n Language Matters : Studies in the Languages of Southern Africa - Responding to student writing : a taxonomy of response styles; when language (accuracy) matters too much

Volume 36, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-5986



This article describes a taxonomy, which was developed as an analytical instrument to classify tutorial commentary written in response to student writing. It includes categories taken from the research of Connors and Lundsford (1993), Greenhalgh (1992), Newkirk (1984b), Perry (1970), Straub (1996) and Warnock (1989) and is descriptive rather than evaluative in nature. It is a consciousness-raising tool designed to identify responses to student writing in terms of the axiological assumptions on which they are based. The students in the empirical study were registered at the University of South Africa (Unisa), a distance-teaching institution, for an entry-level, <i>English for specific purposes&lt;/i&gt; module. The task was a narrative paragraph that required a student to describe a specific childhood incident and reflect on its significance. The experiment involved analysis of the global comments given by tutors at the end of 50 randomly selected `marked' assignments.

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