opportunity to do that showed me that there are so many ways that one can learn that are both fun and educational.
The English courses also taught me how powerful the written word and language can be. Words tell so much more than a story. Stories tell about life and the human condition, they bring up the past and people and cultures that are long gone. Literature teaches about the self and the world surrounding the self. From these classes I learned about the world, its people and its history; through literature I learned how we as humans are all related. By writing about what we learn and/or what we believe, we are learning how to express ourselves.
I know that my ability to write and express my ideas, thoughts and knowledge has grown stronger each semester. I have always struggled to put my thoughts on paper in a manner that is coherent and correct according to assignments. I can remember being told numerous times in community college to "organize your thoughts" or "provide more support and examples". These are the things that I have worked on and improved over the past couple of years and I feel that my work shows this. The papers I wrote when I first started here at C.I. were bland and short. In these early papers, I would just restate what we learned in class and what I had found in my research. I did not formulate my own ideas and support them with the works of others. The classes I have taken the past couple semesters have really help me shed that bad habit and write better papers with better ideas. I have learned how to write various styles of papers in different forms and different fields. I feel confident that I could write a paper about most anything and know how to cite and format it properly.
There are a couple of things that I do feel I lack the confidence and skill to perform, and that is what I hope to gain from participating in Capstone. I am scared to teach because I don't know how to share my knowledge with others-students who may have no idea what I am talking about. I hope to learn more about how teachers share their knowledge as part of my Capstone project.
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Careers in English and Writing
The English program at California State University Channel Islands prepares students for a wide range of exciting and rewarding careers, including:
- English teacher
- Social media strategist
- Media production (film, TV, internet)
- Print and digital publishing
- Corporate communications
- Foreign service
- Human resources
- Foundations/non-profit management
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What I Learned in English Class
I feel this semester, only the first of many I will endure, was a
successful one. The objective of the course was to make us better writers,
and I certainly have improved. I learned what makes a paper good or bad,
what makes it easier to write a good paper, and how the manner that the
class is held makes a difference.
However, I feel I should have taken my high school English class more
seriously. The teacher graded rather leniently, which attributed to my
lack of effort. The amount of work required to get an "A" paper in my high
school was about equivalent to the work required to get a "C" paper here at
Lehigh. It was a very difficult adjustment for me. I went through high
school writing what I now know to be not-so-good papers, but received good
grades for them. Then, I thought they were good because of the grades I
got. Now, I find myself working over twice as hard for half the grade.
This isn't a completely bad thing, though. It teaches me that my writing
really wasn't very good. What I used to think deserved an "A" I now
realize only does deserve a "C." Now I have to take my writing more
seriously, and try much harder at producing good output. Also, my goal
isn't to write a paper that will get a good grade. Now, my goal is to
write better papers. I write to become a better writer.
That is, I feel, a very important thing that I learned this semester. I
don't think, "O.K., I have to get at least a B on this paper." Instead, I
think, "O.K., I have to use this assignment to improve my work." This is a
much better approach because it causes the writer to try to produce a well
written piece. Writing for a grade often causes the writer to do just
enough to get by.
I also learned that it is much easier to produce a good piece of writing if
I am kept interested. By choosing our own topics, rather than have the
teacher give us topics to write on, we often are much more interested in
the subject. If we are interested in what we are writing about, we tend to
have a better opinion, and we can explain our ideas better. All of this
helps us produce better papers. Also, if the writer is interested in the
subject, this interest often translates into the writer making a more
interesting paper, which keeps the reader more interested and gives people
a better opinion of how good of a writer that person really is.
Finally, I learned that the teacher makes a world of difference.
Throughout high school, my English teachers were boring, monotone, and
seemed unenthusiastic about their work. they acted like they were better
than the students were. They approached the class thinking, "I know what
I'm talking about and you don't, so shut up and listen to me." You, on the
other hand, made the class interesting. You kept my attention, which is
often hard to do. You seemed able to relate to us in a friendly way,
rather than as teacher/student. You seemed to approach the class thinking,
"I know what I'm talking about, but you might too, so please listen to what
I have to say and you can add what you want later." This approach is much
better. It causes the students to think. You made the class fun, while
still keeping it a class, not a game. When the class is more fun it causes
the students to become better motivated to do well. This is what most
influenced me during the semester. If it were just another boring old
English class I wouldn't have accomplished anything.
These are the things that I learned throughout the semester. They are the
things I feel were most important. Writing to become better at writing,
being able to choose my own topic that interests me, and the luck of having
a good teacher helped most in my improvement. I only hope to improve more
next semester. At least I have a better idea of what to expect.
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