R J Comeau - Curriculum Design & Research
Below, you'll find excerpts from Know Thyself on helping students write more complete and positive stories of themselves.
Section 1: Know your own story (and work to tell it better)
Write and revise drafts of your own story, to form a coherent narrative of how you got to be who you are, and where you’re heading next.
Research into writing and psychology has shown that the ability to tell one’s own story well is linked with positive physical and mental health outcomes for the writer (Peterkin, 2009). One option for writing in this guide is to tell your own story, through multiple drafts, demonstrating increasing “narrative competence,” which Peterkin describes as the ability to tell one’s own story with cohesive structure and expressive meaning (p. 80). This kind of story only comes together over time, through various free-writes and multiple drafts. The process of bringing together your own story is what counts, moving from a rough draft of who you are, to one with more cohesion, clarity, and direction.
Tell your story
Select one of the prompts below, and write a page or two in response. In coming days, choose a different prompt, or revise earlier writing in response to feedback and conversations we’ve had about earlier drafts. Over time, let’s work to build a coherent and compelling story about who you are as a person and a student, with a narrative arc that bends toward the you that you want to become.
Prompts: Write about …
Early in the process, it’s best to just write, to get your story started on the page. As we work together on revisions, we’ll keep in mind the ideas of “narrative competence.”
Levinson, M. (2012). No citizen left behind (Vol. 13). Harvard University Press.
Peterkin, A. D., & Prettyman, A. A. (2009). Finding a voice: revisiting the history of therapeutic writing. Medical humanities, 35(2), 80-88.
Copyright 2013-2017 Robert J. Comeau