You are on page 1of 11

Nguyen Alex

Dr. Haas

The Learning Experience of Alex Nguyen
Writing 39B was surprisingly a very enjoyable class. At first, I was disappointed not
getting into the Zombie Apocalypse theme but after a few sessions, I was really excited to be in
this class. The class theme was Sherlock Holmes and we reviewed the Conan Doyle novels and
modern Holmes. We prioritized our learning on critical reading and rhetorical analysis of
Holmes during the classical and revisionist stage. There are four stages of development:
primitive stage, classical, parotic, and revisionist. The primitive stage is when a new genre is
introduced to the audience. The next stage is the classical stage; it is when the genre that was
introduced became popular to the point where the audience knows what to expect. Following the
classical stage, there is the parotic stage which talks about the genre being well-known and that
many parodies are made from the genre. Lastly, the revisionist stage is when modernized
versions of the genre showed through TV series or text are made. Another aspect that we focused
on was the habits of mind: engagement, persistence, curiosity, creativity, openness,
responsibility, flexibility, and metacognition.
Back when I was in junior high, I did not pay much attention to my English teacher.
Reflecting on it now, I know it was a big mistake because I know now, that grammar, structure,
format, consistency in verbs, and many others are important in all careers. Professor Haas gave
us modules as an assignment. This was very new to me but I was opened at the thought of
working on my writing skills. The module varies from speaking tips, pronoun, clauses,
Nguyen Alex
Dr. Haas

punctuation, modifiers, integrating sources, fundamentals of editing, and even understanding
plagiarism. Although it was time consuming, I was engaged in most of the modules. I think the
one that helped me the most is the pronoun agreement. The next opportunity she gave us to boost
our knowledge of grammar and vocabulary is the quiz up app. I had never played such a game
before. I was excited by the thought of extra credit and so I downloaded the app on my phone
immediately during class and added my professor. I clicked challenge and my professors phone
made a sound. I immediately canceled the request because I was embarrassed. Later that day, I
challenged my professor to a game of Quiz Up, but unfortunately, Dr. Haas score was
unbeatable. I was very engaged and persistence at winning this challenge. I kept playing with
others around the nation learning from my mistakes until I managed to win twice against the
master, Dr. Haas. I played before bedtime, in the morning, and while I waited for class. It was a
miracle that I won twice. However, shes still the better grammar Nazi. Not only did I learned
about grammar and other essential skills in writing, I also read novels and learned about history.
The Sherlock stories were written during the Victorian Era which was during the 1800s in
Britain. During this time Britain, trying to be the most powerful country in the world, conquered
and took control of many lands. They used India resources and took control of it. They
eventually became addicted to power and drugs like cocaine. Eventually, the industrial
revolution hit and caused a transition from farming jobs to factory jobs. With the migration of
people into the city, crimes skyrocketed and lead to the inefficiency of police force. There was a
Nguyen Alex
Dr. Haas

rise in the middle class as a result of the migration. These characteristics such as inefficiency of
the police force, drugs, and others are shown through the novel as well.
The first few days, we split into groups. Although I was very skeptical about working
with others in a group, I embraced the idea. I was opened to the idea of trying new things since I
was in a new environment. Our first presentation did not go so well. Our details were irrelevant
and we did not connect our main point back to the topic of Holmes. From then on, I took
initiative and distributed the work evenly amongst my group members and kept everyone on
track. Lastly, I reviewed the requirements and checked off what we had. I felt a sense of
responsibility trying to succeed with the Detectives. Because everyone was beginning to do their
share of work for our presentation, teamwork became very fun and much more enjoyable. It was
not such a bad experience as I imagined it to be. Working with others was something I never
found necessary. It was very hard for me to communicate with others so I found it more
convenient relying on myself. I learned that teamwork can be a great experience. Through the
efficiency of teamwork, I got really good feedbacks on my essays and it helped me become
aware of what I needed to improve.
My classmates noted that I needed a clearer topic and argument in order to be
straightforward and concise. In addition, they also said I needed to relate my conclusion back to
my introduction. Willing to improve my work, I was flexible enough to listen to my classmates
advices and took it very professionally. I clarified any confusion I had. First, I read each
Nguyen Alex
Dr. Haas

paragraph and figured out the main point and then wrote it on the side. To see if it was related, I
read each sentences independently. I deleted sentences, moved it, and added some background to
relate the sentence to the subtopic. Then I added a few more sources to my Literature review in
order to have different variety of information and a stronger foundation. Sometimes, I had to
delete a whole paragraph or all the evidence I had because it was either too much or off topic.
For example in my literature review, I had a long summary of the novel The Sign of the Four and
I took it out completely despite putting in the effort. Its hard to delete your work after working
on it for so long but thats what distinguishes professional writers and high school writers. After
inputting my content, I read each sentence to check for clarity. There were many unnecessary
words I added. I fixed this by reading my essay several times and asked my peers to review my
work. After going over the peer review, I went through the prompt to meet the entire
According to the literature review prompt, my purpose was to review what the scholars
had written about the topic I had chosen and related it to classical phase. I started with the topic
by gathering all the details and evidence I could on what made Holmes popular during the age of
the Victorian Era. I reviewed our classmates presentations of the literary scholars to use in my
literature review. I read through the scholarly review and took note of possible quotes that I can
be used in my essay. After getting evidences from scholars, I found references from Conan
Doyles novel, The Sign of the Four. I watched the film and read the novel. The film was not
Nguyen Alex
Dr. Haas

necessary but it helped me understand the story better. This showed my engagement and
persistence in understanding the story. This also helped me pinpoint scenes from memory and
chapters contained what was useful for my essay. The next step was to incorporate the text that I
have read into my literature review. I looked over the document in material, verbs for
introducing sources and I often go online on Purdue to check for grammar and format. I have
always had trouble with literature but thankfully, my classmates and my professor help me out
by giving me feedbacks on what I needed to improve on.
Although I began to love this class reflecting on my writing, it was never my strength.
My analytic skills barely existed. I always got distracted and lose focus when reading but with
the online book and online audio I kept myself focused. Being creative, I listened to the book on
YouTube and follow along on my electronic online book which really helped my understanding.
For example, when the class was reading Conan Doyle text, The Sign of the Four, I listened to it.
It really helped me out because every time I lose focus the audio kept on playing.
Another aspect that I do not understand is about the Rhetorical Situation. The concepts of
the triangle inside the fish bowl were very confusing to me. The combination of text, rhetoric,
audience, and historical context make up the Rhetorical Situation. As we read the scholarly
source and The Sign of the Four, we formed our textual analysis. We interpreted the meaning and
the main idea of the article in order to understand it. As a class, we analyzed the contents of the
genre and found many conventions such as Holmes genius attribute and eccentricities. For our
Nguyen Alex
Dr. Haas

presentation of our Scholarly text, we had to analyze and summarize the literature review. My
scholarly literature was about Conan Doyle and what he has done to make Holmes popular. The
next aspect of the rhetorical situation was the rhetoric. Basically what we did was, we explain
each part and how those parts did affected the audience. Lastly, we put everything together and
explain the overall effect of the parts. We did this by learning about cinematic terms and the
effects of these cinematic terms. I used the cinematic terms to analyze the Sherlock series.
I decided to fully revise my literature review because I felt like I had a better
understanding of the topic and what it was asking for. The greatest strengths of my final draft
have to be my understanding of the prompt. My controlling idea revolved around the idea of
Sherlock becoming successful. I incorporated literary scholars to strengthen my controlling idea.
Each paragraph had two scholars having a conversation with one another. There were also
textual evidences from the text, The Sign of the Four, providing my topic with a good solid
foundation. My greatest weakness of my literature review essay was my conversation like
paragraphs, transitions, and my conclusion. If I had more time, I would try to figure out how to
make the whole story flow better and work on my Rhetorical Analysis essay.
The essay that I did not fully revise is my Rhetorical Analysis essay. I did not revise this
to the final because I misinterpreted the topic. I did not have a good grasp on analyzing textual
information or films. The paragraph that I revised, I incorporated some cinematic terms.
However, I did not tie them together. I did not point out the importance of this scene and it was
Nguyen Alex
Dr. Haas

very choppy. I chose this paragraph to revise because it involved the key aspects of what the
essay wanted. The Rhetorical Analysis paper was about writing a convention and how that
convention worked in the modern day text. We analyzed a scene that depicted the convention
that we had decided and made conclusions about it. We explained whether the classic convention
was similar to modern text or how it was different. I did not analyze it well nor did I not give the
overall effect of the cinematic effects. The strength of this paragraph has been that it fits closest
to the prompt compared to my other paragraphs. If I had more time, I would work on my
analyzing skills.
Throughout the quarter we have been focusing on analyzing genre and context. There is
always a crime being investigated by a detective and usually that detective has unique
characteristics. According to the novel, The Sign of the Four, Holmes has no romantic
relationship, he is a genius, and he is eccentric. Holmes differs from the average person because
he is challenged in social situations. Holmes is challenged because being the genius he is, he is
shun by many. In the TV show Sherlock, most of the police force calls Holmes a freak. The plot
of a detective, mystery is highly structured and formulaic. We analyzed scenes using cinematic
terms. For example in episode one of Sherlock, The Study in Pink I analyze the scene of the
cabby driver playing his game with Holmes. I included camera angles, point of views,
background music, and camera movements in order to analyze the scene. By using these
cinematic terms, I was able to show the importance of the scene and how vulnerable Holmes is.
Nguyen Alex
Dr. Haas

Being in groups and deciding for the group on what to do, I feel more responsible. By
being in a group, we had more opportunity to do variety of presentations. For example, we did a
seminar presentation for another Writing 39B class. Even though I got stage freights, I was one
of the three speakers talking about the Victorian era Holmes. Because of my nervousness, I had
to work hard making the speech flow naturally from me and to the audience. I re-wrote my
speech multiple times in order to get the information in my head and every time I read it, I
revised it as well. I went over the slides I was covering and did some more basic research in
order to have a full understanding on what will be going on. I chose the pictures for the last few
slides. After all the hard work and persistence, rehearsing my presentation out loud during work
at Zot N Go, I finally presented my part. It was nerve wrecking but I was glad that it was done.
Three things that went really well were that all the groups went through their part without
any complications. The next thing that went really well was that the audiences were actively
listening to us; I heard some laughter and saw some smiles out in the audience. Thirdly, the
video our class made was very good and it was very comical. It made the audience laugh and it
really made its point about Sherlock eccentricity. Three things that we could had done better for
our seminar were the memorization of our lines to show professionalism, more interesting
pictures , and the interaction with our audience. The other group interacted with the audience
more than we did. It was a very active presentation. Although they did not memorize their lines,
Nguyen Alex
Dr. Haas

they still sounded professional. They sounded professional because they were clear and it was
easy to understand. They really described what monsters were. Another aspect they did well in
was that they described how they got to the final presentation and video design. They told us
what they did and what they changed which really showed that they put in effort. What they
could do better is that they can look at the audience more when speaking and putting fewer
words and more pictures on their presentation.
Some skills I learned as I went through the process of the seminar were openness,
engagement, and persistence. The outline was very specific and we didnt think of the audience.
It's because we knew the topic and we wrote the outline based off our knowledge. It sounds great
from our perspective but the audience would have been confused. We used and gave more
background information in order to make sure of this. I also practiced my part in front of people.
It showed my persistence. When presenting, I tried to keep eye contact with the audience and
attempted to maintain a good posture. Basically, I tried being professional.
Ive always been aware of my poor grammar. For example, I had subject- verb agreement
errors and a mixture of verb tenses. I also had poor formatting skills and horrible structure. I was
also very informal. I was not concise nor was I good at incorporating outside resources.
Following the ways of metacognition, I reflected on everything I heard from my classmates,
friends, and professor. I fixed these problems in my Literature Review essay. The way I fixed my
subject-verb agreement was by reading sentence by sentence instead of reading the entire essay
Nguyen Alex
Dr. Haas

in one run through. The way I fixed my formatting skills was by researching information about
MLA format and read through the basic format and incorporation of outside resources and by
reading my professors feedback. However, fixing my structure involves a different approach. I
got all my information and separated them by topic. I then created my introduction to follow my
body paragraph. I moved topics around depending on relativeness and that made transitioning
easier. The next aspect I fixed was my redundancy and my conciseness. In order to be more
concise, I cut down extra words that dragged on the sentence or story. I had some redundancy
throughout my Literature Review that I noticed after reviewing it a few times throughout a
period of time. Revising my Literature essay allowed me to learn that writing is not a simple
process and that it takes time in order to have a well-developed essay.
Learning about Holmes with my fellow friends taught me many things. It changed my
perspective. I have become more curious at any information I can get, from reading to
socializing. Holmes and his inductive reasoning just open my perspective to other sources. I want
to be more like him, always approached things with an objective point of view. The other
important aspect I learned from being in this class is team work and gaining friends. This quarter,
I met a variety of people from all over the place with a variety of hobbies: some of them like
acting, dancing, traveling, working, and so many more. Lastly, I will carry on everything I
learned in this class and put it to good use in my next writing class. Especially, the grammar
related concepts.
Nguyen Alex
Dr. Haas