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For Fewer Student Errors
For Fewer Errors in Your Students' Essays:
Four easy ideas, three of which do not take up any class time. If you show your students which mistakes irritate you, they will try to avoid them and you will have less to correct.
- Ask students to bring in a paragraph of their paper the class before the paper is due. Have them swap paragraphs and peer edit for spelling mistakes and stylistic mistakes. (For example, you can have the peer editor circle all the instances of the verb "to be" and all confused uses of the hyphen in lieu of a dash.)
- Ask your students to read their prose aloud to themselves before turning the paper in. They'll notice awkward sentences and typographical mistakes as they do so and be able to fix them.
- Require students to go to the writing center and turn in a writing center appointment form (a sheet which the writing center tutor fills out upon request). Tutors help students spot errors as well as improving the ideas and structural aspects of a paper.
- After the student gets his/her paper back, ask the student to write you a response letter in which they ruminate on your comments and identify and correct some number of the grammar and style mistakes you have marked. Students who have to look at and understand the corrections you have made, are less likely to make the error again.