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Perhaps you're a new grad student who has just been assigned three large sections of freshman composition. On the other hand, you might be a seasoned instructor looking for fresh approaches to an overly familiar course.
Whatever the case, you may find something useful in this collection of tips, topics, and exercises for the first week of English 101. The overall purpose of these seven short articles is to encourage students to think about their own writing habits, attitudes, standards, and skills. As they do, you'll have occasion to identify your own goals for the course and provide an overview.
- Seven Secrets to Success in English 101
English 101 (sometimes called freshman English or college composition) is the one course that almost every first-year student in every American college and university is required to take-and it should be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding courses in your college life!
- The Write Attitude and Your Writing Goals
Spend some time thinking about why you would like to improve your writing skills: how you might benefit, personally and professionally, by becoming a more confident and competent writer. Then, on a sheet of paper or at your computer, explain to yourself why and how you plan to achieve the goal of becoming a better writer.
- A Writer's Inventory: Evaluating Your Attitudes Toward Writing
This questionnaire invites students to examine their attitudes toward writing. To encourage honest responses (rather than teacher-pleasing ones), you might want to assign the questionnaire at the start of the first class meeting.
- Your Role as a Writer
This isn't a formal composition assignment but a chance to write a letter of introduction to yourself. Nobody will be passing judgments about you or your work. You'll simply take a few minutes to think about your writing background, skills, and expectations. By putting those thoughts down on paper (or a computer screen), you should gain a clearer sense of just how you plan to improve your writing skills.
- Your Writing: Private and Public
If you require students to keep a journal in your class, this article should serve as a good introduction to "private writing."
- The Characteristics of Good Writing
Experiences in school leave some people with the impression that good writing simply means writing that contains no bad mistakes-that is, no errors of grammar, punctuation, or spelling. In fact, good writing is much more than just correct writing; it's writing that responds to the interests and needs of our readers.
- Explore and Evaluate Your Writing Process
No single method of writing is followed by all writers in all circumstances. Each of us has to discover the approach that works best on any particular occasion. We can, however, identify a few basic steps that most successful writers follow in one way or another.
Regardless of whether you use any of these materials, best wishes to you and your students in the new academic year!