Alternatives Better Left Unused and Some Solutions

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Posted by Chris Hager on 03/26/02 - 11:58:03
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I had a professor during my long gone college days who used a BULLSHIT stamp (red of course!) when he felt (not always correctly) that a student was leading him on. This was received with amusement by some and real hurt by others.  As a teacher, I sometimes use red because on the types of tests I give, it is often the best way to keep my comments from blending in with the work, which is often blue or black.  I try to make my comments constructive so that the student understands that criticism does not necessarily mean a bad job, and I explain my choice of colors.  Telling the student what to do to make it better is often better than telling him/her what is wrong.  This isn't The Scarlet Letter, after all.  Of course on some types of work, there are definite wrong answers, and then the trick is to show how to get it the next time and then give the student a chance to do so, thus building self-esteem.  On work where comments from me can be easily distinguished from the work itself, I may use blue or black.  On reports, I may place a number within a circle wherever I need to make a comment, and then I type a sheet of numbered comments that I give each student to correspond to the numbers on the report.  It should always be remembered that regardless of the color or system, there is a constructive way and there is a destructive way to deliver criticism or tell a student he/she is wrong.  What is important is for the student to know that the professor/teacher/instructor is there to help and be supportive.   CWH

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