Directive Commentary

"Directive commentary - the commentary of the critic and the

judge - is identified easily enough. It is highly critical and sets

out for the student in no uncertain terms what is not working

in the paper and what needs to be done," (Straub np)

Directive commentary is commentary written in a controlling way, "fixing" the problems and forcing your own opinion upon the writer. "The teacher [or commentator], like an editor, freely marks up th[e] writing - circling errors, underling problem areas and inserting comments" (Straub np). Directive comments very often appear in statement form, usually in a sentence written in the imperative. For example, instead of asking a student to rephrase or express differently a phrase like "short and sweet," the commentator will write "Avoid clichés." Sometimes directive comments are not even complete sentence, such as "dangling modifier", "noun - verb agreement", or "sp" for a spelling error. Directive commentary can also appear in question form. An example of a directive comment in the form of a question would be "Wouldn't it make more sense if you said X, instead of Y?". Such a comment, although in a form of a question implies a certain "correct" answer.

The problem in directive commentary is that this type of commentary takes the paper away from the student. Directive commentary is really editorial comments, which "treats surface errors as if the paper is a finished product" (Meyers and Smith 136). Directive commentary corrects problems without the insight of the writer's ideas or purpose. This commentary also gives the writer an answer, making better writing, but not a better writer. Finally, directive commentary can also turn a writer off. Harsh comments like No!!!, Wrong!, and KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) discourage writers from future writing. As commentator we must "be careful about the amount of control we exert over students when we read and comment on their paper" (Straub np).

Facilitative Commentary

Examples of Commentary

Reflections on Commentary

My struggles with Commentary

End Comments

What is Commentary?