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2.11: Helpers

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    This chapter will cover the elements that should HELP students in learning, whether it’s through writing or reading.

    College Resources

    If we try to handle every challenge alone, we can become frustrated and overwhelmed. Following are some resources available at NDSCS…\(^{46}\)

    Many students are reluctant to seek help. They feel like doing so marks them as slow, weak, or demanding. The truth is, every learner occasionally struggles. If you are sincerely trying to keep up but feel over your head, ask for help as early as possible. Most instructors will work hard to help students who make the effort to help themselves. 


    Regarding Technology:


    Reflection and Self-Assessment

    This chunk covers the importance of reflecting on your learning and how to go about assessing your learning, too, if that process or activity is built into your course.

    Definition of Metacognition

    Metacognition is the process of thinking about thinking… Here are some questions we ask ourselves when we employ the process of metacognition, especially the third one called evaluating…

    Change the Way You Think\(^{48}\)

    Reflection can be an invaluable tool in changing a person's thought patterns and responses to situations. Many people lapse into "auto-pilot," our day-to-day way of dealing with people, places, and situations. However, without frequent reflection and evaluation of the way we respond to these external stimuli, it can be easy to fall into patterns of behavior that are unproductive or even damaging. Reflection can help you actively assess your situation and reappraise it to feel more positive and in control.

    Analyze Experiences.

    You will have so many experiences every day that over the course of a lifetime it may be difficult to take stock of what they all meant. If you take the time to reflect each day on what a given experience meant right after it happened, however, it can be easier to process the event and your reaction to it. 

    Think about your reaction to the experience/assignment… 

    Don’t Criticize or Beat Yourself Up as You Reflect\(^{49}\)

    Self-reflection isn’t about judging or criticizing your past decisions. Instead, self-reflection helps you learn from your past so you can reach a healthier, happier future. 


    Peer Workshops and Feedback

    Peer workshops and receiving feedback are typically a HUGE part of most writing/composition courses. It might be difficult for some students to receive feedback from others but always remember: writing is subjective. Since it is, the best other humans can do is give you their opinions based on the things they’ve read (remember: everyone is a writer and everyone is a reader). With that said, this chunk of information breaks down peer workshops (or peer review sessions) into manageable pieces… THREE pieces, to be exact.

    Peer revision\(^{50}\) has added benefits over self-revision. Other people can notice things in your paper that you didn’t. Other humans might ask questions or give you suggestions you HAD NOT considered, which may be uber helpful. 

    Some instructors set aside class time for peer review, but even if your instructor doesn’t, it’s a good idea to seek out feedback from a classmate, roommate, a tutor (if your college has a tutoring center), or anyone who can offer a fresh perspective.

    Possible Steps in the Peer Review Process:
    Feedback Strategy: WWW / TAG





    T – Tell classmate something that WOW’d you about their draft.

    Your introduction is very controversial; this will shock readers. 

    What If…

    A – Ask a question about the content in the draft.

    Why did you leave out the history of how you met this weird person?

    I Wonder…

    G – Give a suggestion to your classmate about their draft.

    I would add in more details about the situation that lead you to deciding that adoption was the route you were going to take.



    If writing is subjective then assessing writing is subjective.


    Indeed\(^{51}\), grading does very little. Music theory teacher Kris Shaffer says that “letter grades do an absolutely horrible job” of three things that would help students improve their writing: (1) determining whether students understand a concept well enough to implement it, (2) identifying elements of student writing that need improvement, and (3) helping students learn to better self-assess. Shaffer makes his argument specifically about writing music, but I’ve recast it here for writing words. Each of these three goals presents a helpful perspective on developing authors’ needs. An author’s ability to compose requires skill, understanding, and situational familiarity. None of those goals are met through a letter grade. Grades help label, sort, and rank students; they don’t inform students, target instruction, or encourage self-awareness. Those who have left school and begun their careers have long stopped expecting grades to help determine what they do and don’t do well because grades aren’t appropriate measures of learning. Schools need to stop relying on grades, too.

    Instead, we should teach people how to improve their writing through reflection and peer review. Variations of peer review help us write in many of our day-to-day situations. We learn what sorts of text messages work best by observing how our friends text and respond to us. We learn what makes an effective email by reading the ones we get and responding or deleting as we see fit. We learn how best to craft Facebook posts by seeing what kinds of content can garner the most likes—at its heart a form of quick (and addictive) peer review. Consider, too, all of the review features available on websites such as Yelp, Amazon, LinkedIn, Angie’s List, and so on. Reviews offer feedback and critique by users/peers.

    In other words, situations, not teachers, define the importance of writing.

    If grades tell nothing meaningful about writing ability, and if learning to work as/with peer reviewers provides insights into and feedback about writing performance, then the traditional structure of writing education is backward.

    Writing should not be done for a grade. Teachers should not grade writing; instead, they should empower their students to meaningfully assess the effectiveness of writing.



    \(^{46}\)Edited from 1, 2, 3 Write! by Gay Monteverde is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

    \(^{47}\)Multiple Wikihow authors. “How to Put Metacognition in Process for Teachers.” Wikihow. Updated 07 Oct 21.

    \(^{48}\)Rogers, Tracey. “How to Reflect.” Wikihow. Updated 26 March 20. Licensed Under an Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Creative Commons License

    \(^{49}\)Klaphaak, Adrian and Janice Tieperman. “How to Self-Reflect.” Wikihow. Updated 29 Oct 21. Licensed Under an Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Creative Commons License.

    \(^{50}\)"Basic Writing/Print version.” Wikibooks, The Free Textbook Project. 9 Sep 2008, 16:02 UTC. 11 May 2016, 17:37 <>. Licensed CC-BY-SA.

    \(^{51}\)Snippet from = Friend, Christopher R. “Student Writing Must Be Graded By The Teacher.” Bad Ideas About Writing. Edited by Cheryl E. Ball and Drew M. Loewe. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Libraries, Digital Publishing Institute, 2017. CC-BY.

    This page titled 2.11: Helpers is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Sybil Priebe (Independent Published) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform.