5 Studying the arts, expectations and concerns
Now we would like you to develop a little further the work you have done. You have captured some of your own ideas about approaching the arts. You have been ‘trying to trap some of the ideas floating about in your mind’.
We would like you now to write a paragraph of about 250 words on the reasons why you are taking up studying the arts, what you are looking forward to in future study itself, and what your concerns about it are. To do this, you will need to look back at the points we have worked through already. Your answer should aim to answer the following question
Will I be glad that I made the decision to study the arts, or will I regret it?
Since you have only 250 words to write, you will not be able to include all the points you have made, or all your positive or negative feelings. So you will need to prioritize your points, and discard those that are less important to you. It may be useful to start by making separate lists of points in favour of the decision (hopes) and points against (fears).
When you have completed your writing, you might like to reflect on the process you have gone through, and jot down in your notebook or the course Forum what you found easy, and what was more difficult for you. In this way you will begin to identify your own strengths and weaknesses.
It is impossible for us to know what your reflections were, or what you have identified as your strengths and weaknesses. But we think that it is very important for you, as you begin studying the arts, to acquire the habit of reflecting on the learning you are undertaking. We are sure that future study will stimulate you, and that you will be introduced to, or renew acquaintance with, a wide range of topics. Thinking about these, as well as writing about them, will form a process for you which you will experience over the course of your studies. We think that you will be a better learner if, at the outset, you are able to reflect both on this learning process and on the knowledge that your studies will bring you.
To encourage this, we suggest that you keep a separate section in your notebook in which you can comment on the work you are doing - perhaps at the end of a section that you found particularly interesting or stimulating, or occasions where you found the work hard. Try to write a short comment to yourself on why this was so. This on-going diary of reflections will help you to identify your own learning style, and to build upon your strengths. You will benefit greatly from disciplining yourself to keep a reflective self-assessment of how you have developed in the course, both in terms of your study skills and in your own study patterns.