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The early bird gets the worm

Posted on: October 27, 2017

I am just about done with the formal grading of written assignments from teaching assistants. I would like to share a pattern I have noticed over several semesters of this work. I also suggest reasons for the pattern.

But first, a bit of background.

Previously I shared my practice of “first in-first out” feedback instead of following the alphabetical order by name in a register.

Providing feedback to learners who submit their work first is my way of acknowledging their effort. Furthermore, the longer the time between submission and feedback, the more distant the recall and the less meaningful the feedback. So why punish an ABC responder with an XYZ surname?

What is the pattern that I have noticed over several semesters? Early responders tend to do better in their assignments.

This should not be surprising because these learners are more likely to be better time-managers, more organised, more reflective, or quicker with content.

I have listed the traits in the order that I think contributes the most. The early birds do better not because they have grasped the content faster from the classes. They do better because they have better habits and attitudes.

Habits and attitudes are easy to talk about but difficult to teach. They must be modelled and insisted upon. This means working on my own habits so that I can be a good model and having the moral courage to discipline the wayward.

The early bird might get the worm, but it does so only because an older bird showed it how and why, and pecked junior on the head from time to time.

1 Response to "The early bird gets the worm"

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