When one thinks of writing, the first thing that comes to mind is taking a paper and scribbling something down, or simply taking a computer, opening the word document and typing the preferred message. However, as learned in the English 102 class, there is more to writing than holding a pen or typing. There is choosing a topic, researching it, analyzing the content, organizing ideas and, above all, knowing the right approach and content to apply in an area. The identification of the rhetorical contexts, as emphasized by the tutors, is not only beneficial to the writer in delivering the message, but it is also necessary to those assessing the same work. The purpose, audience, topic, writer and the writings are relevant to any work. Organization of ideas and their support, the use of appropriate conventions in writings, evaluation, sources integration, and use of documentation, use of feedback, use of one’s strengths and the use of the appropriate technologies is part of English 102 Competencies and Outcomes.
When writing Rhetorical Analysis and Rhetorical Fallacies (“Rhetorical analysis” 1-4 & “Rhetorical Fallacies” 1-5), I was able to realize how to comprehend and incorporate the rhetorical context when writing. For example, when writing about the rhetorical analysis, I was criticizing the work, “The Role of Religion in Public Life.” This work targeted the whole society, since religion is a prominent concept, if not one of the main concepts, in the society today. The purpose of the work was to enlighten the public on what role religion, especially Christianity, plays in America today. As a writer, I was able to use the work to bring awareness on the role of religion in the society by identifying its impact. I identified this by presenting facts, as opposed to supporting a religion or attacking it. Many people fail to talk about such topics avoiding the religious conflicts that constantly arise. I chose to talk about religion in order to break this social norm, and thus bring awareness to the reality of the topic. I attribute this confidence to this course since previously I was too naive to address a group of more than three people. I have now learned how to present my work to the audience effectively.
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On the other hand, the work on rhetorical fallacies was about Young Voters. Like the previous work, I addressed this topic by focusing on what a few writers have said about the same topic. Unlike the previous work, this work targeted the adults in the society who were capable of voting. Additionally, it targeted those interested in the political arena since this is the election/campaign period. As a writer, I built my topic using other people’s work in order to show that some issues related to this question are true while others are not. In order to show that they are not true, I was able to present my facts. Using this method is only one way of coming up with the ideas. One can use other ways too. The political implications of this work align in bringing awareness to the politicians and the voters/public. Both became aware of the prevailing political situation. My audience had confidence in me, as I had quoted popular political analysts. This is unlike my previous work which I used other writers work without recognizing them.
The audience is an important part of a writer (Wardle & Downs 49). This is what I have come to discover in this course. Previously, I never put the audience in mind when preparing my work. I just did it for my personal interest eliminating the audience who will be reading my work. I now write every sentence with the audience in my mind. I first analyze the potential audience to know the best approach to use. This includes the age, gender, religion, perspectives and cultural chains. I remember once I presented an article concerning circumcision to a group of women without researching on their culture. This was one year ago, and I had not benefited from this course. My audience took the article harshly and reacted negatively irrespective of my innocence as far as their culture was concerned. Today, I don’t find myself in such a situations as I know what to offer for a particular audience.
Audience participation enhances their concentration, and ultimately their understanding (Greene, Stuart, & Lidinsky 27). This course has enlightened me on various methods of dealing with the audience. Formerly, I wondered why my audience was not active even when I had an interesting topic. Little did I know that I have to initiate their participation and capture their attention from the word go. I nowadays use an enticing introduction which makes every reader interested to follow the rest of the work. I have to ensure my work has a clear thesis which I fulfill in the work. Additionally, I use imagery and symbolism to make the reader feel the issue as I intend. Rhetorical questions in the work allow the audience to think deeply. An interesting introduction which summarizes the work makes it easier for the audience to remember important points discussed. This is what I do after work to ensure my audience will keep remembering the deal.
Writing incorporates diligence and patience (McMahan 96). Before I took this class, I wrote about a topic, but I could have troubles organizing my ideas. My earlier tutors constantly told me that I had accomplished topics and ideas, but my main weakness was delivering the right content to support my ideas. In other instances, I would “overwrite”. This means that I incorporated a lot of ideas that were not clearly organized. This ended up as confusion for the audience. I am now able to organize my work appropriately. I can now pick a central idea and then support it, using other smaller points, thus creating cohesion and consistency. Going through my work helps me improve on my grammar and my diction. In most cases, other people help one to see his/her own mistakes. Giving my work to other people to proofread helps to improve on my mechanics, grammar and the diction of the work. The topic in question guides the tone of my work (Swales & Feak 144).
Sources are as crucial to work as any other component. The sources enable the work to incorporate facts and other perspectives arising from the topic. They also enable the researcher to identify the ethos, logos and pathos used in the work (“Rhetorical Analysis” 1-4). Although I was proficient at finding sources, I had trouble identifying the peer-reviewed sources from other sources. I did not differentiate primary sources from secondary sources. It is easy picking up printed sources, as compared to the electronic sources since there are many sources online. This class helped me differentiate the different types of sources. It also helped me to identify the main ideas/points in an author’s work. This enables me to compare with the other ideas/points in other authors’ works. I identified this skill in the Annotated Bibliography assignment (“Annotated Bibliography” 1-4).
When writing any work, one should credit other people’s works used (Wardle & Downs 63). I developed this skill by using the annotated bibliography. The annotated bibliography identified the main ideas in a work. One can cite the work when using these ideas in his/her work. In my works, I incorporated the ideas/facts and points brought forth by other authors by quoting, paraphrasing or summarizing these ideas. Before taking this class, I had trouble differentiating the diverse citation styles. However, this class enabled me to learn the appropriate citation and documentation style for work in question, thus upholding academic integrity. I usually use the MLA (Modern Language Association) academic style.
My main strength lies in accepting and analyzing the feedback received from those who read my work. These include my tutors, my peers and other personnel in my research area. Feedback allows one to correct the mistakes addressed, and it also helps to main the positive comments in the identified areas (Greene, Stuart, & Lidinsky 247). In order to develop and improve my work appropriately, I constantly ask for guidance and the assistance of my tutors, whether internal or external. I always appreciate those who help me become a perfect writer. This gives them the courage to guide me whenever I have a problem in writing. This is one of the reasons why my work progressively improves with each assignment.
As identified, my strengths are in creativity and criticism acceptance. I use the criticisms and the comments I receive to improve on my areas of weakness. Reading and doing more research constantly helps me to improve on my weaknesses since one cannot learn everything in class. Taking my tutors seriously and the comments made by my instructors help me to improve my work too. For example, the mistakes noted in my first assignments, such as constantly using missing the comma, do not occur in my later assignments. In order to identify the mistakes and incompetence in my work, the use of editing technologies is efficient. They include online checkups that enable one to identify grammatical mistakes and plagiarized content.
Passive voice has been a great weakness in my writing. It becomes hard to differentiate between active and passive language in writing. My tutors and peers have been trying to correct me after every now and then. However, I keep making the same mistake irrespective of my efforts to recognize the difference. I have researched about this and attended beginners class in my efforts to understand the secret behind the active voice. I have hopes that I will soon solve this puzzle. I understand the importance of using active voice in academic work (Graff, Gerald, & Birkenstein 161). This is why am working hard to correct this weakness.
In conclusion, writing involves more than just writing and typing. English 102 Competencies and Outcomes is one of the most important courses which help students to perfect their writing. I have understood the importance of the audience and how to treat each audience. I can now organize my ideas logically. Citation helps the writer to use other author’s writers and recognizing them, thus avoiding plagiarism which is a crime on its own. Feedback helps writers to identify their strengths and weaknesses. They then work towards correcting their weaknesses to be perfect in this field. This cause has really made me a wonderful writer.
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