Write a learning narrative that narrates a specific event from your life that helped you learn something new about yourself or others. Your narrative should focus on a specific event in a narrow timeframe, using vivid description, narration, detail, and dialogue to organize your memories and make the significance of what happened clear to an audience.
A narrative is a specific type of essay that uses stories of particular moments to help audiences perceive, understand, and “appreciate the value of an idea” (The Composition of Everyday Life, Ch. 1, p. 19).
For this essay, you will write a learning narrative, a specific type of narrative that focuses on showing how a particular moment from your memory changed how you thought about yourself or others. The learning narrative requires you to organize your memories and decide which details best show an audience how the events from your past affected you. A learning narrative is broader than a “literacy narrative”: while you can write about how language or education changed your life, you also can write about other things you learned through music, sports, business, or in any other relevant setting.
In order to write a strong, focused narrative, you will need to be attentive to the following expectations for the essay:
- Find the significance: Think of how your narrative connects your memories to feelings / concepts others have experienced
- Tell a particular story: Like Keller and Zimmer, choose a single moment or event that can reflect your process of learning
- Choose relevant details: Include only those details that contribute to the significance
- Narrate and describe: Add emotional weight and interest to your story by narrating events with dialogue, action, description, and sensory experiences
Caution: Please keep in mind that writing in this class is public, and anything you write about yourself may be shared with other students and instructors. Please only write about details that you are comfortable making public within our classroom community. You should know that your teacher is required by the State of Texas (Links to an external site.) to report any suspected incidents of discrimination, harassment, Title IX sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct to the UNT Title IX coordinators. If you have any questions about anything personal that you might want to disclose, email your teacher first or consult with one of the resources listed on this page: Information on Sexual Violence and Mandatory Reporting.
Format and Length
- Format: Typed, double-spaced, submitted as a word-processing document.
12 point, serif font (Links to an external site.) (i.e. Times New Roman; Garamond; Book Antiqua), 1-inch margins.
- Length: 750 – 1000 words (approx. 3-4 pages)
Objectives and Questions
These questions help to guide discussion and set up the objectives for this unit.
- What is an experience? What are significant experiences in my life?
- How is my own perspective on experiences different than the experiences of others? How do I perceive and report my experiences differently?
- What significance do I perceive in my memories and experiences now that I missed earlier in my life?
- How does writing about my experiences help me gain a more focused critical perspective on myself and on my understanding of the communities around me?
- How can I use my experiences to build trust and credibility (ethos) as a writer? How can I establish emotional connections with an audience?
- What issues and audiences from my personal experiences and memories are most important to me? What enduring topics or problems do I remain passionate about?