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A teacher marking Key Stage 3 English papers (Marc Hill/Alamy Stock Photo)

Matt Pinkett argues that written comments are an unnecessary and inferior way of giving feedback to students

Teachers can give up marking without any detrimental effect on students, according to an English teacher who has done just that. In fact, he says students are better off if teachers ditch the ticks, coloured pens and stock feedback phrases.

Matt Pinkett argues that teachers are "spending too much time ticking, flicking and dicking about in the children’s books and it simply isn’t fair. On us or on them." Fed up with this situation, he devised what he deems to be a better way:

"It works like this: twice weekly, midway through a lesson, once I’ve set the students off on an extended writing task (18 minutes minimum), I haul a desk to the front of the classroom and sit myself down on a chair under the whiteboard, facing the class. Once the pupils have marvelled at the ease and skill with which I have lifted what must surely be a cumbersome desk, they start working, and I start calling them up.

"One by one, students 'come up' and talk me through some of the work in their exercise books. They turn the pages and read sections of their efforts to me."

Pinkett then delivers verbal feedback based on the work and this interaction. He explains how this works in detail – and the evidence to underpin his decision, in the full article.

He believes his method is applicable to all subjects and stages, too.

To teachers carrying piles of exercise books home for yet another weekend of marking, the idea will no doubt appeal. Whether it is applicable to all teachers as Pinkett believes remains to be seen, but there is only one way to find out…

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