Essay 1 COMM 2307 CRITICAL THINKING ANALYSIS REFLECTIVE … - BepalInfo

Essay 1 COMM 2307 CRITICAL THINKING ANALYSIS REFLECTIVE …

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Reflective Writing

A great deal of your time at university will be spent thinking; thinking about what people have said, what you have read, what you yourself are thinking and how your thinking has changed. It is generally believed that the thinking process involves two aspects: reflective thinking and critical thinking. They are not separate processes; rather, they are closely connected (Brookfield 1987).

Figure 1: The Thinking Process (adapted from Mezirow 1990, Schon 1987, Brookfield 1987)

Reflective thinking

Reflection is: 

  • a form of personal response to experiences, situations, events or new information.
  • a ‘processing’ phase where thinking and learning take place.

There is neither a right nor a wrong way of reflective thinking, there are just questions to explore.

Figure 1 shows that the reflective thinking process starts with you. Before you can begin to assess the words and ideas of others, you need to pause and identify and examine your own thoughts.

Doing this involves revisiting your prior experience and knowledge of the topic you are exploring. It also involves considering how and why you think the way you do. The examination of your beliefs, values, attitudes and assumptions forms the foundation of your understanding. 

Reflective thinking demands that you recognise that you bring valuable knowledge to every experience. It helps you therefore to recognise and clarify the important connections between what you already know and what you are learning. It is a way of helping you to become an active, aware and critical learner.

What is reflective writing?

Reflective writing is:

  • your response to experiences, opinions, events or new information
  • your response to thoughts and feelings
  • a way of thinking to explore your learning
  • an opportunity to gain self-knowledge
  • a way to achieve clarity and better understanding of what you are learning
  • a chance to develop and reinforce writing skills
  • a way of making meaning out of what you study

Reflective writing is not:

  • just conveying information, instruction or argument
  • pure description, though there may be descriptive elements
  • straightforward decision or judgement (e.g. about whether something is right or wrong, good or bad)
  • simple problem-solving
  • a summary of course notes
  • a standard university essay

See next: How do I write reflectively?

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My Senior Exit Portfolio

Proud to be of Georgia State University

Critical Reflective Essay

Posted on by Lasonya Walters
Apr 30th, 2014 by  lwalters5

English 4320 / Senior Seminar

Dr. Beth Burmester

Spring 2014

Abstract

My experience as a Rhetoric and Composition student writer at Georgia State University has equipped me with the fundamentals needed to think critically. Over the past four years, I have gained a deal of practice and theory about writing and analyzing all genres of texts. For my critical reflective essay I have selected six texts to use as models that represent my academic writing journey and success.

3c75Success-Ladder

CLIMBING THE LADDER TO ACADEMIC WRITING SUCCESS

My concentration in Rhetoric and Composition at Georgia State University has not only prepared me to teach, but has also equipped me with the essentials needed to be a strong writer. My undergraduate education has rewarded me the privilege to learn the history of rhetoric, Classical rhetorical appeals and canons, the branches of rhetoric, and research methods that all contribute to a convincing, audience-focused argument. To write well means more than just being able to follow a Modern Language Association or American Psychological Association writing style; it is having the ability to understand rhetorical situations, analyze them, and connect with audiences.

I have selected six of my texts, which I completed during the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 academic school years, to focus upon in this critical reflection. I consider these assignments to be highlights that demonstrate the productive writing techniques I have acquired during my time as a student writer. They are models for what it means to use critical thinking through writing. In the following examples, I will walk you through my experience of progression as an English major in Rhetoric and Composition, in which I became a better, professional, stylistic writer. Below are my critical reflections for each of the assignments:

critical-thinking-skills

ASSIGNMENT 1. CRITICAL THINKING MEME AND DEFINITION

DR. BETH BURMESTER

FALL 2013 

For the meme assignment, I put together a visual document that represents “critical thinking” and what I, along with college professors/students, and academics, think it is. With this assignment, I was able to come up with my own definition of critical thinking, which I later edited and rewrote. I also revised the entire assignment in an effort to compare and contrast the two. In my original draft of the meme, titled “Meme of Definition of Critical Thinking”, in Fall 2013, I developed my personal definition of critical thinking:

Forming ideas, opinions, evaluations, and judgments of any text, issue, subject, person, place, or thing, based on self-education, close self-observation, research (evidence), self-interpretation, knowledge of the topic, and analysis, and testing those views against those of other critics and researchers to learn new, lessen, or expand viewpoints and perspectives.

The next process I followed to revise this assignment was to embrace the beauty of Rhetoric and Composition. In the edited and expanded definition of critical thinking in my newly titled meme, called “Critical Thinking Meme and Definition: The Beauty of Rhetoric and Composition”, I express what I had learned about rhetoric in Introduction to Rhetoric and Composition. Critical Thinking, then, is:

Gaining knowledge on who the founding fathers of rhetoric were, what they contributed, and mind-traveling into the eras in history when rhetoric was at its most challenging peaks in order to form ideas, opinions, evaluations, and judgments of any text, issue, subject, person, place, or thing, based on self-education, close self-observation, research (evidence), self-interpretation, knowledge of the topic, and analysis, and testing those views against those of other critics and researchers to learn new, lessen, expand, or beautify viewpoints and perspectives.

I enhanced my final definition by applying it to rhetorical knowledge I had gained during the semester, such as Longinus’ theory of the sublime. Rhetoric started out as a civic art in Classical Greece, and has always been used to train politicians how to speak. It grew to be a method for approaching scientific observations and analysis in the Enlightenment Era, and in the present day, rhetoric, is still a technology that shapes human communication. The second definition demonstrates and reflects the history of rhetoric. I chose to include this assignment first because by composing the meme I learned a new understanding of critical thinking. The writer is the critic of his/her own thinking and facilitator of the argument. To think critically is to have skills of analysis, observation, self-experience, research, reflection, and rhetorical knowledge.

email

ASSIGNMENT 2. AN EMAIL DELIVERING BAD NEWS

STEPHANIE ROUNTREE

MAYMESTER 2013

The purpose of creating an email that conveyed bad news was to deliver to my boss the unfortunate information that my sales team and I had missed our quarterly goal and needed to make up for the shortcoming. I had to imagine that I was the sales director of a homebuilding company called Elite Homes. The company’s business plan depended on my department’s ability to sell enough homes. My team had not met their intended goal and we needed to find a solution to the problem. My audience for the email is my boss and head over the company, the president of Elite Homes. It is best to read Professor Stephanie Rountree’s assignment description to understand my objective for the email:

The first quarter (Q1) of the year has just ended, and it seems that your sales team has not met their quarterly goal: they sold 160 homes on a goal of 180, nearly an 11% shortfall. Because you have missed your Q1 goal, this year’s business goal is in jeopardy. The company must sell 360 homes by the end of the Q2 (previously, a goal of 180 per quarter) in order to build and close all of these homes by the year-end. Your shortfall in Q1 means that you will need to catchup in the Q2, increasing your Q2 goal to 200 homes.

As a result, I composed an email delivering quarterly-end results to the president. I was mindful of my tone so that I did not further upset my boss, therefore I included a few examples on how I could improve the qualities of my team. To keep her calm, I informed her that the proper steps were being taken to make certain that my team was capable of meeting the new Quarter 2 goal. Thus, the English 3130 Business Writing course granted me the opportunity of learning how to compose professional informative arguments through email formats of various purposes and audiences. Business emails exemplify pervasiveness used to create concrete, precise, and thoughtful language. Before they are sent to the recipient, emails should be free of grammatical, syntactical, typographical, and spelling errors, which is important in any form of academic or professional writing. The assignment was beneficial because it tested me on my ability to control, communicate, and deal with unfortunate situations that are common in the business place.

Print

ASSIGNMENT 3. ARTICLE REPURPOSING PROJECT

DR. ELIZABETH LOPEZ

SPRING 2014

The Article Repurposing Project instructed students to locate a professional text of interest to evaluate and analyze. The ultimate goal was to reconstruct the argument with an entirely different purpose and targeted audience. After some research, I came up with a plan to repurpose the Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) Welcome Letter from the Chief Compliance and Risk Officer for a different audience and discipline—a welcome letter for returning and new customers who purpose Coca-Cola products.

Three creative ideas I included, from the original document, in the repurpose project were the picture of Chief Piacente, the Coca-Cola icon, and Piacente’s signature. Each of the images represent a different form of visual rhetoric. Piacente’s pleasant smile resembles her caressing tone throughout the flow of the text. The Coca-Cola icon to the bottom left of the document represents the company’s finest and most familiar brand, the Coke. The icon resembles the old-fashioned Coke in a glass bottle. With this image, readers are reminded of why they fell in love with Coca-Cola to begin with. The signature is a stamp of approval and it acknowledges that Piacente takes full responsibility of what she is speaking of in her letter.

The Article Repurposing Project was a great assignment for practice with audience because it shows the writer how to connect the intended readers with the message being delivered. By the end of my repurposed document, the customer feels appreciated, important, and needed. The assignment was a joyful privilege to learn better writing skills and gain practice using ethos, pathos, and logos.

Friday Night Lights

ASSIGNMENT 4. STYLISTIC AND RHETORICAL ANALYSIS

DR. BETH BURMESTER

SPRING 2014

The steps I followed, specifically the data collection (looking at diction, syntax, sentence variety and reading level), to closely examine “Friday Night Lights”, by journalist Buzz Bissinger, helped me in discovering both the strengths and weaknesses in the article. What I found to be most interesting was the word choice. I discovered that the proportion of common words to substantive words were 28:100 (286:1018); 929 of the words are a single syllable, 259 are two, 92 are three, 22 are four, and 18 are five or more. Once I had completely filled out my data sheets, I could not help but think that some authors are probably unaware of the diction they use when they write. I am guilty of this same unawareness, since I usually free write in my first step of the writing process.

Studying Bissinger’s simple style allowed me to notice the key components in any form of writing: tone, voice, and ethos. I learned that expressions, adjectives, adverbs, imagery, and verbs all help set the tone in the text. Voice is what draws readers in and adds personality to the text, such as the dialogue (slang, personal thoughts and opinions) used in “Friday Night Lights.” Bissinger’s choice of verbs bring the story to life; they give the subjects action and without action there is no story to tell. I discovered that adverbs tell when and where something happened, the extent of the action, and modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.

vrbanner

ASSIGNMENT 5. SITUATING VISUAL RHETORIC BLOG

DR. MARY HOCKS

SPRING 2014

I decided to include a copy of a blog entry I completed on visual rhetoric as a requirement in my English 3135 course. Every student in the course had to create WordPress blogs to post weekly written responses to assigned readings. It was a way to express our understanding of the reading and visual rhetoric as a whole. In response to Charles A. Hill and Marguerite Holmes’ Defining Visual Rhetorics, I was able to discover visual design/image theories and visual communication practices, and explore the relationship between the two by examining the rhetorical structures of the arguments in the reading. In my visual rhetoric blog, I have summarized important elements of visual rhetoric and applied them to my own analysis of the effect visuals have on different viewers.

At the end of the blog, I attached a couple of photos as examples of visual rhetoric. However, I did not add explanations for the images I chose to use for one important reason: I wanted to provide my audience with their own practices of visual rhetoric. Without descriptions, I am able to deliver visuals that test the theories of visual rhetoric. In doing so, I provide practice of visual rhetoric for my audience by helping them gain their own understanding of the uses of images for persuading audience. My goal in including these visuals is to produce feelings of emotion in my viewers–as discussed in Defining Visual Rhetorics.

This assignment has taught me how to connect visual rhetoric with rhetorical theory and practice, composition skills, technology, research, and different ways of critical thinking. Being able to reflect on visual rhetoric has helped me grow as a writer because, as I stated in the assignment, I now understand that “rhetorical images appeal to emotions because persuaders, who impose these images on their intended audiences, already have in mind the feelings they want their audience to receive. In other words, emotions from images are manipulated.” In any form of rhetoric, the writer can predetermine his/her arguments by being able to foresee the impact he/she expects the argument to have on audience.

revise

ASSIGNMENT 6. READING RESPONSE TO NANCY SUMMERS

LARA SMITH-SITTON

FALL 2014

The purpose for the reading response paper was for students to read and articulate an article from the course text in connection to class discussions and pedagogical analysis. In my short, reflective essay I address the content in “Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers” by Nancy Sommers. The author’s theory is that students do not know how to properly revise because they take on linear approaches of revision, such as simple word replacement. Sommers further analyzes her theory in a case study with student and professional writers, where she contrasts the different editing techniques the two groups use to revise.

Reading the case study made me consider my own perspective, knowledge, and ideas for application of Sommers’ theory. I learned that in order for students to become better writers we have to commit to precise, full revision, and therefore, revise with “complex understanding” of the language of our texts. Writing this reading response gave me the opportunity to discover a practice for Sommers’ theory. My practice requires that student writers, including myself, place less focus on revising as a simple strategy (replacement of words) and more on breaking down their papers, piece by piece, to closely examine the content of our writing. I learned that the best way to become a better writer is to revise over and over again, examining the text entirely, until the argument is developed effectively.

Untitled

CONTINUING THE LADDER TO ACADEMIC WRITING SUCCESS

Developing into a “good” writer has taken time, perseverance, practice, and understanding. Good writing has one purpose and that is to get readers to concentrate in on what the rhetorical situation is doing: arguing, summarizing, persuading, informing, conducting research, or posing a problem and solution. One significant element I have learned and found to be highly crucial to the writing process is style. It is a handy component that applies to the way we express ourselves in critical thinking through writing, in manner and context. These six assignments relate to my growth as a writer, for they have made it possible for me to determine when, where, why, and how the levels of style fit into my own writing.

My experiences as a Rhetoric and Composition English major will shape my writing in the near future; I will remember to constantly ask myself, in the writing process (specifically during revision), what I need to add, delete, or change in my language as a whole to create and maintain a static flow, form, balance, and rhythm that is clearly communicated to my intended audience. Each of my Rhetoric and Composition professors helped me tremendously in developing my analytical, research, and rhetorical skills.

As a result of the reading and analyzing professional texts, constructing my own compositions, and editing and revising, I have grown as a writer through the repeated practiced of using all forms of argument. Understanding visual rhetoric has taught me how graphical elements can effect audience emotions, both negatively and positively, depending on the purpose of the argument. Analyzing texts, in terms of rhetoric, has made me more conscious of what I put on paper, and as a result I can express my thoughts clearly, through the use of ethos, pathos, and logos, to ultimately produce a strong argument that precisely illustrates exactly what it is I am arguing. Although there is always room for improvement, I can honestly say that I have become a stronger writer and I know what it means to identify/create “good” writing. It is truly an honor to have completed the English program at Georgia State University as a proud Rhetoric and Composition concentration.

Locate these images:

Ladder to Success

Critical Thinking Skills

Email

Coca-Cola Enterprises

Friday Night Lights

Visual Rhetoric

Revise 

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