Writing about web page http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/bloomtax.htm
Academic Writing for Arts and Social Science Students
On the 11th February I attended the Academic Writing Workshop, designed for Arts and Social Science Students. I did not know exactly what to expect from the workshop, other than some inspiration and ideas from others as to how to approach academic writing.
We started the workshop by introducing ourselves, before we discussed what qualities a good sentence should have. As the sentence is the smallest unit in the construction of an essay, this seemed appropriate, and we discussed what makes a sentence good and what length a sentence should have according to the text one is writing. Moving on from the sentence, we started looking at the nature of the paragraph- and in groups we constructed paragraphs containing a small range of given facts. The purpose of this was to investigate what makes a good paragraph, as well as to understand the difference between inductive and deductive writing.
After a short break, we discussed how to make the essay writing more enjoyable and to avoid negative self-talk. Things I do to make essay writing more enjoyable are:
- Listen to melodic music, like piano music
- Have a cuppa and some snacks available
- Set myself little goals to encourage own progress, like "when I've written 300 words I'm allowed a 30 min. break"
Ultimately we were given two essays: one was written by a sociology student, and the other was written by a business student. Within our group, we discussed the strengths and weaknesses of both texts, in terms of "Best Practise" i.e. whether the texts had: clear structures, signposting,statement of intent, evaluation sentences, comparisons and academic integrity to support their claims. We spent a long time discussing this within our groups, as well as between the groups, and I found this helpful in many different ways. First of all, being the only 1st year student in my group I was given the oppurtunity to receive tips and advice from three 2nd year students. Secondly, going through two well written essays made me aware of what to look for in an essay- my own especially. Thirdly, talking about what we thought about the essays in the big group revealed a lot of differing opinions on what makes an essay good and what tools can be utilised in order to achieve a more evaluative approach to the essay title.
My biggest 'revelation' during and after this workshop was the importance of good referencing and evaluation. Looking at Bloom's Taxonomy and the sample essays, I've realised that the evaluative aspect of essay writing can be the most important part, as well as the most difficult one to do properly. When I went to the workshop at 17.30, I was not very confident in my own essay writing, without being able to pinpoint exactly what was going wrong- at 20.30 I went back to my halls with a much clearer idea of what I need to do whilst writing my next essay. I made a workplan that I will try to stick to during my work on future essays in order to achieve a better work satisfaction as well as a better mark:
- Start the reading several weeks in advance, as I know with myself that I'm not the quickest reader, I'm studying in my second language, and I need time to "digest" information and arguments.
- Create an essay plan according to the essay title/question and stick to it- write it in the "shape" of a drafted introduction
- Write down quotes with full referencing as I go- in order to avoid poor referencing (or even plagiarism)
- Give special attention to evaluation, not just of the entire study/essay, but in each paragraph I write, as well as to make every word count (i.e. avoid pleonasm)
- Aim to finish the essay maximum one day before it is due. As stated in the previous blog, my time management is one of my definite weakest points which I will have to improve if I want become a better student (as well as a better worker, friend, partner etc.)