It is interesting to think of the writing process this in-depth. Before reading this text, I never really thought about my writing under the scope of cognition and metacognition, let alone knew how to identify when I was utilizing which concept. Additionally, this chapter raised a few other questions that seemed important for writers to think about. In section 5.0, Dryer asked an important question: “Why do writers interrupt higher-order attempts to shape meaning to correct lower-order issues of spelling and punctuation, and why does it matter?”(72). I thought about this quote in two ways. Firstly, thinking about why we write what we write (metacognition) is important to understanding our cognitive writing behavior. On the other hand, maybe it is the question of “why does it matter” is a more important one to ponder. Inexperienced writers may look at rules or ways of thinking as facts, rather than things that can be questioned. It is through this metacognition, think about writing and what we employ when writing, that writers are able to achieve an important part of the writing process—reflection (sections 5.2 and 5.4 also speak to this idea of reflection, revision, and metacognition. So why does this matter? Why should we think deeply about our writing process? The video linked below reflects on metacognition, what it is, and why it is important in the learning process.
The video touched on something that I think is really important— this reflection does not have to be the end of the metacognition cycle, sometimes it can start the cycle over again. (If you want a slightly chaotic example, think about this as a positive feedback loop.) Similarly, reflection doesn’t have to happen at the end of the writing process, but throughout the process as a way to assess writing, and possibly kickstart ideas (cognition). It can be a little confusing to think of these topics as separate, but I believe that understanding the differences in these terms can help shape people into better readers and writers.
It is important to emphasize this in a classroom. In 5.4, Taczak pointed out that reflection can be difficult for readers to accomplish if they are not used to the practice. And, as the video mentions, this could be difficult because metacognition (and reflection) can happen naturally and can sometimes be undetectable. This could discourage some writers if they have never been aware of this step in the writing process. In grad school, we spend a lot of time having conversations were we reflect on what we are learning and how we can implement this in our own FYC classes. I believe reflective aspects can (especially) help inexperienced writers understand concepts. If they are able to identify what they are doing in their writing and why they are doing it, they will probably have a better understanding of what to implement in the future. It is always important to know what ‘works’ in writing, and if FYC writers are able to understand this concept earlier, they will be able to take this skill into their other disciplines and majors. What do you guys think—how should we approach reflection in FYC courses?
- Adler-Kassner, Linda, and Elizabeth A. Wardle. Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies. Classroom ed., Utah State University Press, 2016.