Finally, the “hardest” course for me in this semester, ENGL119, is over.
To be honest, I took this course because it is mandatory for my major. I remember that in the beginning of this course, I searched online looking up its difficulty, and I found out that most students who had already taken it called it a “bird course”. However, for me, where English is my second language, I have to say that it is harder than most of my major courses. In the end, I am proud of myself that I worked hard (or worked smart, as Sara always mentioned during the class) and “graduated” from it successfully.
I remember that I was panic when I was the first time to take a glance at the course outline. I had lived in an English speaking country for 4 years, but I had rarely used English as a tool to communicate. As the email sent in the beginning of the semester stated: although I had delivered a few presentations, I still lacked confidence and eye contact during the process, even more, during the daily communication with the native speakers. The biggest improvement – from my point of view – was that when I presented our group’s TED Talk, I overcame the fear, spoke fluently, and had as much eye contact as I could with the whole class. I believe that the ability to speak fluently and confidently instead of writing is the primary key to the success in the workplace here (not that I think writing is less important) – at least for my future jobs required, which require delivering a successful interview to begin with and effectively working with my colleagues on daily basis.
Besides, I have learned much knowledge of communicating throughout this term. What benefits me the most is that all the assignments in the course are tightly related to each other; therefore, I was able to learn, practise, and apply in a sequence. For example, we learned the rhetorical triangle, which is about the three core factors of a persuasive talking or writing, which was immediately followed by the TED Talk assignment. Obviously a TED Talk presenter has to master the persuasion skills in order to pass on one’s beliefs or findings to the audience appealingly. Hence, this assignment was not only for us to practice the public speaking, but also a perfect chance to practise and apply the rhetorical triangle. Also, the bibliography quiz was beneficial for the format of proposal and the report.
Writing is another important element in this course. I have done two blog posts and one proposal, plus a report to hand in on this Friday. I have to admit that merely by writing these assignments, my written English has not hugely improved. However,I believe after trying hard on every single assignment, there is some improvement comparing to the beginning. Every time I wrote the first “shitty” draft, revised it to finish the second draft, and finally got the final version with the help from the writing centre (not this time since I am running out of my time!). It sounds complicated enough and time-consuming, but actually I enjoyed the process, because I could clearly see what parts of article I needed to improve and what errors I had that need modification.
I was eager to gain skills in writing, in presentation, as well as in speaking confidently at the beginning, and so far I have gained a lot. As I mentioned above, I have improved in the area including both speaking and writing. Nevertheless, language is a communication tool and I clearly know that it is impossible to improve a great deal only by taking a twelve-week course. Yes, English 119 is over, but my English learning is still on the way. I wish I could speak and write as strong skills one day.