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December 29 , 2010

The Paperwork Revolution: A Manifesto for English Instructors


Jean Reynolds is a longtime English instructor, professional writer, editor and consultant who thinks a revolution is overdue: English instructors need to do less paperwork, and students need to do more learning. This provocative paper examines the power issues embedded in an activity most of us take for granted: grading student papers. Most English instructors, Reynolds says, spend endless hours editing and revising student papers. The inevitable results are exhaustion and burnout for instructors, and helplessness and confusion for students down the road when they're faced with workplace writing tasks. Reynolds believes that power issues are embedded within our traditional teaching models, with much of the knowledge and experience weighted heavily on the instructor's side. She advocates classroom practices that empower students to take ownership of their learning under the guidance of instructors who act as coaches and resources rather than paperwork machines.

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