Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Student's Perspective

Thinking back to other discussions we've had this semester, what are we communicating to students when we tell them they have to revise a piece over and over again? A former student told me today how difficult her English class has been this year because she is expected to revise her writing "like 10 times, until it's absolutely perfect." I asked her how this affected her desire to write, and she said it took all the fun right out of it. When I asked her if her teacher gave her feedback (verbally or written) after each one, she said no. The teacher would put exemplars on the screen and then expect them to do this with their own writing until it was perfect. I'm guessing that "perfect" means whatever the teacher thinks is perfect. I see myself assuming this same role as a teacher, and this is why subjectivity is so difficult for me. I am always looking for students to do well, to apply those skills I have taught them. What if this writer has grown and learned things he/she has never applied to writing before? Who am I to say this student didn't grow as a writer, even though it doesn't match the rubric? And what if the writer now uses those skills in other writing pieces? Who is to say when a piece of writing is finished? Students write for the grade and not for the joy of writing. Are we responsible for creating this skewed motivation, or are we victims of our education system, as well?

1 comment:

  1. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you? Maja Wilson reminds writing teachers of this ancient wisdom. I think it's worth remembering in everything we ask of students. As an adult, I think I would lose motivation if I had to revise my work over and over again.