Today as you write your midterm reflection, think about the eight habits of mind of successful college students. Has your work in the course helped you develop any of those habits? If so, which particular assignments or aspects of the course have contributed to which of the eight habits?
The habits themselves are abstract, but the practices that develop them are concrete. In your reflection–and in all of your other writing–aim to offer concrete details to support your claims.
In 2011, the Council of Writing Program Administrators (CWPA), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and the National Writing Project (NWP) identified the eight habits of mind that successful college students adopt.
The paragraphs that follow include the descriptions of those habits that we examined earlier in the semester, along with the questions about those habits that you answered in writing.
Are you the kind of person who always wants to know more? This habit of mind will serve you well in courses in which your curiosity about issues, problems, people, or policies can form the backbone of a writing project.
WRITING ACTIVITY: What are you most curious to learn about? What experiences have you had in which your curiosity has led you to an interesting discovery or to more questions?
Some people are more open than others to new ideas and experiences and new ways of thinking about the world. Being open to other perspectives and positions can help you to frame sound arguments and counterarguments and solve other college writing challenges in thoughtful ways.
WRITING ACTIVITY: In the family or the part of the world in which you grew up, did people tend to be very open, not open at all, or somewhere in the middle? Thinking about your own level of open-mindedness, reflect on how much or how little your own attitude toward a quality like openness is the result of the attitudes of the people around you.
Successful college writers are involved in their own learning process. Students who are engaged put effort into their classes, knowing that they’ll get something out of their classes—something other than a grade. They participate in their own learning by planning, seeking feedback when they need to, and communicating with peers and professors to create their own success. Write about a few of the ways you try (or plan to try) to be involved in your own learning. What does engagement look like to you?
WRITING ACTIVITY: Write about a few of the ways you try (or plan to try) to be involved in your own learning. What does engagement look like to you?
You may be thinking that you have to be an artist, poet, or musician to display creativity. Not so. Scientists use creativity every day in coming up with ways to investigate questions in their field. Engineers and technicians approach problem solving in creative ways. Retail managers use creativity in displaying merchandise and motivating their employees.
WRITING ACTIVITY: Think about the field you plan to enter. What forms might creativity take in that field?
You are probably used to juggling long-term and short-term commitments—both in school and in your everyday life. Paying attention to your commitments and being persistent enough to see them through, even when the commitments are challenging, are good indicators that you will be successful in college.
WRITING ACTIVITY: Describe a time when you faced and overcame an obstacle in an academic setting. What did you learn from that experience?
College will require you to be responsible in way you may not have had to be before. Two responsibilities you will face as an academic writer are to represent the ideas of others fairly and to give credit to writers whose ideas and language you borrow for your own purposes.
WRITING ACTIVITY: Why do you think academic responsibility is important? What kind of experience have you already had with this kind of responsibility?
Would your friends say you are the kind of person who can just “go with the flow”? Do you adapt easily to changing situations? If so, you will find college easier, especially college writing. When you find, for example, that you’ve written a draft that doesn’t address the right audience or that your peer review group doesn’t understand at all, you will be able to adapt. Being flexible enough to adapt to the demands of different writing projects is an important habit of mind.
WRITING ACTIVITY: Describe a situation in which you’ve had to make changes based on a situation you couldn’t control. Did you do so easily or with difficulty?
As a learner, you have probably been asked to think back on a learning experience and comment on what went well or not well, what you learned or what you wished you had learned, or what decisions you made or didn’t make. Writers who reflect on their own processes and decisions are better able to transfer writing skills to future assignments.
WRITING ACTIVITY: Reflect on your many experiences as a writer. What was your most satisfying experience as a writer? What made it so?
Friday marks your eighth Wordplay Day of the semester. To up your game and increase your word power, review the tips and tools on the Scrabble website as well as this blog post and my other posts devoted to the game.