Learning Reflection

*Revised on June 16, 2015
I believe that my strengths as a writer are my:

  • Vocabulary
  • Proper grammar and punctuation
  • Thorough explanations
  • Organized thoughts

I believe that these attributes showcased in my posts Romeo and Juliet Act II Scene II – Compare and Contrast (https://kbryant7537.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/05/03/romeo-and-juliet-act-ii-scene-ii-compare-and-contrast/) and Existentialism (https://kbryant7537.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/05/31/existentialism/). I think that, in both posts, my vocabulary is intellectual, yet understandable and fitting of the topic. My grammar and punctuation is likely my best writing quality because it is what I feel I am best at when it comes to writing, and I would hope that that shows in my written works. I can sometimes have very complicated thought processes, but I think I am good enough at explaining them thoroughly so that they can makes sense to readers. I would also like to think of myself as an organized writer, in the way that I like to keep my thoughts as organized and formatted as I can make them.
I believe that some of my weaknesses as a writer are my:

  • Overuse of transitions
  • Inability to step outside of my comfort zone
  • Making things unnecessarily complicated
  • Writing run-on sentences
  • Unawareness of repeating diction

Posts of mine that I feel demonstrate these qualities are Are Humans Inherently Evil? (https://kbryant7537.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/02/17/are-humans-inherently-evil/)  and The Gathering Conflict Analysis (https://kbryant7537.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/06/13/the-gathering-conflict-analysis/ [not an actual blog post, I know, but I felt it showcased these some of these qualities more than some of my other writing pieces]). I feel as if I overuse transition words. They are important in written pieces but there is a line and I feel like I cross it a lot. Also, I am not a creative person, so, unless required, I do not write creatively. My writing is based off of facts and research, but nothing more. I know I will need to be able to write creatively in the future, but if I can, I avoid it at all costs; this isn’t going to make anything easier. I also tend to add things into my work that don’t necessarily need to be there (words, phrases, punctuation, etc.), which can sometimes come across as trying to hard whilst still not making complete sense, or just rambling on for no reason. Another thing I need to watch out for is repeating diction. I repeat words or phrases constantly when trying to explain things, which can make a written piece seem dull and repetitive.

In terms of my own progression throughout the course, I’d say I have a better knowledge of format now. If you compare my news report post ( Man Warned After Thumb Biting Incidenthttps://kbryant7537.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/03/30/man-warned-after-thumb-biting-incident-2/) to my recently written conflict essay about the book The Gathering (see above for link), even though the formatting styles for a news report and an essay are very different, you can clearly see how my attention to detail in terms of the format as greatly improved. Also, my integration of media into my posts has greatly improved. If you compare my first post of the year (Are Humans Inherently Evil? see above for the link) to a post written a couple months later (e.g. Gender, Pronouns, Orientations, etc.https://kbryant7537.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/04/19/gender-pronouns-orientations-etc/), I have really improved on my usage of media to back up or further explain my topics.

Before writing, I usually try to make sure I know what all of my points of explanation and my points of proof are so I can properly explain them, and also not forget any important points. It also helps to write down some more specific points if you have a really good idea so you don’t forget the word choice or main idea of your point. Whilst writing, I find it helpful to read some similar examples to give myself a general idea of what to do (whether it’s format/structure or content). After I write, I have recently been letting other people read my work and give me feedback, which has really been helping as it is hard for me to catch many of my own mistakes. I still feel very uncomfortable and anxious about letting other people view my work, but it has been helping me in the long run, so I suppose it’s a compromise. In order to become a better writer, I think I would have to overcome my fears of experimenting and show more confidence in my writing. However, I doubt that is something I can accomplish, at least for now, so the level that I’m at right now has to be enough until I’m at a point where I can comfortably move on.

For me, it is difficult to pinpoint certain strengths or weaknesses in reading, as I do not consider myself a very good reader. I am a very good proofreader, and I am decent at researching, but when it comes to just reading and analyzing a text, I find that I don’t ask myself questions concerning the text, or, I at least don’t realise that/when I do. I’ve always heard teachers preach about asking questions during a text, and I’ve never considered that something I can do; I’m not sure exactly what other strengths or weaknesses there are. I kind of feel like I’m failing the only requirement. I realise that there are more things to a good reader than that, I suppose, but I feel like if I don’t meet the minimum, than I probably can’t do any of the other things. For examples of things that demonstrate my proofreading skills as of late, you can read Brianna Griffith’s posts In a New World (http://bgriffit5407.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/04/19/in-a-new-world-blogger-of-the-week-post/), Year Reflection part 2 (http://bgriffit5407.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/06/07/year-reflection-part-two/), Education Abomination (http://bgriffit5407.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/06/07/re-edited-5-paragraph-essay-education-abomination/), and Blogger of the Week Reflection (http://bgriffit5407.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/06/07/blogger-of-the-week-reflection/). Also, I proofread the literary essays of Nilsu and Sebastian, although I do not have a link to either of those. Good examples of my research skills are my Anxiety Attacks vs. Nervous Breakdowns vs. Panic Attacks part 2 and part 3 posts (part 2: https://kbryant7537.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/05/13/anxiety-attacks-vs-nervous-breakdowns-vs-panic-attacks-part-2-causes-and-symptoms/ part 3: https://kbryant7537.commons.hwdsb.on.ca/2015/05/17/anxiety-attacks-vs-nervous-breakdowns-vs-panic-attacks-part-3-help/).

I don’t particularly use any certain strategies while reading unless I’m looking for something specific in the text, then, I would read through and make notes of any information I might need. However, when I’m just analyzing a text for what it is, I’m not sure of any strategies I use, I’m unsure if I use any at all. In order to become a better reader, I need to learn how to properly analyze a text; I need to know what to look for, what questions to ask, what aspects to question, etc. I am unsure as to how I would go about learning that, though.

I would say that I do not have strengths in the field of using media to compliment my text yet, as I have still barely gotten used to the idea or the practice. My weakness initially was just actually using the media. I was really opposed to the idea at the beginning of the course, as I was uncomfortable with it. However, when I realised I was failing the AP standards of the class, I considered that the lack of media in my work could be a contributing factor, and since I didn’t want to fail the class, I did what was necessary. After I started trying to explore using media in my writing, it did make my writing appear more visually interesting, and sometimes helped explain points I was trying to get across. I can now appreciate how using media can enhance the written word, where it is appropriate. Some examples of my better attempts at using media in my posts are Gender, Pronouns, Orientations, etc. and Existentialism (see above for both links). In both of these posts, I use a variety of photos and videos to further explain my initial point.

I would like to think that I am a good listener. If I am invested in the conversation, I will try to make eye contact when the other person is talking, and nod along to what they’re saying, indicating that they have my full attention. I’d say that my main struggle is that sometimes when I’m trying to listen to someone, what they say won’t quite register, and I will miss out on a lot of what they were saying, even if I was trying to listen. If this is something I can get over, I am currently unsure of how to do that. I find that, when having a conversation, it helps to look at the person who is speaking, specifically their eyes and/or mouth. This way, you are registering what they are saying and the emotion that they are displaying while they are talking.

As for actually speaking in class, I’d say I’m being modest when I say it was pitiful. In in-class discussions, I probably raised my hand about 3 times, total. Honestly, part of me feels like that was too much and I should have just stayed out of it, because I don’t feel like a particularly added anything to the conversation. I only ever really spoke when I absolutely needed to. Even a lot of the times when I’ve had questions, I’ve either gotten someone else to ask them, or I just haven’t done anything. The two times when I have actually had to speak in class both went horribly; lots of stuttering and anxiety and not being able to explain myself the way I wanted to. Keeping all of that in mind, I would say that I do not have any proper oral skills. In terms speaking, I do not think I have any strategies. I worry about doing, I mess up what I’m saying, and then I worry about it again after. I have not found any specific things that help with this yet, but this has been happening for years, so I am unsure of what I could do to fix myself properly.

To be successful in grade 11, I feel as if there are four things I need to try to improve on the most:

  • Stepping outside my comfort zone

This goes for all areas of my work; writing, reading, speaking. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that make me uncomfortable, which means that my comfort zone is very small. In order to demonstrate my full potential in the future, I will need to maybe not step out of my comfort zone, but at least broaden my levels of comfort.

  • Realising my own mistakes

I am very good at recognizing other people’s mistakes, but I still need a lot of improvement in being able to notice my own mistakes. I think this applies to many people, but I do believe that I should try to improve this area of my writing.

  • Asking questions when I read

Doing this will help my overall understanding of whatever text I read, and it is a transferable skill that I will be able to apply to any sort of reading I do in the future. This is the main reading skill that I am lacking, so I feel as if learning to do this will do nothing but improve my reading, and possibly my writing as well.

  • Asking for help

I have recently been doing this a lot more than I usually would because the fear of being unsuccessful outweighs the fear of asking for help, but I still don’t do it nearly as much as I could to perform better in my classes. I need to accept that there is nothing wrong with needing help, and that asking for assistance will only improve my work.


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