Semester 1 Reflection

1. What are your strengths in this class? What have you done well? What kind of material, reading and/or writing, do you feel most confident completing? What do you plan to do to sustain these strengths? My strongest area of both writing and reading is  analysis as in the Benjamin Banneker essay, Declaration comparative analysis, and the Orwell paragraph. I am better at the writing when it involves determining the strength and structure of someone else’s claims rather than when I have to create my own arguments especially under time pressure. Finding evidence in an author’s writing that serve his purpose and particular word association within the text is much easier for me than finding support for my own argument. In order to maintain my ability for analysis, I will read more nonfiction works which will help me to see arguments and determine their quality.

2. What are your weaknesses in this class, either academic or behaviorally, or both? What are your biggest challenges in this class? My greatest weakness is writing under time pressure. I’m a slow, methodical writer and I often make adjustments as I’m writing so writing an entire essay by hand in forty minutes is extremely difficult for me. Even in my strongest area I have issues completing my thoughts about the author’s argument in a decent amount of time. Because of this, my in-class write about Marquart’s characterization of the Midwest had good information about the use of a particular word or phrase in a paragraph, but not good transitions or an apparent theme. My problem with timed writing probably has something to do with my tendency to procrastinate which was also an issue last semester. Although I do seem to be best at analyzing, I often have problems determining the author’s larger purpose and seeing symbolism in pre-twentieth century writing. Synthesis is also difficult for me because it is a lot of information to process in a short amount of time and requires my own arguments and experiences. The literacy and education synthesis were my worst essays because I didn’t combine the given evidence with my own so they both came out choppy and inconsistent.

3. How do you plan to adjust your approach to this class to become more successful and to improve on your weaknesses? In order to improve my writing under pressure and procrastination, I am going to hand write more frequently and practice actively reading to become quicker at analyzing. I’ll also consider buying a planner to be more organized. As I said in the first answer, I’ll also read more nonfiction and form my own opinions on the subjects which will hopefully improve my ability to write synthesis and argument and possibly also give me evidence to use in future essays. If I had read more articles and information on the literacy topic, I could have possibly made a stronger case.

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Posted on January 6, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. You’re right about the relationship of knowledge, in general, and creating strong arguments–the more evidence on which to draw the better. That said, when you are being graded on timed writes you are being graded as if it is a good first draft, which means that getting the ideas down trumps having the perfect sentence structure. You have the ideas; now it’s just making the essay go further by writing and being slightly less concerned with the exact best word. 40 minutes makes everything harder and the test writers understand that. I’d also like to hear about your project ideas at some point.

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