The Job of Teaching Writing

Teacher Views of Responding to Student Writing

Authors

  • Dana Ferris University of California
  • Hsiang Liu California State University
  • Brigitte Rabie California State University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/wap.v3i1.39

Keywords:

Writing feedback, Writing pedagogy, College writing, Teacher perceptions

Abstract

Although response to student writing often consumes the majority of a writing instructor’s time and energy, studies of teachers’ philosophies and practices with regard to feedback have been relatively rare in the response literature. In the study described in this article, college writing instructors from six community colleges and two four-year universities in Northern California (N=129) were surveyed, and volunteers from this group (N=23) gave follow-up in-depth interviews. In addition, each interview participant provided 3-5 samples of student texts with their own written commentary. Based on the findings, our analysis focuses on two questions: 1. How do the participants (college-level writing instructors in Northern California) perceive response to student writing? 2. In what ways might the participants’ own practices be causing or adding to their frustrations? We found that although most of the participants value response and believe it is very important, they are often frustrated and dissatisfied with the task itself and with its apparent lack of impact on student progress. Our data analyses suggest some possible underlying explanations for these teachers’ complex attitudes toward response. The discussion concludes with suggestions of ways writing instructors can adapt or focus their response practices to increase the efficiency and quality of their feedback, to reduce frustration, and to increase satisfaction with this aspect of their teaching practice.

Author Biographies

Dana Ferris, University of California

Dana Ferris, Ph.D., is Professor in the University Writing Program at the University of California, Davis, and directs the first-year writing program. Her research focuses on second language writing and reading and on response to student writing.

Hsiang Liu, California State University

Hsiang Liu, M.A., is a Lecturer in the Learning Skills and English departments at California State University, Sacramento. He teaches courses in the reading/writing program for multilingual students.

Brigitte Rabie, California State University

Brigitte Rabie, M.A., is a Lecturer in the Learning Skills department at California State University, Sacramento. She teaches courses in the reading/ writing program for multilingual students.

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Published

2011-06-29

How to Cite

Ferris, D., Liu, H., & Rabie, B. (2011). The Job of Teaching Writing: Teacher Views of Responding to Student Writing. Writing and Pedagogy, 3(1), 39-77. https://doi.org/10.1558/wap.v3i1.39

Issue

Section

Research Matters