Jump to content

Menu

What did your kids first - year college (NOT AP) English class look like?


Recommended Posts

This was in community college.  They read a few things in the Bedford Reader, did some in class writing, and wrote a few short essays.  My son got an A, and according to him, his writing was among the best in the class.  I saw some of his essays, and I would have given him a C.

 

The next class focused on writing a research paper.  They wrote one paper that was I think less than 10 pages long, maybe more like 5.  It was on a self chosen, non-academic topic.  He got an A in that class too.  Actually, I'm pretty sure he had a 100% average (which is ridiculous).

 

That said, I think his experience in those two classes, after having dealt with my hypercritical teaching, gave him more confidence as a writer, and now his writing is quite strong.

Edited by EKS
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Both my kids had the same teacher and same book, one year apart.  I don't remember the name of the book; it was a collection of essays, some of which were on controversial topics.  They had some papers they found difficult; I don't remember the lengths of any.   My daughter liked the class and teacher; my son was less enthusiastic and felt that the lectures didn't have enough emphasis on grammar, sentence structure, etc.  However, he conceded that the class helped him to think clearly and at the end concluded that it was valuable.   It had not been what I'd expected either.  

 

My daughter has taken the second comp class as well.  They read short stories and poems, mostly, and had several papers including a research paper.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you mean the first English class they took at college, or the class that was required for their first college semester?

 

DD's school does not require any composition courses. Their first English class was a literature survey class with some pretty hefty lit (I only recall the Odyssee and Genesis, but there were lot of other books), all assignments were long essays.

The first lit class she took at  a college was an upper level course on Shakespeare she took in 11th grade.

 

DS' first course he took at a college was an upper level myth & folklore course he took in 11th grade. The first course scheduled for his school would be English Composition which he took at the local U in 12th grade. It was a basic comp course on expository writing and argumentation; a bit of language mechanics, lots of writing, they read essays and a book, but no focus on lit.

 

 

Edited by regentrude
Link to comment
Share on other sites

DS is taking a great books type course at a 4 year non competitive public uni, it's a 200 level course and it wouldn't be the very first class, normally that is a composition class.

There's the expected great books excerpts (except for short ones which are assigned in full), so Iliad, Aeneid, bible, Montaigne, Voltaire, borges etc. , two essays and two exams (and the exams contain essay assignments). It's very challenging for DS but he picked it and he's managing.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Community College for both DSs here, in the first year of college (so, taking college Writing 101 and 102 post high school graduation, not as dual enrollment) -- and they were very similar to EKS's descriptions.

 

First semester (Writing 101) was a Bedford Reader type of anthology for some short readings (maybe 6 short stories, and a few poems over the semester) and the writing was variety of short essays (maybe six?), with one DS having some additional online grammar-type of exercises to complete. The second semester (Writing 102) was a focus on the research paper with citations, plus short readings and class discussion on the readings. 

 

Both DSs had "peer reviews", in which 4-5 students were in a group, and had to comment on one another's writing. Both DSs said that was a complete waste of time, as their fellow students were not great writers, and even worse at critiquing the writing of others in a meaningful or helpful manner. We had only ever done some informal critiques of the timed essays from past SAT prompts that all 3 of us would do each week, and from what DSs said, even our very informal workshopping made it easy for them to provide specific workshopping feedback.

 

The reading was way less than what we did for our own DIY English, while the amount of writing was similar to what we managed in high school. Both DSs said that few students participated in the required in-class discussions on the readings, and didn't have much of depth or interest to say about the works, so our high school DIY yourself English definitely was of higher quality, as we were reading, discussing, and analyzing complete, longer, classic works of novels, novellas, short stories, poetry, and plays, each year of high school.

 

Both DSs had the same instructor for 101, who was good, and he provided good specific feedback on the writing. DS#1 went on with that same instructor and did Honors 102, which he enjoyed -- he said there was much better class discussion due to the Honors level. DS#1 opted to go with a different teacher for 102, and in addition to the research paper, she required about about 1000 words of creative writing, in the form of a short story or first pages of a novel. I was amazed: DS#2 actually really enjoyed that assignment. I could easily see other non-creative writers hating that assignment. However, DS#2 said she was not as good of an instructor as his 101 instructor, and felt there was too much emphasis on very basic things, like the required online Grammar exercises/homework.

Edited by Lori D.
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My son is doing a dual enroll composition class at a community college.  They've written a variety of papers.  The final paper will be a research paper with citations.  It's been a fairly easy A for him so far.   I think the teacher is good and I know kids have dropped the class and gotten grades down to a D so I think it is fairly legit.  My son is a natural writer but practicing writing more professionally toward certain goals has been good for him.

Edited by WoolySocks
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

They used a composition textbook; I rented it so I can't look on a shelf and see what it was. I think there were three or four papers? (Quarter system, 10 week term.) And rough drafts discussed in groups. And the students were required to get to know the college, so proof that you used the writing center at least once and coming to office hours at least once were part of the grade. There was an online component as well.

 

The hardest part for DD was trying to write supportive critiques for (nonnative speaker) students who didn't belong in the class at all. The college is moving away from placement tests and students can just keep taking English 101 until they pass. Even if they don't know what a paragraph is.

Edited by JanetC
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Both of my kids started with the 2-semester composition sequence at the local university as dual enrolled students (16 and 11th grade). The Curious Writer was the required expensive text, but it didn't see much use throughout the four total semesters  :sneaky2:

 

Oldest had a not-great experience with a "let's all share our feelings" teacher in the first semester, teaching his first class ever. She got an A, but didn't learn much, other than how to pander to her professor ("I wouldn't say this anywhere else, but this feels like such a safe space . . .") 

 

Youngest got the polar opposite teacher who tolerated no nonsense and put those incoming freshmen through the wringer!

 

Both of their second semester teachers, along with youngest's first semester teacher, demanded more from their more capable students. They had dds rewriting papers they would have been thrilled to get from some other students. I was completely in favor of this, as it would not have been nearly as valuable otherwise. I appreciate that they went above and beyond the stated requirements and standards of the class, when they could have marked some papers an A and gone home early. Instead, they gave detailed comments and insightful suggestions. Thank you, dedicated college professors everywhere! 

 

Oldest then had a required honors freshman English course at her actual university. The required texts were They Say, I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing, plus the various novels, maybe four of them? The writing was not really more difficult on its own, but there was definitely more of it, and much more reading. 

 

 

 

Both DSs had "peer reviews", in which 4-5 students were in a group, and had to comment on one another's writing. Both DSs said that was a complete waste of time, as their fellow students were not great writers, and even worse at critiquing the writing of others in a meaningful or helpful manner.  

 

The only time my dds are truly unkind is when they get on the subject of peer reviewers, lol.  

Edited by katilac
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, mostly almost as bad as my son's class...

 

1.  Professor has spent about literally 20 minutes teaching HOW to write

2. There is no text about how to write.  No articles have been handed out.  No text about how to read well, nothing about anything literary at all.  There were editorial articles, and now there is a non fiction popular book about food.  

3.  16 of the 24 classes have been almost entirely focused on peer discussion of the topic at hand, and peer reviews. These are called "seminars"

4.  Papers are : 16 seminar papers which require zero writing ability and just have to be a half page typed opinion piece on the topic/article/editorial.  If you write anything he will give you full points.  (Which is nice in a way since he grades the essays VERY hard)

5.  The two essays are also based on "topics" and are VERY confusing.  For example, my son is not allowed to use citations.  It must be based solely on his own thoughts, and what was brought by the teacher to class or discussed in class.  He is not supposed to read/research anything or cite.  Yet, he has to write 1500 WORDS on just what comes out of his head, ....AND the teacher wrote all over his two papers "be much more specific, please be more specific, we need more specifics"

 

WTH- either you want specifics and you're going to get citations or you want general thoughts and ideas!!

 

Not only that but the subject doesn't lend itself to 1500 words, especially when asked not to use citations.  These subjects are opinion based and shallow...very difficult to churn out anything really worth reading!

 

He does give a chance for revision, but my son revised his paper and only gained two points.  And the teacher says if they revise too little  he will take HALF the points away for wasting his time.  YET, he also says that the revised paper has to in some way shadow their first paper. As in, they can't completely and totally go in a new direciton and just re-do it. 

 

My son is currently getting an 87 in this class, whereas In AP Comp last year (it's not actually an AP approved course but she is submitting it, it's the same stuff and this lady is FAMOUS all over my area for teaching the best wirting classes anywhere)...he literally got 100....he is a good writer....

 

I am SO GLAD he is not en English major, and this experience has me completely and totally hoping to convince my dd not to go the English major route.  The kind of ridiculousness that would be involved is insane.  ...I really hope she goes with math or veterinary like she's currently leaning toward.

 

...His Research Paper will be worth 20% of his total grade and he plans on being very specific, which is actually his forte.  I hope the professor likes it, and honestly since he never taught a single word or handed out a single page or posted online a single thing about what he is expecting other than "don't' plagiarize and follow MLA" my son has absolutely no idea if what he learned in the five English classes he took over the last five years will in any way mirror what this guy wants.

 

Edited by Calming Tea
Link to comment
Share on other sites

and...he got an F on one of his "peer review letters" because the kid never submitted his paper to be reviewed, so my son waited up till 11pm, and then went to bed...got an F, met with professors during office hours and was very respectful and was told "You should have just picked something else to review, from one of the other students in your group - always turn SOMETHING in, even if it's not what exactly what the prof wants."  

 

Which, I do agree he should have turned something in, in fact I told him to write a letter saying how he looked forward to reading hte other kid's paper and how he hopes such - and such part of the discussion will help in his writing, etc...maybe he would have gotten a C or B for that attempt ../

 

but that very same day my son had turned in all 3 of his other peer review letters ...

 

I HATE GROUP PROJECTS

 

however I told my son, just keep rolling, and keep telling him to be respectful and work harder and I always make sure he knows part of the problem, or all of it is, in a way, him so that he doesn't just shrug it off...so he can try to learn something from his experience.  

 

But honestly...this whole thing makes me realize I am NOT going back to college.  I don't have the brain space for this stuff anymore.  LOL...I will just go back to work at a piddly job and finish earning my social security credits, lol.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I asked my kids and only one has answered so far.  I hesitate to put this up here, but here goes ... (I assume it's kind of tongue-in-cheek, but not really sure ...)

 

 

A bunch of narcissist, depressed girls sitting around in a room discussing depressing poetry and then writing even worse poetry and trying to find good things to say about each others' writing while the immature teacher mildly encouraged all of it.
 
 
I think you could assume she really disliked this particular class.   :tongue_smilie:
 
 
ETA:  Another dd answered.    "Haha, I've never had to take an English class at college because I tested out of it! Yay!!! :-) "
Edited by _______
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One tested out of it with an AP exam, and the other had to take the mandatory two semesters.

 

For him, it just did a little polishing of what he learned in high school. They wrote five 3-5 page paper in the first semester, and then several that length plus a research paper in the second. She gave a lot of constructive feedback on them.There was a lot of overlap with what he read there and what he read in high school. It wasn't a tough class for him, but he had to invest the time into it.

 

He then had to take a literature class, and chose World Lit I. That had four analysis papers of 2-3 pages, an essay test, and a research paper. Again, about 80% was works that he had read in high school, but he said that the content of the discussions and assignments was different than what he had. My younger one is taking the same class now with the same professor, and she's changed the topics of the papers, but it's overall about the same. She recently wrote a paper comparing the attitudes toward family in an older Indian piece of literature with attitudes in modern-day India that required a bit of thinking and research. Thankfully we're friends with several Indian families so she is somewhat familiar with the culture, but I thought that it was an interesting paper.

 

These are all at a top-rated community college with transfer agreements to a variety of colleges including a number of nationally-ranked ones. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

G5/

That sounds much more useful and interesting! ...

This CC is also a top rate community college with transfer agreements and the 3rd highest transfer rate in the state.

 

We didn’t see any eng 1a classes that used literature at all/ in fact we chose this English section because at least the chosen book was clean...but none of them used actual classics or even thought provoking modern day classics etc.

 

Too bad. My son loves Literature and he loves writing ....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My mentee at CC is taking English Comp 1 and it's as described above-reading essays and writing them with some grammar practice. I was planning to have DD CLEP it, but I'm going to have her take it this Spring (as a concurrently enrolled student) because a big focus has been application essays and scholarship essays (since the kids will be applying to transfer eventually), and I don't think a semester focused on applications essays would be a bad thing at all for a kid who hates to talk about herself and who fights outside teachers much less than she does me. The textbooks are a reader and an MLA handbook.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1) and...he got an F on one of his "peer review letters" because the kid never submitted his paper to be reviewed, so my son waited up till 11pm, and then went to bed...got an F, met with professors during office hours and was very respectful and was told "You should have just picked something else to review, from one of the other students in your group - always turn SOMETHING in, even if it's not what exactly what the prof wants."  

 

Which, I do agree he should have turned something in, in fact I told him to write a letter saying how he looked forward to reading hte other kid's paper and how he hopes such - and such part of the discussion will help in his writing, etc...maybe he would have gotten a C or B for that attempt ../

 

but that very same day my son had turned in all 3 of his other peer review letters ...

 

2) I HATE GROUP PROJECTS

 

 

1)  Your son should definitely fight that - the instructor should have been able to see no submission !!

 

2)  my DS totally agrees since many instructors do not know how to fairly grade each student and the hard workers usually suffer

 

happy that my DS took AP Comp instead of this kind of stuff - I trust that score

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am thinking long and hard that I will consider having my dd take AP Comp so she won't have to go through this poop/.

 

Question: How will my ds fight that F on that peer review letter?  ...the prof did say he can make up for it because he will have two extra credit letters/essays available to all the students later on

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...