Skip to main content

View Diary: Warnings From The Trenches (188 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Its already happening in the university (21+ / 0-)

    Nothing that Teacherken says comes as any surprise to me. I just retired as a tenured faculty at a land-grant business school. I have been seeing  things getting worse for a long time. The past 4 or 5 years just continue the pattern.

    However, as much as I detest it, I don't want to make NCLB not the only culprit. IMO, big class sizes will drive all teaching organizations to expand their use of multiple choice tests for high stakes evaluations.

    It is the cheapest and, according to some misguided folks, the 'fairest' or 'most objective' form of assessment. My view is that its only fair to the extent that every student takes the same crappy assessment. Its not anywhere close to fair if the goal is to accurately assess their level of preparation, aptitude or accomplishment.

    At the university level, things are little different from K-12. With multiple classes with 80 or more students, I am a masochist if I ask for essay submissions. Actually, I am a masochist, but the vast majority of my colleagues are not. Most of you haven't seen anything like the lemmings' march to the optical test scoring office around midterms.

    Even when I assign essays, I don't sit down and give detailed feedback and comments on every paragraph or sentence. Not on content ... let alone grammar. I read the essays quickly, I write a general assessment and I may add specific notes to things done especially well or poorly.

    Recently, I started to experiment with making video recordings of my comments. I would video the paper under a desktop camera and make comments as I added written markup. I put that on a secure video sharing server that was at my disposal.

    That didn't change my basic workload, but it allowed me to get additional value from my grading time. While I was scribbling arrows and highlighting phrases or sketching on diagrams, I was giving a running commentary of the reasons why I was doing it. I think I was able to cram 15 min of normal comment writing into about 5 min of multimedia comments.

    Not sure how many students actually watched the videos. A few thanked me for it. Most just complained about their grade.

    Then I retired early so I can try to do things that don't get my colleagues mad at me.

    Maturity: Doing what you know is right - even though you were told to do it

    by grapes on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 01:27:53 PM PST

    •  I'm jumping around and reading only smatterings (0+ / 0-)

      as I've got to get away from the computer soon, but I like this:

      Even when I assign essays, I don't sit down and give detailed feedback and comments on every paragraph or sentence. Not on content ... let alone grammar. I read the essays quickly, I write a general assessment and I may add specific notes to things done especially well or poorly.
       because it's more important to see their writing for the idea expression and then give them feedback. As a writer myself, I never know what I think till I 'see what I say' so the use of online peer groups is the best way to get them to write and "see what they say" at the same time...just like we do here on DK.  

      Now I really have to go get in the shower!

      I can do everything but earn a living.

      by alabamaliberal on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 07:23:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        grapes

        if the teacher does not work on phrasing, usage, structure,grammar etc when will the student have the opportunity to learn it?

        "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

        by teacherken on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 08:00:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree ... it's what I should do (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          teacherken

          The problem is class size and steady erosion of support. I haven't had a TA in years.

          Actually, I had one (exactly one) class where I thought it was done properly.

          Our technical writing masters' program started a program with the business school. They assigned a really good masters student to work with me for the semester.

          I had a class of 50 students in purchasing. I worked out a rubric for the assignments with the professor in charge of TW. I assigned 3 essay projects. I read them for content. The masters student reviewed them for grammar and spelling. If he thought there were issues, we huddled.

          He got credit. I watched writing actually improve. Tech Writing program had better prepared graduate. Wins all round.

          They stopped the program the next semester because some other writing lab on campus got mad because they thought the program was poaching on their turf. Of course, they never offered to help me.

          The system is severely broken on more levels than I can describe in less than a book. I'm starting to have too much fun to care about writing it. Any other faculty member could probably do as  well.

          If you want to read one perspective, get this book.

          Maturity: Doing what you know is right - even though you were told to do it

          by grapes on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 08:43:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Just downloaded the book to my kindle. (0+ / 0-)

            Thank you So MUCH - I am fond of Self-Development and College Writing by my buddy Nick Tingle, now retired from UC Davis.  

            The thesis he did such a beautiful job of illustrating is the struggle that the transition to college causes in the student...where they have 12 years (or more) in a high school environment where they are taught not to be creative and think for themselves, and then they are suddenly asked to live in a university environment and the first classes where they are challenged to write are the ones where that transformation begins. It's hard on the teacher as well as the student.

            I can do everything but earn a living.

            by alabamaliberal on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:20:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I make the kids read out loud (0+ / 0-)

          and that tends to help more than anything. But the other thing that worked for me was peers reading their writing.

          I used something called Comment Press which used to be a wordpress template. It's cool because you can comment at the paragraph level.

          And I swear by Visual Thesaurus

          I can do everything but earn a living.

          by alabamaliberal on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:15:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site