Essay 1: Summary and Response

I’m studying for my English class and need an explanation.



Going to college is a dream come true for thousands of students a year. But getting there and staying there is not always an easy task. Coming into a college is often perceived as crossing a border of a kind, coming into an institution of higher education where not all students always feel welcomed or comfortable. There are many reasons for that, but teachers and administrators are not always aware of what has happened in a students’ past experiences or what is happening in their current lives outside of school. Yet, one can argue that to be effective teachers and successful students, we have to bridge that gap and work to understand and support each other.

In the past few days, we have completed readings and watched videos that deal with the issue of educational borders or barriers, whether those include childhood trauma, economic hardships, unsupportive families, and often deep inequalities. Martin Luther King Jr. gave us insight into the purpose of education, but then Malcolm X, Sherman Alexie and the four California students from First Generation showed us that the path to learning is not necessarily a smooth one.

Barriers to education are things that prevent students from attending school or completing their schoolwork. Some barriers are physical, such as a shortage of schools or transportation to them while others may be related to the circumstances in which a student lives, such as financial struggle, unhealthy family environments, learning disabilities or simply lack of encouragement or support. These barriers can result in students dropping out of school early or never attending at all, and we have to find a way to fight that.

In order to address the issue, we will look at our own experiences and barriers in relation to what the authors we have worked with over the last couple of weeks.

Reading and Writing Skills

Over the course of this assignment, we will continue to work on developing key academic reading and writing skills, which you will use throughout your career as a student and which constitute the basis of most scholarly writing. You will be focusing on developing a strong thesis, summarizing a text concisely and clearly, and making an argument using your own experiences as support (information).

Focusing Questions

Now that you briefly understand what we are doing with this assignment and why we are doing it, I will now introduce our guiding questions. Through our reading and writing over the next few weeks, we will be considering and discussing the following: What claims about education does your author make? What educational barriers have you faced? Can you find any connections between your experiences on those of the individuals we have read and watched?

Assignment Overview

The section below outlines the specific requirement of this assignment.


The purpose of this assignment is to:

  1. Read and respond to a college-level text.
  2. Compose college-level writing.
  3. Produce an academic summary of an article.
  4. Respond to a topic with an original argument.


This assignment will help students meet the following Student Learning Objectives, as stated on the course syllabus:

  1. Use personal experiences to provide evidence in support of an argument.
  2. Synthesize researched material from multiple texts to create and support an argument in response to a prompt. Draw direct evidence from texts in support of claims and analyze how that evidence supports the claim.
  3. Utilize the various phases in the writing process—prewriting, writing revision, and proofreading—to produce clear, articulate, well-supported, well-organized essays.
  4. Avoid plagiarism by properly citing quoted, summarized, and paraphrased material using MLA format.


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Compose a summary and response essay, between 700-900 words in length, in which you clearly summarize one of our class texts (or one of the trauma videos or the experience of one student from First Generation) and then respond to it by agreeing or disagreeing with the author’s ideas based on connections between the author’s claims and your own experiences.

Note that you are not allow