Think Against The Grain

Recently, I had an assignment (Investigating Media Reflective Practices – it’s a subject most of you probably wouldn’t like because it’s a little analytical) to write a reflective blog post. Something about this assignment irked me very much.

We didn’t get graded yet, since this is part of a larger assignment. However, our tutor was able to email us with written feedback about our online posts. Our tutor emailed all the students in the class, and told us to look at the work of students who had done well. She provided a list of names.

This annoyed me because it clearly separated those who had “better” assignments. And I’m guessing that they will get the highest marks in the class as well. I know we should really use these as opportunities to ask our tutor for help or learn from our classmates, but the fact that she separated the “good” from the “not so good” made me feel a bit uncomfortable – a bit like favouritism.

My friend, Vicky, was annoyed that our tutor corrected her spelling. Like me, she takes pride in her spelling. In Australia, we spell a certain word as artefact, which is recognised as the British spelling. The American spelling is artifact. Vicky was corrected, and the tutor mentioned that “artefact” was wrong. She didn’t feel up to retorting, though.

In high school, one of the things that annoyed me in an exam were questions like these:

1) Why do you think Andrew went to Lindsay’s house? Give reasons for your answer.
2) Why do you think that Jimmy collected certain types of flowers?
3) Why do you think the author chose not to reveal the identity of the thief until the end of the chapter?

It’s questions like this, that ask what you think, that annoy me. Once in high school, I looked at a question that began with “Why do you think”. I had received no marks for my answer; I was marked wrong for my answer and reasoning. The way these questions are worded is wrong.

Why? No one can say my thoughts are wrong! Because certainly, that’s what I think. And I answered the question with what I thought. Surely it can’t be marked wrong.

I guess there isn’t really a better way to phrase the question. So why ask?! To me, it’s a bit like asking for an opinion you’re going to say is wrong. πŸ˜›

That said, I always feel weird about writing reflective posts or reports in university, since we’re being marked on it. Usually, a writer expresses themselves in what they write, or they write in a certain style, whether they are a journalist, author, songwriter, or poet. I feel that there is always an element of themselves in their writing.

I don’t know who would agree, but some would say that writers write for themselves, not necessarily for others. Wouldn’t you write to feel at least some sense of accomplishment? I feel like I’m emptying out my own thoughts, be it passionate or discreet, when I write something – from a poem to a report. For a recent report in university, I had to write about why I chose my topic. Even that is including a personal aspect.

I don’t think we should be asked to hand in reflective essays or asked questions on what we thought of a piece of work. We have different interpretations. And sure, you might disagree with me on that point, but you can’t tell me my thoughts are wrong. I actually thought them.

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