After being out of school for over thirty years most of my expectations for any course were based on the fear of the unknown. Hell, I probably couldn’t remember the difference between a verb and a noun, let alone have to write a paper more than one page long, those were two of my fears of entering Room 268 in the Fisher Building the first day of English 111.
Those fears quickly subsided, not so much as my fears were unfounded but that Dr. Matuka opened the first class by requiring us to interview a classmate, then recite the interview to the entire class. This is exercise alone made me feel more at ease with the class, my instructor and my fellow classmates, as many of the classmates were similar to me, grown adults. Our second assignment was to write a diagnostic essay that would be graded, however, not counted towards your class grade. This strategy by Dr. Matuka I believe was to give us confidence in our ability as a writer, with no pressure to perform for a counted grade. In my case I believe it worked, if I remember correctly I received an 87%, higher than I could have ever imagined. The grade not only made me feel good about myself, but gave me the confidence I could in fact succeed in English 111.
Another great tactic by Dr. Matuka was our first paper “Writing to Inform Myself about Writing”, this exercise was another confidence builder for me. Dr. Matuka’s lecture asked the following questions. Why am I writing? Whom am I writing to? Who will read my text? What kind of text should my writing be? How do I know what genre to use? What is my position in this writing? How do I proceed with the instructed writing assignment? Following along with Dr. Matuka the text book, and participating in class discussions helped me understand what writing was about. The importance of each paper having a thesis statement and a closing.
After the first few weeks of class; writing a diagnostic essay, a journal and a paper all in forms that taught me or possibly in some cases refreshed a person on how to write an English...