In my next-to-last post, I wrote “This is also making me think I have to do more to encourage my students with their writing. I try to do this, of course; but it’s so easy to point out problems, and harder to cheer them on, especially when cheering results in questions like ‘if I’m doing so well, why is this a C?’ How do you come up with encouraging comments that don’t imply you give A’s for effort?”
Maybe I should divide my classes into small groups that are supposed to be writing groups, and give them the rules that my RL group uses (first round is clarification questions, second round is saying something you liked about the piece, third round is answering the writer’s own questions), and get them to do the encouraging. Or let them form their own groups. Or just have them use the groups to set goals and comment on what helped them to meet their goals and where they had problems. This could be done online, via Blackboard say, so I could keep an eye on things; or I could have them meet in class for a few minutes every few weeks.
I do not have “peer review” in mind. Just encouraging the act of writing, without getting into the A-for-effort trap.
This just occurred to me a few hours ago, so I haven’t really thought through how it might work and what the pitfalls could be. Any thoughts from my Gentle Readers?