I am taking ENGL119 as it is the only required English language course I need for my degree. It is amazing to realize that this is the last week of class already and soon it will be time for me to say goodbye to my university life. Before going, I would like to share with you what I have learned from the course and some of my thoughts about the course.
As I outlined in the initial email I wrote during the first week, I hoped to hone my skills as a communicator throughout the ENGL119 course which would help me with my academic studies as well as prepare me for life after graduating in the world of work. I mentioned that I felt my written communication skills were stronger than my oral communication skills so I aimed to focus on using every opportunity to practise my speaking. Indeed, I got the perfect opportunity to do this with the TED talk in which I presented my findings from exploring the use of quantitative methods to analyse sports such as tennis. I think I was able to convey my passion for the subject and improve my verbal communication skills. Through the process of public speaking, I have received a lot of feedback which should help me to improve my speaking skills in the future. When I learnt about the rhetorical triangle, I explored the three classic appeals that are required to persuade an audience effectively. I believe that bearing this understanding in my mind has helped me to enhance my public speaking skills. Of the three appeals, I think the most challenging is ‘pathos’ because it is more difficult for me to connect with an audience emotionally than through logic. However, I believe I am better at this now with the practice I have had. The topic I chose for my TED talk was also one which had fairly wide appeal so it was not too hard to connect with my audience emotionally. In addition, I used the regular written assignments to practise my written English. What I found particularly useful was preparing the research proposal and formal report which gave me the chance to look at more formal communication methods via the written work.
For myself, I had been very excited to learn and put to practice all the techniques to pitch a successful TED talk presentation. The chance to work in a team for the TED talk assignment was an invaluable opportunity for me to learn from other teammates and to learn how to work in a group. However, the formal writing process was quite frustrating at times as the research and conventions in formal writing was a very time-consuming process, despite my interest in learning to write more formally. There was a lot of information available, but I found that I had too little time to properly organize my thoughts on paper. In the process of preparing the proposal and the report, I also found that my written communication skills may not have been as good as I had imagined! I could not agree more that there is always room for improvement in my quest to master English.
Overall speaking, I believe I have achieved most of the goals I have set for myself at the beginning of the course. I learned to brush up my oral communication skills and came to learn of my insufficiency in written communication skills, in particular, in writing formal research proposal and report. Of course, the linguistic journey does not stop here. I am sure my proficiency in the English language should go from strength to strength with practice as I use the language for communication on a daily basis both at work and in a more causal context.
To conclude, I enjoyed the course and it is very comforting to know that we all made it to the end of the term! Each of us may have our own reasons and goals to achieve when deciding to take ENGL119. I hope all of us have achieved our goals and learned a little something more along this journey, as I set off on new beginnings after graduation. Thank you all for this great experience we shared in class!