Re: re. Report on how kids can't write well

Subject: Re: re. Report on how kids can't write well
From: "Westra, Kayla L." <13718westr -at- KCPBLDG01 -dot- BV -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 1994 17:21:00 CDT

Your suggestion is exactly what I did. I actually had a 100 point score
sheet, with so many points given for content, grammar, organization,
development, etc. That way, if you bombed the grammar, you could only lose
so many points (and not completely fail, as long as your other points were

You hit the nail on the head when you said it has to apply to what they are
doing. If the students don't see value, they don't put in the effort.
Remember that a thirteen or seventeen year old's world is much smaller than
ours. Hairstyle, clothing, dating--these are very important (and very real,
to them at least) issues in their lives.

Making writing (or Shakespeare, or biology, or geography) applicable is
possible. It just isn't easy. WARNING--SOAPBOX AHEAD!!! But just because
it wasn't easy isn't the reason I stopped teaching. It's called a lack of
jobs. Sorry to disappoint any budding English teachers who are lurking
about. I graduated from college in 1988 (in time for that widely predicted
teaching shortage that never happened) with twenty-two other English
Education majors. In 1993, only one of the twenty-two was still teaching.
The others were all in working in business. Now I find other ways to work
with kids (like the youth group at our church). CAUTION--ABOUT TO LEAVE

Kayla Westra
Black & Veatch
13718westr -at- kcpbldg01 -dot- bv -dot- com
It's no
wonder that kids don't think their education has anything to do with "real
life" when they're not taught how to apply it outside of the classroom.

I don't mean to imply that it's easy. Kayla brings up a good point about
kids who always get back red-inked papers. But I think the answer is to
give more detailed feedback, rather than leaving part of the feedback out
entirely. ("Your ideas were great. They count for 80%.
You lost a lot of points on the other 20% because your poor grammar really
hinders the expression of the ideas." Or something like that.)

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