Tired of Being a Red Ink Slave to Corrections?


By Dennis O’Connor
http://www.thewritingteacher.org/writing-blog-home/2009/5/18/tired-of-being-a-red-ink-slave-to-corrections.html

Editing, Not Correcting
Correcting isn’t teaching!

Think about it: all correcting does is make you a better proofreader. Students more often than not ignore your hard work. You as a teacher feel obligated to take out the red pen, while in your heart you know this just isn’t working. Don’t you see the same errors over and over again? How many times can you check, highlight, underline and explain in the margins that a lot is two words? What else can you do? Isn’t every English teacher obliged to correct the work of their students? Isn’t that the expectation of parents and administration?
(Cheryl: How true! I think most, if not ALL, language teachers could relate to this. So what can we, teachers, do to produce independent writers?) 

What if you shift the burden of correcting to the student where it belongs? You can do this by integrating editing skills into the writing process from day one. If you establish simple routines by editing every day you can chip a way at the persistent problems without bleeding red ink after school and every weekend.
Many teachers use a daily oral language approach. Let’s make it a daily integrated editing exploration approach and stop correcting for our students!
(Cheryl: This is definitely a better approach. I’ll try to incorporate this approach in my writing lessons next year.)


Steps to be taken:

  • Encourage students to re-read their work at every stage of the writing process.
  • Be sure students read their own work aloud.
  • Introduce and use the basic proofreading symbols
  • Start each class with a brief editing sponge or transitional activity.
  • Periodically assemble a list of Editing Essentials to tally the collective skills of the group
  • Collect and organize mentor sentences for modeling usage and grammar concepts
  • Throughout the year, have your students choose e-portfolio samples that document student progress
     

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