Re: your mail

Subject: Re: your mail
From: Michael Keene <MKEENE -at- UTKVX -dot- UTK -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 1994 09:27:21 -0500

On Wed, 16 Nov 1994, Barb Philbrick wrote:

> RJ>> Are there teachers of tech wr out there <snip>

I've also tried doing in-class reviews,
> where the class goes over two or three papers and critiques them. As you
> might expect, I've run into problems <snip>
> My question is - does anyone else use this method?

It's always been hard for me to get students to critique another
student's paper in a large group setting. If I'm working with a large
group, I find it goes much better if the paper we're critiquing was
written by someone totally unknown to the group. But that changes other
parts of the classroom in ways that weaken the benefits of this teaching
technique. I find it works better if I critique students' papers on the
first two assignments, then on about the third one put them in groups
(3-5 each) with written prompts that lead each group to do the same kind
of critique of each other's drafts that I've done previously on
everyone's. The filled-out and signed critique sheets get turned in with
that draft and its revision (the final draft), so there's
accountability. But even so, this works to the extent that I put lots of
energy into working the room, sitting in on each group and making sure
everyone invests in the process. When the students are each other's
peers, the power relationships are so complex. Anyway, the moral of the
story seems to be that this "group work" needs to be pretty highly
structured by me and is very labor intensive for me--it's not a way to
have an easy-going, low energy class meeting. But as you suggest, the
benefits are considerable.

Mike Keene
mkeene -at- utkvx -dot- utk -dot- edu

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