The idea of in-class writing assignments is one that I support. As opposed to the stresses of tests, in which students must rely on poor memory and fight against the constraints of time in order to get a product on paper, the in-class writing assignments created an opportunity for the exact opposite. In the first one, being allowed to utilize books and other resources contributed to the creation of a more accurate and full response at the end of each assignment. Another aspect of both assignments, which is unusual in the English classroom setting at the University of The Bahamas was the collaborative component; this aspect was quite refreshing as in English classes I had become increasingly conditioned to working on my own in the completion of work. Not that encouraging individual work is negative, however, it can be quite stressful and time-consuming to have to approach an assignment on one’s own. In the first in-class writing assignment especially, what did serve as a restriction was the time limit, seeing as three questions had to be answered as well as responding to the work of a fellow peer. Had I given too much time to my own three questions, my response to my peer’s work would not have been as developed as it could be. Though this could be a limitation, this encourages time management skills, which is necessary in cultivating students’ respect for time. I also believe that choosing two questions out a list of five and then responding to the work of my peer would be more feasible, which provides students with more time to handle each aspect of the assignment appropriately. However, since it was not aim for students’ responses to be lengthy, then three questions were most likely appropriate for the first assignment.
Both assignments exposed me further to the practice of critiquing the scholarly work of my peers as is done in higher levels of academia, however, it is the second in-class assignment in particular that lessened the academic pressure on me. It was quite enjoyable and refreshingly different to work with my partner in discussing our perspectives and analyses of the text. This validated, clarified and reiterated mine and my partner’s thoughts about the text as well as pushed us to consider alternate readings/interpretations. The experience further iterated the idea that persons’ interpretations of texts can significantly differ and in those differences can some value be derived. Whereas my interpretations could have been more literary based, my partner offered a theatric critique. We were able to successfully marry our interpretations to create one. The challenge came along when our thoughts about the text had to be translated into essay form, which required much more effort and attention to detail. Nevertheless, the experience resulted in a short, sweet and concise analyses of Mud and I appreciated the experience.