My comment (not a blog post)

My time is a bit tight tomorrow, so I just thought I’d post a generalized comment to be sure to contribute, even if I can’t organize a comment in direct response to a post.


This week, I’ve really been grappling with a sense if righteousness in some of the readings.  Always the one to express the more extreme end of my sentiments, this may over-the-top despite being characteristic.  However, what I keep feeling as look through Sommers in particular is a sense that the examples are exceptional–students volunteering for a study, select memories rather than broad data.  Now, to be clear, I do not think that the aim of shifting a teacher’s attitude toward one of an equal reader offering guidance not criticism is problematic.  What I am struggling with is reading these alongside the work my students have handed in.  In the vast majority of cases, there is little to no revision between the rough and revised drafts, all fall short of length (and thus depth) requirements, and a good number are very apparently born of little work.  That said, I’m not trying to make undistinguishable the difference between a few students who struggle but work really hard to improve and push themselves and those who spend two hours the night before an assignment is due.  What I am struggling with this week is a sense of pressure from the readings to be saintly in response to a lack of effort.  The part of me that has worked really hard to get where I am doesn’t vibe with devoting heaps of energy to students who aren’t interested in improving.

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3 Responses to My comment (not a blog post)

  1. Kristi says:

    I agree. I definitely struggled with the idea of the exceptional student. Take the video we watched. The idea of having them turn in the paper and then a week later make them do in class revisions and have them edit it is great, but super unrealistic. Workshopping is becoming unrealistic for me. I guess after grading my first batch of essays; I’m feeling very unoptimistic. I gave them detailed comments drafts. I talked to them one on one. They did a workshop two weeks before the paper was due so they had time to think and edit. I had papers that looked exactly the same as when I commented on the draft. So, I guess, my question stemming from your equal frustration is, how are we supposed to take these methods that are suggested and apply them to students who do want to do the work or who don’t care to do the work?

  2. Hi Sarah – I find myself on the same boat as you. We spent an entire class session doing peer review under my supervision and I invested an entire day going through their drafts one more time and providing them individualized feedback. In one of my classes, the majority of the students did not take my feedback (nor that of their peers) as seriously as I hoped – six out of nineteen students did not change a single word between their draft and the final version on their first essay. Although I am not sure the issue lies in a lack of understanding of my notes on their part (I provided each of them with a bullet list of tips to improve their work, I doubt those six students did not understand any of the points that I made) in the future I will try and encourage some form of dialogue with the students about their writing, as suggested by Sommers. I am somewhat hopeful that asking them to come up with a revision plan, and/or to provide me feedback on my notes will encourage them to pay some more attention to the revision process.

  3. I will try and encourage some form of dialogue with the students about their writing

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