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Lelia C. Orrell orrell at umbsky.cc.umb.edu
Tue Nov 18 00:33:55 EST 1997

bmartin at utmem1.utmem.edu wrote:

> <SNIP> Frankly, the posts on spelling corrections echo this problem.  Were
> the students with good lab reports praised?

Of course.

> Were only the poorer students chosen for follow up comments?

ALL students of mine have follow up comments.  Good, bad, and provocative.

> Students of all ages will quickly blow off comments they are not interested
> in hearing.

Too many students blow everything off.  So many are not interested in what you
might have to teach them or comment on or even praise.  Too many students are
overly concerned with what their GPA will be, and way to many students are
satisfied with a pass/fail grade.

> Likewise, almost all age groups still repsond to praise and work harder to
> get more.  Sure, correct the spelling, recommned remedial work, but most
> importantly praise the achievers.

Unfortunately, the achievers are usually the ones that *can* spell and create
desiferable sentences.  I always try to find something positive to say in *all*
the lab report grading.  Nevertheless, if a student can't convey an idea or
process in words due to poor writing skills, how can the teacher grade it
properly?  The instructors, much to the dismay of the students, can not be
inside the student's head or read their minds.  So often I find myself trying
to second guess the mishmash of verbiage and give the student the benefit of
the doubt, but for crying out loud, this is college.  It is frustrating for me
that I can not do what I love, which is teaching the students how to LEARN,
explore and THINK.  Instead, I spend and exhaust my energy and resources on
correcting spelling, punctuation, grammar and catching cheaters and
plagiarism.  In the end, I have so little left to give and they have so little
time left to *learn* and be excited by something as facinating as science.

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