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Women & Literature Reflection

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FC: Lauren Bennett ENG 353-002 | Women & Literature Reflection

1: Feminism is the radical notion that women are people. ~Cheris Kramarae and Paula Treichler

2: This semester has definitely changed many aspects of my reading skills. Before this semester, my reading approach was much less strategic than it is now. I basically dove right into whatever I was reading without any preparation. I read through the words much more carelessly, rarely pausing to let things sink in. Now, before reading something, I consider the author’s intentions and intended audience from diverse perspectives. After reading something, I consider its implications, both personal and societal. This critical thought process helps to both deepen and broaden my understanding of literature. I have also learned to improve the efficiency of my reading and comprehension of literature. By reading a variety of diverse literatures and responding to them in a multitude of ways, I began to get used to thinking critically and it came more naturally. This skill is very useful and I have used it in almost all of my classes this semester.

3: Examine your role as a reader

4: Examine your role as a writer | This course was extremely writing intensive. I must admit that it took me completely by surprise. It challenged me in ways I didn’t know were relevant. For example, one of the major things I have learned this semester is about style in writing. This can be in the form of the format of a piece of literature or in the actual style of the writing itself. After reflecting, I came to a few surprising realizations. First, I realized that before this class, I had never truly considered the significant scholarly merit of alternative styles and formats of literature. For some reason, I had assumed that a work of literature could only be serious and scholarly if it was in a traditional format. Now, I feel like a whole new world has been opened up to me. In studying and extensive number of different styles and formats of literature (including graphic novel, online/multimedia formatting, multiple perspectives, diary/letter writing, monologues, interviews, scholarly essay, performance poetry, narratives, short stories, film, written poetry/verse, fairy tales, instructional manuals, skits, and scholarly dialogue) from various diverse cultural and political perspectives, I began to learn to appreciate and evaluate literature in new ways. This course has challenged me to express myself through writing in so many different ways. Admittedly, I haven’t enjoyed all of them, but this knowledge will help me communicate creatively in the future.

5: Someday, I hope to be a special education teacher. This course will help both my professional and personal communication, whether it is through personal interactions or class lesson plans, to be both creative and flexible in order to be effective. The skills and knowledge I have learned in this course have definitely improved my writing. Not only have I have begun to explore new styles of writing, but I have also begun to explore ideas in deeper and more thorough ways. I have learned that sometimes when I write, I don’t explain things as comprehensively as I need to because I assume the audience knows what I am talking about when it doesn’t. This course has helped me to improve that and become more comprehensive and thorough in my writing.

6: Examine your role as a critical thinker | In the beginning of this course, I tended to regurgitate information and ideas instead of formulating original ones of my own. As the class progressed, I began digging deeper and studying the implications of the information I read. Finally, I began to realize that I needed to formulate my own original ideas and opinions. I began critically questioning any assumptions I may have drawn from the texts. I believe that I demonstrated improvement in critical thinking most successfully during class discussions. I was able to clearly express and explore my interpretations of texts in an informal setting. By following up with this and allowing the discussion to fuel further critical conversation, my assumptions are repeatedly challenged and dissected.

7: The text that really helped me further the development of these skills was Kissing the Witch. Putting together my part of the PowerPoint was extremely helpful in forcing me to really think critically about the text. Another activity that reinforced the importance of critical thinking was the Popular Lit Project. I analyzed a young adult novel (The Hunger Games), thinking critically about the role gender played in the text. Because I had to thoroughly explain and justify my opinions about this subject, the project helped me to learn to dig deep and think critically.

8: This course definitely has its foundation as a group learning community. I contributed most successfully through class discussions and projects. I was an active participant in the majority of class discussions. I thoroughly enjoyed taking part because a dialogue setting fosters deeper critical thinking. | I also contributed to our classroom learning environment through Discussion Boards. I was able to contribute most significantly when the class discussed The Vagina Monologues, Kissing the Witch, performance poetry, and Persepolis.

9: Examine your role as a participant in a learning community | At first, I struggled slightly with truly thinking critically about scholarly articles as compared to many of the creative works of literature we worked with. As the course progressed, however, I was able to improve. | This semester, I also took a course on Children’s Literature and a course on Multicultural Learners in a Diverse Perspective. I used a lot of the knowledge and skills that I developed in Women and Literature to contribute to the learning communities in these other classes.

10: This class has significantly helped improve my critical thinking skills. It has changed the way I read by helping me interpret texts from a multitude of perspectives. | Instead of simply analyzing a piece of literature at face value, this course has helped me to understand it while keeping various cultural contexts in mind. As I said before, I have definitely noticed a difference in the way I read literature or even interpret films and art. | Examine your role as a life long learner

11: Another skill I have improved, thanks to this course, is interpersonal skills and communications. In communicating both in person and online with members of my class, I have been forced to further develop my communication skills. I have noticed a significant improvement in communicating with individuals who have a different point of view than I do. | Additionally, this course has inspired me to start a list of books that I intend on reading this summer. These are the books that have been added because of this class (for whatever reason): | The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray Shifting Through Neutral by Bridgett M. Davis "The Beauty Myth" by Naomi Wolf The People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn

12: Examine your role as a team member

13: Personally, I have been struggling with meeting deadlines this semester. I need to put some serious time and dedication into changing this harmful habit. Other than that, I believe that I’ve been a helpful team member. I have been involved and active in planning and discussing group projects and activities. I have completed my fair share of work in these projects and have taken other opinion and viewpoints into serious consideration. This class has helped to prepare me for team projects in the future as a special education teacher. In addition, I’ve made a few new friends! I am extremely grateful that I was able to meet this group of strong, individual women. One of the most important things I learned was the importance of critical thinking. The best way to stimulate critical thinking is through discussion and debate. Therefore, this courses’ use of team and group projects and activities ended up strongly benefiting the class’ learning environment.

15: Comments | I believe that the history of the feminist movement itself is extremely important. A lot of women’s studies classes completely base their teachings and definition of feminism on Third Wave Feminism. I think it’s really important for women to study the development of the feminist movement and to recognize its “waves”. Also, I think an interesting book to read would be Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy.

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