Blog Roundtable 2

We all chose different mini-assignments to complete but we all noticed common themes amongst all of the pieces we chose to complete. They all were important to laying foundational work in our projects and helping to organize our thoughts and feelings and how we can focus on specific word choices and concepts to guide us towards our final product. And in making these relatively small decisions helped to make much larger steps towards completing the projects as a whole.

Tyler’s Mini-Assignment

Tyler chose to complete the “Barn Exercise” and his piece looks at how a different perspectives can drastically change the way that we view even a physical part of the world like a barn. We may think description of something as neutral and non-controversial as this being static or fixed no matter who is looking at it. Just looking at this piece however we can see that this is not true. Our own feelings and emotions not just about that object but about the world in general can color the way that we describe and view the scene or object and our descriptions can differ greatly because of this.

Takeaways for Our Projects

  • This is an idea that applies to each of our writing. We are all trying to make a point, however which way we’re going about it. Emily is thinking through the effect of words on politics that have global consequences, Maddie is considering the future of science, and Tyler is exploring his identity. Any great argument has considered the other side, has premeditated any possible confounding points. The side by side comparison of the barn scene is a great reminder to know your audience. Our project is not a one-(wo)man show – the audience will be there to finish it off.

Emily’s Mini Assignment

Emily chose to expand on the definition of “danger.” Specifically, danger in Chimamanda Adichie’s use in The Danger of a Single Story. This assignment wanted us to challenge the assumed confines of a word definition and see how writing through a concept might lead to great ideas. Each project has a few keywords that define its purpose and direction. Specifically, Emily found more of a purpose for her project by thinking about how important this concept actually is to it. It also relates to our notecard activity. Which select few words did we choose to write down? How might we expand those? By writing through the word danger, Emily realized just how integral discussing its implications is in defining her project.

Takeaways for Our Projects

  • Before we try and write an entire paper around a single topic we should take the time to clearly define for ourselves what we think of that topic so we don’t confuse ourselves and our audience partway through by shifting our definition
  • Trying to define a word also forces us to make distinctions about what the word is not as well and helps to decide what words we will use for specific related but subtly different concepts in our paper

Maddie’s Mini-Assignment

Maddie chose the Branching assignment. She compiled notes and quotations from handouts we have read through out the semester and created a flow chart, while drawing connections between themes. She began with the concept of generous listening and the idea that we should habitualize our openness to new ideas and ambiguities in language, or in other words “to make the practice of recognizing the unconventional conventional.” This idea then spread to other ideas on the importance of establishing routines and practices, the downfalls of expertise and power of ignorance, the value of wonder and curiosity, and the idea that everything we create is an assimilation of our experiences.

Unlike Emily and Tyler’s assignments, her’s does not directly relate to the topic of word choice, however, it does touch on the idea that we as readers, writers, and human beings communicating with others in our every day lives,  should be open to subjectivities in language. We should practice the the skill of picking up on subtleties in language. Behind Tyler’s barn story is a man who lost his son or someone in love. Emily explored the meaning of a single word, danger. Words hold great meaning that might go undetected if we are not practicing this attentiveness to language.

Takeaways for Our Projects

  • The process of mapping can be a great tool for organizing your project mentally to see the relationships that already exist within your mind between different aspects and components of your project
  • It can reveal where ideas need more development or where further research is needed by where you want to create a connection but are unable to do so
  • It can also help show how you want your audience to navigate your train of thought and could thus inform some of the structure and composition of your argument

Leave a Reply