I think everyone has had the experience of memorizing something for a test and immediately forgetting the information as soon as the test is over. Learning information solely for a test is not beneficial in the long-run. Nonetheless, people still cram information only to forget the next day. As professors, it is important to help students learn, rather than memorize. While memorization is only beneficial for a brief period, “understanding enables us to make connections between something that we’ve learned in the classroom and actually put it to use once we leave the door” (Chang 4). This is not just an important factor for subjects with tests, either. Even professors who teach English need to enforce learning, rather than memorizing. Students should be able to comprehend research skills, how to structure sentences, and how to form a thesis. Thus, it is imperative for students to understand the reasoning behind certain aspects writing, such as citations, grammar, analysis, and research. If they are just doing things because the assignment sheet told them to, it is not likely that these skills will stay with them into their next course, and as other posts have discussed, writing is prevalent even after composition courses are over. Tinberg reiterates, “we also want our students to demonstrate consciousness of process that will enable them to reproduce success” (75). It is important to emphasize how learning these skills will be beneficial throughout their college career and life.
A huge part of the writing process and improving is reflecting. There is so much that can be said in a reflective essay. As a tutor, I was asked the same question about reflections every time a student came in with a reflection essay, “but what should I even write about?” Taczak notes that “writers think reflection only means considering how they feel about their writing” (79). While writers can (and should) reflect on how they feel, there are many other aspects of reflective essays, as well. Students can write about how they feel they did, evaluate how they did, discuss future goals, and provide examples from their papers. It is through reflection that “writers develop and improve” (Taczak 78). This gives them a chance to think critically about their research tactics and papers. Reflecting is a great way for people to “entrench” (“solidify”) the knowledge, so people can utilize the skills in future papers and projects (Anson 77). Reflective essays can help students better understand what they do well and what they need to work on in the future. Below is a very brief (because everyone likes brief) video on reflective essays.
It is easier said than done to put items into our memory forever, rather than just for a day or even a class. Does anyone have any tips on how to encourage the understanding of writing tactics, rather than just the regurgitation of them? Also, how do you all feel about reflections? I love writing them, but the reaction to these papers can differ greatly.
- Anson, Chris M. “Habituated Practice Can Lead to Entertainment.” Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, Classroom Edition. Ed. Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle, Utah State University Press, 2016, 77-78.
- Chang, Willie. “Memorizing vs Learning: Is there a Difference?” The Prospect, 6 February 2015, http://www.theprospect.net/memorizing-versus-learning-is-there-a-difference-38027.
- Orlin, Ben. “When Memorization Gets in the Way of Learning” The Atlantic, 9 September 2013, https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/09/when-memorization-gets-in-the-way-of-learning/279425/.
- Taczak, Kara. “Reflection is Critical for Writers’ Development” Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, Classroom Edition. Ed. Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle, Utah State University Press, 2016, 78-79.
- Tinberg, Howard. “Metacognition is Not Cognition” Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, Classroom Edition. Ed. Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle, Utah State University Press, 2016, 75-76.
- “What Benefits Might Reflective Writing Have for My Students?” WAC Clearinghouse, September 2019 https://wac.colostate.edu/resources/wac/intro/reflect/.First and “Death Bed” Editions. Ed. George Stade and Karen Karbinger, Barnes and Noble Classics, 2004, 190-251.
- vccbaking. “Reflective Writing- A Very Brief Writing.” YouTube, 26 February 2013 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1xkFgHAWD0 Accessed 26 September 2019.
- “12 Comma Rules for the Comma Obsessed” Scribendi, September 2019, https://www.scribendi.com/advice/comma_rules_for_the_comma_obsessed.en.html