“See me” – Speak Volumes with a Forgotten Tool of the Trade


It can take a long time to become a teacher, I realised today, as I scrawled “Capital letters at the beginning of each sentence, please.” in red pen beneath a pencil-written story.

I know that comments beneath student work don’t really make any difference. I’ve been doing this for years and, as I tackle another pile of copybooks, expending more ink on the same students for the same reason, I wonder why I never learn.

Don’t get me wrong, I sprinkle a little AfL into my schemes of work: a sprig of peer marking here, a smattering of student-generated success criteria there. But, when it comes down to it, it is the red pen that counts as assessment around here.

I’ve simplified my marking. I use symbols (shared by the department and stuck into the back of the students’ copybooks); I use a tick and a question mark to signal…

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