In the contemporary world, effective communication is vital to accomplish many tasks in corporate, academic, and social spheres. Thus, I considered 004R Reading/Writing/Grammar as one of the essential courses. In this class, I have learned how thematically to read texts to ensure I understand what the author intended to pass across. Additionally, I have become more organized during the prewrite-up, draft, revision, and edition of my work. I am now oriented to different rhetorical modes, including compare and contrast, course and effect, argument, and description. During the grammar lessons, I garnered knowledge on the correct use of clauses, speech, tense, and the use of participle phrases and adjectives. Expectedly, there were many mistakes which and have now understood. As stated by Veine et al. (2020), reviewing past works enhances knowledge acquisition through the transformation of experience. This essay aims to provide a comprehensive reflection on some of the assignments by focusing on the areas that I can enhance.
Outcomes on the Descriptive Summary
The focus of this assignment was to communicate the ideas of Graff’s Hidden Intellectualism in a way that paints the picture presented by the author. Consequently, I needed to read the article several times to understand its overall context and explain it in a summative form. The intention is that by reading the precis, an individual can fully grasp what the author of the original is conveying. Reading and understanding are, thus, necessary skills when writing a description. Texts that use difficult vocabularies and complex sentences are the most challenging and time-consuming when describing. I felt that the article was one of those but still managed to register some improvements.
One of the mistakes I did in this assignment was failing to correctly portray the intention of my essay. Specifically, rather than stating that the paper will describe Graff’s write-up, I picked a few items and focused on them. Resultantly, my initial presentation did not comprehensively capture what the author was writing about. I have now made improvements in indicating the thesis of my essay. For example, I made corrections in writing the aim of the study by stating that the focus of the essay was to summarize Graff’s article. This is a significant advancement since the first paragraph always guides the entire paper. Knowing how to structure and communicate the intention of a written task makes the reader quickly grasps how ideas are connected.
Another area of improvement was the use of correct grammar and spelling. In their book, Israel and Duffy (2017) state that the correct linguistic presentation of phonology is essential for readers to be able to comprehend a text. When writing my assignment, I made several mistakes, which made it difficult to grasp some of the ideas that I was presenting. For example, in the first paragraph, I omitted the word “which” and misspelled the word “weigh.” Such simple mistakes interfere with the transition from one sentence to the next. I also had issues in selecting the right phrase to use in my essay.
For instance, while attempting to define the term “street smart” as presented by the author, I chose the wrong phrases and ended up communicating the wrong message. Specifically, the intention was to state that students that are considered not very capable in their academics can analyze life events. I ended up stating that being a bad pupil makes it possible to comprehend practical ideas. Most of my mistakes were spellings, misapplication of phrases, and inability to effectively describe the key points in Graff’s paper.
I was able to revise as per the instructor’s recommendations, which resulted in considerable improvement from the initial version. While rewriting the paper, I noticed that my most significant error was failing to proofread my write-up before submission for marking. The experience made me appreciate the relevance of editing a paper before submission. I do not like reading what I have written because I always assume that I did a great job at my first trial. However, the rigor applied in assessing the essay revealed that I was ignorant. In the future, no matter how well I believe I did a task, I will always take some time to read through it and ensure it is error-free.
Project management in the time of Covid-19
In writing this paper, I had to research and understand the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic and how it can be mitigated in healthcare facilities. The write-up was intended to use evidence from different sources to discuss and inform how the management of Coronavirus can be achieved. Notably, when writing research, Wallwork (2016) suggests that the student should first identify a gap that needs to be addressed. I observed that since the measures for the management of the Covid 19 are in place, practical implementation has not been easy that predisposes medics and other people to be infected. However, there are several mistakes that I made which require improvements.
First, my introduction was not as comprehensive and organized as expected. I only wrote three complex sentences highlighting the issues of interest in the essay. The other mistake that I made in the first paragraph is the low use of punctuation marks. For example, the last line was “However, the complexity and scope of the existing tasks precondition the need for instruments, tools, and technological support that would help managers to improve the functioning of the healthcare facilities and make them more capable of resisting dangers preconditioned by the coronavirus.” I used a total of 42 words without placing any period. The implication is that it was difficult to derive meaning from it. I think splitting the sentence into two will be a significant improvement.
In the first part, I can state “Complexity and scope of the existing tasks precondition the need for instruments, tools, and technological support that would help managers to improve the functioning of the healthcare facilities.” Then the other will be paraphrased to: “This will result in enhanced capabilities of resisting dangers preconditioned by the coronavirus.” The corrections make the paper easy to read and understand. The mistakes in writing an introduction are common since it is perceived as incidental to the research (Wallwork, 2016). Nonetheless, correct formatting at the beginning of the paper gives a strong start for the body and conclusion; hence, the need to be keen on its perfection.
This class enabled me to understand how to conclude references. However, while writing my paper, there are several paragraphs in which I did not provide in-text citations after paraphrasing from outside sources. For example, I wrote that “the existence of the given gap means that little attention is devoted to how technologies can help to resolve problems…” This was a conclusion drawn from one of the references, but I failed to credit it as a borrowed idea. Now I realize that coping with other texts without acknowledgment can result in plagiarism. In revising the project, I tried to integrate concepts from different papers to differentiate between the facts and assumptions. Additionally, by comparing and contrasting the findings of multiple authors I was able to get the opinions of many authors on the topic. The literature analysis is one of the most cumbersome but necessary steps especially in writing the topic.
Furthermore, when writing, it is important to ensure the coherence of the ideas from the introduction to the final remarks. When I was drafting my Project Management in The Time of Covid-19 assignment I failed to use transition words. The result is that there was no coherence of ideas making it hard to understand how each sentence unified the paragraph in supporting the purpose of the research. I have made some revisions to make the work more organized.
Time Writing 3 and Time Writing 4 (TWP 3)
The TWP 3 was probably the best assignment for me because I have always loved debates. The contention was whether modern technologies can replace traditional learning. I was convinced that the latter could not be replaced no matter the advancement in online learning. My introduction provided the thesis statement to orient the reader on the direction of the paper. In the consecutive paragraphs, I structured the paper coherently using transition words such as firstly, secondly, lastly, and to sum up. I also used specific examples which are relevant to the topic. Any person reviewing the assignment would be able to tell how each of the supportive claims strengthens the overall objective. I supported the motion mainly because I believe that children are more flexible to adapt and learn a new language compared to adults.
However, I did several mistakes in the first draft and tried to adjust in the final submission. I realized that there are still some errors that I make in sentence construction. For example, in the first paragraph, I wrote “some things” rather than “some things.” Expressing my thoughts in a compound sentence also proved to be a challenge. For example, I wrote, “In the virtual world, students with a poor internet connection can join a class without a webcam and can be less attentive due to technical difficulties.” I later realized that this sentence was not clear. I meant that there are regions that do not have an internet connection yet. The children can still learn in such remote places because traditional classrooms do not require an internet connection.
In addition, grammatical and punctuation issues were present in the essay. I firmly believe that most of these errors could be corrected by reviewing the paper before final submission. In some cases, I forgot to insert a comma, while in others, I used the wrong preposition. Additionally, I tend to wrongly group words that are not related together. For example, I used the phrase “forming clubs and play.” The continuous verb “forming” can be used with clubs but is inappropriate for the verb play.
Similarly, time writing 4 was an argumentative essay on the debate of children beginning to learn a new language as soon as they start school. With increased global and multicultural interactions, this topic is needed in the contemporary world. The issue has strong points for both opposers and the proposers depending on the person’s persuasiveness in presenting their premises. I provided a compressive introduction stating my primary claim and some initial arguments for it.
Clarifying my argument in written text continues to be a major challenge due to the wrong choice of words. For example, in this argumentative essay, one of my arguments was that “children have features that are suitable to learn a foreign language.” The word “features” appears to be contradictory when describing the unique characteristics of pupils. The definition of this word as per the Oxford dictionary is “a distinctive attribute or aspect of something” (Oxford University Press, 1989). Based on this elaboration, the word should be used about inanimate things. I now understand that the choice of vocabulary that I used is not appropriate. Consequently, I am motivated to expand the English terms and their synonyms so that I can apply the most appropriate words in my essays in the future.
A major drawback, as analyzed from all the submitted assignments, is the poor use of punctuation. Some of the sentences that I used to have more than 40 words. An example of a complex sentence that I used in TWP4 to summarize my argument. The sentence reads, “In conclusion, learning a foreign language as soon as children start school has many benefits as they have more time to practice, an astounding ability to learn, and are suitable to learn a foreign language.” As I reviewed this text, I thought that using more straightforward sentences where applicable makes the narration flow easily. In this case, I could place a period after the word ‘benefits.’ Next, I can rephrase the remaining phrase to become a separate sentence that provides a rationale for learning foreign languages as children. To correct this weakness, I will have to practice writing compositions and applying the correct punctuation.
Another weakness that is apparent in my papers is the wrong combination or contrast of phrases inappropriately. For instance, when writing The Descriptive Summary, I used the phrase “provides the solution to the problem of misunderstanding between school teachers and “street smarts.” Notably, I wrongly compared humans and abilities, which is not proper. I should have written and “intellectualism” because both words are used about human capacities. I think that this is a weakness incomprehension of the paraphrased articles. For instance, I was summarizing Graff’s article, which was a long read with many ideas. After reading the article the first time, I only grasped a few ideas that the author was communicating. I had to read several times to improve the second draft and ensure the proper combination of words.
Furthermore, reading some texts is a major challenge that I have because I tend to skim through the work. The result is that I fail to comprehend all the ideas that are provided in the paper. In this class, I have learned the significance of understanding what an author is communicating. To be interested in reading a text, it is valuable first to know the writer and the purpose. Making some short notes while reading also helps to keep track of each point. For example, in the assignment that required a description of Graff’s paper, I read everything at once without jotting some of his ideas. When providing the summary, I could hardly remember what the article was advocating. Having a positive attitude is essential since it is through scrutinizing sources that a person can garner the message and improve comprehension.
The tone is an important consideration when writing since the target audience differs. According to Wallwork (2016), academic writing should be formal, just as the messages used to incorporate. For example, throughout the assignments, I used words such as don’t and can’t. In as much as such abbreviations are correct, they make my paper appear informal. In the future, I will use full spelling, including “do not” and “cannot,” to enhance my writing. Besides, I learned in this class that tenses are important when utilizing such compound modals. To further enhance the quality of the write-up, it is important to use evidence from past studies. In the project management assignment, I used some sources and provided the correct in-text and a bibliography list. The result is that the paper appeared more scholarly and presentable.
Additionally, the weakness that I have noted in my assignments is that my vocabulary is still limited. I used simple phrases to dispel my ideas. For example, in the descriptive summary, I wrote: “how to make an argument, weigh different kinds of evidence.” The word “weight” is inappropriately used in this context. I still do not use clauses appropriately in the sentence. For example, in WTP3 and WTP4, which were both argumentative essays using contrast adverbial clauses would have been appropriate. For instance, in defending my stance on introducing a foreign language to children, I could argue: Whereas children are flexible and adaptive to change, adults are rigid. In the future, I plan to use more variety of phrases that are appropriate for the context.
Finally, I failed to provide more details to support the topic sentence, especially in the timed assignments. The paragraphs had an average of 55 words and four sentences, which indicates that the ideas were not elaborated. I need to read widely to enhance my grasp of a topic so that I will have more defense for my hypothesis. In the future, I will do more research before taking a stance that is supported by the most evidence. Furthermore, in argumentative essays, I will ensure that I have information on the major counterarguments to provide a rebuttal and reinforce my premise.
Writing this reflection has enabled me to appreciate further the knowledge garnered from this class on writing, reading, and grammar. The four assignments had specific instructions which helped me to understand a variety of rhetorical modes. The descriptive summary enhanced my reading and comprehension skills. It also exposed my weaknesses in editing, structuring, and use of the correct vocabulary. The task of project management was significant in learning how to review literature, use correct punctuation, and synthesize different sources to provide recommendations for an existing research gap. However, it also highlighted my shortcomings in structuring sentences and transitioning into paragraphs. Whereas TWP 3 and 4 were instrumental in understanding argumentative competencies, it showed me that I need to improve in writing formal texts and providing more details. I plan to continue using the skills from this unit to further advance my skills, especially in areas that I have weaknesses.
Israel, S. E., & Duffy, G. G. (2017). Handbook of research on reading comprehension. The Guilford Press.
Oxford University Press. (1989). Features. In The Oxford English dictionary. Clarendon Press.
Veine, S., Anderson, M. K., Andersen, N. H., Espenes, T. C., Søyland, T. B., Wallin, P., & Reams, J. (2020). Reflection as a core student learning activity in higher education- Insights from nearly two decades of academic development. International Journal for Academic Development, 25(2), 147-161.
Wallwork, A. (2016). English for writing research papers. Springer International Publishing.