By Sandra Oliva, M.S. | July 24, 2017
I’ve been an adjunct instructor in Marian's Adult Programs (MAP) since it began in 1999, and I’m always amazed at the number of students who wait to take their English classes until the end of their degree programs. Granted, students are not required to take English courses at any particular time, and English has been a course that strikes terror in the hearts of even the strongest of students.
In years past, MAP’s English classes required students to take in-person classes two nights a week and manage several hours for completion of class assignments. The good news, is that MAP English classes are now offered 100% online, giving students more flexibility to juggle home, work, and school responsibilities.
Let’s consider the multiple benefits of taking those classes at the beginning of your course of study.
- Build confidence to face the requirements of future classes.
Most MAP classes require at least one paper. After completing English, many students lament the fact that they delayed completion of the class, stating that the knowledge acquired in the class would have made other courses they have taken seem much easier.
- Learn proper format for a college paper.
MLA, APA, Chicago Style! There are many ways to format a paper. Instructors have their preferred style depending upon the material they are teaching. English students learn the differences and navigate the process with confidence.
- Give proper credit to your sources.
Plagiarism is a problem in the academic world. The rules of plagiarism and proper citation have changed since many of you were in school. In this case, ignorance is not bliss. Learning the correct way to summarize, paraphrase, and quote, while giving proper credit to the source, leads to academic success for MAP students.
- Develop academic vocabulary. Over the years, our language has become very informal and our use of vocabulary very limited. This is due, in part, to our love of social media. This informality hinders academic writing. In English class, students learn how to choose the proper social register for the intended audience. They review ways to expand word choice.
- Review grammar and punctuation.
While the rules of English have changed little over time, MAP students benefit from the review. Those pesky commas seem to bother even the best of adult writers. Some students learn things about their language that they were never taught in high school. Face it, people make very unfair assumptions about intelligence based upon our use of language.
So, do the benefits of early English study outweigh the perceived inconveniences? I believe they do, and many students would agree. Think about this when planning your academic course of study and choose English early in your time at MAP.