Dear English 9 Teachers… Here are my final words about the course…

Dear English 9 teachers,

I am writing to you on behalf of all English 9 students.

Throughout the whole course, I have learnt various techniques that would help me through grade 10 and beyond.

Firstly, I have acquired the skill to reduce repetition in my writing. As my teacher pointed out, it would “give me more room for a deeper analysis” (Zoom 5/26) especially in tasks with a limited word count, like the Five Dialectical Journals assignment. Moreover, the literary analysis and poetry unit taught me to ask myself “why?” and “how do I know that?” in order to make my analysis more appealing and detailed. I have improved in terms of finishing off my thoughts and giving reasoning to avoid assumptions in my writing.

Also, in the political cartoon and persuasion unit, I have learnt to identify underlying assumptions and logical fallacies such as circular reasoning and red herring technique. In addition, I became proficient in appealing to ethos by adopting a persona or a position in a writing: “I am writing to you on behalf of all English 9 students.”

Especially, in the poetry unit, I learnt that humor was created when there was irony, as “the characters don’t realize that they are doing ___, but we do” (Zoom 5/19). Furthermore, it taught me to point out some social humor in plays, stories, and poems, which is when the author or the creator intends to make “recognizable human behaviors and fails” (Zoom 5/19)  with the characters. In respect to the poetry unit, I would still like to learn more about how specific literary techniques lead to different types of humor and how they interact to reveal the theme of the poem.

The particular one-act that I liked in the play Confusions was Mother Figure: at the center of this funny act lies the theme of a single parent’s loneliness and isolation from a colorful and suburban life. The author managed to utilize juxtaposition, double entendre, and symbolism in this act. An example of a double entendre is when Terry says,

“Er… Oh no—I don’t go in for that sort of drink much, if you know what I mean. (He winks, then reaches for a biscuit) I’ll have another one of these though, if you don’t mind?” (Ayckbourn 26).

Not only does it word-to-word mean that Terry does not like juice, as offered by Lucy beforehand, but it also alludes to the fact that he prefers alcoholic drinks.

At the start of our last unit, my SMART goal was to include as many literary terms as I could in my writing. For instance, instead of simply addressing what is written in the text, I tried more to connect or reference to a specific literary device term that I have learnt throughout English 9. Achievement of this goal was represented through my CER literary analysis on the poem Frau Freud by Carol Ann Duffy. I used literary terms such as synonymia to mention the synonyms listed by the author in the poem: “beef bayonet, the pork sword, the saveloy, love-muscle, night-crawler, dong, the dick, prick, dipstick and wick, the rammer, the slammer, the rupert, the shlong” (Frau Freud 7-10).

To be honest, the challenging part of this unit was when we had to write our dialectical journals for the play Confusions and a CER for our chosen poem. This was because both of them had a word or sentence limit: dialectical journals could not exceed 200 words per entry, and the CER had to be 8 sentences or less. It particularly difficult to summarize my ideas into limited words and to make every word count.

I think I met the “Responsibility” strand of Student as a Learner to an exemplary level. Not only was I the first one to post a response towards a prompt in majority of the posts, but I have attended all Zoom meetings throughout eLearning. In addition, I have met deadlines (contracts) and took the responsibility to push the deadlines if I could not make it. I also think that I have met the “Attitude” criteria to an exemplary level. This was because I tried my best on every assignment and sought for feedback from my teacher. Moreover, I participated regularly with enthusiasm in Zoom meetings and I asked questions when something was not clear, like how to cite multiple sources from an identical author in MLA format.

In the upcoming English 10 course, I have several goals that I have for my learning. Firstly, I want to try to learn and use more advanced literary device terms in my writing. It would allow my writing to be more coherent and precise. Secondly, I want to try to bring my literary analyses into a deeper level by constantly ending my thought with “because, so, or but” (Zoom 5/26). Finally, my goal is to vary my sentence beginnings. Instead of going into a sentence by directly addressing the subject, I would like to try more gerund or infinitive phrases at the beginning of my sentences.

I think I have had a successful and fun English course.

Thank you,

Daniel L.