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Retrospect and Foresight

Retrospect and Foresight

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Published by Richard Davidian

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Published by: Richard Davidian on Dec 05, 2010
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Richard DavidianDr. Jan RiemanEnglish 1103October 13, 2010Retrospect and ForesightThroughout this semester, this class called “College Writing” has certainly lived up to itsname. I have taken part in many assignments, both in groups and individually. Writing in my day book has kept my thoughts open and my writing hand conditioned. The weekly paper fromWriting to Explore lets me reflect and write about topics that would otherwise go unnoticed. Our major essays have challenged my writing skill, and will continue to do so through the end of thesemester. The next major paper, regarding my inquiry question, and the digital portfolioguarantee this stretch.At the beginning of this course, I was uncertain of what to expect. Oddly enough, I stillhave that feeling. Every assignment that has been given is new and useful. The works I havecreated have content that is derived from other reading assignments. For example, I was alwaysunder the impression that flaws, when expected, are plentiful. This was brought to reality for meafter reading Williams’ “The Phenomenology of Error.” In that essay, the author purposefullymade numerous mistakes, many of which remained undiscovered. He used this tactic to prove his point of expectations. When reading a written piece by seemingly distinguished author, thereader assumes perfection, thus perceiving it. Literacy is sometimes just as perfect as one wouldexpect.Literacy, and to what degree one has it, is a huge part of the class and is very connectedto anyone’s life. Everyone has their own sponsors of literacy, which are defined as anything that
 
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contributes to a form of literacy, whether is be school, family, location, financial status, or socialstatus. Deborah Brandt does a fantastic job illustrating this idea. I myself have been very lucky tohave multiple sponsors of literacy, such as my school system, home life, libraries, and readilyavailable technology. Essays that I have read, such as those mentioned above, represented goalsfor myself. Never before have I read something with as much intellectual language as Brandt’sessay. The goal is not simply to read, but to understand them as well, eventually being able toapply lessons learned in my own writing, which is a target to aim for regarding the class goals.The novel we have just finished reading,
 The Blue Sweater
, written by Jacqueline Novogratz, is a fascinating book. It recounts the author’s tale of changing the economic status of women in Africa. Reading this book has been very relevant to me because the author majored ineconomics, the same subject in which I am currently majoring in. Novogratz is someone who Ican look up to. She gives me a finish line that I feel like I should race toward. Seeing her giveher speech at the university was inspiring; it made me realize that she is just a person, just likeme, and my own ambition is the only thing that may stop me from being a sort of hero like her.These readings and the introspective style of assigned works allow me to practice readingand writing differently. Nearly everything I discover in relation to this class is relevant to our writings in some way. As I read, I am beginning to annotate, take more notes, and internalizewhat is being communicated. It has never been a strong point of mine, but it seems necessarywhen dealing with more complex argumentative essays. Because of this personally different wayof reading, I can use a great amount of examples in my own writing from other texts. Eventhough I am still not very used to this practice, I feel relatively comfortable with it. It takes moreinitial effort, but it eases the task of writing in the long run.
 
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In relationship to the course goals, my personal goals, and the Classroom Cultureagreement, I feel like I have changed to accommodate them. My writing has progressed to bemore open-minded, personal, and meaningful. I am more engaged in academic texts, moreinterpretive, and educated. Whenever I read an excerpt from
Writing about Writing
, I take itto heart. I try to identify the lesson being taught and then make an effort to learn it. When wehave class discussions, I am not hesitant to speak my mind if something is on it. I do not mindwhen people disagree with my opinion, because I know that I have that same right. One goal thatI feel like I am falling short on is getting to know everyone in the class. There are a handful of  people I still haven’t spent any time with in or out of the classroom, and I would very much liketo. Despite the day spent doing the Venture activities, I still sense an awkward barrier of acquaintances. Perhaps I’ll switch my usual seat one day. I hope that I get to know more peopleon a personal level in the near future.This class definitely does not come without challenges. As mentioned earlier, what isrequired to be read and written is more intensive than any other writing course I’ve taken. I feelcompetent as a writer to complete my literary tasks well, but I have to put more ideas into them.One way of doing that is peer editing, which has also been an obstacle for me. I’ve never beengood at constructive criticism, whether I am giving or taking it. I always felt too awkward tosuggest a change or too stubborn to change what I have written. This class has taught me to bemore elastic and free with my writing. After letting other classmates review my essays, they offer insightful and beneficial advice, like how to elaborate on points that I make. I’ve broken through barriers and am now actually relieved that the peer editing sessions are being implemented.Along with my ears, my mind is now open to change and innovation.

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