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The Red Ink Myth

The Red Ink Myth

Juila G. Thompson | Teaching

How to Encourage Student Self-Correction

The most important goal of effective and constructive feedback is that students will take their teacher’s comments and learn from them. One of the most frustrating aspects of giving students feedback is that sometimes we feel as if we focus on the same errors all term long. Having to repeatedly remind students of the same mistakes is not an activity designed to make any teacher feel productive.

Don’t just give feedback without also designing some way for students to act upon what you have said. Asking them to correct their errors, write explanations for their mistakes, or tell a partner how they could have done better are just some of the ways that you can involve students in learning from their mistakes.

Make every assignment into a formative assessment by including a final activity where students evaluate their work based on your feedback. Here are some suggestions to help students learn from their mistakes so that they can integrate the corrections and comments you offered into their learning and so you can move on to help your students in other ways.

•Ask students to respond to open-ended questions such as “How could you have improved this section?” or “What could you have done differently to prepare this assignment?”

•Have students write corrections directly on their papers rather than just glance at the grade and file away the paper.

•Give students a chart with spaces to record their errors and their corrections.

•Have students correct their papers while working in pairs with other students to gather insight and advice.

•Put students in groups of three or four to talk over their common mistakes and how they can avoid those errors in the future.

•Ask students to keep a record of how they have improved their work. This can be a powerful document as students see how they have improved all year long.

•Have students keep a list of their own mistakes so that they can refer to it as they work on other assignments.

•After you pass back graded assignments, have students write comments to each other on self-sticking notes attached to the paper. Use one color for corrections and another for positive comments.

•Ask students to write a response to the topic: “If I Could Do This Over, I Would Do These Things".

Continue reading on the next page: “How to Manage Your Time at School So That Your Life Is Not Consumed by Grading Papers”


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