Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Teachers' Comments on Compositions

The purpose of this blog is to summarize articles on teaching English/language arts, from kindergarten through college, published in English education journals from the past.

Topic: Teachers’ Comments on Compositions

Title: “Mr. V. and ‘A Saturday Morning in the Republic of One.’ ” Nancy L. Walker. College Composition and Communication (October 1988), 350-353. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English.

Summary: Gives an example of how a student is first confused by her teacher’s comments and then infuriated by his lack of understanding of what she had written, including a number of allusions to Thoreau’s Walden. Summarizes the article by offering these questions to help teachers evaluate their comments:

1. “Is the tone of my comments clear?
2. “Am I trying to re-create the student in my own image?
3. “Do I distinguish between comments that are praise or criticism and those meant to prod the student’s thinking?
4. “Are my comments complete enough to be comprehended?
5. “Am I reading carefully enough to understand the student’s meaning?
6. ”Are my comments in the margins compatible with my summary comments?”

Comments: Might be a good idea to summarize the content of students compositions. Students can quickly see that you understood what was being said—which is a revealing comment in itself. RayS.

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