Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Responding to Student Writing- Nancy Somers

Responding to a Students writing
Teachers have being trained to evaluate readings, literature items, etc.,  yet most teachers suggest that a minimum of time was given to enforce revising skills on student’s works therefore, revision might be a contradicting issue that can lead the student to states of confusion when editing their drafts. Nancy Somers, along with her colleges, have run a series of experiments with subjects such as teachers, students, and machines, in order to set apart the differences and opinion of these subjects on revising and editing a paper. Overall most of the students comment that a teacher’s comments and editions on papers sometime contradict them therefore they are left with a grammar-edited paper that threw the student off their main purpose on writing it and their motives. According to Nancy Somers, being a teacher herself, revising may be somewhat stressing due to the mass amount of time a teacher has to invest on editing.  However, the stress does not count as a reason for why the editing might not be concrete and clear. Teachers look at a student’s paper and starts editing grammar, punctuation, spelling, sentence structures in order to give the student an example of how language SHOULD work in their papers, but then again other comments suggest that explanation, elaboration, and examples should be included. Apart from all the editing, students focus on following the teacher’s suggestion rather than applying strategies themselves to make the paper stand out. Nancy Somers has realized that teachers follow a set of rules rather than providing the student with examples, or advice. The teacher therefore gives the student short comments that are open ended to the student such as “be more elaborative”, “explain”, “what do you mean here”, or “avoid this”. The student is left dazed because no specific advice or revision was made therefore the student thinks that their drafts are completed when in fact the feedback was weak and negative. Nancy Somers expresses her thoughts on revising by mentioning that teachers should provide the student with literacy techniques, or writing strategies that will make the student focus on what they want to say while they apply the corrections and carry them as a template store in their heads.