Powerpoint on Proofreading Strategies

Proofreading Strategies
How do I teach my students to
proofread by themselves?
 Why we chose this method
 What you’ll need to prepare
 Minimal Marking
 Error Logs
 Handouts
Why we chose this method
 We are advocating this method because we feel it will
promote involvement of individual students in the
proofreading/editing stage of their work and may
hold students’ attention longer than a lecture.
 Many students are already writing their papers on
the computer, so the use of technology in this lesson
plan may make proofreading appear more relevant
to them.
• (This method is just one of many possible ways to
approach the task of student revision processes.)
Things you’ll need to do to prepare:
 Review your student’s
 Students must be told
drafts and decide
which issues you most
want to focus on for
this activity. Use
minimal marking to
bring errors to
students’ attention.
ahead of time to bring
in an electronic version
of their paper draft.
 They must also be
aware of any classroom
changes you may have
to make.
Things you’ll need to do to prepare:
 Before reserving the
lab, consider:
 Talk to someone in the
English department or
the library about
reserving a computer
 When will be the best day in
the class schedule to go?
 What drafting stage must the
students be in to do this
 How much time am I willing
to put into this activity to
tailor it to my students’
Things you’ll need to do to prepare:
 Additionally, you may
want to put the
handouts associated
with this activity on
Blackboard before the
students come to class,
so that they can print
 You also may want to
require a homework
grade for bringing the
electronic copy of their
Minimal Marking
Richard H. Haswell “Minimal Marking” (1983)
 Haswell is responding to Knoblauch and Brannon’s
research (1981) which claims teacher’s written
corrections are ineffective in improving students’
 Knoblauch and Brannon propose that effective
pedagogy “1) facilitates rather than judges, 2)
emphasizes performance rather than finished
product, 3) provides double feedback, before and
after revision, and 4) helps bridge successive drafts
by requiring immediate revision” (600).
The benefits
 Haswell’s method
 Allows students idendepence to correct errors on their own
 Ensures that students will not be overburdened by exhaustive
 Saves instructors time and torment from writing exhaustive
How Haswell does it
 Haswell’s classroom procedure follows this pattern:
 Notes grammar errors with a check in the margin of a student’s
paper (nothing is written within the student’s text)
 Two checks in the margin indicates two errors within the text
of the paper, three checks … and so on
 Haswell returns papers to students at the end of class and
allows them to attempt to correct these errors
 He offers help and explanations through subsequent
comments and only grades papers after students have
attempted to correct their own errors
How we’re different
 With this method, Haswell reports that students can
correct 60-70% of their own errors with minimal
prompting. Lisman also finds that 60% of errors are
corrected by her “least capable students” (Haswell 601).
 An important difference between Haswell’s method and
what we have planned is that we intend to list for
students at the top of the page the different varieties of
errors that we found. We are also introducing grammar
rules immediately into the classroom in conjunction with
students reviewing our minimal marks.
Haswell notes after explaining the benefits of his method that he
does periodically lecture about grammar rules throughout the
semester. So this technique is not quite the miracle sans instruction
that some may initially perceive it as.
Nice chart about how minimal marking works!
Over the course of a freshman comp class,
the drop was from 4.6 errors per 100 words to 2.2 (52%).
More about errors
 Students typically correct all varieties of errors at the
same rate. Grammar mistakes, in Haswell’s
estimation, generally constitute “threshold errors,
standing on the edge of competence in an unstable
posture of disjunction (‘I know it is either conceive or
concieve’) or of half-discarded fossilization (‘I don't
know why I capitalized “Fraternities.” I know that's
wrong.’) (602). Further, errors “mark stages,” in
David Bartholomae's words, “on route to mastery”
(qtd. in Haswell 602).
Students have already learned grammar rules. They need to
solidify that knowledge and feel that they are capable to apply
Let’s take a break from the PowerPoint
to look at our handouts.
Error Logs
Error Logs
 Referencing Jane Cogie’s “Avoiding the Proofreading
Trap: The Value of the Error Correction Process.”
Note this essay focuses working in Writing Centers with ESL
 The main goal of this work is to make ESL students
more independent.
This goal also coincides with our thoughts on the process of
proofreading and editing. For these practices to be successful
and helpful to the student, the student must take responisbility
for locating and correcting their work.
 Like minimal marking, keeping and maintiaining an
error log takes time on the part of the instructor and
the student. However, as Cogie states “once the
[instructor] has introduced these strategies and
guided the . . . Student through their application, the
student should be able to begin to practice to use
them independently.” (19)
What Goes in an Error Log?
 The error log we have created asks the student to
record the type of error, the rule associated with that
error, the full sentence in which the errror occurs,
and the corrected sentence.
Cogie notes that it’s important to include the full sentence in
which the error occures “. . .to provide a clear context for the
target feature and promote rule acquisition. . .” (19)
The rule should be recorded because “the more students know
about the rules of grammar, the easier it will be for them to
cover more types of errors and make progress in learning to
self edit.” (12)
Does it work?
 Cogie referenced one student in her Writing Center
who, after using an error log “. . .was able to see the
pattern of her most significant problems. Although
her writing did not become error-free, the number of
errors was reduced significantly, by an estimated
35%.” (20)
So yes, but…
They have to be used!
 Error logs can’t work if they aren’t used and
maintained. We are suggesting an activity for a
paper dealing with error logs, but to be the most
helpful this must be a project that is maintained
throughout the course.
In other words, don’t just use it for paper 2, but also paper 3
and paper 4. This way students have more exposure to the log
as they continue to update it.
Haswell also emphasizes that for minimal marking to work, it
should be maintained over the course of a semester.
 As Cogie says “. . .the ultimate goal for our students
is not error-free drafts . . .but rather the ability to
edit their own work.” (20)
The key word with this activity is “independence”.
Follow ups activities
 After students have completed the grammar
workshop and in particular the style workshop ask
them to reflect.
What do they learn about their writing through this activity?
What did they learn by comparing their sentence structures to
their classmates? – to professional writers?
How to continue with the error log
 In her essay, Cogie mentions an activity that
students who are more aware of the types of errors
they make can participate in.
She suggests having students list the three most frequent erros
they make that deserve priority. (21) These issues would be the
ones the student focuses on for that particular piece.
Instructors may want to add their own ideas about which error is
most prevelant in the student’s work.
 Cogie, Jane and Kim Strain and Sharon Lorinskas.
“Avoiding the Proofreading Trap: The Value of the
Error Correction Process.” The Writing Center
Journal 19.2 (1999): 7-31.
 Haswell, Richard H. “Minimal Marking.” College
English 45.6 (1983): 600-604.
 The Purdue Online Writing Lab. 2008. The Writing
Lab, The OWL at Purdue, the English Department,
and Purdue University. 29 Sept 2009.

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