All posts by tyguy5150

Final Project Poem

Hi Everyone,

We are so close to the end!

For my final project piece, I wrote a choose your own adventure poem.

The poem starts with you as a baby in the womb. You make choices throughout the poem that lead you down different paths. You go from being a baby to growing up and living vastly different lives through the choices you make.

There are opportunities for growth as well as opportunities for regression. Just like life, the poem forces the reader to make tough choices. There are 8 different endings to the poem. Some endings are good endings, some are bad endings, and some are in between.

The poem aims to show how we all start out the same and through the choices we make or the circumstances that are dealt to us, life can change drastically. But since you get to make all the choices in the poem, you are in control of your fate.

Yet you don’t know where those choices will take you, so you have to have faith that if you make choices that lead to growth, you will have a happy ending.

But life is complex, so you won’t know until you make the choice. And since its a poem and not real life, you can go back and make different choices to see how your fictional life turns out.

Ty Guy's Space 2023-12-04 14:09:27

Hello everyone!

It seems like during our discussion, the most important points for the project were: Empower people to use their voice through writing, something to put on a CV, and something that adds value to the world.

My idea would be to do a board game. Since we have limited time, I think the rules would combine different board game rules to make a unique game. The game would include writing. It could have parts of Chutes and Ladders. For example, you land on a space that has a chute, you can choose to do a writing activity or fall down the chute which moves you back. The writing activity can be written on a set of cards that have different prompts and you pick a card randomly. The writing activity could be something like “write about a traumatic time in your life for 1 min”.

I think we could include many different writing prompts that focus on healing through writing, using different voices, social justice etc. The game could be kept in the Graduate Lounge for anyone to play.

The theme of the game could be that you are an alien who comes to Earth. The object of the game is to get to the end and you reach your spaceship and return home. During the game we learn about social justice issues, multiculturalism, and trauma through the lens of an alien experiencing human culture for the first time.

Voice & Expressive Writing

Hello everyone! Welcome to another episode of the T-Money show!

Today our guests are voice and expressive writing.

First up we have voice.

In the article “If You’re Struggling to Write, Lead With Voice” by Sonya Huber. This article was interesting because of this statement by Huber 

“The idea of one “authentic voice” also doesn’t make sense to me in terms of a writer’s process and life. If a writer happens upon that so-called authentic voice, does that mean the previous voices were false or impostors? Would that authentic voice then, once discovered, stay constant and reliable, even as the writer’s life affects changes and perspectives evolve?” (Huber).

This perspective on voice makes a lot of sense. As a person, I have experienced many things and have changed and grown over the years. The voice in my writing when I was younger is much different than the voice in my writing now. As people change, so does their writing voice. As Huber points out, if someone finds their writing voice and then grows as a person which results in a new writing voice, does this mean that one of the voices is not authentic? Should a writer be held to one voice throughout their life? Wouldn’t this hold a writer back and make their writing stale? 

Next up we have expressive writing. In the article “Expressive Writing, Emotional Upheavals, and Health by James W. Pennebaker & Cindy K Chung”, the authors state “As we lay out in this chapter, there is reason to believe that when people transform their feelings and thoughts about personally upsetting experiences into language, their physical and mental health often improve.” (Pennebaker & Chung). I have done a lot of writing about my trauma in my life. I can say that the authors are 100% correct. Writing about my trauma has helped me out tremendously in terms of dealing with it and processing it which has directly helped my mental health in a positive way.

I lost my best friend to suicide about 3 years ago and have had an extremely hard time processing it. It took about 2 years for me to be able to write about it. I wrote poems about Andre’s suicide and the grief process. I made these poems into a chapbook for my Senior Seminar Thesis for my Bachelor’s at Kean. The process of writing the chapbook was extremely emotional. The topic of Andre’s suicide was so great that I struggled to put my thoughts into words. By writing the poems I was allowed to deal with and process the trauma of Andre’s suicide. I’m still dealing with the grief day to day, but writing about it has helped me in a way that no amount of therapy ever could.

Change is a Scary Thing

Please welcome Change to the stage!

Now I know that Change is a scary thing for many people, but for Bell Hooks, it is long overdue. In Chapter 3 of Teaching to Transgress, Hooks states “Many teachers are disturbed by the political implications of a multicultural education because they fear losing control in a classroom where there is no one way to approach a subject-only multiple ways and multiple references.” (Hooks). 

The Education system is long overdue for a radical change. Let’s look at History classes. We all have learned the story of Christopher Columbus in school and outside of the classroom have learned that he was a horrible person. Yet, how many stories have we learned in school about the Indigenous people who were here long before Christopher Columbus? Not many at all. Why is Christopher Columbus part of every curriculum yet the Indigenous people are always left out?

These questions start to illustrate why Hooks feels that change is needed in the Education system. Hooks herself wondered why so many white male authors are taught in English classes. Did you ever notice growing up how authors of color were mostly studied in February during Black History Month only? It’s these racial biases that are deeply embedded in the American Education system that shape teaching pedagogy. 

Growing up, you just kinda accept the fact that you are only studying one group of people (White males) during your Education career. As a kid you don’t really understand it, but as you grow older, you question it. And it makes you wonder how different your way of thinking would be if you learned about all different types of people. And it makes you wonder who benefits from keeping things the way they are.

Our next guest is Tutoring ESL Students. The article Tutoring ESL Students: Issues and Options by Muriel Harris and Tony Silva is a perfect example of why multiculturalism is needed in the Education system. The authors state 

“The findings (and these should be seen as very tentative) suggest that adult ESL writers plan less, write with more difficulty (primarily due to a lack of lexical resources), reread what they have written less, and exhibit less facility in revising by ear, that is, in an intuitive manner-on the basis of what “sounds” right, than their NES peers.” (Harris & Silva).

If a tutor knows those things about adult ESL writers, it allows them to be much more helpful. Knowing that the writers plan less tells a tutor that they need to focus on the prewriting stage. The tutor might spend extra time going over strategies for planning such as outlining. This will help the ESL writer when it comes to writing their draft and it will allow the ESL writer to become more familiar with the prewriting process. This is one reason why multicultural education is important for both students and those who teach/tutor the students.

Harris and Silva’s article raises an important point about how many ESL writers want tutors to correct the grammar of their work above all else. This makes sense from the perspective of the ESL writer because they don’t have a full understanding of all the in’s and out’s of the English language so a tutor can clean up their grammar since they have a more complex understanding of English writing. But this approach doesn’t address the bigger concerns of a student’s writing such as the organization of ideas and rhetoric. It is more important to help students understand these issues before dealing with grammar. Helping a student see that will allow them to focus on the main points of their work, rather than minor details. 

Voice & Revision

Hello everyone! Welcome to episode 8 of the T-Money show! Today we have 2 special guests. Voice & Revision. 

Let’s welcome Voice to the stage.

So the first thing about voice is that he is tragically misunderstood. How does one define voice in writing? In the article Voice in Writing Again: Embracing Contraries by Peter Elbow, he defines voice as having two characteristics 

“Sincerity. Sincerity isn’t the same as good writing; it can be awful and tinny. But sincerity is one style or voice, and it is useful for some occasions, if it’s believable.” (Elbow 9) and “Resonance. When I am reading a text of some length, I sometimes sense bits of what I want to call “resonance”: I experience them as pieces of added weight, richness, or presence—even if they are bits of irony, play, metaphor, or even silliness.” (Elbow 10)

If we use sincerity and resonance as a starting point for voice, we can see that when a piece of writing has a voice, it contains some of the personality of the author. In creative works of writing, voice is safe to experiment with. But in my own life, I struggle to find a voice in academic writing. For example, when writing a research paper, how does one find a voice that is unique? How many articles have we read for school that are dull, mechanical, and boring? Is this because voice and academic writing don’t go together? Or is the voice of academic writing old and outdated? 

The next guest is someone who is feared by many. Please brace yourself for revision strategies !

Nancy Sommers compared the revision strategies of student writers and experienced writers in her article “Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers”. She found “Unlike the students, experienced writers possess a non-linear theory in which a sense of the whole writing both precedes and grows out of an examination of the parts.” (Sommers 386). This is important to note because it tells us that revision is not something we can put into a neat little box. We can’t say something like revision is: writing a 1st draft, editing it, writing a 2nd draft, etc. Rather revision is a dynamic process. You can go back and forth between editing your draft line for line and rearranging the order of your paragraphs. You could write one draft and then write a second draft where the only changes were adding and subtracting paragraphs to make your argument stronger. Just because something like editing spelling and grammar are part of the revision process, does that mean that they have to be done for the 1st draft. The final draft is the only one that everyone reads so remember that all of your drafts can contain mistakes during the revision process. 

Your paper is a leaky boat with 6 holes pouring in water. Let’s fix 2 holes with the 2nd draft and 2 more with the next draft. Progress, not perfection.

AI : The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

What up everyone! Welcome to another episode of the T-Money Show. Today’s guest is a subject of fierce debate. Friend of humans or trying to overthrow us? Please welcome Artificial Intelligence, AI!

First, we will be looking at a Youtube video  Computers Just Got a Lot Better at Writing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcHkxP9adiM. The main takeaway from this video is that AI is getting much much much better at writing. This means that detecting things written by AI is becoming much harder. AI models can be trained to write in any style about any subject. The more creators learn about how AI learns, the smarter they can make the AI. How crazy is it that AI teaching pedagogy is a real thing. Instead of studying how students learn, we will start to study how computers learn and how to teach them. What a world!

In the next article AI Reveals the Most Human Parts of Writing: Katy Ilonka Gero https://www.wired.com/story/artificial-intelligence-writing-art/, Gero looks at the areas where AI can be useful in writing. This article was refreshing in that the author lists the different steps of the writing process: planning, drafting, and revising and where we can use AI to help. Instead of Gero saying AI = bad for writing, she looks at the parts of the writing process that are fun and rewarding versus the parts that are tedious and boring. Gero concludes that revision is an area where AI can be useful. 

In my writing, I use Grammarly which is a real-time spelling and grammar checking AI. The thing that separates Grammarly from a normal spell checker is that it analyzes your writing in real-time and offers suggestions on how to reorganize a sentence to make it more coherent and the text of your overall tone. The last part is interesting because AI is able to predict with a good degree of accuracy the feelings and emotions in your text. This means AI is learning what writing equals what emotions and it will be able to do the same in time. They say that emotional writing is one of the things that is a tell tale sign of human writing, but in the future, AI and human writing will be much harder to tell apart.

The final article, The Risk Of Losing Unique Voices: What Is The Impact Of AI On Writing? By Rodolfo Delgado https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2023/07/11/the-risk-of-losing-unique-voices-what-is-the-impact-of-ai-on-writing/?sh=5d85b9b44db6 reminds us that whenever we use AI, we should be mindful that we don’t lose the human touch in our writing. He says that whenever he uses AI, he always has a human look over the writing to have the last word. This ensures that the piece of writing does not lose the human element. This makes sense because if something is too perfect it can be off putting. Especially in a setting where you are trying to sell something to an audience. Emotional reactions are one of the best ways to sell a product. In my last paragraph, I mentioned how AI is learning to write with human emotions, but AI still can’t understand how to effectively provoke certain emotional reactions in humans. Even if you can’t tell at first glance that something was written by AI, you will still have different emotional reactions when reading a piece written by AI versus written by a human.

Student “Why?” Teacher “Because I Said So”

What up everyone! It’s time for the T-Money show. To be honest idk what episode number this is. Today’s guest is Paulo Freire’s book Pedagogy of the Oppressed. We will be looking at chapter 2 today – Banking Education.

Basically, banking education can be thought of like this: The student is a bank. The things the teacher teaches are currency that gets deposited into the bank. Now on the surface this makes sense. The teacher is a source of knowledge and the students are empty containers whose purpose is to gain and retain knowledge. 

In reality, this leads to a master – slave relationship. The teacher is the master whose knowledge is absolute and the student is the slave whose only purpose is to take the teacher’s knowledge as absolute. In this banking education system, the student is not an active participant in their own education.

For example, when we were young what did we learn in school about Christopher Columbus? That he was an awesome person who loved the Indigenous people. In reality Christopher Columbus was a piece of shit who murdered the Indigenous people. Teachers in school continue to teach the lie of Christopher Columbus. If students question the teacher about this, they are told that they are wrong. In this example, the teacher reinforces a lie and the student is forced to learn the lie as if it is true. 

When I learned the truth about Christopher Columbus, I was furious at the teachers who taught me bullshit. My thoughts were if this was a lie, what else are they teaching us that’s not true. This is the fault of banking education, the teacher’s word is the truth and the student’s are not allowed to question it.

This leads to a system of oppression and obedience. The teacher is the oppressor and the student is the obedient dog. Just imagine today’s students who are being taught about the 2nd Iraq War. Think of a teacher who teaches students that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The critical thinker of today knows that George Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction in order to justify the invasion of Iraq. The teacher tells students that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and several students question that. The teacher tells the students that they are the teacher therefore they know more than the student. Fast forward to a test where the student must write a short answer essay about the reasons why we invaded Iraq. The student mentions that one of the reasons was weapons of mass destruction but talks about how that was misinformation. The teacher takes points off because they don’t believe that and did not teach the students that. 

Eventually the students get tired of losing points even though they are right and bend to the teachers will. They store and recite information that only expresses one viewpoint without critically thinking about the information. And thus banking education turns a school into a factory. Students go in as free thinkers, questioning everything in an attempt to understand the complex truths. Teachers sit in ivory towers exposing students to one-sided “truths” until the students throw away their free spirits and absorb these “truths” as absolute knowledge. A new generation of robots is born.

“We need guidance, we’ve been misled. Young and hostile but not stupid.” – Blink 182

Freewriting, Process Not Product, and Reeeeeeemix!

Hello everyone! Welcome to episode 4 of the T-Money show. Today our guests are Freewriting, Teaching Writing as a Process, and Remix Culture.

Let’s start with Mr. Freewriting! Peter Elbow talks extensively about freewriting in his book Writing Without Teachers. 

In the book, Elbow states “The main advantage of freewriting is that it is nonediting. It is an exercise in bringing together the process of producing words and putting them down on the page.  Practiced regularly, it undoes the the ingrained habit of editing at the same time you are trying to produce.” (Elbow)

This is one very important feature of freewriting. It allows the writer to just write without the worry of producing something that is “correct”. I find that when I write something, I obsess over every detail. When my first sentence hits the page, I look back at it and immediately think of how I can make it better. I will cross out, delete, and become frustrated. This leads to hours passing with only a single sentence on the page. And I start to think, this thing I am working on will never be good if I can’t get this single sentence to be perfect.

Freewriting teaches me that my sentences do not have to be perfect or even good. Freewriting is a way to get my thoughts on the paper without the need to make everything fit into a neat little box. It gives me permission to form incomplete grammatically incorrect sentences without care. The art of free writing is the art of not caring as Elbow mentions. Freewriting allows me to be imperfect in my writing in order to get anything on the page. Because the hardest part is always starting and freewriting gives me a safe space to get started.

Next up, let’s welcome to the stage Teaching Writing as a Process. Donald Murray hit the nail on the head with his article “Teaching Writing as a Process, Not Product”.

In the article, Murray states “We teach writing as a product, focusing our critical attentions on what our students have done, as if they had passed literature in to us. No matter how careful our criticisms, they do not help the student since when we teach composition we are not teaching a product, we are teaching a process.” (Murray). Think of it like this. I give you a novel to read and then ask you to write your own novel. You look at me and say okay, what is the first step? Just because I showed you a finished product, does not mean you know the process to reproduce it.

Murray understands this and has broken down the writing process into 3 steps. Prewriting, writing, and rewriting. The first step is the prewriting phase. This step takes the most amount of time. This is where you gather your sources, understand what you are writing about, and who your audience is. One of my favorite preqriting techniques is the outline. With a good outline, you have most of your paper written before the 1st draft. This helps me organzie my paragraphs and shows me the entire layout of my paper so I know where I am starting and where I am going.

Next comes the writing phase which believe it or not is usually the shortest phase. This is due to the preqriting phase which carefully lays the groundwork for our paper. I just go through my outline and use it to guide my paper. Since I have all of my paragraphs, ideas, and quotes oraganzied in my outline already, I simply expand those into full sentences. Using Murray’s framework makes writing something like a long paper much less intimidating. And the final phase is rewriting. This is just as it sounds, revision. It is in this phase where one would work on additional drafts until their paper is the very best it can be.

And last but not least, we have Remix Culture. In the article How Remix Culture Informs Student Writing and Creativity by Antero Garcia, Garcia talks about what it means to remix in the concept of writing. In the article, Garcia says “…from fan fiction based on their favorite author’s worlds to retelling of a popular story from a new perspective—on a vlog, podcast, or on paper—remixing is, intentionally or not, part of the process.” I will show an example of this below where I remix the story of Rip Van Winkle. In the story, Rip is a person who wants to get away from his nagging wife, so he goes to the mountains and gets drunk. He ends up sleeping for many years and comes to discover that his wife has long since died. 

In my remix, I reimagine the story from the perspective of Rip’s wife. Instead of celebrating Rip, I look at him as a shitty and abusive husband. My story tells the tale of a wife who is tired of putting up with Rip’s shit and decides to do something to free herself from his torment once and for all. If you don’t wanna read the whole story, just read the last 4 paragraphs ^_^

Rose Van Winkle (Rip Van Winkle reinterpreted)

In a quiet little village along the Hudson River lived a wife and her husband. The village was seated at the foot of the Catskill Mountains. The wife was a beautiful woman named Rose Van Winkle, her husband was Rip Van Winkle. Rip Van Winkle was a lazy man and he was often the talk of the town. Held in high regard for reasons unknown and unseen to Rose. Rose on the other hand was the most dedicated and hardworking woman. Despite this, she was looked down on and despised by most of the village. Rip would leave the house all day instead of helping Rose with the cooking and cleaning. He claimed to be hunting, but would always return empty handed and smelling of alcohol. Rose knew that he spent his days at the tavern with the so-called wise men. 

These men at the tavern would fill Rip’s head with misogynistic ideas about how Rip’s wife was good for nothing, despite maintaining the household and putting food on the table all by herself. This was not the man that Rose married and she was starting to feel trapped. Rip would drink himself stupid all day after listening to the men and he would have loud arguements with his wife. Whenever these arguments occurred, there were always loud sounds of thunder outside. When the other villagers heard these arguments, the man of each household would stand outside of Rip’s house and cheer him on. After one rather violent argument, Rose went to the tavern to show the wise men the fresh black eye that Rip had given her. They laughed it off and said she was lucky that she didn’t have two black eyes.

Rose returned home, crying all the way and knew she had to do something before things got worse. She came up with an idea one day. She decided that she would convince Rip to let her take a solo trip up the Catskill Mountains. She told Rip that it was there that they had the freshest fruits and vegetables. Rip, being a lazy man, never ventured up the Catskill Mountains, so he believed her. Rose had heard of a pass in the mountains and she was going to leave the village and Rip behind and never come back. She packed up all of her things when Rip had fallen asleep drunk one night and hid them under a tree.

The next day came and she bid Rip farewell. Of course he thought he would see Rose later that evening, but she knew that this was the final goodbye. As Rose made her way up the Catskill Mountains, she started to feel an unease that she had never felt before. Was she afraid of leaving? This village was the only home she had ever known. If she stayed she would surely acquire broken bones and possibly death at the hands of her husband Rip. The anxiety was overwhelming and so Rose decided to have lunch in a clearing and think things over. 

Just as she finished her lunch, she saw a shadow moving in the distance. At first she thought it was just an animal but a voice called out to her. She approached the shadow and was frightened to discover a very large man beckoning to her. She approached the man cautiously and feared that Rip had sent him to spy on her. When she talked to the man, he told her that was not the case and there was something honest and sincere in his eyes that she believed. She started to tell the man her story, but he cut her off. He told her that he knew all that she had experienced for he was Henry Hudson or rather the ghost of Henry Hudson. He had decided to stay in the Catskills after his death and watch over the inhabitants of the village due to the honor of having the river named after him. She asked why he had not stepped in to spare her from Rip’s abuse and he told her ghosts can’t interfere in the world of the living directly. 

He said that he had been hoping she would make the journey up the Catskills one day. Henry Hudson had been trying to send her a message to come see him. On nights when Rip was arguing loudly with her, he and his companions would play games of bowling that caused loud crashing sounds in the sky. Rose remarked that everyone in the village called it thunder. Henry said that he was hoping one night Rose would summon the courage to seek the cause of the thunder and she would stumble upon him. Even though his signal had failed, at least Rose was here now and Henry could finally help Rose get the freedom she so desperately longed for.

Henry pulled out a map from his pocket and showed Rose a safe way down the other side of the mountain. He told her of another village full of friendly and helpful people who would take care of her. They were the direct descendants of Henry Hudson and they would never treat her the way Rip had. Rose was ever so grateful and couldn’t find the words to thank Henry. Instead she hugged him and hurried to freedom. 

About halfway down the mountains, she felt an immense guilt for the women of the village that were left behind. Surely Rip and the men of the tavern would take out their anger on them when they found out that Rose was gone for good. Rose was conflicted because these women had never stood up for her, yet she knew they shared her pain. She decided that every woman in the village deserved the freedom she was longing for and that maybe if she took a stand, it would inspire others to do so as well.

So Rose went back up the mountain and back to Henry Hudson. She told him of her feelings and they came up with a plan. Since Rip and the men of the village loved to drink so much, Henry and Rose decided to use this to their advantage. Henry revealed that he and his companions got very bored in the mountains and they would brew a very strong alcohol. This alcohol was so strong that it would kill a normal man with just one pint, but since Henry was a ghost and could not die again, he kept a lot of the stuff on hand. Henry gave Rose enough of the alcohol so that every man in the village would get exactly one pint. He poured it all into a large barrel which Rose rolled all the way down the mountain and into the village. When she arrived at the tavern, Rip was happy to see her and didn’t even care that she didn’t bring food. The alcohol was all he and the other men cared about. They were already drunk and didn’t even think to have Rose explain where she got it from.

Instead they insulted her and told her to hurry up and get them all a pint. Rose explained that this was very special once in a lifetime alcohol and that she would only pour everyone one pint and only when all the men in the village were present in the tavern. Once everyone assembled and everyone had a pint in their hand, Rose wanted to propose a toast. Rip told her to shut up, but knowing that everything would be right soon, she ignored him. He shot her a look that meant she would be receiving a fresh black eye tonight. She exclaimed loudly that this toast was to freedom. Confused as to what she meant, all the men clinked their glasses together and downed the pints in one gulp.

Almost immediately, the men began clutching their stomachs and one by one they fell to the floor. As this was happening, Rose stood silently in the corner, trying to hide her mischievous grin. Rip Van Winkle was the last man to die. Just before he perished, he realized that Rose was behind all of this. As he crumpled to the floor, she stood over him and looked into his eyes as the life drained from them. 

Rose ran from the tavern screaming for help. She knocked on every door of the village and had all the women come to the tavern so that they could see what had happened to all of the men. At this sight, every woman in the village let out a cheer. They were free from their oppressors. Seeing this, Rose knew that she was right. All the women in the village were just as miserable as her, yet none had the courage to take a stand. Rose knew things would be different from now on. All the women would work together in solidarity and keep the village up and running while chasing out any man who dared enter their quiet little village along the Hudson River.

Feedback on Student’s Writing

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to another episode of the T-Money Show. Today’s guest is someone that we are all familiar with, writing feedback from teachers! I know we have all had our fair share of feedback during our school careers. Let’s take a look at how Nancy Sommers and John Bean feel about teacher feedback on student writing.

First up is Nancy Sommers and her article titled “Responding to Student Writing”. In the article, Sommers starts by making an interesting claim “We do not know in any definitive way what constitutes thoughtful commentary or what effect, if any our comments have on helping our students become more effective writers.” (Sommers). She argues that the purpose of feedback is to remind students to consider the reader. Sommers conducted research on how teacher commentary affects a student and found that students see this feedback as something that when changed will give them a better grade. Rather than making the changes that the student feels is necessary, they make the corrections the teacher wants so that they can get a better grade.

I can relate to this, and I have done this. When we are in school, the grade we get carries a lot of weight. When I have written things for school and did not agree with the teacher’s corrections, I made them anyway because the point of being in school was to get good grades. This gave me the false idea that the teacher was the most important commentator and that their word was God. Even if others such as peer reviewers thought my work could use different changes than the teacher suggested, it was irrelevant to me because at the end of the day, the teacher was the only one who offered a grade. And as college students we all know that a single grade can make or break your GPA.

Moving on to John Bean’s article “Writing Comments on Student Papers”, he says “Part of the problem is that our comments on students’ papers are necessarily short and therefore cryptic. We know what we mean, and we know the tone that we intend to convey. Often, however, students are bewildered by our comments, and they sometimes read into them a tone and a meaning entirely different from our intentions.” (Bean). OMG, can I say that Bean has hit the nail on the head. Do you remember when a teacher would write something like “be more specific” about an idea in your writing? Hey teacher, can you be more specific in your comment? The reason I wrote what I did was because I thought it was specific enough. If I knew how to be more specific, I would. Isn’t the whole point of you offering feedback to be specific in how I can be more specific?

Just as Bean said, comment such as that can cause students to think the teacher is being mean and coming from a place of superiority. This is oftentimes not the case and the teacher is trying to be helpful, but comments on writing can feel like a dagger to the heart. How many times have you written a first draft only to see many comments about spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Times like this make it feel like the teacher is deliberately looking for something negative to talk about. While spelling, grammar, and punctuation are important, they are minor concerns. Too often, teachers will comment on everything negative about a student’s work without offering any positive comments. As a student, I also wanted to know what I did right so that I knew I was on the right track. Yet teachers would nitpick my work and not offer any praise. Which left me feeling like the good parts of my work were crap and everything should be thrown out and started again.

The great thing about Sommers and Bean is that they both approached feedback from a student’s point of view rather than a teacher’s. While it is true that teachers must offer feedback, it is useless if it does not help the student improve. Oftentimes teachers forget the weight their criticism can have on the student. If feedback causes the student to feel discouraged and that they must please the teacher above all else, then it is destructive to the student. It is important to remember for the current and former teacher that there are many ways to offer feedback and you must always keep in mind the effect that the feedback will have on the student.