Friday, May 9, 2008

Commenting on essays

I found particularly helpful the idea of using comments on drafts of a paper as a way of improving the process of writing. In particular, the idea of using rubrics to guide peer-review of drafts of papers seems an excellent one -- particularly when the student who comments on a given paper also reflects on her learning process and on how she could improve her own paper by commenting on a paper by a classmate.

The idea of focusing on two central issues when commenting on a student's paper -- what is working on the paper, and what is not working -- was also very helpful.

It also became clear to me that although there is no replacement for giving direct feedback on students' papers -- and probably there shouldn't be -- there are excellent strategies for improving the students' papers (through peer reviews and workshops) before the instructor gets to comment on the latter.

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