As we continue looking at Dr. Cole Bennett’s tips regarding writing assignments, let’s consider the often dreaded topics of feedback and revision.
When providing feedback to students, the main goal is that the students will read the professor’s feedback, learn from it, and incorporate the feedback into future writing. Because this is the hope, professors often spend hours commenting on student writing. Dr. Bennett suggests the following tips for commenting on student writing:
- Begin with general comments toward global areas. This means speaking broadly about the response. Note the lack of a clear argument or the overall response to the prompt for example. Avoid pointing out every small detail needing attention.
- Consider not marking individual grammar errors, but make one global editing comment instead. Examples Dr. Bennett gives for this kind of less specific grammar editing include:
- “This paper needs editing badly.”
- “You are using run-on sentences frequently.”
- “If you need further explanation or editing help, come to office hours.”
Dr. Bennett also suggests allowing at least one revision for student writing. If the due dates are moved up in the process, allowing revision will ultimately save time and is quite liberating. Students perceive a more collaborative process and this builds ethos as “teacher.” Allowing students to revise their writing also makes the more global comments make sense. The students receive feedback, but the responsibility of improving their writing stays with the student rather than the professor.