Writing academically

Reflecting on the Views of Others

It is often essential to also consider the values of others that may impinge on your learning. For example, when we critically analyse a piece of text, we have to consider the perspective from which it has been written and assess its objectivity. Similarly, if you are writing a reflective account of your contribution to a presentation or your activities at a work placement, you will need to reflect on the role of others. The following activity has been designed to encourage you to empathise with three very different people and reflect on their values and motivations.

The Incident

Ronnie is only 18 but a broken family life, care in a succession of foster homes and subsequent alcohol and drug abuse has left physical and psychological imprints which means that he is often assumed to be much older. Currently, he attends a rehabilitation programme and sells copies of The Big Issue outside a local supermarket; much to the irritation of John, the security attendant.

One day, Betty, a lady in her sixties, left the supermarket with her shopping and made her way across the car park. She totally ignored Ronnie, refusing as ever to engage in conversation or buy a copy of his magazine. As she began to unload her trolley, a small child seemingly appeared from nowhere, dashed past Betty and knocked her to the ground.

Ronnie, having seen everything, rushed over to help Betty up. However, when she saw Ronnie, she became hysterical, screaming and pushing him away. The noise alerted John who, seeing Betty on the floor surrounded by her shopping, with The Big Issue vendor leaning over, attacked Ronnie and beat him so severely that he required attention at the local hospital. John has been threatened with prosecution.

Activity

1) Ensuring that you justify the perspective taken, and using the first person singular (I), write this story from:

a) Ronnie’s perspective

b) Betty’s perspective

c) John’s perspective

Imagine you are the local newspaper reporter. You have interviewed all three participants. Whose story has had the greatest influence? Why? How will you write the story?

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