Tag Archives: criticism

How Much Is Too Much?

I’ve been teaching for more than ten years, and I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two along the way.  But every so often, I’m brought back to a question I struggled with early in my teaching career:  What’s the most helpful way to comment on student work? Specifically.   Constructively.  Right, but… how?  What balance of correction and affirmation, of criticism and encouragement? Writer Deborah Bryan posted this week on her blog, The Monster In Your Closet, about a letter she’d written to her brother-in-law, accompanying her edits to his scholarship application essay.  The gist was that he … Continue reading

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Sharing Our Work

The first time I showed someone a story I’d written, I thrust the pages at her and fled her office.  This was in 1992, another lifetime, when I’d come to realize that if I wanted to write someday, I’d better start writing.  The someone was an ideal early reader—intelligent, compassionate, wise.  She read the pages and thanked me, asked me about how it was to show them to her.  (Yes, she was my therapist, who not incidentally, helped me figure out that if I was ever going to write someday, I’d better start writing.) Not all readers since have been … Continue reading

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