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Ptah-Raet Craig

English 015 - Rhetoric & Composition

Professor Zack De Piero

December 4th, 2018

Metacognitive Reflection

Let’s be honest, high school English was not my forte. I currently am an

Aerospace Engineering major—that should tell you my preferred subject. Now with that

being said, I could also argue that I tend to do well in English. For me personally, my

previous English instructors seem to have difficulty in keeping me engaged, and

interested an entire school year. But, I knew this semester was going to be a good one

when I got a random email a week before my first day of college from some guy named

Zack. He had different conventions from my past English teachers, I was excited to

attend his class after reading his email of background and expectations. I am used to

English teachers being older, soft-spoken, dry, peculiar style, and/or proper, and formal.

Those were the conventions I was used to—but Zack, he was fun, exciting, and relatable.

He knew his audience, and how to engage with us—the entire semester is built off of

online work.

In the beginning of the semester, we constantly had assigned readings. Thankfully,

I choose to actually read those assignments—seeing as though they would guide me

through my semester. One reading that stood out to me is the “So What? Who Cares?” I

choose to use him in my WP1 essay, “Graff points out methods of authors when giving

the reader the purpose, of who cares? He list ways a writer should be pulling a reader in,
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‘To gain greater authority as a writer, it can help to name specific people or groups who

have a stake in your claims and to go into some detail about their views’ (Graff 95)” He

made me look at writing differently. I now am motivated to write with a clear purpose,

enough purpose that the reader will care.

I also remember when I was first introduced to genre and rhetoric, in the assigned

reading Backpacks to Briefcases: Steps Toward rhetorical Analysis. Carroll mentions,

“Understanding rhetorical messages is essential to help us become better informed

consumers, but it also helps evaluate the ethics of messages, how they affect us

personally, and how they affect society.” (Carroll 46) This assigned reading helped me

better understand rhetoric messages in society. With that I was able to do my WP1


At the start of the semester, we discussed the different ways of thinking.

According to Elbow’s definition, I am currently writing through first-order thinking. This

essay itself, is more intuitive, rather than argument based with controls and constraints.

When we write consciously, it then becomes second-order thinking. As I write this, I

have an general idea of what overall outcome I want, but everything is just free writing.

With that being said, we can address what did I pull from this writing class. So as I

mentioned before, I am an Aerospace Engineering major. I am highly interested in doing

an ACURA research project under one of the engineering professors. I originally was

looking into ACURA on my own time, and then one day I walk into class and noticed

WP2 on the lesson plan. As luck would have it—it involved ACURA research. I could
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not be more excited to get a start on WP2. Zach wanted us to start by learning what

ACURA is and what it involved.

For those not familiar, ACURA stands for Abington College Undergraduate

Research Activities. It is an opportunity to work under a professor with a related major as

yours, and help them pursue your research question or a research area of their own.

That’s not even the best part, WP2 is a presentation not a paper. Public speaking is one of

my fortes, so I was excited to shift away from producing another paper—especially after

scoring a 70 on my WP1. This assignment allowed me to get familiar with the professor I

wanted to work under, and review their previous work. Within that presentation, we had

to pull the things we learned in WP1, and tie it into WP2. After completing WP1, and

thinking I hated it, WP2 was my chance to make a comeback. In the end I was able to

score an 11/10 on my WP2,-because the way Zack taught—he knew how to integrate

assignments in the beginning that would be the building blocks for assignments down the

line. So even if you did not score your best one assignment, if you knew how to take

pieces of your previous work, and put it into the next one, you can still manage to be

successful in his class.

This E-Portfolio is a prime example of how everything you learn in Zack’s class

will build the next assignment you do. If I switch over to WP3, an annotated bibliography

and outreach email—yes it sounds like a lot, but if you did what was required in WP2—

then WP3 was a piece of cake. The style of this English class is well structured—if you

take a lot at Charles Bazerman paper on A Relationship between Reading and Writing:

The Conversation Model, he makes a few suggestions on teaching rhetoric writing. He

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writes, “By establishing the importance of the voice of the writer and the authority of

personal perception, we have learned to give weight to what the student wants to say, to

be patient with the complex process of writing, to offer sympathetic advice on how to

rather than what not to, and to help the student discover the personal motivations to learn

to write.” (Bazerman 657) I definity feel as though this method helped me through this

semester. Even when I was wrong, I never felt like I was wrong, I just felt like I should

think how can I improve my original work. With that mindset, it got me through this

course with much ease.

I was able to walk away from this course, and actually see that I learned new

words and concepts. Genre and rhetoric now means something to me, and helps me on

how I see textual genre. Opportunities have presented themselves, like ways I can

propose an ACURA project to one of my professors. I know where I can apply annotated

bibliographies in real life situations. Furthermore, I am clear on what a good quality

email looks like, and how it can impact a person’s decision to consider what you ask of

them. This course showed me a new side of English, and I am thankful for that.

Works Cited

Carroll, Laura. Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing, Volume 1. Parlor Press, 2010.

Elbow, Peter. Embracing Contraries: Explorations in Learning and Teaching. New York:

Oxford U Press. 1986.

Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. "They Say / I Say": the Moves That Matter in

Academic Writing. W. W. Norton & Company, 2018.

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Bazerman, Charles. “A Relationship between Reading and Writing: The Conversational

Model.” College English, vol. 41, no. 6, 1980, p. 656., doi:10.2307/375913.

My WP1