What are they on “the edge of knowing”?

When talking with the Year 6 Team recently about proofreading, editor’s marks and marking children’s writing in general I brought up the idea of “the edge of knowing”. This something I picked up from a workshop with either Kath Murdoch or Kathy Short.

The idea behind “the edge of knowing” is that, when marking student work, teachers focus only on one or two elements that the student is almost doing. For example, say a student is starting to include dialogue in their writing but does not use speech marks to show that it is dialogue, then the teacher should mark that and maybe one or two other things – maximum! They should then use that as an opportunity to work with that student, and maybe others who are doing something similar.

Not only is this approach much more empowering for students who may be turned off writing by the constant appearance of a page full of corrections, it is also much more time-effective and focused way for teachers to formatively assess student work.

Do you use an “edge of knowing” approach when marking writing?

Could you see how this approach may be helpful in your practice?

Image by Vadim Balakin
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2 comments

  1. Maureen Devlin

    Yes, I think of it as approximations. I highlight a few exemplars and then give a few tips for the next steps of writing growth. That’s a natural way of learning similar to a baby who is beginning to walk. Thanks for posting.

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