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How I Have Improved My Writing Skills

Reflective Essay

How I Have Improved My Writing Skills

In Foundations of College Writing, I have met the five Student Learn Outcomes and improved my writing significantly. I have learned to think always about audience; I have developed my research skills; I have learned how to incorporate evidence into my writing; and I have gotten experience composing in multiple media presentations.

Context and Purpose of Writing:

I have fulfilled this goal by being able to identify how to form my writing to be both meaningful and understood by a certain audience, and also be able to change my writing to be meaningful and understood by different types of audiences. For example, In both essay number one (Expository Essay) and essay number three (Evaluative Essay) I learned to form my writing to be understood by college educated adults, and in essay number 2 The argumentative essay the audience was a hostile one, or an audience that disagrees with my opinion or idea.
I have also completed this goal by learning how to write my essay with a specific purpose. In essay number one which was an expository essay, the general purpose was to teach or inform a group of people about a specific thing. In essay number two, the general purpose was to change someone’s mind about a controversial issue. Finally, in essay number three, the purpose was to dissect and evaluate the judgment about their quality of writing. The thesis’s’ I used are great examples of the purposes. For example, in my evaluative essay the thesis I wrote stated, “In order for an argumentative essay to be effective, its evidence needs to be appropriate, believable, consistent, and complete.” This thesis clearly explains the purpose by giving the criteria as to which I dissect and evaluate the essay.

Genre and Disciplinary Conventions:


This requirement was also met by adapting my writing to fit the type of essay I was writing. In my expository essay for example, I had to be able to define specific parts of my essay to make it more comprehensible so people would have an easier time understanding and being informed by my essay. For example I wrote my essay on Concussions, so I had to define what a concussion was specifically. I did this in paragraph 4, by paraphrasing a definition that I got from an article called “Heads Up Concussion in Football”; I wrote “Concussions can occur from nearly any blunt force, or a jolt, to the head or neck area; it can also occur from a blow to the body that jerks the head, back and forth rapidly that causes the brain to move/shift inside the skull.” As you can see this definition would be vital for an expository essay.
In my argumentative essay, I had to use words like “however”, “nevertheless”, “unfortunately”, and other words like these to separate my arguments from the counter arguments that my opponent would state. In my evaluative essay, I had to be able to expand on the abilities used in my previous essays by combining them to form specific reasons as to why felt the way I did about the essay and problems or strengths I found within the essay. For example I evaluated Evan Wolfson’s “What is Marriage?” I had to explain strengths and weaknesses, but in order to separate those opinions I had to use the skills I learned in my argumentative essay. I also had to define and explain why some of the problems could be viewed as logical fallacies.

Control of Syntax and Mechanics:


This section in particular greatly improved throughout this class, because of talking about errors in class and meeting with Dr. Whitworth one-on-one to discuss our papers and seeing the errors I have made. For example, by having the class workshop my essay it allowed me to see errors that I didn’t even know I made. When my expository essay was workshopped I was recommended to more clearly specify and define my writing better. For example in paragraph six, I mentioned a person named Jahvid Best who I personally know a lot about, but I never specifically said what he did or what NFL team he played for. This made my essay weak and unclear. So in my final revision I was sure to add more specific details. By seeing this suggestion it definitely also helped with my other essays because I now knew that I needed to be more concrete, specific, and detailed.

I also learned a lot by critiquing other classmates’ papers. By critiquing other people’s papers I was able to spot errors in their papers that I was unable to see in my own writing. This greatly helped with my evaluative essay because it allowed me to spot issues in the areas of completeness, appropriateness, consistency, and believability. I also learned to improve in this area by sitting down with Dr. Whitworth during his office hours. During these sessions with Dr. Whitworth, he explained very clearly on some of the things I did well and things that I could improve on. For example, in my argumentative essay he pointed out my errors with believability because I was vague when it came to naming real people. Instead of writing an exact person’s name I would use a general statement like “Some people.” I quickly realized that I then needed to get a specific persons point of view. As you can see with help from my peers, my professor, and critiquing others writings I have definitely improved in my writing and this area.

Content Development or Composing Using Multiple Media:


In order to meet this requirement of content development or composing using multiple media I made a PowerPoint presentation. I made my presentation based on my argumentative essay. I used my main arguments for my slides and used pictures along with words to better explain my points. By using pictures along with words I was able to illustrate my topic, evidence, analysis, and synthesis (TEAS Test) to better explain my information.

Sources and Evidence:


Throughout this course I had to use and find articles to support my information used within my essays. In order to do this, I had to learn how to use research databases like JSTOR for online journals, Newspaper source for newspapers, and academic search complete. I also had to make sure I used peer reviewed articles. Peer reviewed articles are articles or journals that are critiqued and evaluated by an expert in the field of what the article is about. This makes the articles more accepted and are more believable. As you can see by learning how to use different types of databases and how to use peer reviewed articles in these databases my writing has greatly improved.