I am a big fan of Tim Stahmer’s blog “Assorted Stuff“. Tim’s writing never ceases to engage and entertain, and his insights often mirror and sharpen my own.
I also read Jay Mathews’ column for the Washington Post, called “Class Struggle“, although I disagree with Mathews at least as often as I agree with him. Jay writes from a non-educator perspective that frequently ignores the issues and logistics of actually educating our young people.
Last week, Mathews wrote a piece of the prospect of computers scoring writing tests and the challenges that go along with this. Tim’s response is a nice bit about the habit of some “reformers” in referencing the educational experiences of their own lives, despite being reluctant to present today’s students with the same opportunities. Mathews discussed the improvement that occurred in his own writing when he received real feedback from others while writing for a newspaper. Here’s my favorite part by Stahmer:
“Most students learning to write today have any number of places on the web to post their work (not just a privileged space on the site of a major newspaper), in a persistent format that is aggregated in search engines, and an international audience.
Shouldn’t we make available to all students the same learning opportunities that assisted Mathews?”
Doesn’t Tim make a fantastic point? Isn’t the strength of publication all about the feedback that we receive from others, and doesn’t that improve with the size of our audience?