What I want to do here is reflect on the fabulous Connected Learning infographic in regards to grading... starting with the obvious fact that this rich, abundant, wide-ranging infographic is all about learning, and it says nothing at all about grading! Glory hallelujah!
FEEDBACK, however, is essential, so of course the word "feedback" appears in the infographic, and one of the main reasons why I do no grading in my classes is so that I can provide feedback — abundant feedback — that has nothing to do with grades. Abundant feedback from me AND abundant feedback from other students in the class is one of the fuels that keeps the whole class moving forward: as we give feedback to one another, we are having learning experiences of our own, so everybody benefits.
Grading, by contrast, is a dead end. Stifling. Private. And, for many, it is also scary and shaming. I believe we have to get rid of it if we really want to move forward.
As for the excitement that feedback can provide, the energizing sense of sharing and learning together, here are some comments from my students' "famous last words" blog posts over the past few weeks of the semester:
"Reading classmates blog’s is probably one of the most helpful things we do in this class. There are so many new ideas that are discovered every time I read someone else’s storytelling, or essay, or last words. Everyone has such great ideas and concepts, which pushes me to do better and be more creative."
"I enjoy reading classmate's versions of their reading Unit's, since it gives me views on different aspects of writing. I have read many pieces that are great at grabbing audiences attention, and retaining it. I only hope that if I have not been able to do that before, that I am able to achieve this with my future blogs/writings."
"It is helpful though to have classmates comment on my posts, especially when it is criticism. For the most part, it brings things in my writing to my attention that I may have not noticed before."
"I have noticed recently, since I have been making myself be particularly creative for my storytelling posts, I have been doing a lot better in my anatomy class. I think it is because I have been having to take an idea or a story and retell it in a way that everyone can understand. If everyone else can understand it, it will be easier for me to process and manipulate. If I take a concept in anatomy and think of it in several different ways, it makes it easier to apply to many different situations, which is what I normally have a really hard time doing. I am really hoping that this will continue because I really need to pass anatomy this semester."
"Every week when I read other people's posts, it inspires me to improve my writing. I am constantly impressed with the creativity they find in each and every assignment."
"This week I realized that people are starting to get the hang of the storytelling assignments. Some people are getting really creative and changing a lot about their chosen stories. There also has not been a story that I have not liked yet so I am thankful for that! I personally think that I could use some more practice because I would like to get really creative with them, but sometimes it it hard for me to think of different ideas."
"Well this week has come with a lot of experimentation for this class. Different writing styles, different way of doing things, different format, just really different overall. Every time we comment on each other’s blogs I always have some sort of new idea or validation for myself. For example, I was worried all week about my storytelling and whether or not it was too long or choppy, but after reading other peoples stories I realize that I am somewhat in sync with everyone else."
"Oh looking at other peoples writing when commenting, it really makes me think wow! What great writers are in this class and if anyone is actually going to pursue this as a profession? Week four here I come!"
"I also really liked reading others' work. Some of the Storytelling posts blew me away with their creativity and also the style of writing. It made me eager to try out some different styles of writing in my own future posts."
.... I could go on and on. But you get the idea.
SHARING AND FEEDBACK ARE GOOD. :-)
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