Writing commentary is a difficult job for most teachers, most likely due to their lack of training. According to Dr. Joe Essid, Director of the Writing Center at the University of Richmond, most teachers and professors at the secondary school and university level have not received any formal training in writing commentary. Without training teachers most often use the commentary strategy of their own teachers and professors, perhaps adjusting it somewhat to fit their own personal styles. The strategy will suit the teacher's personal needs as well as the needs of the students. The most popular attitude might be commentary that can be written in a relatively short amount of time and will tell the students how to improve their papers. As a student in English 376: Introduction to Composition Theory and Pedagogy, I'm now aware that teachers who hold this attitude misunderstand the purpose of commentary. Its purpose is not to provide suggestions to improve a single paper, rather to point out patterns in the student's writing habits or provide suggestions that could be applied beyond the analysis of the individual paper (Connors and Lunsford 218). Commentary that fulfills this purpose focuses on content rather than just grammar and asks questions from a reader's point of view instead of making corrections in fragment or statement form. This method of writing commentary, called facilitative commentary, is relatively recent and also effective.
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