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My first introduction to writing was from my mother. She liked writing and English was her favorite subject. She got me into writing because she always said that talking about how you think and feel is difficult. Writing, she said, allows us the time and platform to better express these thoughts and feelings. I remembered the first diary I wrote in as a child and how the entries were about my day and looking back I realized that it helped me understand myself and my emotion and thoughts.
Recently, I have noticed that individuals have a different relationship and connection to writing, and the English language. For my collaborative project, the legalization of euthanasia, I had a group member whose first language is not English and I had to help her understand her part of the project. I helped give her ideas and as a result, it helped me understand the subject more since I had to explain the topic in a way for her to understand. I remembered her blank look as I tried to explain a form of euthanasia and I had to reword my explanation. She made me acknowledge that some people in my audience need a certain level of explanation and word choice to fully understand the subject of euthanasia. I am an expert of the subject and my audience is not. On the other hand, the same group member offered an organization of the project that flowed better and eliminated the information that didn’t help in the comprehension of the subject. Thus, our linguistic differences and understanding improved and developed our project.
Throughout my high school years, there were many teachers who used to pester me about note taking when reading an assignment. For me it was difficult to note take because I could never summarize the text easily. For me every detail is important and the summarization ends up being the text reworded and shortened. I learned that not every word in the text should be nitpicked at (unless they’re Shakespeare) but word choice is important in a text. This understanding was re-established when in this class, the article “Technology, Economy And Global Warming: What We Can Do To Change Things” by Enrique Dans was assigned to be annotated. Professor Coppola drew our attention to the fact that this article is an opinion editorial which established the tone and word choice. For example, the tone is convincing during the discussion and very opinionated, evident in word use like “pseudo-scientific idiots”. The fact that the article is an opinion editorial had a role in developing the article such as influencing the word choice. When annotating two of my sources for my inquiry based reach paper, I took into account what type of papers they are. To illustrate, in the “Ethics and the Legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide: An American College of Physicians Position Paper”, I took into account that it’s a position and the paper will be focused on convincing the audience their point and position in the subject on physician-assisted suicide. Thus, when reading I have the strategy to understand the purpose of the writing and to pay attention to the word choice.
negotiate your own writing goals and audience expectations regarding conventions of genre, medium, and rhetorical situation
For my collaborative project it developed my understanding of how audience expectations and the form of medium will influence what you write. To demonstrate, my group understood that our audience wouldn’t be an expert on the topic of euthanasia, however since we were giving a powerpoint in the solution of the legalization, we understood that we should be not be too focused on explaining what euthanasia is and the case studies. That was one of our first edition on the legalization of euthanasia paper. We focused too much on the case studies and didn’t developed the policy. To add on, when transferring the information into a powerpoint, we had to develop bullet points since we understood that in a powerpoint presentation, the main idea should be shown and explained orally and not in writing. If we had too much information on the slide then our audience will be less interested from the huge amount of information presented in one slide. It’s off putting. It was the same information, the powerpoint and the paper but it needed to be presented differently.
In this class, there was a lot of peer review and it helped in developing my writing. For example, in my “Is physician-assisted suicide ethical?” paper, the person who peer reviewed said to establish the duties of physicians and cite the ethics in medicine. The advice made sense and helped me with my essay. I was struck because I didn’t know how to develop my essay further from my first attempt. She helped me find out what I was missing in my essay and with her help I completed my final draft and improved upon my mistakes in my first draft. She changed the way I feel about writing because I know that if I am stuck I can rely on someone for help.
In my technical description of a tomato plant, I used a diagram of a tomato plant to give the reader a visual aid when reading the description of plant. In fact, when composing the pice, especially the part about the leaves I was confused as to what parts of the leaves connect to where and the names of it. That’s why I included another diagram dedicated especially to the leaf terminology. I learned that adding a visual aided in the display of knowledge. For my technical description, the goal was to describe the tomato plant and the visuals aided in the purpose of the writing.
I have not achieved the ability to formulate and articulate a stance through and in my writing. I could never be able to fully articulate my thoughts and argue. This is evident especially in my research paper where I know I could have built a better position and argument.
For my research essay, “Is physician-assisted suicide ethical?” I had to locate research sources to investigate this controversy. I used Google Scholar and I explored the CCNY databases. Before coming to this writing for science class I already knew that sources used in writing, especially in research based writing, needed to be credible and the ways to check for a source’s credibility. You have to check the author, publication and time. To demonstrate, the idea that when you are writing you should know your audience. Your writing style will differ when writing to different people. As an illustration, when writing an email you use more sophisticated terms than when you are texting someone. You abbreviate words and phases but you aren’t going to use them in a research paper. Thus, the audience must be taken into account when writing and the genre of the writing. Texting and emailing are different ways of writing in which how you write varies. I knew about the key points of some of the concepts of a rhetorical situation. The research based essay forced me to consider the rhetorical situation of my sources and in return I appreciated how the genre, stance and purpose influence a source. The purpose of the author makes what the audience will get out of the writing. The purpose of writing also needs to be considered because information could be left out or modified to suit the author’s needs. Terms like biased comes to mind. Would the information differ in how its written and some will be left out to support the writer’s stance on the subject. Information is never unfiltered when delivered by us humans. In the beginning, I just wrote off the cuff, putting my thoughts into paper since it was how I was introduced to writing in the first place. Writing is the framework of our communication. We are encountered with writing everyday of our lives, and we don’t even know how much we use consideration rhetorical situation. In conclusion, I learned and built a lot from this class. I developed strategies for advancing my writing. I learned you can have friends and other individuals to help you. I understand more deeply that writing can take different forms and as a writer you should take rhetorical situation into account. These skills will help me in the future where I have to write scientific papers. Academically and personally, I have developed from these assignments.