Thursday, December 8, 2011

Advice for Commenting [On Student Compositions]

Note: The National Council of Teachers of English was founded in 1911. The organization is celebrating its centennial. As part of this celebration, College English is publishing excerpts from its predecessor, the college edition of The English Journal. The excerpts are timely, a bit wordy and take their time to get to the point. However, I believe my readers will find them of interest. RayS.

 Robert G. Berkelman, “A Letter to My theme Reader,” Vol. 22 (January 1933), 62-66.

Quote: In order to help rather than condemn, I have found that it is better to word comments positively, even when the criticism must be adverse. That is, instead of stating the faults bluntly, show the writer what virtue he should strive for. To the student a guide-post pointing to improved thought and expression is far more inviting than the flourish of a pruning knife. Which of these comments, for example, would you prefer on an effort of yours: ‘This is clear but rather dull’ or ‘Commendably clear, now aim at liveliness?’ ”  (63-64).

Comment: The idea behind this advice is worth thinking about. RayS.

 Title: “College English’s Precursor: Excerpts from the College Edition of The English Journal.” College English (November 2011), 157-191.

No comments:

Post a Comment