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Responding to Student Writing

Michelle G. Paterno


This paper examines written teacher feedback on selected student papers in an attempt to analyze underlying attitudes embedded in the response episodes. In the past, writing theories have emphasized writing as a fixed and linear process of transferring thoughts on paper. As a consequence, teacher feedback reflected these pedagogical principles by treating texts as fixed and finished products. Today, despite the dawn of more process-oriented theories, teacher feedback remains largely product- and form-oriented. While there is a genuine attempt to communicate effectively with the students, such communication is usually hindered by vague, opinionated and negative comments that obstruct student-teacher relationships. In the end, this paper underscores the need for greater self-reflection in order to address the question, “Why do we give the kind of responses that we give, for whose purpose and for what intention?”


English language teaching, teacher feedback, writing theories

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/1578