Inwriting my AMS essay on new approaches to education and how they havetransformed it, I put into practice my writing skills and learnedseveral things about it. To start with, I had to make sure that thetopic I choose is rich of content and sources. Some research topicsmight have received inadequate research and therefore inadequatesources are available to students to present compelling arguments. Itherefore settled on writing about the change in education from atheory based approach to a practical one as elaborated by severalexperts in the field. The experience was both challenging and eyeopening and reflecting on this I can see where I am and what I needto improve on.
Thefirst step was deliberating on any empirical changes I have observedin education. This gave me an idea of what kind of sources and evenkey words to use in searching for sources. By thinking and attemptingto redefine the problem in my own words, I increased my understandingof the problem at hand and enabled me to own it. The next step wasgathering sources which I would use to write a first draft. I usedthe online library and using search terms such as “transformationeducation” and “modern changes education” among others. Iidentified a preliminary list of sources before vetting them to get asmaller list. I evaluated the sources to identify a gap in knowledgethat prompted the research. I also placed the essay in context of theexisting knowledge by justifying the need for my essay and what roleit plays or the purposes it seeks to fulfill through a clear andconcise thesis statement. The thesis explained the direction andfocus of the essay.
Creatinga working thesis was not an easy task. I had to deal with manycompeting thoughts and views on the topic that would gave medifferent purpose statements. In the end, the thesis was determinedby the targeted audience. In any form of writing, the thesis andstyle of writing must correspond to the target audience. Forinstance, a public education paper on a certain topic does not takethe same approach as an academic paper. Given that I was writing anacademic paper, I had to meet certain academic conventions such asuse of formal language devoid of slang and contractions and keep aformal structure.
Inthis case I formatted the essay into introduction, body andconclusion. In the introduction, I followed the normal convention ofdrawing the reader in and demonstrating my knowledge and relevance ofthe topic. For an academic essay, it can be tricky to create awinning introduction and entertaining introduction and remainrelevant. No definitions were offered but I made sure to show myexpertise in the topic by highlighting knowledge on PowerPointpresentation as a new academic requirement for students which wasborrowed from one of the sources. A clear purpose statement wasplaced in the introduction to guide the essay. The body was organizedinto paragraphs and a conclusion. The conclusion summarized the wholeessay and tied it to the main argument by restating the thesisstatement in different words.
Asfor the sources, I placed them in context and in a manner thatsupports the arguments being made in the essay to justify theirinclusion. There is no point in using irrelevant sources inparenthesis or even quotes to increase wording. Additionally, Iprovide the full information about the sources at the last page as areference list for any follow up research. Although I changed thesources from the original list in the course of writing, I did notindicate it in the essay.
Inthe same manner, the essay did not mention any writing proceduressuch as revision made or drafts written. However, I followed myunique pattern in handling assignments which is first making briefnotes as I brainstorm. I also read briefly about the topic tofamiliarize myself fully. I mostly do such familiarization reading onthe internet where there are numerous sources that provide briefoverview of topics. Some sources such as Wikipedia come in handy butI would never consider them are academic sources in writing the essayas the information contained therein cannot be verified.
Iused a formal tone and a third persona to argue my case. One thingthat I feel I have mastered and is clear in the essay is organizingparagraphs in a proper manner where ideas flow from one to the other. Each paragraph carries one unique idea or two related ones. Toachieve this, I created an outline where each idea was formulatedinto a topic sentence that was later expanded into a full paragraph.Towards the end of each paragraph was an attempt to also recap themain idea and tie it to the main argument. The last sentence thenintroduces and creates a link with the next paragraph to make theessay flow easily. I found use of connectors as one the mostchallenging things in the essay as I had to look for the rightconnectors which I found hard to employ. I plan to practice more onthis to improve my writing in the future.
Uponcompleting the draft, I read through the essay and made severalcorrections. Most were spelling mistakes not captured by the wordprocessor. Again, I found some hanging and incomplete sentences thatI had to correct. Having adjusted my word processor to capitalize onproper names and the first letter of a new sentence, I did notexperience any problems with capitalization which felt really good.
Onthe overall, the whole experience was enlightening and challenging. Ihad to make sure that I applied everything I have learned in thiscourse in the essay without deviating from the topic. This was verytricky for me as I lost track several times. I am thankful for theexperience which I believe makes be a better academic writer and aprofessional.
Bolton,G. (2010). Reflectivepractice: writing and professional development.New York: