The Last Task
The final piece of work for your Portfolio is the Self-Reflective Statement required of all students in Composition II. It is a one-draft assignment that you will post directly into your Portfolio without feedback and without a rewrite.
Formal Explanation of the Self-Reflective Statement
Your Guide to the First-Year Writing Program devotes a very large section to a full description of the Self-Reflective Statement, its purpose, its goals, and methods for completing a successful Statement.
Core Values of the FYWP
The first week of class, we read and discussed the Core Values of the First-Year Writing Program, which form the basis for the Self-Reflective Statement. As you craft your Statements, refer to the following descriptions of the Core Values.
CORE VALUE 1
Writing is a practice that involves a multi-stage, recursive and social process.
Writing is a process that involves multiple stages and that does not always follow a linear path. In other words, we don’t read, write, and revise once and in that exact order; rather, we engage in a variety of activities at multiple points as we compose a piece of writing. These activities include but are not limited to reading, generating and discussing ideas, researching, drafting, reviewing and sharing our work, reflecting, and revising. Many of these activities require you to discuss your work with others—your peers, your instructor, and potentially people outside the class—to both give and receive feedback; in this way, writing is a social experience that depends on collaboration.
● You can demonstrate perseverance and openness in developing your ideas and writing across time.
● You can use reading and composing processes as a way to think, to discover, and to explore ideas, and you recognize this as a necessary writing practice.
● You can identify and use effective processes and appropriate resources in various writing situations.
● You can demonstrate responsiveness to readers’ feedback through reflection and revision.
● You can distinguish between local and global revision as a reader and a writer, and you practice these at appropriate points in the revision process.
● You are able to independently engage and apply the revision practices developed in CCI.
CORE VALUE 2
Close and critical reading/analysis is necessary for listening to and questioning texts, arriving at a thoughtful understanding of those texts, and joining the academic and/or public conversations represented by those texts.
Writers create texts to communicate ideas, and they make specific choices in their writing to achieve their goals, be it with words, images, sound, editing, or other elements. As readers, we must analyze these elements to determine the authors’ meanings. Readers engage with texts not only to understand their meanings and listen to other authors but also to question them. By engaging with multiple authors during the reading and writing processes, and by constructing relationships among texts, you will discover and create “conversations” to join by working with and adding to those authors’ ideas.
● You can read arguments closely to interpret and understand writers’ messages, and read arguments critically to evaluate, critique, and question those messages and how they are constructed.
● You can recognize or trace how ideas emerge and combine to create meaning in others’ arguments as well as your own.
● You can analyze and synthesize ideas across complex arguments, exploring issues or questions, so as to develop your own ideas and determine how to enter into and possibly expand existing conversations.
● You can read texts with a writerly eye so as to identify and evaluate rhetorical strategies and approaches as potential models in your own writing.
● You understand how popular, academic, and/or technical ideas can be communicated visually.
CORE VALUE 3
Writing is shaped by audience, purpose, and context.
Writing is an act of communication that involves an author writing for a purpose and for an audience in a specific context–these elements constitute the rhetorical situation. Taking the rhetorical situation into account helps you to analyze the choices and strategies of other authors, as well as to create effective texts of your own. Responding to the rhetorical situation includes considering audience expectations and the textual conventions associated with a situation or genre.
● You are familiar with and can identify argumentative and rhetorical elements and concepts, particularly those associated with civic, academic, and formal argumentation across a variety of texts–alphabetic, visual, print, and digital.
● You can identify and evaluate rhetorical choices in argumentative texts, both your own and others’.
● You can create rhetorically savvy arguments and can demonstrate flexibility and adaptability in creating arguments
● Your own writing demonstrates the ability to respond to varying audience- and context-defined textual conventions and expectations, including, but not limited to form, format, support, use of citations, grammar, and mechanics.
CORE VALUE 4:
Information literacy is essential to the practice of writing.
Academic and intellectual writing is informed writing, which means contextualizing our ideas within pre-existing conversations and providing evidence beyond our personal experiences or opinions. To do this, you will need to develop the skills necessary to locate and evaluate source information in a digital environment, to determine which information to incorporate into your own writing depending on the rhetorical situation, and to document your sources appropriately.
● You can practice inquiry-driven research in the service of understanding the complexities and nuances of an issue from multiple points of view and positions.
● You can identify the most appropriate resources and approaches for finding public, academic, and disciplinary information in a digital environment, and you can rhetorically evaluate that information for usefulness.
● You are able to select and use your research to provide evidence and support your arguments, as well as to contextualize, develop, and interpret ideas, in response to a specific rhetorical purpose.
● You are able to analyze and evaluate various types of persuasive writing (yours, your fellow students, and published texts) for evidence of research quality.
● You can meet the academic expectations for the introduction and documentation of sources, which includes the use of signal phrases, in-text citations, and works cited pages/bibliographies.
CORE VALUE 5:
Writing has power and comes with ethical responsibilities.
Because writing is not only personal but also public and social, there are ethical concerns that we must take into account. The most obvious component of ethical writing is crediting others for their ideas through proper citation, which is also an act of sharing research with others. Ethical writing, however, is more than avoiding plagiarism: it also involves conscientiously reading other authors’ texts so as to listen to them, understand them, and accurately represent them in your own writing. Through this process of critical and conscientious reading, you will understand that there can be a variety of valid perspectives on an issue/topic and that ethical writing represents the complexity of an issue by respectfully acknowledging multiple perspectives.
● Your research and writing reveals an honest attempt to appropriately understand and communicate the complexities surrounding argumentative stances and that academic, civil argumentation is a practice of conversation and listening, which respects the agency of the participants and constituencies.
● You recognize the quasi-logical nature of persuasion and the inability to draw indisputable conclusions, and thus the importance of qualifying claims.
● You use rhetorical appeals responsibly, prioritizing the logical over the emotional, and avoiding fallacious or manipulative argumentation.
● You respect the intellectual property of others by appropriately acknowledging others for their ideas and creative productions, including alphabetic, print, multimedia, and digital works.
● You can practice the code of academic integrity and can create boundaries between your voice and the voices of others, appropriately using paraphrase, quotations, citations, and works cited pages/bibliographies.
- You may cut-and-paste the format below (begin below the line) to produce your own version of the Self-Reflective Statement complete with all the necessary question numbers and placeholder text.
- Post your SRS as a new blog post titled “Reflective—Username.” Place it in the Reflective Statement category and of course in your Username.
______cut and paste below this line______
Core Value 1. My work demonstrates that I used a variety of social and interactive practices that involve recursive stages of exploration, discovery, conceptualization, and development.
Insert here a 125-word explanation of how you met the goal. For a fuller description of the Goal, read the description of Core Value 1 above. For each of your five Core Values, provide a link to one of your own class assignment posts in which you demonstrated the value.
Core Value 2. My work demonstrates that I read critically, and that I placed texts into conversation with one another to create meaning by synthesizing ideas from various discourse communities.
Insert here a 125-word explanation of how you met the goal. For a fuller description of the Goal, read the description of Core Value 2 above. For each of your five Core Values, provide a link to one of your own class assignment posts in which you demonstrated the value.
Core Value 3. My work demonstrates that I rhetorically analyzed the purpose, audience, and contexts of my own writing and other texts and visual arguments.
Insert here a 125-word explanation of how you met the goal. For a fuller description of the Goal, read the description of Core Value 3 above. For each of your five Core Values, provide a link to one of your own class assignment posts in which you demonstrated the value.
Core Value 4: My work demonstrates that I have met the expectations of academic writing by locating, evaluating, and incorporating illustrations and evidence to support my own ideas and interpretations.
Insert here a 125-word explanation of how you met the goal. For a fuller description of the Goal, read the description of Core Value 4 above. For each of your five Core Values, provide a link to one of your own class assignment posts in which you demonstrated the value.
Core Value 5. My work demonstrates that I respect my ethical responsibility to represent complex ideas fairly and to the sources of my information with appropriate citation.
Insert here a 125-word explanation of how you met the goal. For a fuller description of the Goal, read the description of Core Value 5 above. For each of your five Core Values, provide a link to one of your own class assignment posts in which you demonstrated the value.
_____cut and paste above this line_____
The Writing Arts Department has provided some questions to prompt your thinking about the work you’ve done this semester. I’ve reproduced them here as a resource, not part of the assignment:
PROMPTS for the Self-Reflective Statement produced by FYW faculty for the use of the department DURING the semester.
Paper 1: Definition or Evaluation Argument
- CV1: How did this project demonstrate that research and writing is a recursive and social process with multiple stages? Did you just magically sit down and find all your sources in one sitting, or did this take time and perseverance? How did the annotated bib help you prepare to write? Or, if you conferenced, how did the social interaction there help move your project forward?
- CV2: How is your own project here part of a larger academic or cultural conversation? Discuss how your own ideas evolved from the work of others, and how you have “added” new ideas/made a contribution back to an existing conversation.
- CV4: Discuss one of your sources and why it was an appropriate choice for the rhetorical situation (your purpose and/or your academic audience). If you used a source that normally wouldn’t seem “credible,” discuss why it works here for your purpose.
Paper 2: Causal Argument
- CV4: Why did you choose the combination of sources that you used? How does each play a distinct role in your paper? Consider the nature of the evidence each provides or the impact they are meant to have on your audience.
- CV5: While arguments can be persuasive, generally, they are not indisputable. Discuss your paper in relation to this concept. Where do you acknowledge that your conclusion can’t be 100% certain or qualify your statements, or where might a doubtful reader still question your claims?
Paper 3: Proposal Argument
- CV1: Both writing and research involve multi-stage, recursive, and social processes. How does your creation of paper 3 demonstrate at least one of those qualities?
- CV2: What unique considerations go into making a proposal argument strong? How does your own proposal display these qualities? If it doesn’t, what could you do to strengthen it?
- CV3: This assignment required you to tailor your message to a specific audience. Give an “instant replay” of a strong moment of audience awareness: quote yourself and then discuss how you were appealing to this audience.
Sample Reflective Statements
(Material Dump from a Comp I course)
I have no intention of demonstrating precisely how you should approach each Core Value; the end result of that would be 40 too-similar Reflective Statements. But you will find a range of tones and approaches in the raw material below to inspire you.
I absolutely took advantage of the opportunity to edit my work; Professor Hodges left me feedback that wasn’t vague in the slightest and helped me understand mistakes I made (and how I could avoid those mistakes in the future). The Letter to the Editor assignment was not only my first major assignment, but my first experience with the in-depth feed back left by Professor Hodges. The specificity of the comments was highly different from any of the feedback I had received in my Advanced Placement classes in high school; those teachers left ambiguous comments that often left me confused.
When writing my essays I was always making decisions based on my particular audience and my purpose. Many essays we did were editorials, and the writing technique was different than that of a standard essays. Persuasive work was prevalent in this course in many of the assignments we had. Comparing many of my works made me realize how different styles of writing are. For instance my engagement essay was much different than the Op:Ed from earlier in the semester. I really feel as if doing different aspects of work and appealing to other audiences has made me a better writer.
Learning how to construct a positive and efficient method for writing papers is a process I developed during this course. Writing a plan for my essays has made my work ethic improve greatly. In my “Letter To The Editor,” I began revisions on my essay after my professor provided feedback to me. This allowed me to positively alter my essay for the better.
One of the most important techniques I have developed is editing my essays through feedback from other people. Listening to other writers criticize me has made me realize mistakes that I had overlooked for years. As a writer I have not only learned my responsibilities, I have learned how to be fair. I learned that it is unfair to do certain things to other writers such as only quoting certain phrases of an entire quote. There are many ways to deceive people by not telling them the whole truth, and that is not something an honest writer should do. I learned from my Instructor that these are very valuable in the world of writing, and I hope one day to become a fully developed and responsible writer. I will always adhere to these responsibilities and will continue to progress as a writer.
In every assignment, I always credit sources that I directly quote or paraphrase. In my Engagement Essay, I composed a bibliography in MLA format that contained my works cited. I understand the severe (but NECESSARY) consequences that come about as a result of plagiarism and how plagiarizing ultimately does not serve any benefit to a student.
Plagiarizing inhibits a student’s ability to grow as a writer and disrespects the person whose work is being copied. I always provide a hyperlink in a paper when discussing another author’s work or when I cite them as a resource. Since the dawn of writing, mankind has been recording and illustrating important events accurately and some even inaccurately. By adhering to my ethical responsibilities, it is my duty to inform my readers of a just and truthful document. In many of my writings this semester, I portray my ethical honesty by being truthful and fair to all audiences.
Responsibility is a virtue that must be taken on with everything one writes. With determination of finishing a paper, sometimes I may accidentally skew information to produce the most coherent paper, breaking an unwritten law of writing ethics. I was guilty of doing this in my “Engagement Essay.” I learned that water pollution did not cause the virus killing dolphins on the east coast. I did not thoroughly check other sources but I claim responsibility for this, realizing I was wrong. I will be sure to claim full responsibility in all future writing mistakes and will do my best to follow the ethics of writing.
I understand that there’s nothing wrong with writing about controversial issues, but I also understand that it’s imperative to remain respectful while doing so. I understand that I can get carried away sometimes and go into “rant mode,” but I never go as far as to slander someone or maliciously attack him or her. I try to avoid “poisoning the well” in my assignments because it’s an ineffective argument technique. In my Engagement Essay, I tried to avoid blaming either candidate for their campaigning procedures, but rather acknowledge the responsibility we need to take as voters to further research a candidate’s platform.
Writing is not something a person just does to get information out there. Writers formulate ideas in their head while doing the piece of work. It’s a way to show their personality to determine who they truly are. Writing expresses everything that I believe, feel, and stand for. All my views are expressed through my writing, and many of these ideas wouldn’t even exist if I wasn’t writing and creating ideas. There is always a message to get across, and the way I shape it, is what is going to get it into the readers mind. In my Engagement essay the way I shape my idea helps me get my point across to the reader.
My essays are all done in English, but in each essay my instructor taught me how to adapt my tone to appeal to the type of audience that is reading my work. I found these techniques useful as I realize that you don’t want to write in the same manner to 20-year-old girls, and 80-year-old men. The topics all vary and audiences come in all types. Adapting my tone to suit my audience is occurring during every single essay I write, as I know that I have to appeal to a certain type of people.
I feel as if my Op:Ed is my best example of an adjusted tone, as I am appealing to a certain group of readers. This has helped me grow as a writer. Before this class, I was never really exposed to an environment quite like this. I gained much more insight on a variety of topics, and political issues, that I have never seen before. My instructor did a good job of letting me create my own thoughts and ideas about certain topics.
Using the New York Times and Newsonpaper, was a great way of bringing outside information into the classroom. This experience has made me a better writer, and I feel much better about my work, and these resources were very helpful. The material I received from these sources was much more valuable than other resources.
I realized this year that allowing others to view my work enhanced its quality. I also noticed writers miss a lot of mistakes while proofreading. In many of my essays, Professor Hodges, my instructor, pointed out many flaws I missed. This was very interesting, as I had considered my essays flawless. After posting my Letter to the Editor piece, I was notified that my instructor found many errors. I feel that by getting this type of feedback from other writers, I have become more aware of different types of mistakes that I did not notice before. This has led me to be a better writer overall.
It was highly important to keep my audience in mind when I wrote each of my papers, particularly in my Letter to the Editor; I had to keep Jennifer Finney Boylan’s opinion on how student and teacher relationships are affected by gender in mind while explaining my own perspective. Although I agreed with Boylan, I couldn’t just parrot what she had said. I found elaborating on her points to keep my readers interested a very effective way to enhance my critical thinking skills. I understood that a good letter to the editor, or at least one that will get published, is one that opens up a new debate brought upon by the original work.
My Engagement Essay allowed me to conduct primary research on campaign spending and voter apathy. I conducted interviews and looked up “scholarly articles” that could provide me with accurate information for my assignment. Gathering this information helped me formulate new view points and draw my own conclusions as to not only the “how” campaign spending, voter apathy, and election out comes are related, but more importantly, the “why.”
I thought the Engagement Essay assignment was the most important assignment because it forced us to not only conduct our own primary research, but really force ourselves to immerse ourselves in a topic that was significant to all of our classmates. My tone has always been semi-sarcastic and sometimes conversational, but I know where a balance is needed in order for my work to be taken seriously.
In my Editorial concerning “filter bubbles” and egocasting, I opted to take a more serious route with my language. My tone, while relatively consistent, is based heavily upon the subject matter and what I’m trying to accomplish with that piece. If I’m trying to change the way my readers perceive something so deceivingly unimportant such as a filtered Google search, I’m going to adapt a much more formal tone than I do in some of my other works.
Once again, I thoroughly believe that my Engagement Essay was the assignment that brought my own experiences and research together. I picked a topic that I had enough first-hand experience with but at the same time it was a topic that I knew I could further research. I found ProfSearch to be an incredibly useful database for compiling a list of scholarly articles; it provided me with sources that I would otherwise not have access to. I combined these articles with the interviews I conducted and my own personal experience to construct a diverse bibliography that covered all components of my essay.
Holding an audience is a method of writing I have learned to perform in my essays. In my “Critical Engagement Essay” I kept my audience in mind and remembered my purpose and reasons for writing. This helped me bring attention towards the growing epidemic of dying dolphins on the east coast. Consistently having a purpose, I was able to keep the reader reading, allowing an audience to grow. I did this by convincing people to agree that the cleansing of the disease filled waters will one day make this world a better place to live. This is all thanks to the writing styles adopted from my composition professor.
In my “Op-Ed” essay, I focused on creating new ideas. Thinking outside of the box, I was able to write about how teacher and student relationships may be altered due to the gender of the professor– something that could affect every student in the world. By bringing outside sources to the essay, I was able to dig deeper into their purpose and find a developed and educated conclusion. Persuading people to agree with my argument was one of my hopes when using this method.
Convincing my audience that not only the outside sources share one idea, but also the creative contributions I made to the paper agree with them was a clear goal of mine. This is a writing accomplishment only attained by few. In my oncoming years, I will continue to create and shape ideas, improving my writing each time. Standard written English is learned and adopted by millions of people around the world. The prominence of this is especially seen in the USA. My “Op-Ed” essay failed for grammar the first time I submitted it. However, my alterations were accepted and I received a grade I was happy with.
With the understanding of English, I was able to demonstrate an efficient tone in my writings. This is proven in my “Engagement Essay.” With the use of proper tone and grammar, it allowed the readers to connect to my essays and understand them better, a technique very helpful in the English language. In order to write my “Critical Engagement Essay,” my professor created an assignment that instructed me to look up five sources that I would use in my essay. This enabled me to bring in a wide range of information creating a diverse field of arguments and persuasions. I found the ideas and arguments I had previously of doing research were false and inaccurate. Bringing in new ideas provided me with a more varied outlook thus enabling me to shape my paper in a variety of ways.
The importance of research is usually overlooked and that produces a below average essay. Understanding the connection of my own experiences mixed with new insights is a technique of writing that will better my writing style for the rest of my life. Incorporating materials from outside sources is something used in almost every essay I have written this semester.
Maintaining academic honesty is sometimes a challenge, however it is extremely important. By being constantly aware of what I am searching and using for my essays allows me to keep track of my sources and thus give credit where credit is due. Illustrating the principles of academic honesty, I cite the research I engaged myself in into my “Critical Engagement Essay.” By citing the sources I used in my essay, plagiarism was a matter I did not and will not have to worry about. Sometimes it is more appreciated to be honest than to have the best paper that is not yours.
- Create a new post titled “Reflective—Username”
- Cut and paste the template from this post into yours.
- Select the Reflective category and your own Username.
- Publish. Then update with actual text to replace the boilerplate text in the template.
- Link your self-reflective comments to your own essays when you cite them specifically to prove your case that you achieved the course goals.
- For a START-TO-FINISH model of an excellent Reflective Statement from 2018, follow this link.
- DEADLINE. Post directly into your Portfolio before or during class WED APR 21.