Please Tell Me What You Are Thinking: Workshop in Analytical Writing for College Freshmen

By Janet Crosier.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Teaching and learning in the humanities includes finding creative ways to encourage students to read and react to literature. As freshman college students move from English Composition I to English Composition II, often they do not understand the difference between expository writing and analytical writing. Rather than just spitting out facts that they have read, students are now given writing assignments that ask them to think about and analyze many genres of literature. Students must be encouraged to think critically and to develop skills for analyzing what they have read and/or experienced by writing their reactions and responses. Using poetry, music, film, and creative free-writing exercises offers students a variety of stimuli. There are no right or wrong ways to approach these creative reactions, so students feel more open to using their own experiences, likes, and dislikes for expressing in writing what they are thinking and feeling. This workshop, “Please Tell Me What You Are Thinking,” endeavors to encourage students to share their reactions in writing to contrasting music styles, poetry as expressed in music lyrics, favorite movies and most hated movies. Students free write their responses to reading, hearing, and/or viewing these genres of literature. Their reactions are then shared, first in a small group and then to the larger group as a whole. Hopefully, discussions will arise from the different points of view shared. The power behind this workshop is that it doesn’t matter whether those involved like or dislike what they are writing about; the creativity and analysis are just as strong from a negative reaction as they are from a positive one, sometimes even stronger.

Keywords: Analytical Writing, Self-reflection, English, Composition, College Freshmen

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp.17-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 762.794KB).

Dr. Janet Crosier

Assistant Professor, Humanities, Springfield Technical Community College, Springfield, MA, USA

I have an earned doctorate in Higher Education, focusing on Reflective Learning Theory and English. My dissertation topic was self-reflective learning as evidenced through the writings of nineteenth-century British author Emily Bronte. In March 2010, I had the privilege of presenting a paper dealing with Bronte and her use of self-reflection at the Oxford Round Table in Oxford England. I have since been invited back to the Round Table to further discuss Bronte’s connection to religion in her writings. I presently teach English composition, literature, oral communications, and an honors colloquium called Arts in Action at a small college in western Massachusetts. My other interests include community theatre, dance, and writing.


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