For this project you will write a personal narrative or memoir about an important lesson you learned about yourself as a learner and how that lesson affected you and perhaps continues to affect you. You may choose to write about an activity in which became an expert; you may write about an experience that taught you the value of failure in the learning process and the lessons failure can teach us; you may write about something you love to do and continue to practice. The purpose of the project is to invite you to reflect on your experiences and make sense of a significant learning process in your life.
As material for your story, you may choose to write about:
learning music or sports or art of any kind
something you learned from your family
something you learned with your friends
something you taught yourself to do
your formal schooling: influential people, places, events
You may, in fact, choose to tell a story that combines scenes from several types of learning experiences from your life and what you have learned about life and yourself as a learner. The best things to write about are learning events and situations that have turned out to be especially important or meaningful to you (and, chances are, these things will have happened in places other than school). Often, we learn best from mistakes we have made that have had difficult consequences. A basic premise of this class is that there are often positive outcomes of “failure,” and that the trick is to anticipate and respond to it productively. In keeping with this idea, the learning situations you choose for your narrative may represent bad experiences as well as good ones. It might, in fact, be useful to think of the subject of your essay as a story of unlearning—of having to work against or relearn something you already knew, or imagined you did. A few words about stories
For this assignment, we, your audience, will expect you to tell us a story. Stories are about characters–usually people –who do something. Things not only happen in stories, they result in something. People who read stories expect them to have beginnings, middles, and endings. We learn life lessons from experience, so those who tell stories do so with a purpose. We, your audience, will expect all of these things from the stories YOU share with us. Your first step will be to plan and propose an approach to this project. Your audience for this assignment is us – all of us in the class. We’ll share our stories with each other to discover what experiences we have in common, and what we think we have learned from them.