At first when coming into college reading and writing I really thought it was a pointless class. All throughout middle school and highschool I was in Honors and AP english classes and always had straight A+’s. Writing was my best and favorite subject so I did not understand why I was in this class. I came in with that attitude that I did not have anything to learn because I was already the best, but let me tell you I was wrong. I learned so much about revision and gain so many better writing skills from this year long class.
Nancy Sommers wrote an essay in 1980 about the revision strategies of student writers. She says that “students understand the revision process as a rewording activity”. She explains that students will reword and restate their ideas in different ways when the revise their papers but they are missing the larger picture. Before this class I was definitely missing that larger picture. Sommers believes that when you revise your papers, you come up with new ideas and those ideas are what make the revision worth while.
Sommers thoughts on how students typically revise papers describe me before taking this course. I would only look at local errors such as spelling and punctuations. I was not expanding my ideas and thinking of new ones to make my paper better. I believe it is so important to dig deeper when revising to make a paper the best it can be. Like in the discourse analysis paper, a writer should not only be affirming other author’s ideas, but also adding to them and challenging them. To be a better writer you have to challenge yourself to look for the deeper meaning and understand it.
Since reading Habits of The Creative Mind by Miller and Jurecic and working though many revision strategies I have theorized that revisions are a way to expand and explain your own ideas. Sometimes in a revision you will realize that you did not really follow the prompt or answer the question you had. You may also realize that you did not have a thesis, or that your paper does not really relate to your thesis. Revisions also consist of reorganizing your papers so that they flow and make sense to the reader. This course has made me a way better writer, and there was definately a lot of valuable information to learn. If I could go back to the first day of English 122, I would have taken the class way more serious and tried to apply myself a lot more. I definitely missed some things while I was being over confident and thinking I had nothing to learn. The skills I learned in College Reading and Writing have been so helpful not only for writing papers in this class, but in all my classes including my Quantitative Reasonings and Environmental classes. I will use these skills for the rest of my life because revisions are what makes an ok paper stand out from an amazing paper.
For the chosen discourse analysis project I chose to analyze the construction discourse, specifically building houses. In my analysis I found two articles about the process of building a house and also one solely about all the different identities in construction.
When writing this paper I made one draft that got peer edited and then I started a new draft, which turned into my final. The prewriting for this paper was all in the building task worksheets. This laid the foundation for what I was going to write about. In reading the artifacts and doing the worksheets I found that language was the most important aspect of the building tasks. This discovery in my prewriting lead me to the claim of my paper that the language is most important and therefore makes it hard to mushfake your way into the discourse. As far as local revision go, we worked in class a lot with comma placements. You can see in my first draft that I highlighted and noted all my good comma placements and fixed a few. Globally, I made lots of changes to the structure and organization of the paper, and you can can see that in my final draft. I also added better in text citations and quotes to support my ideas.
In past papers I have had trouble with intergratting my ideas with others. I even have had problems intergrating the ideas of multiple authors within one paper, but I focused a lot of my revision on this. My most major intergration is when I challenged Gee’s ideas of primry and secondary discourses. I quoted his definition of each type of discourse and then put my own thoughts in about them being a hybrid.
Because this paper was an analysis and we needed artifacts, there was a lot of active and critical reading involved. In the building task worksheet blog posts, I shared pictures of my annotations. There was not many markups on the readings but there was lots of notes and analysis on the worksheets I did while reading.
For critiquing my own and other’s work I think that I have improved, especially in critiquing myself. This project was a little difficult because we each had 4 other papers to peer edit, as well as be working on our own papers. It is also difficult because if you are not the first one to edit, you run out of good productive feedback to leave. I worked a lot on checking my paper for errors. When we did the workshops in class for commas and thing I took that very seriously and made sure those local errors were all taken care of. I also did each of the homeworks and revision plan thoroughly.
I used quotes from three sources, one being Gee and the other two were articles I found in my research. Quoting Gee was easy because we already have in papers before and we have already gone over in class what the end citation should look like. I used perdue owl to help me with my other two sources. We also worked in class with in text citations. I learned that when you use a signal phrase and say the author’s name in the sentence, you do not need to put end citations with the authors name. For example when I say “Gee defines a Primary Discourse as one that we acquire “through our primary socialization early in life in the home and peer group” (7)” I do not need (Gee page number). But when I say “He defines Discourse with the seven building tasks, “saying (writing)-doing-being-valuing-believing combinations” (Gee 6)” I do need (Gee page number).
Overall I believe this was my best paper yet. I paid really close attention to all the homeworks and strategies to improve my paper. I also did a good job with integrating my ideas in with others, instead of just summarizing things. I really struggled with this last semester and all the beginning of this semester.