Chris's Midterm Revision Reflection

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Posted on 25 May 2013 03:14

My original midterm piece analyzed our class as a discourse community. My goal in the original piece was to see if our class could fit Swales’s six categories that constitute a discourse community. My findings ultimately showed me that our class did indeed fit all of Swales’s categories and could thus be considered a discourse community by that definition. In writing the midterm I was really able to reflect upon the different components of the class and I noticed that I was seeing a common theme appear as I was writing. I noticed that all of the aspects of the class that I was writing about were group-centric in nature, or rather that they incorporated the class as a whole rather than being restricted to individual efforts. For example, just the fact that the wiki turns all writing posted there into public knowledge shows that everything we write will be shared with the rest of the class. The reflective annotated bibliography is a really good example of this in that it is written to be used by the rest of the class. The authors of the bibliography entries gain insights about the works they read through thinking about and writing the document, and then the class as a whole is able to reference it and learn from it themselves.

I then began to think about other English classes I had taken and noticed that they all lacked this group-centric model. I would normally write a paper, hand it in, wait on a grade, and then forget about it. Nobody would ever get to see what I wrote and I never learned anything from anyone else’s writing. There was also virtually no collaboration among students. This made me realize that the group dynamic was missing from most standard curriculums. On top of that, if you enter the working world and work at any large company, most projects that you will work on will be team projects, so the ability to be able to learn from and communicate with your colleagues is a must. This is what gave me the inspiration to write my revised midterm piece in which I argue for a class structure similar to our English class this semester to be implemented into the English program of a particular school district.

I decided to make my midterm revision both persuasive and informative. On one hand I am persuading the reader to incorporate features of our class into the school curriculum while at the same time informing them of how the model class operates. I feel that this worked well stylistically in that I persuaded the reader by informing them of what works well in the class. I also decided to write the piece almost entirely in the first person. I feel that this decision worked well because I felt that it gave me a somewhat higher degree of credibility in the eyes of the reader since I clearly have had experience taking the model class first hand. It also made it seem as if I were talking directly to the reader. I ultimately decided to leave the genre and audience of the piece slightly ambiguous. Clearly the audience of the piece is someone who would be interested in the effects of group-focused learning in an academic context, but I left it open to whether it be the board of education of a particular school district or just someone interested in studying education. Similarly, the genre most closely resembles a newspaper article from the particular district whose schools I am discussing, but it could still fit the genre of a persuasive letter to the board of education if I added a to: and from: section.

One choice about my piece that I question making was putting in such a significant amount of terminology that was very specific to our class such as “blog” and “RAB”. I feel that this might have made my piece a little less comprehensive and appealing to someone who has not been in our class and does not know our specific lexis. Therefore it might have been better to take the insights that I gained from looking at our class and put them into easier terms to understand.

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