Feedback: Yay or Nay?

In both of this week’s readings we learned about women’s writing communities and informal education. In Anne Ruggles Gere’s  “Kitchen Tables and Rented Rooms: The Extracurriculum of Composition” the female writers in these roundtable groups speak of the impact coming together to write has had on their lives. As adults many reported of the importance of feedback and sharing their work. “You gotta get rejected and get applause.” (77) says one of the women, and this brings me to my question is feedback apart of the beauty of writing and reading (e.g. literacy)? 

I ask this question because as an aspiring writing teacher I am always looking for new ways to hopefully engage students in writing and reading. I know that composition can be a therapeutic outlet for students but in my experience it is hard to get my students to notice that themselves. So if communal feedback is an engaging part of read/written literacy I want to infuse peer feedback into my everyday lessons.

5 thoughts on “Feedback: Yay or Nay?”

  1. I think a lot of this has to do with the intended purpose of writing. While I could appreciate the sentiment, I think it delegitimizes a lot of writers. For example, Emily Dickinson had very little feedback on any of her poems, having died before the lot of them were publish. Does this make her any less of a writer? While personally not a fan of hers, I can’t deny her the title.

    However, I think review and revision is heavily tied to writing. Anyone intending to make a career out of writing intends for it to be read. This means the writing has to appeal to someone other than the writer themselves. While the author doesn’t need to seek outside help (and many bloggers don’t), looking for outside opinions helps gauge the audience’s response, and allows the paper to be reviewed by someone who doesn’t have our own biases towards ourselves.

    I think feedback is incredibly important, and can be enjoyable when done right. It’s hard to compare something we’ve written with the hundreds of materials we’ve read, and while hard criticism has its own sting, being genuinely complimented on something is worth it. Plus, reviewing your work after enough time and comparing changes in style can really help you appreciate solid feedback.

    As a teacher, I think it may be hard at points, but given enough time, you would definitely start to see some benefits. In my opinion, writing styles are hard to change and incorporating feedback into new work has to be somewhat of a conscious effect, and won’t become part of your ‘style’ until you’ve done it enough times.

  2. I find the most important part of writing and composition is the feedback that we receive whether it is from peers, students, or teachers. It is imperative that writing is checked over time after time because not one person in the world can write a “perfect” paper. It is just impossible. Of course there are the exceptions where one of a kind writers and famous authors have simply written terrific books all by themselves, however, this is not practical because we are not like Shakespeare, Dickens, or Hemingway.

    I think that feedback is extremely important, especially in academics, but also in the outside world. I find the issue with feedback is that everyone responds to positive/negative feedback differently and I think that can be a struggle for young teachers to find out. For example, someone like me would accept and actually encourage negative feedback. I feel like I am a kind of guy who wants to know how my writing actually is. Tell me it is bad and tell me why. I won’t get offended because I know the point of the feedback is to make my writing better. However, this will not work for everyone. Some people will not do well when they are told what is all wrong with their writing and they would prefer to know what they did well and maybe small things they could improve on. I really do believe it all depends on the personality of the individual at hand.

    1. I definitely think that feedback is an important part of composition and individual growth in literacy. Without feedback, one’s skills can not really improve. In addition, feedback can be positive as well as criticizing. This way, the writer becomes more confident in their literacy abilities while at the same time learning about ways they can improve their writing. One caveat is that feedback can often be biased, especially in creative expression and therapeutic composition. Everyone has their own voice and I feel as if sometimes when I give feedback I suggest that someone changes their voice in order to make it more like my own. However, I do still feel as if feedback is a crucial part of individual literacy growth and should still be seen as such, as long as one can distinguish the difference between useful feedback and biased feedback that can take your own voice out of your writing.

  3. In my opinion, feedback is a great thing. This can be seen in a variety of fields: sports, school, work, etc. As we have discussed several times during this semester, writing is an unavoidable part of education. With all this writing also comes opportunities for students to get feedback provided on the linguistic aspects of their work. It has been proven that students writing can and does improve with feedback, especially with effective feedback. When feedback is given, students are able to understand the expectations and requirements of that particular assignment and learn from those mistakes. During this time, similar to what we do when we meet in our reading groups, we get to identify the concrete language features that characterize each individuals academic writing. Providing feedback, whether that be positive or negative, is one way of assisting students to gain more control over these features to better enhance their writing style. With this control will come confidence, and more confidence will most likely lead to better writing. Through feedback, they get more practice writing, editing and reediting their work, so that they may create what they qualify as the “perfect” paper.

  4. Feedback is a very important when it comes to writing. I think our development and growth in literacy comes from the input of others. When we were young, it was our parents and our teachers. As we get further down the road, it will be colleagues and friends. That transition, as awkward as it may be to be criticized by equals, it was and will be an invaluable tool. Not only is this feedback an important piece to receive, but it is just as important to give. As we read in this week’s readings, the ability to give feedback empowered the women, having their voices finally heard. As we go through and enter a professional life, I think that being able to give feedback is not only a tool, but it is a privilege.

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