Pivotal Moment

At my AoS meeting yesterday my adviser explained writing assignments in an alternative, or more broken-down way than I feel it has been explained before. Her specific way of explaining it worked so well for me personally because, as a friend rightly pointed out; I seem to understand things best when they are broken down into a systematic order. She explained that first you will do wider reading (which can be easier said than done), then you will collate common themes that feature in multiple of the documents. This should mean that you will start to notice a pattern of popular topics emerging. The more a particular theme or idea is referred to, (generally) the more useful it would be to address in your own writing. I felt like this was a pivotal moment for me, despite the fact that this concept may have already been grasped by others. It might be obvious and solidly formed in their minds, but this was the ‘it has just clicked’ moment for me. Following the meeting, and along with feedback I received on my assignments in the second semester of first year, I feel much better equipped to tackle the upcoming Languages and Social Studies assignments. This is partially down to viewing my previous assignments’ weaknesses as practice for future ones, but it is certainly also as a result of the meeting and subsequent discussion I had with my peers in the library. The discussion linked together what I had talked to my Adviser of Studies about with learning styles; both my own and those of the children in my future classes. For example, analogical, visual, kinesthetic and exploratory (many of which we identified are up for debate on their level of applicability). I find the group discussion areas of the library beneficial for this reason. I often find myself going to the library to read or write and will end up talking for the entire time – usually a healthy mix of chat and academic conversation. I can sometimes come away from such library visits questioning whether my time wasn’t used to full effect due to lack of reading, however if I think about it more, a good amount of discussion can be as, if not more, motivating and evaluating than reading pages of a text. I often wish later on, that I had recorded various discussions at the time as I feel that significant points have been raised that I can’t always remember when it comes to the time to refer to them. Discussion works so well for me personally, as I can consolidate my learning by talking to my peers to gain their perspectives and further my own, then arrive at deeper understanding of lecture content more effectively than passively listening or even note-taking. Despite this, I do not mean to speak against the importance of reading to progress your learning in university, as this is obviously significant and I will continue to pay attention, take notes in the lectures and research and read academic writing. I just felt as if I should share this time on my ePortfolio as its tagline is ‘My MA (Hons) Education Journey’ and I felt that this was an important step in my journey towards achieving academic success.

4 thoughts on “Pivotal Moment

  1. Courtney Stewart

    I completely relate to you on a number of levels Rebecca! Especially when you mention your time spent in the library, questioning your productiveness compared to the time spent. I always feel myself that I haven’t done enough, however, you have made me realise that the time spent in academic conversation is actually really helpful. Gathering peers inputs and finding out what they have taken themselves from the lectures can be insightful, and sometimes reassuring when you fire questions at friends! Thanks for writing this post, it makes me feel less guilty about the 8+ hours I spend “procrastinating”! 🙂

  2. Derek Robertson

    I think that some students look at other students and think that they just ‘know’ how to structure assignments. As with mist things we engage with there can often be a helpful strategy or two to help us become better at things. The example you offer about your academic writing is a good one (good advice by your AoS)! I suppose that your experience of this is something you might want to think about in terms of your own teaching. How can you become that teacher who can break things down for learners, introduce effective strategies for them to remember things, approach tasks etc. A really valuable experience for you .

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