I just worked on a picture for my drawing midterm; the picture is based off something my dad drew in college (back in '87). His painting has four houses, trees, mountains, and a fence. It took me a couple of hours to finish one house with a few details he added. I asked my dad to come and take a look, and when he did, he said, "Oh. Good. You've got the roof and the line below it going to the right vanishing point." That was the only good thing he had to say.
He started drawing lightly in pencil to help me correct it so I could see where the lines needed to go on the house. "You should have this line here and this one there and . . . " Then he drew a line right down the center of my drawing. "Dad! I just spent two hours on this! Don't draw on my picture!" "Well," my dad continued, "the center should be there. You should really start over."
He explained what I did wrong; he didn't get mad back at me; he just showed me what I needed to do and how to do it, but left drawing it again up to me.
I told my dad later how grateful I was for his help. I could've handed in that drawing no problem: I could tell something wasn't right, but I didn't know how to fix it.
This applies to tutoring. I realized I shouldn't be afraid or nervous about giving correction. This hasn't happened a lot, but I've seen papers that are far off from what the instructor wants and I've felt guilty about letting the student know they have to start over.
"All that work" I think to myself. "I don't want to tell them to start over. Maybe I can give them a few pointers so they can work with what they have already." Not a good idea.
I've decided that if the student has time, I will let them know they need to start over (and do my best to explain why I think that.) Yeah, it takes work, but it's better for them than handing in something that will get a low grade. Besides, starting over helps them learn to fix their mistakes and how to do it right.
My point is, giving correction is a good thing even though it's not what the student wants to hear.
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