(The assignment is a real one: a report on a series of oral presentations in which students “sold” books to the class. The books were assigned from a list that I created. The purpose of the report is to indicate which of the books the student will choose for his or her final reading in the course, based on the presentations and on excerpts. For more info on the book list, the assignments attached to it and the structure of the course, go here.
Let’s assume, though, that these comments are fictional but are representative of the KIND of comments one student made.)
While listening to all the oral presentations, trying to keep my eyes open and fighting off the boredom brought by the students suffering from social anxiety…
Being mentioned that the story is about a girl being caught in the throes of war in an island made me realise two things that’s going to bother me during my reading. First, no sexist comments intended, I have a hard time putting myself in the shoes of a girl with all the crying and empathy. Second, they’re on an island? I don’t want to get to the part that they throw coconuts at each other.
To conclude, looking through all the chick-flick-like stories and bore-me-to-death-and-cry-me-a-river scenarios, my pick is…
Let’s say that this is just a sampling, and the whole paper takes this tone. In fact, let’s say that the student has taken this tone all semester and that his teacher has very carefully “managed” him in order to put him, and delicately hold him, in his place and to minimize disruption to the class while avoiding the escalation he clearly desires.
Is it too hands-off, for example, to write something like this next to the first comment above?
Not relevant to the evaluation you are doing here. Also, not a good way to inspire trust, which is important if you want to engage your reader.
Should a student’s grade on an English essay be affected by the fact that the essay is smug, snotty, misogynist and xenophobic? How do you keep your personal feelings about students and their behaviour out of your grading practices?
Image by H Berends