Don’t Be Cruel

image[M]angled syntax, disordered thinking, and frequent error happen to be hallmarks of a novice writer learning a new discourse. If we incorrectly assume they reflect a lack of effort or character — and base our feedback on that assumption — we do our students a disservice and risk inflicting real damage. | It takes enormous amounts of time and mental energy to craft substantive, constructive comments that will truly help students learn. A much faster way to get through a stack of student papers is to focus solely on what is deficient. But students pay the price for our excessive negativity. —Chronicle