Assignment #1: Personal Narrative, Part 1 Summary of assignment Task: Narrate an event or describe your interactions with a person that affected your outlook on learning or writing. Length: 800-1200 words Sources: None required, but you should have read “The Driver’s Seat,” and you might decide to use it as a reference. Outcomes you should achieve by completing this assignment This essay gives you an opportunity to reflect on and write about your engagement with your work or community. As you complete the tasks required for this assignment, you will be working towards several of the course outcomes: • Choose a topic of appropriate scope (Course outcome 1) • Organize information clearly in narration of an event or description a person (Course outcomes 1 and 2) • Use an introduction paragraph with a thesis statement and a concluding paragraph to frame an essay (Course outcomes 1 and 2) • Demonstrate accurate grammar and mechanics in writing (Course outcome 3) • Participate in the process of receiving feedback in preparation for revising your writing (Course outcome 1) Getting started In his essay “The Driver’s Seat,” Adam Gopnik narrates his experience learning to drive as an adult. He focuses on learning to drive, but we can also think about how his experience relates to other learning experiences – for example, we can more broadly consider the questions he addresses about why he decided to learn, what process he followed, and how he reflected on his learning. Gopnik’s narration also discusses the roles that various people played in his learning, especially his driving teacher, Arturo Leon. At one point in the essay, Gopnik compares learning to drive to learning to write. For this essay, you will narrate an event or describe a person in your life that is important to your outlook on learning or writing. You might consider these possibilities to help you arrive at a topic: • A person who taught you something about learning or writing, through words or actions, perhaps by setting either a good example or a bad one • An event that challenged you to learn something new or change your approach to learning or writing • A learning or writing situation you encountered at work or in your community that involved a failure • A learning or writing situation you encountered at work or in your community that involved an important victory Your essay will be most effective if it focuses on a relatively short period of time. For example, you might write about a difficult project you had to complete over a two-week period. That would be more effective than writing about the four years of high school. Organizing your essay Organize your essay into several paragraphs, including the following: • an introductory paragraph with a thesis statement • body paragraphs that support the thesis statement • a concluding paragraph Point of view For this essay, feel free to use “I” and “me” (first person point of view) in describing your experience. While you may have been discouraged from using first-person point of view in previous classes, please note that this essay is one that lends itself to first-person point of view. However, you should not write “to the reader” by using the pronoun “you” (second person point of view) in referring to the reader. You also should not use “you” to refer to various people. For example, instead of “At this job, you had to pay attention to detail,” you would write, “At this job, I had to pay attention to detail” or “At this job, employees had to pay attention to detail.” Documentation If you choose to either paraphrase or quote from “The Driver’s Seat” in your essay, follow these APA guidelines to document your source: • Enclose any quotes in quotation marks, and cite the source following one of these two examples: Gopnik (2015) observes that “being good at passing tests has relatively little to do with being good at what those tests are supposed to be testing” (para. 6). I found that in high school, as in driving, “being good at passing tests has relatively little to do with being good at what those tests are supposed to be testing” (Gopnik, 2015, para. 6). • When paraphrasing, cite the source following one of these two examples: Gopnik (2015) observes that tests are not necessarily good measures one’s ability. The written test at the DMV is not necessarily a good measure of one’s driving ability (Gopnik, 2015). • Add a page at the end of your essay with the heading References, and provide the following reference entry: Gopnik, A. (2015). The driver’s seat. The New Yorker. Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/02/drivers-seat Formatting your essay Incorporate these elements of APA style: • Use one-inch margins. • Double space. • Use an easy-to-read font between 10-point and 12-point. • Include a title page with the title of your paper, your name, and the name of your school. Revising your essay This essay will be written in two stages. You will submit the first complete draft of the essay in Week 1 of the course, and you will receive a grade. In Week 8 of the course, you will revise the essay based on your instructor’s feedback and your learning throughout the course.
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