18 May 2009

Reading Term Papers.

So I'm weighed down, emotionally and physically, with the research papers that my WR123 students have been working on for their whole term. The assignment was to write an argumentative research-backed paper with at least 12 sources [8 of which should be scholarly journal articles] and12-15 pages of writing. APA format.

For some reason, as soon as students read "12-15 pages of writing" and "research-backed," most of them interpret the assignment as finding as many sources as possible, then proceeding to write a paper that is little more than a patchwork-quilt of source information. oh my.

I find myself writing over and over again--"Where are YOU in this paper?" "How do these sources work to support your own claim on the topic?" "Where are you connecting these sources to the original argumentative claim, and allowing that claim to function as the thread that holds the paper together with one focus?"

I am certain I covered this in class in great detail, but somehow it's not translating once students leave the classroom to work independently on the project. I'm not sure what I can do in future terms to help with this--I'm sure it's frustrating for them, not just for me.

And, if that wasn't enough stress and worry, I also had eight students out of 35 choose to NOT turn in this draft. It's worth 30% of the course grade. If I had a camera phone, I might take a photo of myself pulling out my own hair in rage, then send that to the class.

1 comment:

  1. This is why only a very rare few are capable of being a teacher that truly teaches. You may be bald but you are obviously good at what you do and you will make a difference in the developing minds of your students! They will learn! Hope the rest of the week goes better!

    I just realized, it's kind of intimidating to write comments for a writing professor. Hope you don't grade them! hee hee



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