You can write?
If any of the statements on the previous page rings true, let us reassure you: many other students are feeling the same as you. Writing skills can be learned. We want to emphasise straightaway that this is a process that can be continually developed. There is no single ‘correct’ way of writing: different academic disciplines demand different styles. This can be confusing if you feel that you've mastered what is required for one course, only to find that something different is expected on another. You might feel more comfortable with one particular style of writing or presentation rather than another. You will also have your own individual way of writing, which reflects your personality or your culture: think of this as a strength that can be built on. Let's take a step back and think about why you might need to write assignments. As with most tasks, if you have an understanding of why you are doing something and how it fits into the bigger picture, it is easier to work out what is required of you and therefore to do a good job.
So, what do you see as the reasons for writing assignments?
Here are some suggestions:
- To meet the assessment requirements of a particular course;
- To demonstrate your understanding of particular topics to your tutor;
- To check that your writing is at the right level for the course you are on.
Most students tend to view the writing process in these terms: that it provides evidence of their understanding and skills to whoever is marking their work. For many students, anxiety about assessment can overshadow the enjoyment and personal growth that the writing process can offer. But what if you change the focus? While formal assessment is obviously important, take a moment to ask yourself ‘What can I gain from the writing process?’
Do you agree with the following statements? An assignment: (a) provides an opportunity for me to think about different viewpoints or perspectives; (b) helps me to come to a better, personal understanding of important theories and concepts; to internalise knowledge and ideas, ‘making them my own’; (c) builds on my ability to analyse and apply new ideas; (d) allows me to obtain feedback from my tutor and advice on how to improve; (e) helps pull the course together and enables me to check out my progress
Think about this
Assignments are not just about producing something to please your tutor and gaining good marks, or about moving bits of course material around into a slightly different form. The process of writing is an integral part of your personal learning development, improving your skills and understanding of the subject area. To find out more click on How to Write a Report