In-class writing is not a core part of most English literature classes. Aside from midterm exams, there is usually little emphasis on engaging with the texts in class through writing exercises. While I understand the benefits of class discussion, I think that being “forced” to put one’s thoughts onto paper can be advantageous. For me, it helps me work through any vague ideas I might have about the text. This is important because sometimes I can only produce abstract musings verbally and by writing my ideas down, I’m better able to explicate my argument. Additionally, when it is time to write longer papers, having previous written examples helps with the writing process.
Studies in Modern Drama has been a very interesting class. I’ve loved the plays read and the set up of the class; it has been engaging. I particularly liked the second in-class writing assignment. While the first one allowed me to critically assess my partner’s writing, the second required both of us to come together and create a coherent close reading. We had to discuss our thoughts on the text and what it meant, techniques used by the author and other elements. Discussing these things together as opposed to reacting to my partner’s claims meant that together we had to figure out what we wanted to say and how to say it. My favorite part of the assignment was the different aims we thought were trying to be accomplished and discussing the evidence for those points. Being able to see the thought process behind an assumption or claim by my partner made all the difference.
I do not think there was anything I did not like about the process for this second in-class writing assignment. Though this one was my favorite, both assignments were very useful and I hope that other lecturers incorporate this idea more throughout the curriculum of English literature classes.