3 Tips for Responding to Teacher Feedback
As a student, there are few things more daunting (and honestly, more frustrating) than receiving a graded essay filled with edits and instructor comments. After all, you probably spent a good amount of time crafting an essay that now requires more work. It may be tempting to ignore comments altogether or make the easiest, superficial grammar changes—but learning to effectively respond to your instructor’s comments enhances your writing skills and adds another layer to your learning experience. Think about the following tips for considering instructor feedback.
Review Every Comment Carefully
This may seem pretty obvious, but it is easy to get lost in a paper with a substantial amount of comments. Don’t let this deter you. Take your time and look at each comment carefully. Make sure you fully understand what your instructor is asking you to improve upon. If you don’t understand the feedback or don’t know how to make the appropriate changes, make a note to ask your instructor to clarify their comments. As you go over suggestions, think about commonalities in the needed corrections. Have you included many run-on sentences? Have you left many of your statements without explicit factual support? Determine any issues you have repeated problems with and speak with your instructor about how you might improve. In WriteLab’s Editor, work directly with the auto-generated comments and addressed or dismiss what you see fit. If you have additional questions about WriteLab’s feedback, refer to the WriteLab Guide—or ask your instructor for assistance.
To try WriteLab, copy and paste your essay draft into the Demo.
Make Improvements One By One
The next step to utilizing your instructor’s comments is to jump right in and start making some changes. Start with the easiest changes—add missing punctuation, correct errors in capitalization, change incorrect prepositions or conjunctions. In WriteLab, make corrections directly in your document. Once you have worked on all of the easy fixes, go back and review comments that require more substantial effort. Whether you need to add additional sentences or make wholesale changes to existing sentences, remember that your instructor is there for you. For example, if your instructor asks for additional evidence to support a claim, you may need to ask whether a quote is necessary or if you can use prior knowledge. On the other hand, if your instructor asks you to create a more concise paragraph, you may want to check in with them and ask whether you are considering eliminating necessary information.
Create Revision that Matters
When approaching any suggestion for your writing, take a few minutes to think about the best way to address any weaknesses in your writing. Sometimes you will need to create substantial change. For example, if your instructor says that your argument is hard to follow, you may need to restructure your entire argument. This may require you to rearrange sentences or whole paragraphs. In this case, it may be best to create an entirely new draft so you may always return to the original format of your essay. Another instance in which you may be required to put in a significant amount of work is if comments on an argumentative essay suggest that you rely heavily on outside sources before providing original thoughts and analysis. In this case, you may want to open a dialogue with your instructor about whether you should completely rewrite your essay or simply translate your sources into your opinions. To develop original arguments, chat with your instructor about your feelings on the subject.
Ultimately, the purpose of feedback—from both your instructor and WriteLab—is to provide you with a means of improving your writing. Working through instructor feedback in a methodical manner can ensure that you are working efficiently and still maintaining your original thoughts.
Lastly, make sure to review readings from class that demonstrate strong arguments, organization, and compelling prose. Also, double-check the essay grading rubrics and read chapters in your textbook that cover drafting and revision. And remember that embracing writing mistakes is the key to having the revision process truly improve your writing and analytical skills.
WriteLab brings together Natural Language Processing, Artificial Intelligence, and English Language Instruction. Student writing is analyzed in seconds with the WriteLab app—giving students feedback and suggestions on how to revise and polish their draft.