Category: Teaching Writing

  • Teaching Standard English is Racist

    Advertisements Since I co-authored a number of articles and chapters in the early 2000s–including the most popular “Why Revitalize Grammar?” (2003, English Journal), “Grammar Rant Analysis” (2006, English Journal), and Grammar Rants (Heinemann, 2011)–I have been exploring the ways in which grammar instruction in the USA is based on bigotry.  In the years since, I […]

  • 6 Reasons Not to Correct Errors in Student Writing

    Advertisements Many teachers will correct errors in student writing. Some teachers do so much correcting, or copyediting, that their students’ papers are riddled with marks to the point that the student writing gets lost visually behind all the corrections. Surely this is the hallmark of a dedicated, hardworking, knowledgeable teacher with high standards, right? The […]

  • What Questions Did Pre-Service Teachers of Writing Ask?

    Advertisements This week, for our last class session, I asked students in my Teaching of Writing class what questions they have about teaching writing in high school/middle school. I also allowed questions about teaching in general. The students were able to upload questions anonymously using a Google Form I created for them. I’m always interested […]

  • Don’t Teach against Plagiarism, Teach for Academic Honesty

    Advertisements I asked a first-year college class recently, “What can you tell me about academic honesty?” All the students could talk about was how bad plagiarism is and that they should avoid it or they would get in serious trouble. When I said, “I didn’t ask about plagiarism, I asked about academic honesty,” they were […]

  • The Rubric Criterion That Changed Everything

    Advertisements If you’re like me, you let stacks of student papers sit for a while before you can bring yourself to respond to them. Once I get into reading and responding to them, it goes well, but there’s just something about diving into the first paper on the stack that is tremendously foreboding. There have […]

  • A Great Take on Language/Grammar Instruction

    Advertisements Future English teacher Aaron DeLay has created this very cool slide about grammar and language instruction, drawing on scholarship by Patricia A Dunn and me. Please check it out, and please credit Aaron if you use this. Thanks, Aaron! Follow him @adelayedteacher If you’d like to learn more about Grammar Rants: How a Backstage […]

  • The Importance of Being Humble When Grading

    Advertisements In my last post, I wrote about the futility of trying to be objective when grading student writing. The point I make is that teachers must bring their professional judgments to bear on writing as they grade it. Teachers must be completely, intentionally, and unapologetically subjective in their responses to student writing. But with […]

  • Grading Student Writing Objectively: A Myth and a Trap

    Advertisements Many newer teachers and non-specialists believe that above all else, teachers should be objective when they grade student writing.  That is, they should grade based on fact, not bias. After all, this kind of thinking goes, isn’t it wrong to judge student work subjectively, bringing one’s own thoughts, beliefs, and perspectives to bear on […]

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