Saturday, December 12, 2009

Oy, My Brain

So, after I posted last night, I was brushing my teeth, thinking about what I wrote, and it occurred to me that part of the problem comes when I assign a grade to an exercise. Exercise is practice, and shouldn't we grade student work that is supposed to show mastery? Granted, the Letters About Literature assignment might have led up to mastery of certain things (thankfully, for many students, it did), but if a writer is not engaged in the topic, is it fair to expect mastery? What message does that send to a struggling writer, other than, here's another assignment you didn't like and didn't do well on, either. Research shows that it is best to teach students writing skills in a meaningful context, like when they're working on something they want to write. Given that no assignment is ever going to appeal to everyone, what's an English teacher to do? When it comes down to it, I don't care if my students can write a good Letter About Literature, I want them to be able to write a good anything.

I'll keep thinking about it.

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