Our last session of cycle three looking at comparing feedback on revisions of papers occurred on February 18. (I know this blog is way behind, but I thought I already completed it until I realized—oops, nope!). Randon and I meet to go over intr0-3rd body paragraphs and our feedback we had given with 8 papers.
This is the third time we have completed this and it is really interesting to see what are the presences, our growth from each other’s feedback and reflection, and what absences we see from one another. We reviewed the papers and looking overall, we noticed that we are pretty similar in catching punctuation and mechanical errors although it seemed that Randon would do really well on the first page or so of the paper, and would fall off after that point. When asked about this, he wasn’t sure why that was happening and also commented that he didn’t see why he needed to keep marking the same mistakes. I talked to him about our job being to help kids edit the papers and show the mistakes so that they can see what mistakes they are making. If we don’t mark it, the kids don’t recognize that it is a mistake they are making.
A few things that we still need to work on in terms of giving feedback. One, we need to give feedback throughout the paper. Even if students are making the same mistakes, it is important to give thorough feedback since we are doing limited in class peer to peer feedback. With the peer to peer work, we need to do a better job training our students on how to give feedback. This could be an extension of this work into next year and their next writing assignment since they have seen Randon and I model feedback and they have reflected on the kinds of feedback they have received from us. Two, we need to work on using the same language as presented to the students. I used language that I used when I taught the kids first semester and Randon used language in his feedback when he taught the class. I think this might have lead to some confusion because I overheard students debriefing with Randon at their final writing conference that they were confused as to some of the terminology (explanation of quote, relate quote to point of paragraph, relate quote to thesis- Anne’s terminology v. Randon’s –quote says, point to the paragraph, make the point). Keeping our language similar would assist the students in their feedback and understanding. Three, we need to work on making sure we are bringing all their points back to the overall point of the essay. I think this was a struggle for Randon having never taught writing before. This is one are consistently where he would focus on details rather than the students making the big argument. Are they actually relating everything back to the thesis?
Randon does a really nice job of leaving a paragraph at the end of their writing discussing things he thinks they need to work on. I have not adapted to his style of feedback because I like giving point by point feedback within the paragraph. I can see both methods combined working well where the student has the point by point corrections within the paragraph and an overall paragraph at the end with further extensions. I can see Randon shifting to this method more of not just a paragraph at the end, but notes within the paragraph as well. Also, he started shifting to asking more questions of his writer and not just pointing out elements that were missing. One thing I learned from Randon is to make sure I am giving positive feedback as well as constructive criticism. Sometimes I get so focused on helping them improve, that I do not always compliment the things they have done consistently well, nice phrasing of sentences, or trying new styles with their writing.
Randon also commented on the process of dual feedback that this really helped to clarify grading and feedback. It helped to see why I give feedback the way I do. Modeling feedback and teaching someone how to give feedback and justification for grades is a lot more difficult than I thought. So many of my grading and feedback strategies have just been developed over time and to think about why I give feedback, how I give feedback and give grades has been a nice reflection. I needed to think while giving feedback and not just give feedback.
Moving forward, I can see one final reflection from the students on this whole process. They are each meeting with Randon to review their final papers and grade. I think when they are done, I want them to reflect on the feedback they have received in that final conference, how well did the feedback throughout the writing process prepare them for their final paper (this would include the 1-1 feedback, Randon circulating the room, dual feedback on their papers, and final conference with Randon). I also want Randon to reflect on the entire process. He has reflected after the first time we compared feedback (intro paragraphs) and after the last time we did this (intro -3rd), but I am anxious and interested to hear about changes he has noticed in himself, in the students about feedback and growing as a learner.