English Comp uses crime to teach rules

Josh Crim, Reporter

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When you are in a class like English Comp I at Northeast you may expect to learn about Mark Twain or Edgar Allan Poe.  However, when you are in Kristi Rastede’s  English Composition I, class writing police reports and reading about Bonnie and Clyde may happen more than you would expect. Rastede says teachers work in groups or cohorts to make assignments more applicable to the students’ major.

“The idea came from the criminal justice cohort. So I pick topics that encompass more criminal justice activities, then I try and contextualize. The reason I pick police reports as the first project is because everyone learns the same writing skills. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the criminal justice cohort or not, and it’s interesting enough that it’s not in any other normal composition class,” said Rastede.

Students read about Bonnie and Clyde and used a criminal justice writer’s manual to create a police report of their various crimes. Students said one of the differences in writing styles was the necessity to write in present tense rather than past tense. However, once students got the hang of it they enjoyed the new challenge this type of writing presented. Rastede said,  “Composition I is learning rules, and even when you are writing a police report you are still learning the rules even if you are not going to be a police officer who will write them on a daily basis.”

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