Vol 6 No 1 (2020)

Published: 2020-06-03

Editorial Section

Editor's Introduction

Betsy Gilliland, Katherine Daily O'Meara

Welcome to Volume 6, Issue 1 of JRW.

Featured Articles

The Texts within the Context: Examining the Influence of Contextual Documents on Students’ Interpretations of Teachers’ Written Feedback

Bruce Bowles

In spite of a host of scholarship pertaining to response and the contexts that surround our response practices, limited attention has been paid to how everyday classroom texts may inform students’ interpretations of teachers’ written feedback to their writing. This article examines the results from modified case studies of six students across two first-year composition classrooms, exploring how they drew upon three types of contextual factors—assignment description/texts, student/teacher conferences, and grading materials—in order to articulate their interpretations of their teachers’ written feedback. The roles each of these contextual factors plays in students’ interpretations of their teachers’ written commentary are investigated along with discussions of how these various classroom texts work reciprocally with one another and in conjunction with teachers’ overall pedagogical practices. This articles argues for greater attention to these classroom texts in response scholarship and practice along with advocating an approach to response that views these contextual factors and written feedback in a more pedagogically integrated fashion. The article concludes by advocating for the creation of cohesive narratives about writing across the texts teachers create in their classrooms and the written commentary they provide students.

Student-Led Assessment: A Small Study on Classroom Rubric Development and Peer-grading Practices

Brice Particelli

Popularized by practitioners of process writing, peer-review is a common practice in composition. However, while peer-review is common, studies on other forms of student-led assessment are less prevalent. This small study explores how the expansion of student-centered assessment strategies affects student understanding of the writing process. Centered on rubric development and its implementation through peer-grading, this study utilizes surveys and classroom observations within two second-year composition courses at a university in New York City to investigate student-led assessment as a potent pedagogical option, adding to literature that explores assessment as an active part of the writing process.

The Effects of Informal Training on Graduate Teaching Assistants’ Response Beliefs

Andrew Thomas-James Moos

As recent studies have shown (Ferris, 2014; Reid, Estrem, & Belcheir, 2012), formalized types of pedagogical instruction may be less effective on new instructors than previously thought. In new instructors continuing to form beliefs about responding to student writing, they may rely heavily on knowledge gained from extracurricular sources and prior experiences in shaping their beliefs about feedback. This study aims to examine these informal influences on feedback beliefs on beginning first-year writing instructors. Specifically, this study uses both surveys and interviews with teachers in their first two years of teaching at a single university in the United States to uncover influences on these individuals that result from informal training. The purpose of this study is to then examine how personal experiences, values, or beliefs based in their own experiences as students and writers may affect the beliefs with which instructors respond to their students’ writing in the classroom. This study suggests that informal training is a valuable tool to new teachers in helping to both motivate them to respond and assist them in a more concrete manner than formal training, and it should be taken into account in teacher training.

Managing Dynamic Written Corrective Feedback: Perceptions of Experienced Teachers

Rachel Anna Messenger, Norman W Evans, K. James Hartshorn

Error correction for English language learner’s (ELL) writing has long been debated in the field of teaching English to learners of other languages (TESOL).  Some researchers say that marking all errors with written corrective feedback (WCF) is not manageable, while others contest.  This study examines the manageability of the innovative strategy Dynamic Written Corrective Feedback (DWCF), which has a more comprehensive approach to error feedback, and asks what factors influence the manageability of the strategy (including how long marking sessions take on average) and what suggestions experienced teachers of DWCF have.  The strategy has shown to be highly effective in previous studies, but its manageability has been in question.  A qualitative analysis of the manageability of DWCF was conducted via interviews of experienced teachers that have used DWCF and the author’s experience and reflections using the strategy.   The results indicate that this strategy can be manageable with some possible adaptions and while avoiding some common pitfalls.

Teaching Articles

Breaking the Cycle: Using Reflective Activities to Transform Teacher Response

Anthony Edward Edgington

This article explores how reflection, especially reflection-in-action, can be useful to writing instructors as they respond to their students’ texts. Reflection-in-action, or the reflection that occurs while one is still in the process of completing a task, offers teachers and students the opportunity to reflect upon the value of written comments while still possessing the chance to use those reflections to create stronger texts and comments. After exploring how reflection can benefit response, experiences with two reflective activities will be offered as examples of how reflection-in-action can be introduced into a teacher’s response practices.