Tag Archives: feedback

How Much Is Too Much, Part II

Last week, I blogged about the quandary of how to respond to student work. Here, a few writing teachers I admire share their approaches. Laurie Ann Doyle teaches creative writing at UC Berkeley Extension. Her story “Restraint” will be published in Midway Journal  this summer. Constance Hale, author of Sin and Syntax and the forthcoming Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch, has taught narrative nonfiction writing at UC Berkeley Extension, Boston University, and Harvard University. Wendy Tokunaga teaches fiction at University of San Francisco and Stanford Continuing Ed.  The author of three published novels, she has work in two new anthologies, Madonna … Continue reading

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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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Why I Teach

Last Monday, at the second-to-last meeting of my Writing Skills Workshop class at UC Berkeley Extension, one of the students said, “I don’t even want to think about saying good-bye to everyone.”  Her large, expressive eyes opened even wider, and she shook her head.  “It’s been so … intimate.” Another student had just asked where to go for feedback after the class ends. “We’ll get to that next week,” I said, as I always set aside time during a final class session to talk about finding a writing community, sustaining a writing practice, and other ways to keep going. But … Continue reading

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