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Kylie Payne

Prof. Hughes
18 May 2016
Final Reflective Essay
During the course of this class, I developed many critical writing skills. At the beginning
of the course, I was introduced to six learning objectives. One of them was "Analyze and
respond critically and creatively to the ideas and strategies in the writing of others through
reading a variety of texts, including academic discourse.". I feel that of all the learning objectives
presented to the class, that I have improved in this area the most. I improved in this area, as well
as many others as a result of peer and instructor feedback.
For example, when I first started this semester I primarily wrote personal essays and
poetry. I had some experience writing rhetorical papers in my high school AP language and
composition. I also had little experience with the MLA format because I was never forced to
write in MLA. Therefore in the essay Evaluation I had an incorrect works cited page and no intext citations in the paragraph as I did not know how to format citations. I also struggled with
bias at times, as the topics I chose were ones I felt incredibly passionate about. All of these
things are early examples of my struggles with responding to the academic discourse which I
was presented with when researching my topic, fracking, for the Evaluation essay.
I feel that overall, my Convince essay on the Flint, Michigan Water Crisis was a lot more
effective and fair compared to my impassioned Evaluation essay. In this essay, I found myself

easily able to respond and coordinate between my different sources of information. I feel that this
essay was a lot more fact and quotation driven and that it presented a lot of factual evidence from
both parties involved with the Water Crisis. As a result of the large amount of facts and
quotations which drove the Convince essay, I found it a lot easier to put in-text citations where
they were necessary. I personally feel that my Convince essay is evident of my improvement in
the area of analyzing the claims and evidence made by scholarly reports, as I analyzed the
evidence which I collected on the topic in that essay and presented it in chronological order. At
this point in time in this class I would still have to work on my responses to these claims as my
Convince essay had very little of my own opinion and suggestions in it.
In my final essay, Mediation, on the topic of wind energy, I feel that my improvement in
the area of responding critically finally appeared in this essay. In this essay I also tied together
both components of the learning objective which I previously stated that I had felt I improved
most in. I feel this way because in my mediation essay I stated and assessed the facts which I
presented. I also tried my hardest to seem unbiased(which in my opinion I was quite unbiased as
the topic can go both ways for me). I did this because I felt it was essential to fully express the
two sides to this argument. I also feel that in real life it is incredibly important to mediate
between these two sides because wind energy is a topic which is very important to the future of
human society and the environment. Not only did I list facts in this essay, but I added in my own
response to these facts, which is something essential to the mediation essay prompt itself. I
mediated with my own dialogue in between different facts to highlight how multi-faceted this
issue is. As well as to prompt some sort of agreement or compromise between the sides of the
issue which I addressed.

In conclusion, it is evident from the essays I have done in this class from beginning to
end that I have been trying to achieve the goal of responding and analyzing properly to scholarly
information regarding whichever topic it may be. In the beginning I struggled to write in MLA
format, then I struggled to respond to the evidence I was provided with in an unbiased way, but
in the end I have become more aware of the proper rhetorical processes which have aided me
thoroughly throughout this class.