Reflection

Final draft

Fleming College’s Communications course is not just an ordinary writing class. The course uses a creative approach and various strategies to help students realise their weakness and aid them in resolving the problem. As the semester continues, I am aware of my remarkable progress in grammar and punctuation, in the reduction of essay length, and in my revising method.

At the beginning of the course I had the tendency to make errors in the usage of articles and prepositions. A good example is taken from my 6th blog post – As bold as it could be: “People might prefer to take the long way around and not to be explicit of how the dead are treated”. On top of this, I didn’t know how to use commas properly, as can been seen in my 1st blog post – A girl with no passion: “And I’m glad I read it, because my fear started going away, for the excitement to fill in.” However, the biggest problem was my unawareness of these mistakes. I used to just rely on online grammar checkers to edit my drafts. But my peers and my teacher could still identify a lot of grammatical errors in my writing, which made me realise that those engines could not completely replace grammar skills. After that, I took my second draft of the Profile assignment to the Tutoring Centre to ask for help. There I received a lot of helpful feedback to revise my writing. My tutor also suggested going through basic grammar rules on a website, which I did. It took more time than running an automatic grammar check, but the effort paid off well. Most of the marks I lost on This I Believe essay were due to grammar errors. A serious work on grammar revision on the Profile final draft eliminated those errors, and I received a much better grade for my Profile essay.

Another problem was that I often included too many details in my writing, even those that were irrelevant and not contributing much value. I always exceeded the word limit because I had troubles removing less essential parts. I didn’t want to cut out anything since I invested a lot of energy into my work and every piece of information seemed valuable and important to me somehow. The peers’ feedback helped me a lot in terms of giving me the motivation to keep my writing to a minimum length: “Your profile is well organized and transitions well, the only thing that I am worried about is that the length might turn people away from reading it,” (lunarainsite, April 5 2017). After receiving such constructive comments, I felt the urge to shorten my essay so that my peers could follow the main idea. I discussed with my classmates how I should organise my essay and what they thought was not necessary to be included. Also, reading their concentrated writing gave me an idea of how quickly and easily the readers can grasp the writer’s meaning if the writing was short.

What is more, I had adopted a new method of revising which then significantly changed my writing process and outcome. I used to keep only one draft and make changes on the same document, so the course’s requirement to have three different drafts for each assignment didn’t appeal to me at first. But after reading the blog True Writing is Rewriting by Beth Shope, I realised that as I write and rewrite at the same time, my attention would be drawn to small details instead of the big picture – structuring, idea organising… To avoid that problem, I now use the multiple-draft strategy suggested by the course. My shitty first draft is where I let off all my ideas and structure my paragraphs without worrying about small errors. Then I would come back a few days after to review grammar and sentencing, make a different copy while keeping my original version intact. I’d repeat the reviewing step several days after that to fix any minor issues if needed, and then my essay is finished. With this method, my revising process becomes more systematic and I have a chance to look back at my different drafts and recognise my own improvements.

All in all, I am with no doubt able to see myself progressing in grammar skills, content management and rewriting method. Communications definitely gave me a firm basis to move forward on my way to become a better writer.

1st draft

Fleming College’s Communications course is not just an ordinary writing class. The course uses a creative approach and various strategies to help students realise their weakness and aid them in resolving the problem. As the semester goes through, I am aware of my remarkable progress in grammar and punctuation and in reduction of essay length.

At the beginning of the course I had the tendency to make errors in tense consistency, usage of articles and prepositions and superfluous comma. A lot of times when I wrote a sentence, the first clause would be in past tense and the second would be in the present, for instance: “The population of my hometown wasn’t so diverse, so it might be the first time most of the children in my school have ever been that close to a black person,” (This I Believe, first draft). I also had problems with using “a”, “an” and “the” as well as prepositions. What is more, I did not know where I should/should not use a comma, as a result, I put a comma after a clause every time I was not sure about it.

The biggest problem was sometimes I was not aware of these mistakes, so I couldn’t fix them. I used to rely on Word spelling check add-on and online grammar checking engines to edit my drafts. But my peers and my teacher could still point out a lot of grammatical errors in my writing, which made me realise that those engines could not catch all my mistakes and completely replace grammar skills. I took my second draft of the Profile assignment to the Tutoring Centre to ask for help. There I received a lot of helpful feedback to revise my writing. I also used the grammar website that the tutor recommended for reference, which took more time to read than running a grammar check on my computer, but the effort well paid off. Most of the marks I lost on This I Believe essay were due to grammar errors. A serious work on grammar revision on the Profile final draft eliminated those errors, and I received a much better grade for my Profile essay.

Another typical mistake that I usually made was that I included too much details in my writing, even those that were not relevant and not contributing any values to the big picture. I always exceeded the word limits because I had troubles determining the main ideas and deciding which parts to be removed to shorten my writing. My first This I Believe draft had 964 words while I should only write 500 – 700 words. I didn’t want to cut anything out, because I spent a lot of time on my writing and every piece of information seemed valuable and important to me somehow.

The course helped me a lot in terms of giving me motivation to shorten my writing. Because we need to get peer reviews, I felt the necessity to keep my writing at a reasonable length so that my peers could follow along. After receiving peer feedback, I discussed with my classmates about how I should organise my essays and what they thought was not necessary to be included. It was also helpful to give comments on my classmates’ writing, because most of them had concentrated essays which gave me the idea of how quickly the readers can grab the main theme without getting lost or bored if the writing was short.

I am with no doubt able to see myself progressing through the course in grammar skills and managing my ideas. I hope this would be the basis for me to improve my writing and make me a better writer in the future.

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3 thoughts on “Reflection

  1. Very strong introduction, clear thesis statement however, you are missing one point of your three. I like that you like to use fancy words but it makes it harder for the reader to understand. I like how you were able to recognize your week points and how they affect your writing, this will make you a stronger writer. You are missing some aspects of structure for your reflection. The magic number when writing pieces like this is 3. 3 points in your thesis, 3 body paragraphs, one for each point n typically 3 supporting points for each main point. Overall you have a lot of great content and enjoyed reading your thoughts on your writing improvements.

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  2. Again you had extremely details essay that meet all of the requirements of our instructor but I still see that you haven’t fixed problem about the length of your essay. It’s quite long to me :)). Anyway, you did a great job on your persuasive reflection. Hope you keep doing well or might way more better in your next communication course. Oh almost forget, I think you need some quotations from your previous assignments to make you claims become stronger.

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  3. Your introduction has an attention grabbing component that makes the reader want to continue reading to find out how this communication class differs from others. It seems as if you are only including 2 points that you have improved on, as grammar and punctuation seem to be going hand in hand. You should also focus your conclusion down a bit as you have 2 concluding paragraphs. Your first body paragraphs leaves me with a question in regards to how you learned to change those common mistakes. Was there a certain assignment that helped you with it? Seminar ? Lab? just add a little bit more detail in regards to how you improved on what you did
    Overall this is a great first draft!

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