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14 October 2004: Missing the Point (2 of 5)

So, what is the point, you may ask? It's my belief and practice to avoid writing on student work in any color. Correcting mistakes may improve the appearance of student work upon recopying, but many argue that it does not improve student performance.

Let me illustrate. When my mother was learning to speak, she called a washcloth "gop-gop." Endearing to be sure, but there's a great story my grandmother tells about trying to set my mother straight. "Say WASH," she would prompt, and my mom would reply, "wash." "Say CLOTH," grandma enunciated carefully. "Cloth," my mother would respond. "Now say washcloth," commanded grandma. "Gop-gop!"

It wasn't stubbornness or stupidity that made my mother stick to her guns on this. Her very brief experience in this world had not yet shown her that the thing was called a washcloth. As her experience with language and washcloths continued, she soon began to use the appropriate word.

teaching quote of the day

Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.

- Chinese proverb

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