“Nice work.” “Great job.” “Powerful sentence.” Even though I knew they wouldn’t mean much to students, these vague and ineffective comments made their way into my writing feedback recently. As I watched myself typing them, I knew I was in a rut. My critical comments, on the other hand, were lengthy and detailed. Suggestions and corrections abounded. I realized that I was focused too much on correcting student work and not enough on the goal of giving rich positive feedback.
As a writer, I know how hard it is when the negative feedback outweighs the positive. We all have things to work on, but focusing only on what to fix makes it hard to feel that our skills are seen and appreciated. My students put so much work into their writing, and they deserve more than my two-word positive sentences.
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