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Mitchell Kim

March 16, 2015


Writing 2
Z. De Piero
Metacognitive Analysis: A Math Majors Journey into Writing
Zack De Pieros Writing 2 Class may have been the most unorthodox class I have ever
taken. Whether it was his bubbly font on the chalkboard or his portrayal of a big, juicy cover
letter, he never failed to entertain. Yet, even though his style may be considered untraditional,
the criteria was never lost. In fact, I dont think Ive learned more about a subject than I have in
any other class. Rather, I became more aware of the systematical approaches to writing and the
importance of genre. As stated in the syllabus, this course was divided into three different
sections: identifying genre, analyzing and evaluating genre, and enacting genre transformation.
Likewise, I will identify how the material was taught, analyze and evaluate how I responded to
the material, and discuss how I enacted the teachings as well as a few notions about the course
itself.
To truly understand the leap I made in understanding genre, Id like to share my very first
journal entry. The question was to simply write what I know about genre and give a few examples
of it. Therefore, the ignorant former version of myself replied that some genres Im familiar with
include romance, comedy, and mystery in terms of books and movies. There is also pop, hip-hop,
and country in terms of music. Meanwhile, my very intelligent classmates thought of examples
such as movie reviews, Amazon ads, resumes, menus, etc. Although all of my answers are
legitimate examples, they dont capture the true essence of what genre really is. That is, anything
that shares conventions and rhetorical features can be argued to be of the same genre. This slight

embarrassment made me realize how little about genre I actually knew, and thankfully our next
activity began to strengthen my newfound grasp on genre.
I believe on the second or third day of class, Zack handed out album CD booklets, scholarly
articles, poems, etc. and the students partook on a decoding genres activity. Through this lesson,
we were able to see the differences in conventions and rhetorical features across various genres.
In addition, by viewing two separate pieces of the same genre, we were also able to detect the
more subtle discrepancies between similar works. Furthermore, the decoding different letters of
recommendation activity also proved to be very helpful, as I realized that the absence of certain
conventions can have a negative lasting effect on a literary piece, an idea that I observed in my
PB1A about resumes. With an in-depth knowledge of genre awareness, one can determine what
readers are expecting and what conventions to include or dismiss to create an effective paper.
What I feel obligated to mention is that even though I, a math major, have always despised
writing in any form, I began to see the more compelling features of it. As I quote my journal entry
once more, in my opinion, [PB1A] was more interesting of an assignment than others I have
done. One can further see my increasing investment in genre as I chose to hopefully think
outside the box and select pancake menus of three different breakfast joints as my topic for
comparison in WP1.
Speaking of WP1, I really want to appreciate Zack in his implementation of techniques in
revising the WPs. For example, the highlighter activity in which we color coordinated the
important aspects of the students essays to clearly and concisely see the piece as a whole was
very beneficial to me. In addition, Zack also introduced the brilliant idea of a reverse outline to
reiterate the topic of each paragraph and to confirm the clarity. However, the most vital tip I can

adopt is the use of peer-editing. I always thought that I was not competent enough to critique
anothers paper. Not until after receiving great and useful comments from my classmates on my
essays did I realize that anyone who can read is more than qualified to give feedback, whether
negative or positive. Thus, I very much plan on including this tip into my future writing.
Now that I can successfully identify genre due to the teachings from WP1, it was now time
to analyze and evaluate in WP2, which established the idea of an authors moves. This was
honestly one of the coolest pitches I have heard of here at UCSB. The moves and way of thinking
introduced in Bunns How to Read Like a Writer innovated my perception on writing. I
genuinely felt like Sherlock Holmes for the bulk of this section, looking for evidence in the form
of an authors moves. Then, I could connect all the evidence to determine the antagonists
purpose, or in this case, the authors purpose. Rather than scrutinizing the context, we observed
the authors techniques of writing. Why is a certain word italicized? Why does the author start
the paper with a quote? Why does the author use first person point of view instead of third
person point of view? Questioning the authors techniques is much more appealing to me than
trying to understand the context. Because anything can be considered a move, as a reader, I
started to become more aware of the intentions of the writer. Conversely, as a writer, I became
more concerned as to which moves were effective and should be incorporated into my own
writing. Therefore, I believe I started to understand moves really well. Only thing left was to enact
what I learned into my own writing.
Around the first week or two of class, ever since Zack pitched the idea of converting a
boring article into an interesting read by changing the genre, I have been looking forward to this
WP3. By this time, I seemed to be improving on my overall knowledge on writing, so I really

wanted to outdo myself on this WP. As mentioned, the assignment was to change the genre of a
scholarly article and tailor it towards a younger audience and an older audience. For the younger
audience, I chose a Buzzfeed list, knowing that this was going to be the easier translation.
However, thats why I chose to convert a scholarly article into a transcript for The Oprah Winfrey
Show. Seriously? Who wouldnt want to write an essay in the tone of Oprah Winfrey, let alone a
school essay? The actual translation, in my opinion, didnt require too much writing skill. Instead,
what the students needed was creativity. For instance, one of my classmates converted their
article into a crossword puzzle. Talk about thinking outside the box! Furthermore, for the
explanation portion of the essay where we justify our own moves, our friend Mr. Bob Ross came
in very handy. His voice was actually guiding me through the analysis as I hoped to mirror how
he described his paintings. WP3 was by far my favorite essay I have written thus far because it
allowed me to really test what I learned throughout the quarter. More importantly, I actually had
tons of pleasure writing the essay. I a math major had fun writing.
The last aspect of the course I would like to mention is the last two days of class. I applaud
Zacks idea of prioritizing the higher-order concerns over lower-order concerns in terms of
weighing how much time is spent on each. Throughout the quarter, the higher-order concerns
such as genre awareness, an authors moves, and a strong thesis statement were stressed over
the lower-order concerns of proper grammar and diction. Yet, Zack didnt forget them, because
even though they arent as important, they are still meaningful. To be honest, I dozed off during
the lecture about independent and dependent clauses, so it was a smart decision to not spend
too much time on it. Rather, I was more invested on learning more about moves and genre, and
Zacks organization of the course kept it interesting throughout the quarter.

By the end of the quarter, the syllabus insists that the students will be able to detect
textual patterns more clearly through the lens of genre theory and will gain a heightened
awareness about the ways in which texts are constructed by writers and interpreted by readers.
When considering my elementary examples of genre when I first enrolled, I believe that a
considerate amount of growth has taken place. Awareness of genre as well as the awareness of
an authors moves leads to both better writing and reading. In terms of myself a math major,
this class has successfully conveyed that idea.