Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Many Genres Educational Tip from Natalie Duvall

I currently teach 11th grade English and various adult writing courses. You might think that 17 year olds and grandmothers have nothing in common, but when it comes to writing, they do. Writing is inherently personal, and students of every age can be very sensitive when it comes to their own writing. If students feel attacked, they won’t be able to grow in their writing.

Because of this, it’s important that writing instructors (or critique group moderators) don’t allow anyone to be swamped under a deluge of criticisms. Writers should instead be judged on only a few items at a time. In secondary education, this style of editing is called “focused correction areas.”

The general idea behind this is that student work should be evaluated on no more than three areas. These areas are specific and identifiable. As a writing instructor, you should determine what will be evaluated and then assess just for that. For example, one session could critique character development, while another worked on showing and not telling.

By doing this, teachers ensure that no student feels overwhelmed. It will also make the revision process seem more manageable.

Contributor: Natalie Duvall

Article in MGOC: "Talking About Dialogue"

Links: http://www.natalieduvall.com

Other Work: I write Regency-set historical romance. This is the kind of genre Jane Austen would write in if she were alive today... and wanted to show people kissing. I’m also a columnist and feature writer for the magazine, Fine Living Lancaster.


You can order Many Genres, One Craft, edited by Michael A. Arnzen and Heidi Ruby Miller, through any of your favorite book sellers, including Amazon.


  1. Natalie, you are so right about how fragile new writers can be. Writing is very personal, as opposed to something like math, so it takes a more finessing hand. Though, I can see where the same technique would work in a math classroom.

    Thanks for the tip!

    And, thanks again to you, Teffanie for hosting this wonderful series.


  2. f a b u l o u s reminder. You guys are shuawesome!