Progressivism and Reflection: Two Sides of the Same Coin
During this semester I have addressed many topics I never expected to. Some of those topics have opened my eyes to folly of education while others have left me baffled at my own lack of understanding of what it means to be a writer. Throughout this semester I have realized that my limited view on writing has hindered my ability to grow in academia and further my intellectual conceptualization. Using big words together that have loose meanings is a great example of what I would have done in high school that I now realize does nothing but make me sound snobby and occasionally really stupid if the combination makes zero sense. Alongside a grander understanding of inquiry based writing I have also gained knowledge on a variety of topics in writing that have added to my repertoire. Going forward I believe many of the things learned thus far will be of great help to my success in my academic career and potentially my real career down the line.
This shows primarily when examining my first free write it becomes obvious that I have no idea how to handle freedom in writing. I wrote a very short, shoddily constructed ramble about grammar without a clear direction or end. This made for an awfully poor excuse of a free write that not only made me look lazy but also failed to meet my expectations as a writer. Another example of lackluster writing is my second free write where I talk about multiple literacies and standard tests. In that free write I had an idea of what I wanted to address but I let my need for facts stop me from relaying my true intentions and I ended up saying things I don’t entirely agree with. Alongside my inability to write to a topic or lack-thereof was my laziness. When I know I’m being graded for effort rather than content I tend to take a lackluster approach to a serious topic because I didn’t have set expectations which shows my lack of capability in writing without guidelines.
Since writing those free writes as a class we explored alternative writing styles that engage a prompt instead of relating to a topic. This more interactive approach to writing allows for more genuine discussion to be had and lends itself to meaningful debate that research papers couldn’t offer. Inquiry based writing has broadened my horizons as a writer and helped me form my own thoughts instead of bounces the ideas of others around until I met a set goal. Considering all that has come to pass in this semester I believe I am now able to apply what
I have learned to a multitude of topics and fields outside of this class. Hopefully I find some use for the intricate form of communication we are learning in this class in my main subject fields.
Speaking of which, the mathematical mindset I live by has influenced my writing greatly. I have been in a mathematical mindset for a long time. Math is a progressive, compounding field where little time is spent thinking back about your previous work. Every day something new is introduced that will probably be obsolete in the next class you take or even later that semester. Looking critically at my previous work isn’t something I’m familiar with nor something I feel comfortable doing. If I had to analyze previous work I’ve done in math I don’t think I could pick out defining moments or important factors that contributed to my growth as a mathematician. This has lead me to a few conclusions about my progress this semester.
First off, I don’t think I’ve grown much over this semester. I don’t have experience with the limiting factors most, if not every, other students had in their writing or at least I didn’t let it affect my ability to approach topics how I pleased. As a person I am not hardwired to reflect on my own work instead I plough forward learning what I can from the examples of others. That combined with my general dislike of the revisal and reviewing processes make me blind to my follies and inhibits my ability to learn from past mistakes. I want to be honest about this reflection and I truthfully don’t see any growth on my end, possibly because I’m bad at finding my own faults or possibly because I just haven’t made any improvements. I hope that I can compound my experience in this class with the feedback from papers such as this to improve myself not only as a writer but also as a person.
The next thing I realized was actually something positive about my writing style. When I write it is because I want to relay something to my audience or to better understand something myself. This ideal has gotten me to where I am with mediocre success and it has kept me interested in a subject I really dislike. However, the writing process observed in this class has made me reevaluate my opinion on writing as a whole and will hopefully be applicable to something I do in the future because I do enjoy challenging myself to bring substance to a piece as opposed to objective facts that anybody could google. I will move forward with a more open mindset that should allow me to blossom as an academic regardless of what field I am in.
Finally I came to the conclusion that in such a short span of time I have learned so many things about writing, even if I can’t see improvements I can use what I’ve learned to make improvements in the future. Being able to break away from writing stereotypes has been one of the most influential things I’ve discovered this semester and it makes me anxious to write about topics that I previously didn’t want to approach. Either because I didn’t think they could be addressed in the standard academic style or because they seemed dauntingly oppressive to force into a short sweet paper that could fit my previous notions on “good writing”. I see potential in myself that, without the blogs I’ve written and articles I’ve read this semester, I never expected. I genuinely want to improve myself through writing and I believe understanding this is the correct first step.