My musings on what I learnt in ENGL 119

I have finally satisfied my communications elective requirement. Well, conditionally at least.

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But, I wanted to do more than just satisfy a requirement. After taking a look at the undergrad calendar, ENGL 119 seemed to be an interesting course and so I took it. Turns out I ended up having fun and learning a lot as well.

Firstly, I think I have improved my oral communication skills a lot. Being a shy and introvert speaker, it’s hard for me to articulate my ideas properly on a stage. I have what you might call a stage fright. I deeply admire how TED speakers can speak nonchalantly in front of people that have shelled out thousands of dollars to watch them speak.

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I learnt tons about giving oral presentations. I learnt that you should not memorize your talk. But it’s important to have a rough idea of what you are going to say. I also learnt that if you feel confident, you’ll sound confident. So posture matters. I still have stage fright. But I know what to do to get closer to where I want to be.

Next on my what I learnt in ENGL 119 list is writing. Coming into this term, I felt good about my writing skills and thought there was nothing more to learn here. But I was wrong. I had no idea about how to make your writing persuasive. And worse, I didn’t understand the importance of being persuasive. Now I know what a rhetorical triangle is. In the future, I will make sure to add ethos, pathos and logos in order to persuade my audience.

I also didn’t understand the importance of citations. Citations are important because they tell your audience that you have done your research [1]. Also, citations allows us to be responsible and give others credit for their work. I have learnt how to cite my sources in APA format, which I promise to follow for all my formal writings.

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Finally, the most crucial tip I learnt in this class is the five point rule for paragraphs. I used to have a hard time judging if I wrote too much in a paragraph or if the paragraph needs more writing. Now I have an algorithm to make that decision for me. This also taught me the importance of giving examples. Providing examples is an excellent way to make sure that your reader understands what you are trying to say.

ENGL 119 was not just about learning but also about having fun. Prof. Sara managed to learn all of our names, which gave me the tight-knit feel. The in-class activities made time fly by fast. I definitely recommend ENGL 119 as an excellent course to improve your communications skills.

 

References

[1] http://libguides.mit.edu/citing

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