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Ms. Leber

July 26, 2023


The Value of Feedback in Writing Improvement

Constructive teacher feedback plays a crucial role in the ELA learning process, especially in developing writing as a skill. With a specific emphasis on correcting bad writing habits, detailed feedback helps students identify their strengths and weaknesses when writing for different purposes. Unfortunately, public school teachers are often faced with the challenge of time when offering this level of quality feedback. Large class sizes and limited prep time restrict teachers’ ability to give targeted, meaningful feedback, then follow up with the student during the drafting process to improve their writing. For most essays, teachers are limited to providing superficial feedback, which students often ignore or forget, placing a higher value on the letter grade received for the work. In both cases, lack of quality feedback, limited time to focus on writing as a process, and the failure of students to integrate that feedback results in little improvement in writing.

The Value of Quality Feedback

The importance of constructive feedback on ELA assignments can’t be underestimated. Detailed, specific feedback helps students refine their writing skills, teaching them to tailor their writing to meet certain objectives, such as argumentative or narrative writing. When teachers are given the time to analyze and dissect student writing, their more intensive feedback enables students to identify their errors and avoid making future mistakes, leading to skill development and improvement. This level of feedback also teaches them to recognize gaps in their understanding or skill, which fosters a growth mindset, encouraging them to approach writing as a process rather than a one-and-done act to be completed as quickly as possible. Lastly, positive feedback can be an excellent motivator. Even the most reticent writers can be intrinsically motivated by the power of positive, quality feedback that demonstrates their ability to grow and succeed as a writer.

The Importance of Review and Integration

The other side of the coin in the writing process is the necessity of review. All the quality feedback in the world is useless if students do not take the time to read, process, and integrate the notes their teachers have provided. An adverse consequence of putting such a high emphasis on the result (the grade) versus the process (a sustained improvement over time) is that once an essay is returned, many students don’t give further consideration past the letter grade or score inked on the top page. Worse, those who do not get the score they wanted fail often see that score as inevitable, leading them to believe they cannot do better. This mindset is cemented in the fact that once the essays are returned, rarely is the opportunity given to try again or make improvements. By the time the next writing assignment comes around, they’ve already forgotten their errors, making them again and again. 

Writing as a Process

As a result of time crunches and jam-packed curriculums, ELA classes devote little time to the process of writing improvement. Rather than seeing writing as a malleable skill to be honed over time with practice, many students relegate themselves to “bad writers” simply because they aren’t allowed to get better. Teachers are expected to move on to meet the demands of intensive curriculums. That is the beauty of the Learn to Write Now program. In LTWN workshops, students are exposed to multiple writing objectives, many of which are glossed over in ELA classrooms, and given the time and space to explore them in depth. Quality feedback for students is only the first step. Our classes emphasize the necessity of review and revision, but most importantly, provide students with guidance through the drafting process, teaching them how to integrate that valuable feedback that promotes their growth as writers.

Quality feedback is vital for success in ELA education. Despite the challenges public school teachers face, finding innovative ways to provide quality feedback can significantly enhance students’ learning experiences and foster their development in critical writing skills. LTWN offers various workshops that provide students the opportunity to refine their writing skills through feedback and revision, such as K-8 360 classes, Grammar and Essays, and Pre-CAE and CAE for juniors and seniors.

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