At the beginning of this semester, I wished that I’d completed English 100 during my undergrad—certain skills would have come in handy while completing my B.F.A. But now, I am glad to have taken this course as a mature student. My life experiences influence my writing, and since graduating from post-secondary a lot has changed. New experiences through travel, relationships, and work impact what I create. This quote from Kathleen Blake Yancey’s On Reflection, speaks to my transition: “reflection here is used, of course, in a way consonant with the times: as a mode of behavior indicative of growth of consciousness” (4).
Over this semester a new growth started to happen for me—English class stopped being a chore and became a new way of expressing myself. Living with my learning disabilities has been a constant struggle, but a new acceptance has enabled me to have a better understanding of the methods needed to succeed in my education. Along with this acknowledgment, two aspects which helped to alter my attitude towards English were the reflections and involvement in team-based learning environments. As redundant as it sounds, I’d like to reflect on the reflections. I’ve never been asked to provide feedback on my own learning, but now it feels necessary to make meaningful connections after completing an assignment. The post-writes create a full circle: an educator provides students with the tools to assist them through a project, but once submitted, the act of learning is not complete, as one reflects on how the new skills manifest in other regards. The most notable skills I gained during this semester are the use of ‘I’ in my writing and accurately composing my opinions to enter into a conversation of what ‘they say.’ I will begin a new chapter in my education while pursuing my goal of becoming an elementary teacher and I will continue to utilize these lessons moving forward.
Alongside the writing strategies component of English 100, I was also fortunate to be simultaneously learning a new mode of teaching. My involvement in a team-based learning (TBL) structure opened my eyes to the potential of peer cooperation and the positive effects it has within the classroom setting. Not only did I witness myself learning more efficiently but also those around me. The traditional role of the student is still present; however, a new element arises: the act of thinking critically, which tends to fall away during a teacher-led lecture. Within our TBL classroom, our minds were not just copying information but utilizing new knowledge to connect it with our experiences and then sharing with those around us.
I feel elated and fortunate after completing this course—fortunate because I was able to gain not only new writing skills but also have an introduction to the power of TBL. And elated because I feel like I’m getting it—’it’ being writing. For the first time in my life, I’m excited to express myself in a mode different from photography or painting—for the first time in my life, I am excited to write.
nainital by kyra power