Prompt: What kind of responses from others help us improve our writing? (In terms of personal and in terms of teaching in the future)
For me, I need feedback for my formal and narrative writing. I have experienced plenty of long nights of writing vast amounts of essays, and realize after I turn in the paper that I had typos or comma splices. The little things can get to me in terms of writing. It’s nice to have a fresh pair of eyes when I write in order to find grammar or punctuation errors. This also applies to awkward phrasing, which I can struggle with from time to time.
Reviews and revisions from others in terms of my poetry, or my creative writing in general, is also very important. I need constructive criticism; if they don’t like an idea, I need to know. Let me know what sucked, and let me know what you liked. Let me know if I repeat words/phrases/themes (the one I’m catching in my poetry, as of late, relates to motherhood) throughout my poems.
In terms of future teaching, I want to give constructive criticism back to my students. I’m already starting to grade papers in my practicum for my EDUC 383/4 classes. As such, I tend to phrase my responses to them in terms of questions. This often is trying to get students to write more, or to clarify an idea. When there is punctuation errors, I do mark it, but will go over the general concepts of, say, semi-colons if I see it as a problem in the classroom.
With creative writing, it gets trickier. A workshop discussion, although vulnerability is a factor, lets the student whose work is being critiqued, as well as other students who are helping to workshop the piece, know some common errors. This helps students become self-aware of their own writing. I’d first ask to give positive feedback on what they liked. (I’ll be using poem, but short works of fiction or nonfiction could also apply.) After that, I would try and lead on what wasn’t working in the poem: what was confusing, what was weak (line breaks, etc.). The last part that would go over is if the poem is “true” enough; if it’s a genuine poem or if it’s relatable. The fact that if the piece gives enough evidence would also be something worth looking over.