Bravo, everyone! During this historic pandemic semester you’ve practiced attention, awareness, and discipline described by DFW (above) through engaging in rhetorical analysis, research, and writing an op-ed. I am proud of you all for engaging with such relevant, but difficult, issues regarding race, culture, and power. Purpose: This final assignment asks you to document, assess, and reflect on your growth as a thinker, reader, and writer over the course of the semester. The process of crafting the letter is itself a learning experience. In documenting and reflecting upon your work you will come to a better understanding of what you have done this semester, increasing the likelihood that you will be able to transfer it to other contexts. Assignment: Write a 1000-word letter (address me: “Dear Professor Kim,”) that makes an argument about your writing process this semester. You have been uploading your work this whole semester so you have easy access to your work! The specific content and organization of your portfolio are largely up to you, but your letter should include the following elements: 1. Argument: Like the other papers you have written for this class, your letter should make an argument based on evidence. This means that the claims you make in your letter should be supported with specific evidence drawn from your work over the course of the semester. 2. Evidence: Quote from your own work. Your argument should be supported by your own writing. 3. Reflect and Be Candid: A significant body of research in the psychology of learning indicates that when students reflect on their work, they learn it more deeply and are more able to transfer what they learn to other contexts. To get this benefit, you have to make your letter your own; you can’t grow if you only write what you think I want to hear. Push yourself. Raise and address hard questions about your work, the course, and yourself. Be thoughtful about your evidence and context: There are many types of evidence you might include: homework exercises, in-class writing, worksheets, comments from me or from your peers, comments you wrote in response to the writing of others, reflections, email exchanges, source materials (video, pdf files, websites), “before-and-after” writing ENGW/Kim Final Reflection Letter demonstrating revision, etc. Note that not all of these artifacts are strictly textual. For instance, a photograph of a brainstorming map could be a great artifact to include. What matters is the thoughtfulness of your selections and what you learn from them. Explore and reflect: I encourage you to take some risks and be as honest with yourself as possible in your letter: explore, reflect, speculate, imagine. Often the best essays are those that show a writer working out an idea or working toward an insight as the essay progresses. Approaches: Here are some prompts to stimulate your thinking: • How do you usually generate a topic and question? How do you come up with your ideas? Did that change in any of your projects? • How has your writing process changed or evolved? How do you plan your papers? How do you go about revising? • How has your understanding of race, culture, and power developed? • In what ways has your awareness of your audience or reader evolved or changed? • Have you experienced any epiphanies—“aha” moments—about your writing or the course topic? If so, what were they? • What is the relationship between your reading and your writing? Has your approach to reading changed over the course of the semester? • What aspects of writing are most difficult for you? Have these changed since the beginning of the semester? • How do you use advice and feedback from others? • What have you learned, or learned how to do, that surprises you? Step-by-step guide: Step 1: Write down some (research) questions to guide your reflection. Step 2: Review your work with these questions in mind. Step 3: Write notes/observations (annotations) about your writing. Step 4: Write a first draft, attempting to synthesize your evidence. Step 5: Peer Review; read how someone else is approaching their letter. Step 6: Revise a second draft, proofreading for organization and language. Step 7: Add any images and hyperlinks that would provide context for your letter
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