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