Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How to Handle Instructor Feedback

Receiving feedback on our writing is often incredibly intimidating, especially when it comes from our instructors and professors. How can we make the most out of their feedback? And the more pressing concern, what do we do if we do not receive a grade we expected?

First, look over your instructor's comments, even if you received a great grade. Think about what improvements you can make for the next paper. Your instructors are experts, especially in your major, and the comments they make will likely apply to other coursework and will improve your writing in the long-term.

But it is tempting when we receive negative feedback to be angry, and to believe that the instructor "hates us." Take a day to calm down, and then speak to your instructor. You'll see that they're not hoping you'll fail but are actually invested in your success as a writer. Most instructors are willing to clarify their comments and help you integrate them into your writing. It is very important to speak to your instructor with respect and professionalism and to be sure to never accuse them of anything other than trying to help you.

If you feel uncomfortable speaking to your instructor, the tutors here at the Writing Center can do their best to work through your instructor's feedback with you. However, none of us can know exactly what your instructor was thinking, and we can't tell you what kind of grade your paper will get. Our goal is the same as your instructor's: to help you improve as a writer, but if you really feel confused by the feedback you received, we can't take the place of speaking to your instructor one-on-one.

Remember, instructors and tutors care about your writing and want to help you become a stronger writer. Never take negative feedback as a personal slight; instead, see it as our way of building you up toward success.

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