“ The depressing trouble is, we have scarcely a shred of empirical evidence to show that students typically even comprehend our responses to their writing, let alone use them purposefully to modify their practice.“
Knoblauch, C.H. & Brannon, L. (1981). Teacher commentary on student writing. Freshman English News, 10, 1-4.
“ For all practical purposes, commenting on student essays might just be an exercise in futility. Either students do not read the comments or they read them and do not attempt to implement suggestions and correct errors.”
Marzano, R.J. & Arthur, S. (1977). Teacher comments on student essays: It doesn’t matter what you say. Study at the University of Colorado, Denver. ERIC Document 147 864.
Give an emotional reaction to what has been written
“ How exciting that must have been!” Mirror the student’s attitudes about the topic “ I can imagine that you must have been very worried.” Give an experience of your own that parallels what the student has written “ That reminds me of when I…”
If the structural problems do not interfere with the message, they do not need to be addressed. Language teachers are notoriously inconsistent when marking errors, which causes a lot of confusion for students.