It’s been a month since I’ve written. (If I had a nickel for every resolution I failed to follow through on…)
The month has been challenging in many different respects. Time management. Not feeling like my teaching is the best. Getting used to “leading” a department. Family. Holidays.
I’m looking back at this moment – as we race from Thanksgiving to Christmas in mere weeks – and feeling like something is failing. If not failing, at its least, it not meeting my expectations and challenging me in ways I expected but wasn’t necessarily prepared for.
My students are writing wonderful reflections of their work. For the most part, these reflections are honest and authentic and meaningful. But only in the rarest of cases are these reflections critical in any way. Rarely are my students willing or able to put themselves out there and identify their own shortcomings.
My first attempt at correcting this has been to try and focus on feedback – students are receiving feedback both on their assignments directly and also via a standards-based recording system in our LMS. I was hopeful that these bits of correction and encouragement from me would be enough to nudge students towards a more critical self-appraisal of their achievement and accomplishment. But mostly, it hasn’t.
Students write wonderful reflections … that ignore negative feedback, or glaze over it with generalities about “needing some improvement” in a given area. Or sometimes more disappointing, students honestly report their failings but cannot bring themselves to admit that their work might not be deserving of the ever-needed “A.” Continue reading