S: Final Reflection Essay Wise
FC: Emma Wise | English 353: Capturing A Personal Journey
1: Introduction | As an English Secondary Education major, I knew that including feminist approaches to texts would be important in my future classroom, but I did not realize how much I did not yet know. Other classes had introduced me to the concept, but English 353 allowed me to expand on my knowledge, express my opinions, and learn about new ideas and direct applications to my life. My opinions grew stronger with the acquisition of new ideas, and I became more aware of gender stereotypes in everyday life. As a woman and a future teacher, I feel more confident in my ability to express myself and help my students critically examine works of literature from a feminist perspective. | As photography is one of my passions, I've included some of my photos to add a personal, artistic insight to my text throughout the scrapbook!
2: Myself as a Reader | In this class, I gained insight into different cultures and literary genres, becoming a more interactive reader. Before reading texts like Persepolis and The Vagina Monologues, I rarely considered a text outside its written format, disregarding its visual or auditory complexities. Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis allowed me to experience a new literary genre about a country and culture I knew little about. Her graphic novel allowed me to read in a multi-faceted way, blending pictures, text, and my imagined images into one story, showing me a personal and cultural history of growing up in Iran. As a rather conventional reader, I never knew the power of the graphic novel. After reading Persepolis, my definition of "literature" expanded, a concept that I will use in my future classroom. Teaching Persepolis and books similar to it will enable students to engage in multiple literacies, and the task of reading may seem less daunting. Graphic novels are a great way to make learning a more interactive process, and I plan to learn more about the genre to improve my multi-faceted reading experience. | Captured: Insight
4: As a Writer | As an English major, I have been comfortable with writing in the past, creating essays quickly and thoroughly. This class allowed me to improve my writing by teaching me the importance of concise writing in micro-essay form rather than the standard five-paragraph essay. After the first few micro-essays, I became more comfortable writing my main points and choosing only the essential support from the text, improving my ability to make a solid point with less "fluff". | Captured: Arguments that are straight to the point!
5: In addition to making my writing style more concise and focused, enabling me to created stronger arguments overall, writing for this class allowed me to use multiple technologies, which I plan on bringing to my future classroom. Along with offering essay alternatives, such as artistic responses, I will make my students aware of all of the technological options as well. Blogs, online scrapbooks, Wikis, web pages, and iMovies are all interesting, multi-faceted ways to interact with a topic. Hopefully my students will use those creative opportunities to explore their interests and engage in critical thinking as well. | Creating the lesson plan on The Hunger Games allowed me to stretch my creative muscles in the classroom as well. Practice writing lesson plans is always important; the more insight I receive, the better the lesson. With some editing and reorganizing, I will hopefully use that lesson plan to teach a utopia unit!
6: As a Critical Thinker | During class discussions, discussion board posts, and reading the actual texts, I found myself applying what I learned to my daily life. I became impressed with my ability to notice feminist issues in East Lansing and objectifying advertisements, and I even started discussions with my friends about feminism and women's rights in general. | Captured: Translating classroom knowledge to everyday life | The Rosetta Stone
7: The discussion boards really prompted me to think critically about the texts and support and summarize my findings. Looking back, I think the extra credit entry for the film Waitress actually struck me the most. I love to watch and analyze films, but I had never exclusively examined a film through a feminist lens before. Having to choose an article to support my findings forced me to think deeply about the film, applying it to my knowledge and facts learned in class. At first, I thought the film feminist, but after closer examination and research, I changed my opinion. I applied what I learned from the class discussion about sexual abuse and gained a better understanding of what constitutes a feminist film as well as more awareness about the different types of abuse.
8: As a Participant in a Learning Community | Sometimes participating in class discussions is difficult for me. In the past, I have had trouble quickly formulating valid arguments and having the confidence to share my opinions with others. With this class, however, I found myself so engaged in the material that I felt I needed to participate more that I normally would. Before every class, I made sure I knew the material and wrote down a few key points that I wanted to discuss, a new step for me. As time went on, I felt I gained confidence in sharing my opinions and participated a very good amount in class discussions. | Specifically, I found myself more vocal in The Rules lesson; I felt I made valid points that boosted the discussion. The conflicting messages of the book frustrated me, and after heavily participating in class discussion, I extended my conversation outside the classroom, discussing women's "roles" with my roommates, parents, and boyfriend. I feel like I really added to that lesson and finally grasped the concept that relating literature directly to my life made it more meaningful. This class also reinforced the importance of participation to me. When I am more vocal in class, I am more engaged in the discussion, and coincidentally, the material itself. It made me realize that the classes I participated the most in have left more of a lasting impression on me; I'll take away a lot from this class. As a future teacher, I need to stress the importance of participation to my students, making sure everyone finds a chance to participate and feels comfortable sharing opinions.
9: Captured: Growth in Participation | One could say I "branched out" from my usual level of participation, a lesson that I will take with me to future classes and my future classroom!
10: As a Life Long Learner | As I took this course to fulfill requirements for my English major, I knew it would be helpful to my future career; however, I was surprised by how much it related specifically to my future as a teacher. Not only did English 353 contribute to my improvement in arguable writing, but it also allowed me to practice presenting material to an audience and opened my mind up to new definitions and ways of thinking. The group presentations let me teach a portion of Garcia's Dreaming in Cuban, choosing the material I felt was interesting and important to discuss. I figured out how to make my lesson interactive and engaging, and I also gained experience creating hands-on activities that I could use in my future classroom. Skills in planning engaging lessons and activities, as well as presenting myself to an audience, will definitely help my teaching. Additionally, before this class, I thought I had a good idea of what feminism and related vocabulary meant and related to; my critical thinking skills were present but not fully in practice. After reading a diverse set of literature, learning about the experiences and opinions of my classmates, and applying a feminist view to the MSU community, however, my views on feminism have changed and expanded. I am proud to call myself a feminist, and I am excited to share this perspective with others, continuing to examine society and the media through multiple lenses. After completing the Wiki project, I discovered many books I would like to read, especially the feminist soapbox literature, and examine each one through different perspectives. My group's final project even allowed me to see the improvements that MSU needs, and I would like to become more active in organizations such as Take Back the Night here on campus. During our project, we found many aspects on campus that could be fixed with some changes in budget or even awareness, and I would like to help with those causes while I am a student here at MSU.
11: Finding my way through the maze of academics allowed me to build on my skills of forming arguable writing, making teaching an engaging process, and learning to always try to expand my way of thinking. | Captured: Skills in Navigating the past and future classroom
12: As well as growing individually, I learned how to better work in groups throughout this class. I have always been wary of group projects; usually, I end up doing all of the work. This semester, however, was different. Though we started off a bit shaky at first, my group learned how to work well together as the class continued. At first, I felt that I needed to do most of the work to ensure that it was done on time. However, I learned that if I communicated well with my team and we started on projects ahead of time, we could be successful as a group. As for myself, I learned how to be a team leader while effectively encouraging others and dividing work equally. I went from feeling overwhelmed with responsibility from the first part of the class to finding my workload manageable and more meaningful by our last project. Working with my group members turned into a very nice experience overall. If I had never worked on projects with my group members, I would have not known them personally, as our class is large. I made connections with each group member, and we discovered that we all had connections to the Department of Education here at MSU, and we swapped stories and advice on classes, professors, and service learning. The experience of working with a group in this class prepared me for my career as a teacher, as I will be expected to collaborate in lessons, book choices, and other duties with fellow teachers. So, not only did working in groups make me feel more comfortable and connected to this class, but it prepared me for teaching as well. | As a Team Member
13: Captured: Learning to Lead Well in a Group
14: Captured: The Importance of Reflection | Even though English 353 was a condensed class, I feel like I've learned so much. I've grown as a writer, as a reader, and as a critical thinker, learning to apply a feminist lens to my future career and to my daily life as well! I thoroughly enjoyed this class and its discussions, readings, and multi-media aspects.
15: Image Bibliography "Persepolis Book Cover." Google Images. 22 June 2010.