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.
This in class-writing assignment has been a great experience, working with a partner helps you to see things within a play you might have over looked or it might help you see thigs in a different way they you originally pictured it. The process for me was very smooth because my partner and I decided to read each scene and write down our interpretation of it and at the end we would share our ideas with each other and see what we understood from the scene. The only problem about working in peers is that time will move very quickly when you guys are discussing what your interpretation was the scene was about. Writing collaboratively has its benefits because your partner can be able to spot little errors you might have made and did not see, also your partner can help you expand on your ideas if you are having problems expressing your thoughts.
This made writing about the different plays very exciting to read because you are able to act out different scenes with your partner, also you are able to play around with the scene you could have switch the tone of the play or even the attitudes of the character. It made you feel like you were really inside of the play, helping you to paint a picture that the author wanted you to paint. It help you get a clear sense of the theme, tone and plot of each play.
Overall this class and in class writing assignment made the work load more easier, and it made it fun to learn about the different mello-dramatic plays, it made writing papers more interesting, it gave use different ways to view the plays and it helped us see the plays in a different view by working with are peers and doing the close readings together.
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.
Working with my classmate to co-produce a short essay was certainly a challenging experience; but probably not in the way that one would think. It challenged me to express my ideas in a coherent and cohesive manner, how to listen and asses immediate, controversial or counterintuitive ideas; and then make compromises that would strengthen our finished product. It was a carefree experience, for the most part; but because we did have slightly different opinions on the piece and are both creative out-of-the-box thinkers, it was challenging for us to pin our ideas down and present a united front. It was fascinating watching the way another brain thinks, seeing a different writing process and thinking of ways to apply the things I admired from my partner’s processes to my own. However, it was overwhelming at times trying to combine our individual voices and writing styles into the finished product. in the end though, I do believe that we were effective in conforming our ideas, communicating efficiently the things we saw in the text and deciphering how we could apply them to the paper most efficiently and effectively. We worked well together in formulating our introductory paragraph and thesis statement, leaning on each other equivocally for guidance and support.
I think that such an assignment fosters a good collegial relationship, and gives room for each participant to go beyond his or her own personal and instinctive judgement and comprehension as it pertains to the given text or topic. It certainly widens the door of possibilities on how to approach a topic/text and execute an analysis. It allowed my partner and myself to learn from one another as it pertained to educating each other on different issues, theories, concepts and so forth that one may have known when the other did not. This was different from the first partnership exercise because instead of simply assessing someone else’s finish product we got to decipher raw ideas, converse about them and make the intelligible on paper. This is perhaps challenging when you and your partner are thinking at two completely different ends of a spectrum; but in any event, the exercise does challenge each participant to go beyond their comfort zone- and that is not necessarily a bad thing. Quite contrarily, it makes one be even more open to the idea that, in the process of writing, what we began with in our heads may not be the finished product. The partnership also challenges individuals to step up and delegate ideas as well as individual responsibilities as not to inconvenience each other and how to make a combined effort towards a common goal- a good grade!
I really love the workload for this class. I felt as though the lecturer designed the course to be at our level. The in-class writing as a quiz is a brilliant idea. I really like this assignment, it was designed in a format we could all do. In addition, it did not resembles the similar structures of tests. Instead, we were responsible for conducting a close reading on a portion of text, and devising a paper in peers. This assignment stimulated healthy discuss between my group member and I. Moreover, sometimes my group member or I would see thing at a deeper level or in a different way. I would say that the most difficult part for me was when it came to putting the paper together, for example the wording of the paper. Reason being, it gets a bit difficult when two people tries to turn ideas into sentences. Nonetheless, I really loved the assignment I feel as though I learnt alot, and receive a deeper understanding in regards to close reading skills. I am much appreciative.
Dr. Brianne Jaquette
April 3, 2017
I have found that there are three things essential to successful writing: unrestricted time, quiet solitude and stimulating conversation. There are instances where a writer needs quiet solitude to hear the voice of the muse; then there are instances when a stimulating conversation is the voice of the muse. However, in whatever instance the writer finds himself, he must have unrestricted time; time to hear, to explore, to consider, to discuss, and rebut, record, and reflect. Considering this, of the two writing assignments, I found the second most conducive to a successful writing process. It accommodated all the requirements.
The first in class writing exercise proved a formidable challenge for me. The time restrains produced stress and anxiety that stemmed the flow of my creative juices and resulted in writer’s block which persisted despite the quiet solitude and adversely affected the quality of the work produced. Assignment two provided the perfect environment in which to produce good quality work: unrestricted time, stimulating conversation and deferred quiet solitude. Initially, the scene selected seem to yield no substance on which to build a piece but the conversation between me and my colleague produced insights that probably would have taken an inordinate amount of time to discover or not be discovered at all. Time made a huge difference. We could listen to each other, explore, and discuss what the other was presenting, and rebut, and record when and where necessary. In addition, the extended time into the weekend facilitated the quiet solitude to ponder and reflect on all that was said during class time. The end product hopefully will reflect the ease with which this assignment was completed.
In-Class writing assignment is scholarly collaboration done in isolation. I do feel as if it is very useful because it foremost helped me understand the second point of view about the text. While constructing my argument, I was not really thinking about or acknowledging other potential arguments that were equally viable. It is also less painstaking than an academic essay as it does not follow the metacritical conventions of MLA or APA. Instead, we write a full, inclusive paragraph that proposes an premise on a particular section of the play, which can, by extension, be made into an academic essay. While, I feel as if the first in-class writing assignment was done to assess how much I had retained from the play, it also challenges me to draw upon areas of critique.
On the other hand, the assignment taught me the importance of constructing counter arguments in academia. A second point of view can be either disputed or concurred upon. Nonetheless, texts are ambiguous and for this reason, readings may vary. These readings could be substantiated with concrete proof but also are disputable because of ambiguity. I cannot really think about anything that did not go well because the assignment fulfilled a goal in an organised way. If there are any modifications, I feel as though it would be in terms of the time allotted. I feel as though more time would increase the quality of the work and allow for more time to think or draft out more ideas.