English Faculty Publications

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 1998

Publication Source

Exploring Adult Literacy


"Awkward" "Nice" "Word choice" "Weak" "Vague"

As adult educators and teachers of writing, most of us have been guilty of writing some, if not all, of these comments on our students' papers. It is important that we understand the effect that our written comments can have on our students' work, and the role that we play in their writing development as the reader of their texts. We need to acknowledge that not all comments we write, regardless of the intent, help our students.

By knowing this we can respond to our students' written work in ways that will enable them to develop more as critical thinkers, self-editors, and evaluators of their own writing. The focus of this paper is twofold. First, I review research that will be helpful for adult educators as they learn more about the most effective ways to respond to their students' writing. It is important to note that I have not been able to find any research conducted on how to best respond to adult education students' writing, so this research review focuses on studies conducted in secondary and college classrooms.

The second focus of this paper is to give adult educators some suggestions about how they can best respond to their students' writing so that the students can learn the most from the comments they receive.

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Ohio Literacy Resource Center





Peer Reviewed