I need at least 150-word comment on this discussion
First, I have to admit that my preference to discuss negative messages in person rather than in writing. This allows me to engage in the strategies discussed by Sittenfeld (1999): listening; exploring perceptions; validate experiences; and develop an action plan to address the issues.
Bowman asserts that a negative message is one that leads to an unpleasant emotional reaction. As a professor, I have to deliver “negative” letters all the time through my feedback. These letters can be viewed as disappointing and threatening (2002). I know that many of my students put a lot of time and effort into their papers. The time and effort is especially important because many of our students have families, professions, and other competing priorities they have to juggle in addition to school, and it is difficult to do so. I understand this.
I always try to build rapport through “buffer beginnings”. Whether the message is good or bad, it is important to take every opportunity to remain positive. Therefore, I typically start out with a statement like “thank you for your work on this essay”…or something like that. I also like to start out by identifying the strengths of the essay.
Then, I like to include a “lead” sentence like “there are a couple of ways your essay could be strengthened”.… Or something like that. Then I tried to be as specific as possible on strategies that students can take to improve the current essay in the ones moving forward. This section is meant in an attempt to accomplish certain outcomes (e.g. narrowing a student’s focus; improved writing structure; focusing on the readings more; etc.). Finally, I like to and the negative message with a motivating statement like “keep up the great work ethic” or “please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have questions or need more clarification on the feedback. I am invested in your success” (Bowman, 2002).
My experience is that students are generally receptive to the feedback when they read it. Most of our students have a high degree of integrity and genuinely want to earn their grade by making consistent improvement.
These are a couple of my strategies. What are some of yours?