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Whew, I'm a dork...

So I'm totally amped that I get to be the first one to blog about Tuesday's readings. I never get first at anything! (I know, I know, this is kind of a "by default" situation, but still...). Although I must say, I'm not super excited about actually being in the assigned blogging group for this week, because before I got to just make silly comments about the readings, and now I have to include...[dun-dun-dun]...SUBSTANCE. So here goes.

As Emily L. would say, I was a bit frustrated with one of this week's readings. I was all excited to read about the "Proofreading trap" and how to avoid it, but I don't believe the article came to a logical conclusion that would help me out. See, way back when in the good ol' days (ahem, 4 measly weeks ago) when I was observing consultations during the training week, it seemed to me that most of the people I watched were finding individual errors in NNS students' papers, pointing them out, and telling them what would be correct. This is where I developed my irrational fear of proofreading--I think because the line between tutoring and editing became so blurred. And after only a few weeks of consulting, it's STILL a constant struggle. Long story long, I thought that this article would finally explain how to deal with grammar errors in [mostly] NNS students' papers.

Myers' take on Cogie et al.'s four strategies made sense. I would hate to suggest to a student with a limited English vocabulary that they carry around a Learner's Dictionary whenever they're grasping for a word, because I have to have one with me every time I work on Greek homework, and looking up every single word in the dictionary makes me not want to do it. The "Minimal Marking" strategy wouldn't make sense either, because it doesn't seem to involve any sort of tutoring. So, great. With that one, the student walks away knowing that they made 50 errors on their paper, but they have no idea what the errors are. No way, Jose. The "Error log bog" (ha, "BOGGED down in spending time and attention"...so clever) sounded like it would be the most effective method, but it certainly would take lots of time out of a session to write down notes on every single error in a paper.

The part that confused me is when Myers said "Sometimes it is simply more economical to point out an error and supply a correction or an alternative way to express something" (227). Within the context of the article, I don't really understand economics came into play. More importantly, because she hid this sentence inside of her comments on one of Cogie's methods, it makes me think that she thinks she doesn't have to explain herself. But she does, and she didn't (whew.) This makes me wonder: when exactly would it be ok to point out/correct these errors? The whole article refers to tutors as being afraid of proofreading papers, but then she admits that it's ok, "sometimes"? What does this mean for a consultant like me, who is already having trouble figuring out things like: how much of this correcting is too much? When should I just point to an error and see if they can fix it? What does this mean for repeated errors? Myers got my hopes up with the title of this article, and yet there seemed to be little explanation on what we unsure consultants are supposed to do. The methods are interesting things to keep in mind, but I was disappointed in the article's lack of clearer guidance.

Sorry, Kirsten et al., for blathering--I hope this still counts as my required blog entry!


Do I really say that I find articles "frustrating" a lot? Or is it just that I am a hopeless malcontent? I agree with some of your comments, Maggie; I thought the "economical" comment a little strange, too. On the other hand, I feel like now I have a license-- in writing-- to simply correct some errors in a student's paper, particularly non-native speakers. Now I don't feel like I'm completely clashing with the theory.

I meant it purely in jest!