Reflections on a Rainy Thursday in September

Carol A. Hand

Who would believe it?

That inspiration for grading student papers

would come from advice inside a fortune cookie?

“Nine tenths of education is encouragement.”

I will just have to wait and see

if following this advice helps students

overcome at least some of their fear

about taking a course in “research”


Rain-kissed Petunias – September 20, 2018


An apt quote from my horoscope on an unremarkable day a while ago:

“Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.” (Wernher von Braun, rocket scientist)



27 thoughts on “Reflections on a Rainy Thursday in September

  1. You’ve probably already know this, but when I was teaching I read a study where students who only had what they did right pointed out to them progressed more than students who were shown what they did wrong. If you keep encouraging what’s good, much of what’s bad can fall by the wayside.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Shorthand works, Diane. 🙂 This is how people tend to view feedback on their work. I used to grade by hand with green ink. Although I now give feedback via computer, I avoid using “red type” and try my best to point out strengths and ask questions about what seems to be missing. But I understand why so many instructors don’t do likewise. It is a time-intensive process. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I first began noticing that people overwhelmingly responded better to positive feedback than to negative when I was supervising people back in the days I was in business.

          The differences were so noticeable that I made it a personal policy to almost exclusively focus on what people did right. The result, in business terms, was exceptionally productive workers who were not afraid to assume responsibility for their work.

          If I told you some of the things they told me about their work environment, you’d think, “But they can’t possibly be talking about their jobs. People just don’t talk about jobs like that!” More than once, I was told the office was a “loving” place.

          It might amuse you to know that I got a lot of inspiration for my management style out of the Tao Te Ching.

          But you are so correct, Carol, that my style of management required a whole lot more work on my part than it would have if I’d done it some other way. Strange how doing it the way I did it gave the appearance of not doing much of anything! 😀

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Ah, such astute observations and insights, Paul. It does appear to be an effortless way to teach or supervise from the perspective of others who haven’t tried this approach. In the long run, though, it really is less work and the creativity it unlocks is sometimes absolutely astonishing.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha-ha-ha! Amusing reflections, dear Carol! Indeed! I fully agree about the research quote. However, we must confirm for certain, that no matter what! the research will be done! Have a nice teaching time! Greetings to Quennie!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Nine tenths of education is encouragement.”
    ~ As a former teacher and student, I totally agree. Teachers often have no idea the challenges their students face to attend school and to study at home. I was once such a student.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The supportive teachers are a gift in our lives, aren’t they, Rosaliene? They help us learn to believe in ourselves, and if we are very lucky, we will have opportunities to pass on that gift to others.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. So true in my personal experience and in my children’s experience too, the research over the years certainly bears it out, but in a real way, surely this is the mindful and positive route to learning through engaging the whole person. Thank you Carol. Also – love the video posted here too, I love rain on leaves when I’m hiking it is wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

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