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The Importance Of Giving Feedback To Students

1615 words - 7 pages

“Wow, that is some really bad handwriting, isn’t it?” “Don’t worry about why that’s there; that’s just something I wrote for myself.” These two comments are often heard in classrooms. Have you ever been on the receiving end of one or both of these? How about on the other end; the end that’s actually making the comment? Studies show that teacher feedback and comments are important to students. So why is it that some of the comments that teachers leave are either illegible (chicken scratch handwriting) or inscrutable (cannot decipher their relevance to the piece of writing)? I believe as teachers, we try to make comments quickly to make sure we get our thoughts out on paper. We ...view middle of the document...

I have had teachers/professors leave illegible comments on my work before and when I asked them what a comment said their response was, “Oops, I guess you can’t really read that can you? My handwriting got pretty sloppy.” While this response at least admits the carelessness, it is still difficult on the student because they have to make sure they reach out to the professor/teacher to clarify what they comment says. While some teachers and students may not see approaching a teacher as a problem, there are many students who would disagree. I have had many experiences where I could not read a comment or didn’t know what a comment said and needed to approach a teacher about it. The anxiety that I experienced was enough to not make me want to approach teachers about comments and instead just suck it up and move on without asking. Some of the reasons students can get anxiety about approaching teachers are because they don’t want the teacher to feel as if they are challenging them, they don’t want to offend the teacher by stating that they don’t understand the teacher’s handwriting, or they may get nervous talking to people in authority in general. I have witnessed circumstances in which a student has approached a teacher about a comment that they either could not read or could not understand the relevance. Instead of the teacher simply explaining what they were trying to say in the comment, they took the approach from the student as an attack. “You don’t think my handwriting is good enough?” Or, “How can you not see the relevance of that comment?” While this type of scenario may be rare, it is enough to make a student never want to approach a teacher again. One bad experience will outweigh many good experiences. Also, there are just some students, myself included, who do not want a teacher to think that we are trying to insult their handwriting or their intelligence (finding the relevance of the comment), so the confrontation is just avoided altogether and we never find out what the teacher was trying to say. The assignment itself is enough to induce anxiety on students, they shouldn’t have to feel even more anxiety when they get their assignment back and they cannot understand their teacher’s comments. Students should just be able to receive their comments and use them without having to ask the teacher what a comment says.
The other type of comment is the inscrutable comment. This is the type of comment or mark that is left on the paper without direct relevance to the student or their work. While there may be reasoning behind leaving a comment on a student’s paper that has no bearing on the student’s work, unflawed instances are few and far between. I understand that there are times that teachers need to remember specific things about a student’s work, but they need to keep their own comment sheet and not write it on the student’s work. I know that sometimes while reading papers, teachers may make check marks near a point that they wanted to see...

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