<p>The teacher responded to my email:</p>
Students generally receive one written comment paper per six weeks. Educational research has consistently shown that written feedback on writing is the least effective means of improvement. Models and personal conferences are best, and these are the types I prefer. I have quite a few students who visit with me about every paper.
<p>At least he responded. Do you really think that educational research has consistently shown that written feedback is **the* least effective *means of improvement? Almost everyone who posted on this thread has expressed the belief that written feedback is essential. Are we all wrong and in reality, written feedback means nothing?</p>
<p>Maybe so, maybe no, but at least he's not completely refusing to teach, which is what his web page and presentation made it look like.</p>
<p>I feel vindicated in my prediction that he couldn't possibly be as bad as his presentation suggested.</p>
I feel vindicated in my prediction that he couldn't possibly be as bad as his presentation suggested.
<p>I guess it's a pretty smart plan of attack for him. Lower parents' expectations. Intimidate the heck out of a fair percentage of the kids. What is left are the kids who are both (a) not intimidated, * and <a href="b">/I</a> motivated enough to come in to see him outside of normal school hours. That makes his work load manageable and still leaves time to train for those marathons.</p>
<p>Missypie: I can't believe that website isn't totally tongue in cheek! I have to agree that the teacher and the class sound awful.</p>
<p>Could your D organize a study group that critiques each others essays?</p>
Could your D organize a study group that critiques each others essays?
<p>LOL, I guess because we're on CC, y'all are assuming a much higher level of motivation than my D actually has. That's why I liked the idea of comments written in red all over the paper...in your face, hard to ignore. If the teacher required that the paper be returned with corrections, she'd do it. But with her busy life (think Elle Woods while still in undergrad), if she sees a paper with no marks and a 3 or 4 on it, it means, "must be okay, move on to the next thing."</p>
<p>I would just play the game. After EVERY paper I would have my child request a personal conference. If he was sticking around I would try to have him removed for the sake of those to come. He sounds like a jacka** to me.</p>
<p>I looked through Son's papers. Most were not written on to much degree. And I do know he had to conference with the teacher for several papers if not all. But that doesn't exactly jive with your teacher's comment/Q&A about if you see him deep in thought, don't bother him.</p>
<p>(And while I don't know about "the" best way, I do somewhat agree that correcting isn't exactly teaching the kid to refine and refocus for the best result - and is why conferencing is valuable to this end. Of course, if he makes the kids feel unwelcome in the process he does even less work. Seems to me he talks out both sides of his mouth)</p>
Of course, if he makes the kids feel unwelcome in the process he does even less work. Seems to me he talks out both sides of his mouth
<p>Our firm once had a managing partner who took that approach. If you dared go into his office with an issue, he'd make the experience so unpleasant that you'd vow to never go in there again. It dramatically decreased the number of issues he had to deal with but it didn't do a lot for the health of the firm or the morale of the attorneys.</p>
<p>As for written corrections, it really depends on what the student's problem is. If there is little punctuation, or incorrect grammar, or repeated use of the same word, I still think a lot of red ink can work wonders. (Instead of wondering why she got a 3, the student can say, "wow, I didn't realize that I used the word 'very' 20 times in one essay." However, if the problem is that the student can't organize her thoughts, it's not very helpful for the teacher to draw arrows all over the paper...in that case, a conference would work out better.</p>
<p>The one thing I never liked in D's classes was "peer review" or "peer editing." I suppose fellow students could catch some grammatical or spelling errors, or write "unclear," but that's a far cry from teaching students to write.</p>
<p>My D is now a freshman, taking a freshman seminar; she just read through 6+ chapters of Turabian (she found it "interesting"). Her comment was something to the effect that finally someone is teaching us how to write a paper....</p>
<p>missypie -- I don't know what educational research shows, but I do know that often when I write copious comments on papers, or write memos to students about those papers, it doesn't seem to make any difference. A paper covered with red ink shows the teacher has read it; but it doesn't guarantee students learn from the comments. I have one colleague who makes marks/comments only on the first page of a paper. Maybe sometimes less is more... But I do agree that a good conference is a better way to go -- just way too time consuming to do it with every paper and every student.</p>
<p>Early in her college career, our older D sent us drafts of papers, which we'd read/correct and return for rewrite. By the end, she was determined to write everything without our help -- even (or maybe especially) if the paper was in our area of expertise! She's a pretty good writer these days.</p>
<p>I think that teacher comments are most valuable when the students have to correct the papers and turn them back in. It could be for a couple of points of extra credit or whatever and needn't cause the teacher a lot of extra work. Just having the student have to change "it's" to "its" five times on her paper would be of value.</p>
<p>My older son had a wonderful freshman English teacher. He'd make them keep rewriting papers until he was satisfied. I remember the first one my son wrote started at a 61 and ended up with a 92.</p>
Q: Mr. _____ didn't respond to my email. What's up with him? </p>
<p>A: Consider this: Your teacher cares for three young children, runs a large household, oversees a major student organization, plans daily lessons, compiles performance assessments , and trains for marathons. It is inevitable that a few of the hundreds of emails received daily are forgotten about.
<p>Can any of you who work imagine putting something like that on a professional website? Unbelievable.</p>
<p>I think it's valid. There are high school kids who think their teacher should be available at all hours of the night and day. A teacher is under no obligation to answer an email in an hour.<br>
They have class 5 days a week, free periods and before & after school time.
If I was a teacher with 150 students and got a hundred emails a day - I would post this too.</p>
<p>"three young children [DON'T CARE], runs a large household, [DON'T CARE] oversees a major student organization, [DON'T CARE] plans daily lessons, compiles performance assessments , and trains for marathons [REALLY, REALLY, REALLY DON'T CARE]."</p>
<p>These are the comments I would insert into an associate's e-mail if he or she gave these as the reasons for not doing their job.</p>
<p>"y'all are assuming a much higher level of motivation than my D actually has. That's why I liked the idea of comments written in red all over the paper.... If the teacher required that the paper be returned with corrections, she'd do it. But with her busy life ...if she sees a paper with no marks and a 3 or 4 on it, it means, "must be okay, move on to the next thing."</p>
<p>Missypie, if your daughter is as unmotivated as indicated, then only the equivalent of one-on-one detention, lock 'em up in solitary and not let 'em out until they have produced a well-organized paper will work.</p>
<p>It is only when it actually matters to the student that student will begin to pay attention. Ex: Marshalls and Rhodes and Fulbright applications drafts. Somehow, students suddenly learn to use apostrophes! It's amazing!
Ex: (practice saying this to a grad student): "if you want to advance to candidacy and/finish your degree, you must manage to complete a proposal that states clearly your main idea and how demonstrating this idea changes what was previously thought."</p>
<p>Alas, I cannot use grades to teach these (and other) principles that I have thought about for over thirty years, because I am evaluated primarily on the basis of student evaluations, and students are anxious, either to be entertained, or to be told exactly how-to-get-an-A. I allow my students to do multiple revisions. Otherwise they'd mostly flunk. </p>
<p>Too bad about this high school teacher. When the occasional college sophomore who's a really good writer shows up in my office, I make a point of asking him (or her) "where'd you learn to write?" I get these sorts of answers:</p>
<p>1) "I just had to do a lot of writing in high school" (an above-average kid who went to a charter school)
2) "I was home-schooled; my mom had an advanced degree and we were part of a network of other home-schoolers with advanced degrees
3) "I had the legendary hardest English teacher in X large public high school, and I sought that teacher out"
4) "My parents are immigrants and although they demand that I major in engineering/science, and the surrounding culture says that only losers care about language, I am deeply and secretly in love with writing and language and this is going to be my last and only chance to write before I am swallowed up by med school (etc).</p>
<p>The more time I spend on CC, the more I realize how bad my school was. I had no idea that that sort of teacher behavior was not "normal" or at least common (of course, CC isn't the best place to come looking for a cross-section of the population). At my old high school, it was perfectly normal for a teacher to assign an essay and not comment on it at all. Actually, that's being extremely nice to those teachers. Most teachers would assign an essay, and then collect it, and then hand it two weeks later. They'd say that they didn't have time to grade them, so everyone who turned it in on time got 100%, everyone who was late got docked 10% each day, and then everyone who didn't turn it in got a 0%. We didn't write much in my old school - maybe four or five essays a year in honors social science and English courses, and then maybe eight or ten in AP English classes... and at least a third of them would be "I didn't have time to read these so I gave everyone a hundred." On the other hand, I did know it was bad that sometimes our teachers just plain made up grades. For example, our teachers needed twelve graded assignments per nine week marking period. Sometimes they only had nine or ten, so they'd make up "warm up checks" and "notebook organization" grades and give everyone 100%.</p>
<p>EngProfMom, she's not a total slug. But some of the suggestions were to organize a study group, work with a private tutor and schedule a conference after each of the 40 essays. While all are good suggestions, it is unlikely that she or most of her classmates would be motivated enough to do any of that.</p>
<p>The study group and the conferencing with the teacher are both great ideas for a kid who will take the initiative to do that. The tutor might work for a kid who lacks that initiative. </p>
<p>What also might work would be to find out if there is any English teacher who is regarded as all-round cool but it sounds like Mr. I-can't-be-bothered is the only show in town?</p>
<p>Well, is there speech and debate? My D learned as much from that -- about researching and summarizing and presenting arguments, for example -- as from any of her high school Eng classes and she had some very good teachers. </p>
<p>Is there extracurricular theater? A newspaper or lit magazine? The most basic thing is still if the student isn't interested, or can't be interested, by the teacher or by the class, OR by the activity, it won't happen.</p>
<p>Study groups are THE thing for AP classes around here. The top students are highly sought after for these groups. Most of the kids are involved in extra curricular activities like dance, sports, broadcasting, etc. so free time is an issue but they figure it out. AP Lang is big on practice essays graded 1-5. I would insist dear child meet with teacher before school to check on progess over time not necessarily every essay. A lot of the kids around here used study packs found at Barnes and Noble and felt they were really helpful. Check over on the AP threads for more advice.</p>