English 111 G/H Rhetoric
See an Example Essay 5: Example 1
| Example 2
For your final ENGL 111 essay, you will create
an argument about the value of what you have learned, drawing
evidence from your experience in the class by doing reflective
self-assessment. This entails reviewing all the work youve
done this semester in order to explain what you have learned
about writing, reading, critical thinking, and researching; how
you learned it; and how you plan to use it in your college, professional,
and personal lives. As is the case in all rhetorical situations,
the ethos you create will influence your credibility and persuasiveness.
All the course work you did was designed to help you meet
the course objectives. Now you can explain what you have learned
and discuss its significance. To help you prepare, you may want
to think about writing to someone other than your instructor.
When you write to an unfamiliar audience, you know that you need
to slow down, explain, give details, and elaborate, because this
audience will not already know what you have experienced.
In general, you will answer the following questions:
- What did I learn? What have I learned about writing,
reading, critical thinking, and researching in this class, and
how will what Ive learned play a part in my academic, professional,
and personal lives?
- How did I learn it? How did the activitiesreading
and critical thinking exercises, in- and out-of-class writing
assignments, library work, essays and research projects, group
work, class discussions, conferences, and so oncontribute
to what I have learned in this course? How can I show that I
have learned this? What examples can illustrate that I have learned
what I claim?
- Why is it important? What have I learned about the
role writing will play in my future? What will I be able to do
as a result of doing the work of this course?
- How will I apply it? What specific skills and strategies
from this course will I use when writing in the future? What
are my strengths and weaknesses as a writer? What do I do well?
What do I still need to work on, and what skills can I work on
to develop as a writer?
You must defend all your assertions with specific examples
of the work you did in the course. For example, if you believe
that reading and writing about education taught you something
important, then explain what you learned, how you learned it,
and how it is important in the most specific terms you can. Do
the same for all the reading and writing assignments you choose
to discuss. Make specific references to the work you did in the
course to prove your claims about learning. Move from the general
claim to the specific example that shows the validity of that
Example: I learned
that I can strengthen my essays by taking the suggestions of
my readers because they are an unfamiliar audience. For example,
in my first draft of E2, I used a lot of engineering jargon.
My peer critiquers told me they didnt understand, and since
I had decided I was writing to high school seniors who would
be interested in possibly majoring in engineering, I knew I had
to explain more clearly. I then cut down on the use of jargon
and used more familiar words instead. I used this same approach
in my editorial by tailoring my word choice to the target publication
Consider all youve done during the semester
and evaluate how the parts fit together into a whole. Think of
your reflective self-assessment as an essay that covers and explains
what important work someone would find in your portfolio. Consider
how you can convince a reader that you have mastered the course
Remember that you must write a coherent and well-developed
essay. Listing and answering questions is not enough. Your essay
must demonstrate that you have learned the desired skills of
the course and can argue and write clearly and effectively. Make
sure that your essay is clear, well organized, fully developed
and argued, and well written in terms of style, grammar, and
One way to start is by reviewing the course objectives, which
are listed on the syllabus and reprinted here:
Through a sequence of directed practice, you will:
- become familiar with the composing process and learn to
adjust it to accomplish various writing tasks,
- understand the use of writing as an aid to learning,
- develop analytical reading and critical thinking skills,
- develop expository and argumentative writing skills,
- develop research skills, and
- understand collaborative learning and its use in various
There is no specified length; it has to be as long as it has
to be to get the job done. Do write enough to make and effectively
argue a position about your learning in this course, its value,
how you will use it, what you will do to keep learning to be
an effective writer and thinker. The reflective self-assessment
will be worth a maximum of 20 points of the 60 points you can
earn through your portfolio.
E5 due date: ___/___
Use the following questions about
the main elements of an essay to analyze the strengths and weaknesses
of your essay. Use these questions when reading each others
essays for peer critiquing. Your instructor will be using these
criteria when evaluating your essay.
Course and performance review
- Does the writer have a thesis/enthymeme about
the significance of what he or she has learned about writing,
reading, critical thinking, and other areas?
- Where does the writer need more specific details/evidence
to support the thesis/enthymeme and other claims?
- Does the writer discuss his or her strengths and weaknesses
- Does the writer accommodate an unfamiliar audience?
General characteristics of effective
Evaluate your essay against
the course goals for English 111. An effective essay will demonstrate
Critical thinking: Essay demonstrates control over conceiving
and defending a statement about a topic, including defining and
limiting a topic. Makes a clear and arguable statement about
topic, developing statements logically and adequately. Recognizes
complications or alternative viewpoints. Paragraphs are sequenced
and clearly developed.
Argument, structure, and development: Essay makes an argument to an audience.
Essay is structured around a controlling idea or thesis statement.
Evidence illustrates or argues the controlling idea. Evidence
is appropriate to topic and purpose. Evidence is sufficient.
Audience is defined implicitly or explicitly and accommodated
through essay. Whole paper structure supports controlling idea.
Standard edited English awareness: Language use contributes to success
of essay. Vocabulary and syntax are appropriate to purpose and
occasion. Sentences vary to reinforce logic of essay. Essay demonstrates
understanding of standard English conventions, including sentence
boundaries and completeness, concord, appropriate modification,
and mechanics, including spelling, punctuation, and manuscript
Copyright 1997 Department of English
New Mexico State University
Use only with permission