13 March 2012

First-Years on Grammar and Editing

The following four quotes are from reflections I had my students write as part of their final portfolios for their expository writing class. The assignment says to "critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your own writing." Most of my students - including some of the ones quoted here - did a very good job with that task. A few did magnificently. It's always funny, though, when you ask people to talk about the strengths of their writing - because stuff like this happens:

"Editing papers was one of my strengths, during the first writing processes I would tend to have bad grammar and sentence flow."

"I have good grammar and punctuations, as well proper MLA citations and formatting. I know in the major essay 2 you commented on how I went down to 0.7 margins on the bottom, but that is because if it was 1 inch it becomes too big."

"Through out this assignment and all of the rest I feel like I have done a good job with the fourth outcome, it comes natural to me to want to look over my work and make sure that I don’t sound like an idiot because of bad grammar."

"Obviously, I am not perfect in either respect but I have found that I usually receive full credit for grammar and punctuation on all of my essays. Either I am really good at revising my mistakes or my teachers have been oblivious. Hoping that it is not the latter, my correct grammar and punctuation make my essays easier to comprehend."

It should be noted that I'm told not to correct students' grammar unless errors "interfere with reading and understanding the writing" - and that this (pretty dang lax) standard is the only mention of grammar, punctuation, or spelling in the Course Outcomes that the expository writing program focuses on and tells instructors to teach.

Hoo, boy. All y'all have a great night.

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