Last semester my juniors composed a thesis paper, and it was a rousing success. I had a series of three editing days where students worked in groups editing papers using a process I created, and then the students completed an editing session with me leading the class. The papers were fantastic, and I felt like a very successful teacher.
Then, I gave the same two classes a personal reflection assignment two weeks ago. We went over the expectations as a class, created a list of non-negotiables, and formulated some topics the students could use. I assessed them over the weekend, and now I wonder what kind of teaching I did (or didn’t do).
I couldn’t tell what I had taught and felt like I didn’t know these kids. We had:
- practiced vocabulary, grammar, and punctuation weekly,
- used pre-writing practices repeatedly,
- composed multiple pieces of prose and poetry,
- used three different editing processes, and
- reviewed the writing process numerous times.
Still, it looked to me as if the students had simply written something the night before the due date. I think we’re going to have a conversation Tuesday about what happened.
In the meantime, I think the diagram below (from here) sums up my suspicions.