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Feedback vs. Correcting

April 8, 2014 by Mrs Hurley   

Well, it’s been a long time in between posts, hasn’t it? Good to see that I stuck to my goal of posting often! (And also my goal about posting goals for 2014!)

A tweet caught my eye this morning from Judy McKenzie (@judykmck) in relation to publishing student’s work online. She stated that when uploading work onto their class wiki, she doesn’t correct as it is a record of progress.

I went along this path for awhile. Lately, I’ve been a little swamped and haven’t looked at student’s books in great detail. I recently requested that they take home their writing books and complete typing up their writing piece onto a Google Doc (which we had already begun at school). A parent (who also happens to be a teacher at my school) unfortunately had an argument with her child because she wouldn’t let my student type up her writing without it being seen by me (as she noticed many spelling mistakes in the writing piece).

My plan was to leave comments (or highlighting) on the Google Doc notifying students of spelling errors and adding possible improvements.

When it comes to spelling in particular, I have always been a big believer of notifying students of their errors but not correcting them myself. How will the students learn to spell when they are always told? I have introduced a “Have a Go” booklet this year for Spelling, where students attempt a word 3 times (with different spelling choices) before I will look at their booklets and assist them with the correct choice.

While I have been trying to be better with it this year, my downfall has always been writing down feedback and correcting work. I vowed to be better this year with the implementation of Google Apps but my students are not yet skilled enough to be solely using Google Apps without paper alternatives.

A non-negotiable at my school is the use of an exercise book for drafting writing. Having attended a professional development day last year on Holistic Writing, I can see the benefits of keeping all writing together in one book as it is “a record of progress”. I feel trained enough in the Holistic Writing program to able to give effective feedback at the conclusion of the writing piece.

I do not, however, feel confident enough in writing feedback for other areas. Nor do I feel that students pay enough attention when books are returned with future directions scribbled in the corner. Other than saying “Next time, blah blah blah” I’m not sure how effective my written feedback is and how many of my students pay attention to it and use it to further their learning.

Which is now making me start to think about the value of written book activities. Although I try to steer away from worksheets, there are factors which make this impossible at times. But that’s a whole different blog post!

Now I feel I’ve rambled on and completely missed the point that I was trying to make. When thinking about this post, I was mainly thinking:

How important is correcting work for students? How important is written feedback on every single task?

How do you make your written feedback effective? Are there other methods of feedback that you use which are sustainable and effective in your classroom? Please share!


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