Friday, September 19, 2014

Feedback and Corrections

I am working on a statewide project called the Govenor's Teacher Network.  The idea is that we are picked because we have shown to be great teachers (they picked me anyway, so their methods must be a bit flawed).  What would be the first thing you would do if you assembled teachers known for creating great lesson plans in order to create more lesson plans to be included on a state-wide database?

If you answered, "Let the teachers create plans for the database," you would be wrong.  The first thing you do is teach these teachers what they should be doing.  I've sat through several workshops and webinars on how to be an effective teacher and some of the information is good, some of the information is common sense, and some is just educational jargon.  With that in mind, I want to point out the following quote which was thrown out a lot in our initial training:

Intensive correction, where the teacher marks every error in every paper a student writes, is completely useless. Marking all errors is no more advantageous in terms of student growth than marking none of them.

-Hillocks, 1986

Now, I just have a hard time believing that marks on a student paper is completely useless.  Personally, I remember marks that were put on my paper way back in my high school days.  Could it be that not making any marks is just as helpful as taking the time to show students what they did wrong?  Is the real statement more about making too many marks?  That's not how it was being taught in the webinar.  Surely more marks are still better than no marks.  Right?  How else is a student to grow if not being shown where they went wrong?

However, I am not so narrow minded as to not at least consider that I could be wrong.  I did date that girl in college that was really a poor decision on my part, so I could be wrong again.  I decided to find the source Hillocks, 1986.  However, there was no works cited page (or whatever you call it in APA) and when I searched for it on the Internet, I found several references to this same quote, but no link to the original article.

So, what do you think?  Take this poll:

web polls

Leave a comment if you have some elaboration upon it, agree with me, or know where the quote came from.

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