English - Writing with more polish

18th May 2012 at 01:00

What the lesson is about

In 2010, the AQA exam board in England shifted away from coursework to controlled assessment. Many English teachers thought this would be a good thing, ending the issue of the disaffected pupil who didn't bother handing in coursework and stopping the child who printed out a Wikipedia article and claimed it as her own, writes Amy Winston.

We were wrong. Pupils now fail to learn the skill of editing their work, as they can submit a title only once. Before, they could re-edit it as often as they wished, within reason, which helped them develop crucial skills.

Editing is as important as punctuation; looking at a piece of work and evaluating how to make it better is a skill that pupils should use throughout life.

So how do you encourage pupils to adopt a more thorough approach? While preparing for the assessment, they could read and edit their partner's work, identify examples of successful sentences and offer ideas for improvement. After discussing possible changes, pupils can then rewrite.

Alternatively, they love reading paragraphs you've written, so have a paragraph on the board that you've written "badly". Hand each pupil a Post-it note when they enter the classroom and ask them to rewrite one of the sentences on it and stick it on the relevant area of the board. Or take a picture of a pupil's work, upload it and project it on to the whiteboard. Pupils can identify sentences, rewrite sections of it or use the Post-it notes to share their ideas.

What else?

Make reviewing an active experience with Miss R's proofreading kung fu.

Try nbrighton78's step-by-step guide to reviewing and editing written work.

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