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Responding to Student Writing

The Red Pen Effect!

When reading this article, it made me reflect on myself as both an educator and my beginnings schooling years as a young writer. Teachers play a major role on young writers’ confidence as they emerge into the world of academia. With that being said, this issue of marketing up, or the inner child in me would call ‘doodling’ does more harm than benefit if not approached correctly. When reading the article, there are a few points I would like to touch base on.

  • The time consuming pressure of thoroughly commenting on students writing. Not only we are educators putting pressure on our students to make all of these unbelievable changes (so that they sound like us) but we are doing just us much damage to ourselves! Put the pen down for a second my friend and THINK before you have a field day on one of your poor students’ paper. Commenting on about 100 different essays will not only leave your hand crapping but also your judgement a bit foggy.
  • We are trying to get our students to think like us. This one is a little self explanatory. Sometime we are so consumed with trying to make our students these ‘perfect’ writers through vigorous commenting on their papers, that we start putting our own twist on their creativity. I have a secret to tell all my fellow adult essay doodlers … YOUR STUDENT WILL GET THERE EVENTUALLY. The process of writing takes time, and you basically correcting ALL of their mistakes does not help
  • Teachers’ comments can take students’ attention away from their own purpose in writing a particular text and focus that attention on the teachers’ purpose in commenting. How would you feel if you see several red words, circling, scratching out, and questioning question makers all over your own writing?

Writing Comments on a Student’s Paper

“Perhaps nothing involves us so directly in the messiness of teaching writing as our attempts to comment on our students’ essays.”

This is a quote I pulled out from the reading because it just stood out to me and had so much meaning behind this. The quote real speaks value on that of trying to teaching writing through commenting. In fact, we are stirring our students away from their writing individuality with these comments, along other things we are doing to them. I know I am hitting you readers with two quotes back to back, but I have reasoning behind my madness! The first quote is kind of a counter attack against the first. The quote in the picture emphasizing on in class opportunities, rather than just comment after comment.

I would like to dive deeper into some key notes that I took away from this article. One important point that I would like to target is that article talks about how we can mistakenly let our emotions and frustration get in the way of our commenting. I can recall one too many times of an almost sarcastic tone within some of my grade level teachers who would comment on my essays. Even as a professional, I say us because I have caught myself time and again doing such things, get tired of the work load. Referring back to the article, Responding to Students’ Writing, we put so much focus on giving such details comments on about 101 different student essay that we start to lose track and reality of the real matter at hand; making our students better writers!

Another note from the text I would speak upon is comments themselves, or more so the clarification they may not give our students. This point ties back into the frustration we are putting on ourselves that could trickle down our students. The article goes on to say that our students may not be able to truly understand what the comments are referring. We can also send off the mix signals of what should be minor tweak, or start a whole new idea. These confusing comments can lead to young writer becoming frustrated with the process of writing and have a negative notion towards writing in general.

Last but not least (don, don, donnnn *dramatic effect*) … the circling of grammatical errors. For one, in my personal opinion, I am very much against making a big to do on punctuation on drafts of essays. In my imaginary hierarchy of the writing process pyramid, punctuation is at the lower tier. Seeing a thousands circles everywhere can be nerve racking, especially if you are one of those people who have phobia with holes. This serves as a distraction to the matter important matters at hand, like actually getting a second essay draft completed!

Ranking, Evaluating, and Liking

Ranking v. Evaluating
” What do we need to get an A?”
– Every student you may ever teach

The main idea that I would like to address within this article is the notion of Ranking v. Evaluating. I would like to you this portion of my blog to list some pros and cons for each category to see which one comes out victorious.

Ranking: ProsEvaluating: Pros
Finding where a student learning level is
Efficient results
Computer based
Understanding the students learning level
Learning about the student without comparing to other students
Seeing personal growth within every student
No group ranking or average

Ranking: ConsEvaluating: Cons
Computer based number
Forced testing
Not truly understanding students’ intellect
Being compared to other students
Not seeing exact numbers
Having to evaluate students individually 
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