Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Process Approach (p.53-56)

Emig states that "there is little evidence that the persistant pointing out of specific errors in student themes leads to the elimination of these errors, yet teachers expend much of their energy in this futile and unrewarding exercise."  Do you agree or disagree with Williams?  Why or why not?

I personally agree with Emig to an extent.  The text states that the process appoach emphasizes error correction.  I believe that this could be a negative thing because students may get so immune to seeing abbreviations like "FRAG" and "RO" on their papers, that they may slowly lose confidence in their writing abilities.   While, some may argue that making abbreviated notations throughout a student's paper is helpful and beneficial in the student's learning abilities, I disagree.  When I was in GWRIT my freshman year at JMU, I had a professor who met with each student individually for a half hour in his office to go over a paper that had been turned in.  In this way, the teacher and student essentially graded the paper together, rather than having the professor mark all over it.  This is more beneficial to the student because he or she can revise the paper directly, rather than indirectly reading red pen marks.  In this way, both the student and the teacher have the opportunity to note areas for improvement in the paper, but also go over strengths that the paper has. 


  1. I agree, I believe that it is beneficial to a student when a teacher or professor helps you correct and see the error on a paper, rather than writing all over it in red ink, not to mention that you sometimes cannot even make out what the words are on the paper. I think that it very helpful when a professor or anyone, such as a student, especially goes through the paper with you and tells you the good and bad criticism of the paper. Like you, I had the same experience with my GWRIT teacher last year, I feel like I really focused on that single paper and he made me understand and realize what details needed to be added, where I went off on a different subject, or where things needed to be corrected. I feel like that was the best paper I ever wrote, because I was confident in it after he had helped me. So I agree with you and to a certain exent with Emig too.

  2. I think that a one on one meeting with a teacher on a paper is the best case scenario for editing and making sure the editing is productive for the student. (especially since I'm a writing tutor and that's what we do) However, lots of teachers do not have time to spend a half hour with their 20-30 students. Especially in high school, there would never be enough time to learn anything AND go over the papers. But, I do believe too often students just accept the red marks on their papers and don't even bother to look or learn from them. My suggestion would be to hand it back with marks, and have them re-write it, making sure not to dictate HOW they change it because then they're just writing your paper. Perhaps just circling things- letting them figure out what is wrong and then fixing it. Yes you will have more papers to grade, but it sure beats 15 hours of student meetings.