Question: What can be learned from studying teachers’ comments on student compositions?
10-second review: Teachers play three roles in responding to student writing: readers, coaches and editors.
Title: “Teachers’ Rhetorical Comments on Student Papers.” RJ Connors and AA Lundsford. College Composition and Communication (May 1993), 200-223. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).
Summary/Quote: “Our readers also told us that the large number of short, careless, exhausted or insensitive comments really made them notice and appreciate comments that reflected commitment to students and to learning.” p. 215.
Summary: Readers analyzed the comments of teachers on students’ papers and concluded that teachers’ roles as responders were mostly in the context of evaluation and grades. They point out that teachers need to identify and separate their roles as responders: readers, coaches, editors and evaluators and to base their comments on these roles.
Comment: Something to think about. I know I never separated these roles in my comments. Therefore, I think my comments on student papers lacked any real purpose. And were probably not helpful to the students. I don’t know. I never asked them if my comments were helpful. Mea culpa.
The “Summary/Quote” shows the difference in teacher attitude toward students, the difference between really wanting students to learn and dispensing information that the student is responsible for learning without any real assistance from the teacher, the role of judge on high. Everyone seems to assume that teachers really want students to learn and will do anything they can to help them. I do not think that is true. The corollary of the “judge on high” attitude is that if students “don’t get it,” they are lazy. RayS.