Report writing: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

In many summer schools, it is expected that teachers write reports for their learners. These reports are typically presented to the learner in the last lesson of their course or in a formalised graduation ceremony.

There is a legitimate argument as to whether teachers should be writing progress reports at all for learners they have barely got to know, given that most summer school language course last 1 or 2 weeks. This warrants further investigation which I aim to explore in the future.

As it stands, teachers should be instructed so they know what is expected of them in terms of output. It is not sufficient to say, “please write 20 reports before Thursday”. Teachers need instruction and some model examples as a benchmark in terms of:

  • Content
    • What should be included.
    • The appropriacy of the content.
    • The length of text.
  • Organisation and cohesion
    • Paragraphing and the content of each paragraph.
    • Organisation on a sentence level.
    • Cohesion e.g. conjunction and dependent clauses.
    • Signposting to help guide the reader.
  • Language
    • Variety and appropriacy of grammatical tenses.
    • Descriptive language.
  • Register and format
    • Consistency of style.
    • Level of formality.
    • Keeping within the boundaries of what is considered conventional for this genre of writing.

As this may all seem quite nebulous, I accompany any instruction not just with examples of what you do want but with examples of what you really don’t want to see.

Over the years, I have compiled a few authentic examples which exemplify some repetitive issues, and a few which happen less regularly, but all of which would certainly require attention before the report could be given to the learner.

Input seems best delivered when teachers are asked to examine the comments for perceived weaknesses before explicitly stating what the major deficiencies are.

You can view the slides below or download by clicking here: bad report comments.


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As you can see, some of these comments are quite amusing, although less so when you as a DoS are tasked with asking a teacher to rewrite the report or worse still having to rewrite it yourself.

Being clear what is expected should reduce the amount of edits or rewrites needed, which given the frenetic nature of summer school could be time devoted to other worthwhile tasks.










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