Great and useful essay. John Bean describes some strategies that I already use in my class, and he offers some useful advice that I will certainly try at my next opportunity.
In the beginning of the essay he talks about how easily students get discouraged. For me, this is something I strive to actively remember when I grade and conference with students, because I don't personally get discouraged easily. He also talks about how "we ourselves feel when we ask a colleague to read one of our drafts (apologetic and vulnerable)" (317). That statement should serve as another reminder to be wary of addressing the audience and/or using first person--because that's not how I
feel at all.
The students' comments to teachers' responses were expected and funny. The idea to put positive and negative comments at the end is intuitive....but I guess not if it needed to be stressed. Personally, I comment very little if at all on the final draft. I use rubrics to inform students of the strengths and weaknesses of the paper and project. (I assign projects, not papers. Projects include outlines, reflections, technology, first and final drafts, peer editing sessions, and Writing Center visits. Student are graded on all aspects of the project, not just the final paper as final project.)
Bean suggests (321) commenting only on the final paper, and then allowing rewrites. By so doing, he can focus on encouraging revision while adhering to strict grading standards. That's exactly what I do in HUM 101. If a student has done well on the project but not the final paper, I allow rewrites. Those who stick with the process will improve their writing and their grades. He also differentiates between coaching and judging.
The hierarchy of commenting on papers again seemed intuitive. It's how I handle my students' papers. Though sometimes I do admittedly get bogged down in grammar and have to keep myself in check. In case no one noticed yet, I feel pretty strongly about grammar and punctuation. Those who master it level the playing field for themselves academically, socially, and professionally. I LOVED what he said about grammar, punctuation, and spelling:
Finished work marred by these errors greatly annoys teachers and may have disastrous consequences in the work world--professional embarrassment, loss of ethos, or even failure to be hired or promoted. (330)
The idea about letting students correct their own mechanics is excellent, and I'm going to do it with our next paper. However, his discussion about old/new cohesion is well above what most of my FYW students would be able to handle; the concept may be too advanced for them.
I especially like the format of articles, like Elbow's for example, and this one, that end with not just a conclusion of ideas and a call to action, but with a summary of points. Very convenient for the reader.
Since we concentrated on voice last week, I wanted to note that this piece read strongly as though the author were female, and I checked the author's name twice to make sure I had it right. Maybe it was that comment at the beginning about "apologetic and vulnerable"....