Writing on and Responding to Student’s Papers

red-pen

 

I can definitely say that I spent more time mulling over the first article I read, “Response to Writing” by Richard Beach and Tom Friedrich. I can tell that in most of the articles we’ve had to read so far this semester, all of the ideas seem to be trying to move further away from comments on student’s papers and feedback being too general and uninformative in the long run. When I was younger, I would always get general praise on my writing assignments, but was never told what was good about what I had done and the choices I decided to make. I never had too many of my teachers write something too negative in the margins, but instead very vague and confusing “awkward” statements. I can definitely see how old/traditional processes of responding to student’s writing may stunt a student’s growth, which is why I am glad that later on I had better professors. I am also thankful that as the instruction I received became better, I was able to get to a point where I could now help other students. I feel this coincides with the work that I do in the writing center, and I have a feeling that most things this semester will.

Beach and Friedrich spoke about teachers needing to shy away from being judgmental and start responding to writing as readers. Instead of having the student view the assignment as something only the professor would see, maybe the stakes would be higher if they had to write the assignment as if anyone could see it. This helps students to establish purpose with their writing and understand the value of and why changes are being made and how they can help instead of just “going through the motions”. By responding as a reader, a professor could easily show the student how something that is confusing to them can be confusing to others. This idea ties in nicely with the way Beach and Friedrich noted that the way a professor responds fosters a particular way in which a student revises. When looking at the second article, “Writing Comments on Student’s Papers” by John Bean, he mentioned that tone and meaning in teacher’s comments can be misconstrued, which brought me back to the reasons why oral commentary (like in Beach and Friedrich’s article) would be helpful. I don’t know if a professor has to always tape their comments to have them be oral, but as a student, I find that speaking in person with a professor helps me just as well. There is more time to carefully explain what is meant rather than leaving a vague comment that can cripple a student mentally.

In a way, the second article seemed like a plea for teacher’s and professors to reframe the way they think about commenting on student’s paper as well. Instead of viewing the situation as having to correct a paper, it may be more beneficial to look at it as if one has to respond to papers. In this way, a student is then encouraged to reframe their negative thoughts about writing, what it is, and the purpose of it based on the intricate care the professor took in responding to them in a more beneficial way. I liked the way in which the second article went into the questions to be thought about when commenting on papers, as well as the examples given to visually help emphasize the point. Sometimes students learn better with visuals and a huge difference is made if a professor drew an arrow showing where a block of text might fit in better with a comment and explaining why etc. Overall, I thought these articles served their purpose well in terms of looking at how teacher’s/professor’s techniques are evaluated and working out ways that they can be improved to better assist their students.

 

 


Blog 2: Teacher-Writers and Teaching Writing Authentically

Teacher-Writers and Teaching Writing Authentically
By Andaiye Hall

The Teacher-Writers: Then, Now and Next article gave me an overview of where teacher writers have come from and where they are going. I learned that the three phases in the development of the teacher-writer are "the process phase, the teacher research phase and teachers as advocates and intellectuals." (177) In the process phase, I liked that "walk the talk" was used as a part of the motto. It is completely true that students need to see their teachers succeeding in what they preach to them. " I loved how the teacher writers of the article came of with a variety of methods to better write and research through Google hangouts conversations with other teachers to even writing in the school newspaper.
I really enjoyed the article Teaching Writing Authentically. I loved how it examined the ways that teaching writing to students could make them more engaged in it. I feel that a lot of students are missing out from a true fun and engaging way of writing. I found it interesting when the abstract stated that "The teaching of writing is an important part of the elementary school curriculum yet it remains an area that many teachers are uncomfortable in teaching and students are disinterested in doing."(3) It prompted me to ask the question "Since when?" I agree that writing incorporates much more deeper than the grading component. When the article stated "Student interest in writing begins once students see a real reason for writing."(3) I completely agreed with that. It helps students make a connection with what their writing if they actually know why they are doing so. The article further states that "Writing instruction in schools should closely model the writing found within real world situation."(3) An example of a real world situation is debate responses or commentaries. I completely agree that when students experience authentic writing activities, they "enjoy what they are doing and are not only motivated to write but are more successful in doing so." (3) Once you enjoy something you are more likely to want to do it again. "Regie Routman suggests that suggests that students begins to view writing differently "when [they] see how we use writing in our lives. (4) I believe this is needed because I have had experiences with my friends not knowing how to start a journal. I tried to give her a free writing idea but she did not understand how to do it. She needed more than one guiding question and was puzzled at the freedom that journaling or free writing gave her. I was astonished and I don't think she ever tried to do it because of a lack of passion for the writing experience.

Blog 2: Teacher-Writers and Teaching Writing Authentically

Teacher-Writers and Teaching Writing Authentically
By Andaiye Hall

The Teacher-Writers: Then, Now and Next article gave me an overview of where teacher writers have come from and where they are going. I learned that the three phases in the development of the teacher-writer are "the process phase, the teacher research phase and teachers as advocates and intellectuals." (177) In the process phase, I liked that "walk the talk" was used as a part of the motto. It is completely true that students need to see their teachers succeeding in what they preach to them. " I loved how the teacher writers of the article came of with a variety of methods to better write and research through Google hangouts conversations with other teachers to even writing in the school newspaper.
I really enjoyed the article Teaching Writing Authentically. I loved how it examined the ways that teaching writing to students could make them more engaged in it. I feel that a lot of students are missing out from a true fun and engaging way of writing. I found it interesting when the abstract stated that "The teaching of writing is an important part of the elementary school curriculum yet it remains an area that many teachers are uncomfortable in teaching and students are disinterested in doing."(3) It prompted me to ask the question "Since when?" I agree that writing incorporates much more deeper than the grading component. When the article stated "Student interest in writing begins once students see a real reason for writing."(3) I completely agreed with that. It helps students make a connection with what their writing if they actually know why they are doing so. The article further states that "Writing instruction in schools should closely model the writing found within real world situation."(3) An example of a real world situation is debate responses or commentaries. I completely agree that when students experience authentic writing activities, they "enjoy what they are doing and are not only motivated to write but are more successful in doing so." (3) Once you enjoy something you are more likely to want to do it again. "Regie Routman suggests that suggests that students begins to view writing differently "when [they] see how we use writing in our lives. (4) I believe this is needed because I have had experiences with my friends not knowing how to start a journal. I tried to give her a free writing idea but she did not understand how to do it. She needed more than one guiding question and was puzzled at the freedom that journaling or free writing gave her. I was astonished and I don't think she ever tried to do it because of a lack of passion for the writing experience.

Comments and Responses to Students

This week's readings each had to do with the ways educators interact with their students in and about writing.  "Writing Comments on Student Papers" was practical in its approach, offering detailed examples, while "Response to Writing" dealt more with theory.  Both articles stood against the outdated, overly-directive, surface-level types of responses to student writing and advocated responses/feedback that encourage the student to engage in thoughtful revision.   

I found John Bean's "Writing Comments on Student Papers" both vindicating and useful.  As part of my work in the Writing Center, I have served as an in-class mentor twice.  Both times, the professors with whom I worked asked me to read and write comments on students' papers.  I was not asked to give grades; I only provided feedback, which would later be appended to feedback from the professor.  Among Bean's advice I was able to see some techniques I had already used, such as offering praise for things that are working (335 par. 2) and asking specific questions to help a student improve their argument (335 par. 5).  Both of these techniques are things that I had stumbled into based purely on instinct or as adapted forms of writing center tutoring protocol.  Seeing them provided as sagely wisdom for the teaching of writing was very encouraging.  It was kind of a sign that, yes, I have been doing this commenting thing correctly.  Or at least certain parts of it.  That was very valuable to me, because I always second-guess myself for fear that I'll do something wrong and turn a student off of writing forever.  I was particularly concerned that maybe offering praise (and I offered it on everything I could; if a student got only one smiley face in their comments, it was a bad sign) could be a destructive thing because students would only read the praise and then feel like they didn't have to revise.  Reading that "positive emotions enhance cognition" (Bean 319) and "to promote meaningful learning [...] teachers should build on student successes, evoking feelings of hope and confidence rather than failure" (Bean 320) removed a lot of the doubt and guilt in my mind.   In Bean's article I also saw some techniques that I had never thought of, and which I would like to use in the future.  The use of directive bullet-points in end-comments (Bean 334) struck me as a something I would like to try.  In addition, I particularly liked the notion of the old-new contract (Bean 326-329).  I had actually never heard of the old/new contract before, but it made a lot of sense.  I also really liked how referencing the old-new contract with "O/N" became a sort of "inside" thing for the author's class.  I know I've read somewhere that inside jokes/memories help build bonds between people and strengthen relationships, so I assume that same concept would extend to the teacher/student relationship. 

This social quality of the classroom was also a part of our other reading, Beach and Friedrich's "Response to Writing."  According to the article, "demonstrating to students how to use teacher and student feedback to reflect alternative perspectives on ideas and beliefs leads to a reenvisioning of one's beliefs, perspectives, and ways of knowing that are essential for revision (Lee, 2000 as cited in Beach & Friedrich 223).  I chewed on this idea for quite a while because I'm still becoming used to the idea of knowledge itself as a socially-constructed thing (this concept is a big part of two of my classes this semester).  As a student, when I saw comments from the teacher, I usually tried to figure out what the teacher wanted from me. In other words, my audience was one person and I had to "play-out" my knowledge in the way my audience-of-one wanted, just because that audience-of-one was in power.  I suppose I thought of it more as a complicated command-obey exercise: figure out the command, then obey it. That worked for me, so I never really thought further into it.  Now, after working in the writing center, studying to be on the other side of the equation, and reading things like this, I am beginning to reenvision the purpose of feedback, and the entire nature of the professor/student dynamic.  Teachers of writing shouldn't be like animal trainers teaching tu-tu clad lions to perform clumsy verbal ballet on command; we should be teaching the lions how to speak coherently so they can join our discussion of Tchaikovsky instead of just roaring.        

With my interest in writer identity, I also appreciated the part of "Response to Writing" about teachers interpreting students' personas through their writing assignments (Beach & Friedrich 224).  It seems like common sense that teachers would translate their students' writing into caricatures of the students themselves, but somehow I had never thought of that occurring.  I think letting students know that others' perception of their identities could depend on their writing could make them care more about it.  This could be framed within the context of social media, where written content is often the first contact a person has with another person.  Perhaps there could even be an assignment where students write short, anonymous blog or forum posts about their interests, families, majors, etc. and then their classmates have to guess which post belongs to which student.  This could demonstrate to them just how much power one's writing has to define them.  Ideally, this would lead to the formation of an embryonic writer identity, even if they only ever apply it to looking cooler than they actually are on Facebook.     


Comments and Responses to Students

This week's readings each had to do with the ways educators interact with their students in and about writing.  "Writing Comments on Student Papers" was practical in its approach, offering detailed examples, while "Response to Writing" dealt more with theory.  Both articles stood against the outdated, overly-directive, surface-level types of responses to student writing and advocated responses/feedback that encourage the student to engage in thoughtful revision.   

I found John Bean's "Writing Comments on Student Papers" both vindicating and useful.  As part of my work in the Writing Center, I have served as an in-class mentor twice.  Both times, the professors with whom I worked asked me to read and write comments on students' papers.  I was not asked to give grades; I only provided feedback, which would later be appended to feedback from the professor.  Among Bean's advice I was able to see some techniques I had already used, such as offering praise for things that are working (335 par. 2) and asking specific questions to help a student improve their argument (335 par. 5).  Both of these techniques are things that I had stumbled into based purely on instinct or as adapted forms of writing center tutoring protocol.  Seeing them provided as sagely wisdom for the teaching of writing was very encouraging.  It was kind of a sign that, yes, I have been doing this commenting thing correctly.  Or at least certain parts of it.  That was very valuable to me, because I always second-guess myself for fear that I'll do something wrong and turn a student off of writing forever.  I was particularly concerned that maybe offering praise (and I offered it on everything I could; if a student got only one smiley face in their comments, it was a bad sign) could be a destructive thing because students would only read the praise and then feel like they didn't have to revise.  Reading that "positive emotions enhance cognition" (Bean 319) and "to promote meaningful learning [...] teachers should build on student successes, evoking feelings of hope and confidence rather than failure" (Bean 320) removed a lot of the doubt and guilt in my mind.   In Bean's article I also saw some techniques that I had never thought of, and which I would like to use in the future.  The use of directive bullet-points in end-comments (Bean 334) struck me as a something I would like to try.  In addition, I particularly liked the notion of the old-new contract (Bean 326-329).  I had actually never heard of the old/new contract before, but it made a lot of sense.  I also really liked how referencing the old-new contract with "O/N" became a sort of "inside" thing for the author's class.  I know I've read somewhere that inside jokes/memories help build bonds between people and strengthen relationships, so I assume that same concept would extend to the teacher/student relationship. 

This social quality of the classroom was also a part of our other reading, Beach and Friedrich's "Response to Writing."  According to the article, "demonstrating to students how to use teacher and student feedback to reflect alternative perspectives on ideas and beliefs leads to a reenvisioning of one's beliefs, perspectives, and ways of knowing that are essential for revision (Lee, 2000 as cited in Beach & Friedrich 223).  I chewed on this idea for quite a while because I'm still becoming used to the idea of knowledge itself as a socially-constructed thing (this concept is a big part of two of my classes this semester).  As a student, when I saw comments from the teacher, I usually tried to figure out what the teacher wanted from me. In other words, my audience was one person and I had to "play-out" my knowledge in the way my audience-of-one wanted, just because that audience-of-one was in power.  I suppose I thought of it more as a complicated command-obey exercise: figure out the command, then obey it. That worked for me, so I never really thought further into it.  Now, after working in the writing center, studying to be on the other side of the equation, and reading things like this, I am beginning to reenvision the purpose of feedback, and the entire nature of the professor/student dynamic.  Teachers of writing shouldn't be like animal trainers teaching tu-tu clad lions to perform clumsy verbal ballet on command; we should be teaching the lions how to speak coherently so they can join our discussion of Tchaikovsky instead of just roaring.        

With my interest in writer identity, I also appreciated the part of "Response to Writing" about teachers interpreting students' personas through their writing assignments (Beach & Friedrich 224).  It seems like common sense that teachers would translate their students' writing into caricatures of the students themselves, but somehow I had never thought of that occurring.  I think letting students know that others' perception of their identities could depend on their writing could make them care more about it.  This could be framed within the context of social media, where written content is often the first contact a person has with another person.  Perhaps there could even be an assignment where students write short, anonymous blog or forum posts about their interests, families, majors, etc. and then their classmates have to guess which post belongs to which student.  This could demonstrate to them just how much power one's writing has to define them.  Ideally, this would lead to the formation of an embryonic writer identity, even if they only ever apply it to looking cooler than they actually are on Facebook.     


responses to student writing

While the teacher's perspective was harder to relate to reading these two articles, I could definitely empathize more with the students' feelings toward short and unclear comments. The short comments of "not clear," "be more specific," or just "awk" have been all too frustrating; consequently, the tone of the short comments, while familiar to what the teacher wanted to convey, can come across wrong for the student. Even though it's not the case, I've misinterpreted it as something akin to disinterest, which does not make any writer feel very encouraged.

With that being said, I liked that both articles tried to tackle fixing those misunderstandings. In particular, I liked that in Beach and Friedrich's article, "Response to Writing," they discussed the idea of implementing oral commentary instead of written, since it is overall easier and that the teacher has more of a chance to "elaborate more on comments" (qtd. in 225). Thus, it is almost like having a mini, one-sided conference, but in gives the teacher a chance to go into more depth, and it also makes their tone a lot more clear for students so they do not misinterpret comments.

Even though teachers are responsible for a lot of students, and writing comments can be therefore tedious after awhile, they do need to find a way to make them meaningful. If they cannot do that, it definitely makes the student, as a writer, suffer. They may not understand what the teacher exactly means, and the teacher may not exactly have time for them later on. While I can sympathize with the plight of the teacher, even though it was harder for me to completely stand in their shoes, they are there to help the student blossom, and therefore should make comments that are not many and meaningless, but few and meaningful.

responses to student writing

While the teacher's perspective was harder to relate to reading these two articles, I could definitely empathize more with the students' feelings toward short and unclear comments. The short comments of "not clear," "be more specific," or just "awk" have been all too frustrating; consequently, the tone of the short comments, while familiar to what the teacher wanted to convey, can come across wrong for the student. Even though it's not the case, I've misinterpreted it as something akin to disinterest, which does not make any writer feel very encouraged.

With that being said, I liked that both articles tried to tackle fixing those misunderstandings. In particular, I liked that in Beach and Friedrich's article, "Response to Writing," they discussed the idea of implementing oral commentary instead of written, since it is overall easier and that the teacher has more of a chance to "elaborate more on comments" (qtd. in 225). Thus, it is almost like having a mini, one-sided conference, but in gives the teacher a chance to go into more depth, and it also makes their tone a lot more clear for students so they do not misinterpret comments.

Even though teachers are responsible for a lot of students, and writing comments can be therefore tedious after awhile, they do need to find a way to make them meaningful. If they cannot do that, it definitely makes the student, as a writer, suffer. They may not understand what the teacher exactly means, and the teacher may not exactly have time for them later on. While I can sympathize with the plight of the teacher, even though it was harder for me to completely stand in their shoes, they are there to help the student blossom, and therefore should make comments that are not many and meaningless, but few and meaningful.

Commentary and Revision – Blog Post #3

I have always been a student who welcomes feedback from my teachers. I appreciate reading comments for two reasons: first, their presence indicated that my teachers took the time to actually read my work. Second, I can use the feedback to improve my work. In my opinion, these comments are crucial. However, I also know that, more often than not, students do not read these comments. More often than not, teachers spend their time writing comments for the student to look at the grade and throw the paper into a folder, never to be looked at again. I can imagine this has an impact on the quality of the comments that a teacher is inspired to leave but, that being said, I think commentary is too important to be taken lightly.

I find the topic of the first paper, "Writing Comments on Student Papers" by John Bean to be interesting because Bean regards commentary as a must, and broaches the topic of what qualifies as helpful, constructive commentary. Very few people are good at taking criticism, and students are among the newest, freshest writers. It is important to recognize this, and apply commentary accordingly.

Bean drops the word "puritanical" in reference to the commentary strategy that is commonly employed by teachers, which is sadly accurate. Paper revisions can turn into whirlwinds of red pen marks and comments that aren't easily understood-- as evidenced by the student responses Bean cites. I feel that the most important thing a teacher could do is to give the same kind of criticism that he or she would hope to receive on their own writing.

I completely agree with the idea of making comments on late stage rough drafts, because this is a way of ensuring that the comments are read the the suggestions are noted. As I said before, comments on a final piece are not going to be heeded by the vast majority of students. The hope is that the comments on the final piece will be read and applied to future work, but this simply does not happen in most cases.

I have mentioned more than once that I enjoy reading things that I can one day employ in my own classroom, and this paper includes a wealth of knowledge that I can certainly utilize. Moving through the article, I appreciated the suggested commentary, as well as the explanations attached. Most interesting to me was Bean's categorization of grammatical errors as "low-order concerns." He suggests that students be led to realize their own mistakes, and not necessarily have them pointed out by the teacher-- i.e., telling the student that a sentence contains a grammatical error and leaving it to them to correct. I really like this idea, mainly because I think it would force the student to learn exactly what s/he did wrong, and would be a more proactive way to learn to avoid making the same mistake in the future.

My overall reaction to this piece is positive, mainly because Bean is not the kind of teacher who lets his students get away with much, I like that! I have a lot of respect for the methods he shared in this paper, and would be excited to try them out on my own.

Moving on to the next piece, "Response to Writing" by Beach and Friedrich, I feel that these two articles were well paired. Beach and Friedrich's paper opens with a walk through the past several decades, in regard to the strategies employed in teaching writing. Right from the beginning it was evident that these writers and Bean share the opinion that comments on drafts are more effective than comments on final pieces, in regard to feedback being heeded.

Something I found interesting about this paper was the idea that effective revision and commentary will sometimes call for the teacher to take a step back and consider a different perspective. Somehow this hadn't occurred to me, but I was particularly struck by the example of the Indian born teacher's reaction to her American student's paper on receiving her driver's license. Effectively responding to content may occasionally call for the teacher stepping beyond his or her own experience in order to focus on the writing and respond accordingly.

I especially like the idea of "reader based feedback," which is explained as feedback in which the teacher responds as a typical reader would- for example, responding with surprise, anger, or confusion, in reaction to the content presented. I have experienced this, and it makes the feedback seem more human and relateable. I do not think that this indirect feedback method is always appropriate, but I think it would be helpful and refreshing if mixed in among more traditional, direct commentary.

Each student is different and commentary can never be one-size-fits-all. Some revision strategies will work for some and not for others, and it would seem that part of the art of teaching is figuring out how to help each student in the best possible way. I liked this second article because it covered a myriad of potential strategies, and acknowledged the pros and cons of each. The most important thing to gather about teacher commentary, in my opinion, is that it is both sought out by students, and crucial to their success.


Commentary and Revision – Blog Post #3

I have always been a student who welcomes feedback from my teachers. I appreciate reading comments for two reasons: first, their presence indicated that my teachers took the time to actually read my work. Second, I can use the feedback to improve my work. In my opinion, these comments are crucial. However, I also know that, more often than not, students do not read these comments. More often than not, teachers spend their time writing comments for the student to look at the grade and throw the paper into a folder, never to be looked at again. I can imagine this has an impact on the quality of the comments that a teacher is inspired to leave but, that being said, I think commentary is too important to be taken lightly.

I find the topic of the first paper, "Writing Comments on Student Papers" by John Bean to be interesting because Bean regards commentary as a must, and broaches the topic of what qualifies as helpful, constructive commentary. Very few people are good at taking criticism, and students are among the newest, freshest writers. It is important to recognize this, and apply commentary accordingly.

Bean drops the word "puritanical" in reference to the commentary strategy that is commonly employed by teachers, which is sadly accurate. Paper revisions can turn into whirlwinds of red pen marks and comments that aren't easily understood-- as evidenced by the student responses Bean cites. I feel that the most important thing a teacher could do is to give the same kind of criticism that he or she would hope to receive on their own writing.

I completely agree with the idea of making comments on late stage rough drafts, because this is a way of ensuring that the comments are read the the suggestions are noted. As I said before, comments on a final piece are not going to be heeded by the vast majority of students. The hope is that the comments on the final piece will be read and applied to future work, but this simply does not happen in most cases.

I have mentioned more than once that I enjoy reading things that I can one day employ in my own classroom, and this paper includes a wealth of knowledge that I can certainly utilize. Moving through the article, I appreciated the suggested commentary, as well as the explanations attached. Most interesting to me was Bean's categorization of grammatical errors as "low-order concerns." He suggests that students be led to realize their own mistakes, and not necessarily have them pointed out by the teacher-- i.e., telling the student that a sentence contains a grammatical error and leaving it to them to correct. I really like this idea, mainly because I think it would force the student to learn exactly what s/he did wrong, and would be a more proactive way to learn to avoid making the same mistake in the future.

My overall reaction to this piece is positive, mainly because Bean is not the kind of teacher who lets his students get away with much, I like that! I have a lot of respect for the methods he shared in this paper, and would be excited to try them out on my own.

Moving on to the next piece, "Response to Writing" by Beach and Friedrich, I feel that these two articles were well paired. Beach and Friedrich's paper opens with a walk through the past several decades, in regard to the strategies employed in teaching writing. Right from the beginning it was evident that these writers and Bean share the opinion that comments on drafts are more effective than comments on final pieces, in regard to feedback being heeded.

Something I found interesting about this paper was the idea that effective revision and commentary will sometimes call for the teacher to take a step back and consider a different perspective. Somehow this hadn't occurred to me, but I was particularly struck by the example of the Indian born teacher's reaction to her American student's paper on receiving her driver's license. Effectively responding to content may occasionally call for the teacher stepping beyond his or her own experience in order to focus on the writing and respond accordingly.

I especially like the idea of "reader based feedback," which is explained as feedback in which the teacher responds as a typical reader would- for example, responding with surprise, anger, or confusion, in reaction to the content presented. I have experienced this, and it makes the feedback seem more human and relateable. I do not think that this indirect feedback method is always appropriate, but I think it would be helpful and refreshing if mixed in among more traditional, direct commentary.

Each student is different and commentary can never be one-size-fits-all. Some revision strategies will work for some and not for others, and it would seem that part of the art of teaching is figuring out how to help each student in the best possible way. I liked this second article because it covered a myriad of potential strategies, and acknowledged the pros and cons of each. The most important thing to gather about teacher commentary, in my opinion, is that it is both sought out by students, and crucial to their success.


Commentary and Revision – Blog Post #3

I have always been a student who welcomes feedback from my teachers. I appreciate reading comments for two reasons: first, their presence indicated that my teachers took the time to actually read my work. Second, I can use the feedback to improve my work. In my opinion, these comments are crucial. However, I also know that, more often than not, students do not read these comments. More often than not, teachers spend their time writing comments for the student to look at the grade and throw the paper into a folder, never to be looked at again. I can imagine this has an impact on the quality of the comments that a teacher is inspired to leave but, that being said, I think commentary is too important to be taken lightly.
I find the topic of the first paper, "Writing Comments on Student Papers" by John Bean to be interesting because Bean regards commentary as a must, and broaches the topic of what qualifies as helpful, constructive commentary. Very few people are good at taking criticism, and students are among the newest, freshest writers. It is important to recognize this, and apply commentary accordingly.
Bean drops the word "puritanical" in reference to the commentary strategy that is commonly employed by teachers, which is sadly accurate. Paper revisions can turn into whirlwinds of red pen marks and comments that aren't easily understood-- as evidenced by the student responses Bean cites. I feel that the most important thing a teacher could do is to give the same kind of criticism that he or she would hope to receive on their own writing.
I completely agree with the idea of making comments on late stage rough drafts, because this is a way of ensuring that the comments are read the the suggestions are noted. As I said before, comments on a final piece are not going to be heeded by the vast majority of students. The hope is that the comments on the final piece will be read and applied to future work, but this simply does not happen in most cases.
I have mentioned more than once that I enjoy reading things that I can one day employ in my own classroom, and this paper includes a wealth of knowledge that I can certainly utilize. Moving through the article, I appreciated the suggested commentary, as well as the explanations attached. Most interesting to me was Bean's categorization of grammatical errors as "low-order concerns." He suggests that students be led to realize their own mistakes, and not necessarily have them pointed out by the teacher-- i.e., telling the student that a sentence contains a grammatical error and leaving it to them to correct. I really like this idea, mainly because I think it would force the student to learn exactly what s/he did wrong, and would be a more proactive way to learn to avoid making the same mistake in the future.
My overall reaction to this piece is positive, mainly because Bean is not the kind of teacher who lets his students get away with much, I like that! I have a lot of respect for the methods he shared in this paper, and would be excited to try them out on my own.

Moving on to the next piece, "Response to Writing" by Beach and Friedrich, I feel that these two articles were well paired. Beach and Friedrich's paper opens with a walk through the past several decades, in regard to the strategies employed in teaching writing. Right from the beginning it was evident that these writers and Bean share the opinion that comments on drafts are more effective than comments on final pieces, in regard to feedback being heeded.
Something I found interesting about this paper was the idea that effective revision and commentary will sometimes call for the teacher to take a step back and consider a different perspective. Somehow this hadn't occurred to me, but I was particularly struck by the example of the Indian born teacher's reaction to her American student's paper on receiving her driver's license. Effectively responding to content may occasionally call for the teacher stepping beyond his or her own experience in order to focus on the writing and respond accordingly.
I especially like the idea of "reader based feedback," which is explained as feedback in which the teacher responds as a typical reader would- for example, responding with surprise, anger, or confusion, in reaction to the content presented. I have experienced this, and it makes the feedback seem more human and relateable. I do not think that this indirect feedback method is always appropriate, but I think it would be helpful and refreshing if mixed in among more traditional, direct commentary.
Each student is different and commentary can never be one-size-fits-all. Some revision strategies will work for some and not for others, and it would seem that part of the art of teaching is figuring out how to help each student in the best possible way. I liked this second article because it covered a myriad of potential strategies, and acknowledged the pros and cons of each. The most important thing to gather about teacher commentary, in my opinion, is that it is both sought out by students, and crucial to their success.