Experiential-Learning Document and Rhetorical Analysis: Process and Other Things

Another big element of the semester was writing with other people and things as well as considering our entire process of writing. We neither:

  • write by ourselves (Writing Groups! Our whole history with people who have influenced how we think about a subject! The environment we write in! What is a “self” anyway!?)
  • write all at once, just sort of sitting down and writing coherent sentence after coherent sentence until we are all finished.

A lot of the recommendations about working with others and thinking more about your process as a writer may not ultimately work for you. However, I hope, you have started to seriously consider what does work best for you and tailor your writing practices accordingly. (and, as you write in the years ahead, you revise your writing processes and practices as needed).

Here are some of the relevant course and unit goals:

  • Compose as a process: Experience writing as a creative way of thinking and generating knowledge and as a process involving multiple drafts, review of your work by members of your discourse community (e.g., instructor and peers), revision and editing, reinforced by reflecting on your writing process in metacognitive ways.
  • Understand language as social and as part of who you are
  • Understand the role of reading in writing (e.g., procedures of annotating, reading to revise)
  • Set goals and a process for checking in on your progress on an ongoing basis. Re-evaluate goals, periodically.
  • Develop a writing practice (e.g., creating the best environment for productive writing sessions as possible, managing distractions, time management)
  • Develop your writing process (e.g., planning, outlining, drafting, reflecting, revising, editing)
  • Receive feedback, apply it, and give constructive feedback (e.g., in peer response, workshopping writing, interpreting comments, integrating feedback in a global sense rather than only locally, managing the embodied nature of having an audience for your writing)
  • Closely read your writing to learn about it (e.g., annotate your own writing, connect annotations to previous learning goals)
  • Use quantification to learn about your writing at a distance (e.g., complete a quantitative of analysis of certain aspects of your three major writing projects to detect things a close reading might not)
  • Write about your writing to learn about it—use what you learned in past units (about identity, process, analysis, rhetoric, and research) on your own writing to consider progress toward your own goals and course goals, as well as to develop new goals.

Unit 1 set the stage for thinking about these sorts of things, but we have thought about process writing through various repeating elements throughout the term (e.g., revision plans, reflective activities, writing groups).

Beyond seeing writing as social and as full processes/practices, I really (really!) hope you started to think about writing in surprising ways that might be not so neatly captured in the course and unit goals. Writing is a really complicated phenomenon, one that you absolutely won’t (and cannot expect to) master in one semester at the beginning of college. You will keep working on it, you will learn about it in other classes, and so on.

However, you cannot rely on teachers to always explicitly teach you about writing. So, in that spirit to start getting into the habit of being a learner who can learn without explicit direction, what have you noticed about your writing since you started writing early in the semester (for this class and for other classes?

In a comment below, spend about 100-300 words writing about what you have learned in regard to the following:

  • social aspects of writing (e.g., working with a writing group, getting feedback, etc.). See course and unit goals above for more.
  • writing as a process and practice (e.g., setting a schedule, managing an environment to write in, coming up with a revision plan, etc.). See course and unit goals above for more.
  • something surprising or not explicitly outlined in the course and unit goals.

Remember: nothing has to be “perfect” here…you can write about things that improved but you still would like to keep improving! That is honestly how most of this stuff is: frustratingly always-in-progress. But, life is kind of always in process and sort of never finished, so, yeah.

After commenting below, click on the button to continue the module:

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11 thoughts on “Experiential-Learning Document and Rhetorical Analysis: Process and Other Things

  1. In this course, an important thing that I have been able to work on is relying on others to help and assist because we are all in the same situation trying to do our bests in college. Feedback is an important part of the class and I appreciate the feedback that I have received from all major assignments as they have been able to allow me to recognize my mistakes and amend them. The schedule that we made earlier in the year has definitely helped me in managing my time to use it in a much more effective way. Before I write my papers, I tend to outline and make sure I know what I will be writing about and not veer off course. I have been able to surprisingly incorporate writing into my daily routine and it has helped me become a better writer.

  2. One thing I have learned after working in a group this semester is that sometimes giving honest feedback is hard. For me, sometimes I feel reluctant to give more than three or four criticisms since my group member tend to praise my writing more than they make suggestions.
    On the process of writing, I feel that the writing sessions has been a great help. Since I learned about it in the first few weeks of the semester, I have been using it for all of my major writing pieces. It helps to break my goals down in each session. It also helps in terms of planning ahead and allowing for incremental progress.
    Something surprising that I’ve noticed is that I didn’t think I had the persistence to accomplish this many writing pieces. Writing has been a struggle for me in high school, so I did not think that my essays could be a lot better. I think what helped the most was the feedback I got from the professor and my group members. The size of the class probably contributed to more time and effort spent on each student.

  3. One thing I have learned regarding the social aspects of writing is that it is more helpful to work with others as opposed to working alone. The basis for this assumption is that working with others allows them to offer feedback and to point out writing mistakes that one may have otherwise overlooked. Additionally, I have learned that to be a perfect writer, one must constantly undertake writing exercise and that it is only when they set a schedule for writing, revising, and rereading that they can identify whether they are improving or not. Moreover, I have learned that to become an excellent writer, one must be patient and should be ready to accept constructive criticism regardless of how well they think they have written.

  4. For the social aspect of writing throughout this semester, the writing group experiences have been different from other methods I’ve experienced before. It was helpful having my peer’s opinion of what I wrote and getting some feedback on general writing and grammar. Although on some occasions there was diversion between some things my group would tell me I should change but that the professor did like.

  5. The social aspect of writing in this course has been one of the most helpful things. I don’t think I have ever had so many people read my writing and give feedback on it. I have found that it is very helpful to see what does and doesn’t make sense to other people when they are reading my writing. On top of that, other people often present questions that help me elaborate on what I am talking about. Another thing that I have only experienced in this class is always revising any major essay. In previous classes, we would only turn in one final draft. This meant that no one really got to revise their essay unless they wrote it early and edited it on their own time. I think it is cool that I would feel like my first draft was so final and could be turned in just as it was, but then being able to go back to it later made me realize how much I could change to make it better. The last thing that I have realized is that the Parkinson’s Law has really applied to my writing process. I often wait till the last day before something is due to start. One thing about this class that is nice though is that we have deadlines for a first draft and a final draft, so it gives me time to go back to my writing even if I do procrastinate till the day before a deadline.

  6. Throughout this semester I learned how to write better with skills other than writing. For example we used writing groups and developed our social aspect of writing. In these groups I allowed my writing to become available to criticisms and advise from others. I took what they said and helped improve my writing greatly. I also was able to give them advice and develop new ideas for my writing. I would never have been able to revise as well as I did without my writing group. Additionally, we also learnt about time management. With this I found what works for me to manage my time and be the most efficient. Although in the past I have never loved writing this semester I came to enjoy many of the papers we wrote.

  7. Working in a writing group has helped me improve my writing greatly. The advice my peers give me helps a ton and makes my writing sound better. I have come up with a schedule in order to better manage my time and be as efficient as possible when writing. I get the most done and am at my best when I am organized. My writing overall has improved greatly over the course of the semester.

  8. The social aspects of writing have been a huge help this semester. My writing group has been great and very supportive which in my opinion helps my writing. The feedback from my peers and the professor has been amazing. I truly take into consideration what I lack or what I did well. Setting schedules and plans was a helpful process in the beginning of the term but things in life sort of changed and I found myself struggling to make a schedule. Things are looking up but this class has really helped me with planning out my writing.

  9. The social aspect of writing has really been helpful to me this semester. It allowed me to get a viewpoint from an audience and it also made me change the way I wrote in because I knew what my peers would be looking at and for. This semester I also figured out what worked for me writing process wise. I know that I am not someone who can just sit down and start writing, I have to take advantage of the times when I feel up to it. I also had to stop looking at writing as a task and look at it as a process.

  10. Like many others, when I used to write for school or for jobs I would do it in one day. Even if I had multiple drafts, I usually did not spend multiple days thinking about the same assignment. This time, I wanted to really make a leap to improve as a writer so I planned to spend many days tinkering on outlines and confirming my topics instead of diving too quickly. I think I could have done better on the big projects if I had done more writing overall, but I also ultimately came up with more interesting topics that I started with because I changed my mind on what to write about and how to organize the macro structure.

    The writing group has also been helpful because I feel that I can’t always properly read my own writing and make connections that don’t exist on the paper. Having someone else proofread and point that out reminded me to follow up on every claim that I made.

  11. The social aspect of writing in this course has helped me understand my writing better. I was able to interact with my peers through the writing groups and get crucial feedback on my writing. Additionally, I was able to understand how my peers wrote and almost see the reverse process of writing. From seeing the whole draft to speaking to my peer and learning their original inspiration.

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