What is the best way of giving some constructive feedback to your students? You know, without sounding harsh and pushing some wrong buttons?
I guess for any new or beginning teachers, we all face the same problem. Feedback is essential for every work, be it marks or remarks yet you just don't know what will the response to the feedback be. You just want to be honest for everyone's sake but how to put it in the most intellectual and encouraging way, that's the quest.
I wish I could pat everyone at the back and say "Good Job" but the standard is raised as the time passes by. I want to see imrpovement, from good to better to best. Most of people haven't really reached good yet being at better shouldn't leave you too comfortable.
Okay, so you have tried writing about lands in Europe and homes of sausages... For other essays, try to tell me something I don't already know. Instead of focusing on the narrative or the plot, you can have a little more emphasis on the characters' soul. Not from the surface, but dwell into its inner thoughts. What do people in certain situation, sometimes compromising ones, think of when they do it?
Also, pick a setting that's beyond here and now. The groovy 60s, for example, is one of the best example. Yes, have some readings on music of the time, the cultural practices. Talk about Malaysia of yesteryears, when students were rulers, for example. What difference can be highlighted that rings truth to the mind?
I have always wanted my continuous essay homeworks to be a punchbag of emotions and conflicts. But more often than not, the essay becomes one of telling an event. A recount.
So, no... You haven't lost it. It's tucked neatly under a layer of doubts, so let's find that exclusively-yours magic. That's a challenge and it's for all of us.