Dr. Paula Hayes
April 17, 2018
Reflection on The Writing Process
Authenography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze in order to understand cultural experience.Writing is an essential skill that every student should possess. Failure to this, students will not be able to communicate with their peers or their instructors efficiently. The current grading system is based on ones’ ability to communicate via writing. At first, the writing was a significant challenge to me. Having been raised up as an Arab, I had learned the writing skills of Arab where we write sentences from right to left which is opposite in the English language (Rass, 2015). Arab learners have few opportunities to speak, write or listen to English in their home countries (Ankawi, 2015). Sentence construction and flow of ideas was a daunting task to me. I could not write a complete essay without facing these problems. However, my primary goal was to learn English as a language and be able to write perfect papers without much struggle and in the end I was able to achieve that. Having attended this class, I can happily say that I have improved my writing skills.
Since I joined this class, I have had a chance to learn and put into practice the essential English skills. My vocabulary has dramatically improved, and now I can create complete and sensible sentences. I had an unfortunate selection of words when writing an essay and lots of grammatical errors at first. Many Arabic students are faced with the problem of communicating their ideas effectively and insufficient English vocabularies which deteriorates their creativity in writing (Adas and Bakir, 2013). Despite all these challenges, I was able to learn and improve my vocabulary which now helps me in describing myself in the written word. I am currently confident and fully capable of writing essays in the best way possible.
I attended this class as a complete newbie of the English language. Were it not for continuous practice and commitments; I would not have gained the knowledge I now possess. For one to come up with an excellently written paper, one needs to follow a series of steps to accomplish the indented goal. Before finalizing on an essay, one has to create a draft which is the rough work of the real task, then polish it by editing and checking on the grammatical errors and sentence structure then finally producing the final paper. Drafting is a very significant step in essay writing. It is driven by thorough research done on the topic. It helps me gather ideas and place them logically in a paper. Editing allows me to spot my weak areas and improve them before submitting the final essay. By doing this, I can write a perfect paper with no grammatical nor syntactic errors.
The first writing task I faced was the “Literacy Narrative.” As simple as it sounds, I had trouble starting out the essay and finishing it since this was my first essay in the class. However, the task was no big challenge since I was required to describe and talk about myself. Having no prior knowledge of English vocabularies, sentence structure and paragraphing, writing the introduction, the body of the essay and conclusion was a daunting task. I, however, managed to write the whole essay.
As I was tackling my second task on discourse community, I faced some challenges. I based my topic of interest on the Catholic community. Being a Muslim, Christianity was a strange religion to me, and I did not know about it. So, to write an excellent essay based on thorough research, I was obliged to carry out research by interviewing Christians.
Before I embarked on this task, I had to learn the kind of language most commonly used in this community to accomplish tasks. Accorging to Mirabelli (2004), language use is an important aspect in a community. Also the major activities that take place in the Catholic church were an essential for me to be able to understand them. Each discourse community has common goals that they intend to accomplish together. This was one of my objectives. There are always new members joining a discourse community and learning how they are welcomed and nurtured was of importance to me (Johns, 1997).
In the Catholic discourse community, there are various categories of groups of individuals. These variations are brought about by difference in age and different roles that each play in the community. Therefore, it was essential to consider the variations in language use among the different groups (Villanueva, 1993). Branick suggests the same thing where he talks about the coaches as a discourse community (Branick). After collecting such meaningful information, I was able to proceed with writing the rest of the essay.
However, some of the respondents gave wrong answers, and the aggregate data from the research was insufficient to write a good paper on discourse community. This research, however, has aided me in knowing about the Catholic community as a religion and to appreciate their unique culture. After gathering all the relevant data needed to develop this essay together with the sources, I followed the same procedure mentioned above by creating a rough draft of the essay, polishing it by editing and correcting grammatical and syntactic errors to come up with a perfect research paper.
After writing my draft, I was sure I had mixed up ideas and probably made some minor grammatical and syntactic errors. This gave me a chance to edit the draft, correct the minor glitches and build my confidence in having the command of the English language. I found out that reading the essay out loud enabled me to identify the errors that are not readily identifiable. It also helps to identify portions of text that did not flow with the rest of the writing. At the end of the editing process, I came up with an essay that fully expressed my ideas and feelings about the Catholics. Though I was not a Christian, I was able to learn a lot from this writing and appreciate them as a religious community.
Before writing this extended essay, it was challenging to start writing. Writing an essay without the proper guidelines and rules in place to follow can be a difficult task. However, since I had learnt from the previous task, “Literacy,” I had confidence in writing this paper. This class has helped me scale up the ladder of success in writing. While writing an essay, a writer is supposed to put themselves in the shoes of the readers before submitting to see whether this will be appealing to them or not. Hence the need for the editing stage. Learning to write should be a gradual process that may take a while to perfect. Consistency is the key to improving ones’ writing skills. These are some of the strategies I implemented during my learning process.
Length of the paper was a significant concern to me at first. I thought I would not be able to compile information to fit in 8 pages. Since I am not a native English speaker, I knew I would go through a lot of trouble compiling the information I had researched on. The combined effort of the class and online research materials assisted me in writing this paper. I learned about the cognitive flow of ideas and sentence structure. Finally, I found out that there was a large quantity of information that I would write concerning Catholicism but to control the flow of ideas was a challenge. With this information at my disposal, I formulated my first draft of the essay which guided me in creating the final essay.
In my research titled “Difficulties and strategies for writing essays by Arabic students,” I faced some challenges. By the time I embarked on this research, I had developed writing skills, and I was able to begin and finalize an essay efficiently. Generation and expression of ideas was not such a daunting task now. Besides, I could use a wide range of vocabulary and make my thoughts flow coherently. The basic writing organization in the Arabic language is different from that of English where in Arabic a conclusion should bring new ideas while in English the conclusion should speak about the information in the body (Adas and Bakir, 2013). This research was beneficial for me and even for other Arabians who faced the same challenges. I have struggled in the past trying to write essays. However, this never made me lose hope. Arabians usually face problems when it comes to writing English. Doing this research helped me to analyze those challenges and to come up with their solutions.
Lack of proper nurturing and inappropriate school environment may lead to the more unsatisfactory performance of a non-native English student. Support from the instructor is very essential, and collaboration with colleagues may bring new insights. Learning how to write a new language is a difficult task, and it needs instructors who are patient with their students. Self-motivation is, also, the most critical aspect of this kind of growth. The student should spare some extra time to work on their writing skills on a daily basis. This may be done by working on different essay assignments frequently over a long duration. This will eventually have a long-lasting impact on their writing skills.
Writing can be a challenging task to non-native English speakers. Since English has different syntax and semantics as compared to other languages, learning to communicate using it is vital. It is the most widely used official language. Therefore this makes it very essential to learn how to write in it. Learning should be a systematic and gradual process where there are milestones that need to be covered. Proficiency in a language is achieved by consistent practice and extensive research on it. The research I conducted gave me new insights about the use of English in writing by the Arabian students. My improved writing skills are as a result of the efforts that I put into studying.
All the stages of writing consume a substantial amount of time. However, the draft writing process took the enormous amount of time than all other stages. This may be attributed to the fact that this was a strange project to me since it involved writing about Catholicism and, also, it took a long time to gather all relevant information that was to be incorporated in the essay. Compiling the findings into a full report requires time since it involves arranging the information in appropriate paragraphs. At this point, one needs to think critically and make wise judgments concerning the order that should be followed to ensure the cognitive flow of ideas.
Editing and revision do not take as much time as the draft session. This is a very critical stage where every writer must go through before submitting a paper. It allows for error checking and introduction of ideas that may have been left out during the draft session. This stage allowed me to proofread my work to ensure a systematic flow of paragraphs. It is common for writers to make minor mistakes during the writing process and they can be rectified during this stage. This class has enabled me to learn a lot about the writing process which I previously did not know.
After editing and proofreading my paper, I was able to come up with a final, polished version of my essay. It was error free, plagiarism free, with the logical flow of ideas and perfect sentence structure. I would not have accomplished this without the active participation of the class in general and my tutor. I was proud of the great achievement I had made after such struggle. I finally was an Arabian with savvy writing skills.
I believe that hard work is a determinant of personal growth. As I continue with my studies, I intend to keep with the same vigor. Since learning should be a continuous process, I plan to conduct in-depth research about writing so that I may perfect my writing skills. This will enable me to become a novice writer. I am incredibly grateful to everyone who took part in my improvement.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Works Cited
Adas, Dana and Ayda Bakir. “Writing Difficulties and New Solutions: Blended Learning as anApproach to Improve Writing Abilities.” Internationl Journal of Humanity and Social Science 3 (2013): 254-266.
Ankawi, Ayman. The Academic Writing Challenges Faced by Saudi Students Studying in New Zealand. 2015.
Rass, Ruwaida Abu. “Challenges Face Arab Students in Writing Well-Developed Paragraphs.” English Language Teaching 8 (2015): 49-59. <http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/elt.v8n10p49>.
Villanueva, Victor. “Exerpt from Bootstraps: From an American Academic of Color.” (1933): 66-77.
Mirabelli, Tony. “Learnin to Serve.” The Language of Literacy of Food Service Workers (2004): 143-62
Johns, Ann M. “Discourse Communities and Communities of Practice.” (1997): 51-70.
Branick, Sean. “Coaches Can Read, Too.” An Ethnographic Study of a Footbal Coaching Discourse Community (n.d.).