Teaching writing backwards

Filling the pail

Over the last couple of years, I have had cause to work with English teachers and to read some of the literature on English teaching. I have become convinced that writing is mostly taught backwards.

Typically, students are asked to write something. Once they have written it, they hand it in to a teacher to mark. This eats teacher time because there are so many things to comment upon in the piece of writing. Teachers have discussions about how to handle this. They may create a coding system for spelling and grammar and restrict comments to other features of the piece. Nevertheless, it is still unmanageable and virtually all of these comments are never fully understood by the students. Partly, this is because the comments themselves are unhelpful and vague; the equivalent of telling a sprinter that, in order to improve, she must try to run faster. Partly, this is…

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About teachingbattleground

I teach
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