Worth Anderson, Cynthia Best, Alycia Black, John Hurst, Brandt Miller, Susan Miller
As five students and one teacher, we observed many different classroom cultures (mostly general education requirements) to see how language works between the members of the classroom. We wanted to see if these experiences would indeed link to our time spent in the first-year composition class (Writing 210), to see if the class prepared us in any way. We feel that it did, to a certain extent, because it taught us to analyze and imitate the reading and writing, but other things, such as peer revisions and that strong sense of the group did not carry over.
The classes we observed were all very different, and each student took a different approach to what they observed. We did all agree, though, that most of the learning had to take place outside of class, with an independent focus on reading for more information, writing papers and organizing what information we were given. After reaching several conclusions about the general education required classes in general, we came to the consensus that our composition class was helpful in that it prepared us for writing (despite the fact that we did very little writing compared to what we had completed in that class). Also, it helped us in the way it taught us to look at different audiences, so that we could adapt it to various situations
Because of this, teachers of those basic courses should really strive to have their classes be a kind of preview for the rest of the work that they will be doing in the university – looking at how several disciplines writing, talking about the change in audience, building basis for organization and solid writing practices.