ENGL 101: Introduction to College Writing

Sue Ann Compton, MA

Focused Autobiographical Sketch

As part of Sue Ann Compton’s involvement in the first i2a PTF Cohort, she assigned her Introduction to Writing students a reflective paper utilizing the Elements of Thought. Students were asked to describe a successful writing experience they have had in an English course.

"This sharing will help to start this journey and reduce anxiety students may have about beginning a college writing course," explained Compton. As the instructor, through this exercise, she can better understand what has been helpful for the students in the past and know what habits they have formed—helpful or not—in the writing process.

Student writers are writers in their own right and should be affirmed that their experiences are authentic ones.

—Sue Ann Compton

The assignment requires the student to pull apart their thinking and focus on a solution they have found useful. This challenges them to consider several Elements of Thought, including their point of view, their purpose, the information necessary to explain their experience, and the consequences of their having this successful experience.

Compton’s involvement in the PTF Cohort has helped her realize how often she uses the elements in planning and assessing other assignments. Questions like "What am I trying to accomplish?" and "What question am I addressing?" come to her frequently. Observing her colleagues applying critical thinking in practical ways in the classroom motivate Compton to deliberately ask herself these critical questions to be more thorough and continue to practice the techniques she teaches.

Download Example of assignment [PDF].

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