Reflection on Writing Partnerships

I enjoyed my writing partnership. It gave me a chance to get a sense of the writing style and ability of a high school student, and also gave me a chance to exercise my own critiquing/providing constructive criticism skills again.

One thing that didn’t work for me was that I constantly lost track of what I was supposed to be doing during the writing partnership & when. This is mostly my fault as, due to a death in the family, I missed our second class and fell behind as a result. One suggestion I have for future writing partnerships is including the schedule in the syllabus, as I heavily rely on syllabi in all of my classes out of habit.

Another suggestion (and I’m not sure how possible this is/whether it was already covered and students just didn’t execute it well) would be for the high school students to receive some instruction on what exactly their roles in the partnership were. For example, in my partnership, the feedback I received on my first memoir draft was five or so mechanical error suggestions. The feedback on my second draft was along the lines of, “Wow, that was really great! I loved it!” While I won’t deny that I like positive feedback :), and I also realize it may seem intimidating for a high school student to give critical feedback on the writing of a college/graduate student, I think my partner at least could have benefited from more than my own modeling of how to provide useful positive feedback. Again, I obviously can’t say that students didn’t receive guidance in this direction, or if they did that they would have used it, but I think that was one weakness of the partnership from my point of view. I didn’t have unrealistic expectations (I don’t think!), but even a suggestion for “could you tell me more about this?” or “what do you mean by this?” would have been more helpful.

I had a positive experience with this partnership, and my partner has already emailed me telling me that I inspire her (what future teacher doesn’t love to hear that?!) and that she would like to continue the partnership, which I fully intend to do. I think it was a great project for me as a future teacher in gaining some insight into the secondary writing atmosphere as well as into the mind of a high school student, since I haven’t been in that role for over five years now. πŸ™‚ I wish that our class met more than once a week because I think that the partnership would be stronger and easier to implement, but I also realize that there’s really no way to change that. Overall, it was definitely worth the effort!

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Reflection on Writing Partnerships

  1. I agree with you that these partnerships did seem a bit one sided, at least in my case as well. I feel that my partner put minimum effort into their responses to me, and it would have been nice to see some actual thought put into the project on his responses to me. I have read both positive and negative responses to these partnerships, so it was nice to read yours where you talk about both!

  2. I know what you mean, I feel like there could have been a little more structure to it as well, but that in general things worked out. Sounds like you had an interesting partnership!

  3. I got a little lost on project requirements too, despite our instructors’ best efforts to keep us updated. I think it was definitely a lesson in “rolling with it” that will serve us well in our future classrooms. πŸ˜‰

  4. Breana Shelton

    Reading the writing of a high school student (even if it was just one draft) was a good experience for me too to remind me of what that’s like. I graduated high school over seven years ago now, and I have NO teaching experience, so I’m really used to the writing of college students. And even then, I know I’ve been horribly critical of a couple of writers in my my classes. It never even occurred to me what Amy, Bonnie, and Matt said last week that when we get responses from the students that basically only say, “It was good” is that they really couldn’t think of anything else. To me, when I got that response from my student partner, I thought, “Did you read it?! It sucked!” In that case, perhaps it was my own insecurities about my writing that made me think that my partner was just being lazy.

  5. Chelsea

    I completely agree with everything you said, Randi! This is the lamest comment ever, but I just wanted to let you know that your reflection was very well put. πŸ˜€

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