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Stacie Pridden


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Hey Blogland,

I'm not sure I'm very keen on my DD306 tutor very much. I just got my result back from my first TMA and I got 58 which is perfectly average for me but he was really critical about everything I wrote I don't think even a little bit pleased him. If you read my blog regularly you'll know I write as I speak and in my essays I put alot of opinion in it. But I know that alot probably wasn't to his taste but I think there's a way to be critical without being mean.

I can take criticism I've been getting it throughout school, college and my previous modules but the way he words it just comes across mean. If he's the type of person who takes the point of view "cruel to be kind" that kind of tactic doesn't work for me, it doesn't motivate me it just makes me want to quit. Which I know is kind of cutting off my nose to spite my face but thats what it makes me want to do.

It seems I'm now going to dread each and every one of my DD306 TMA's sad

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Hi Stacie

Try not to lose heart smile .  I bet there were plenty of really good points in your TMA.  In my experience, tutors adopt different styles when giving feedback, but the main thing is that the feedback should be constructive and should help you improve in the next TMA.

Don't let it spoil your enjoyment of the module Stacie.  I know it can be disheartening, but take another look at the comments and don't be afraid to talk to your tutor about it.  That's what they're there for.

Good luck - you can do it Stacie!

Sue xx   

Design Museum

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Not that I recommend this at all ... but, dare I even admit it ... for the very same reasons you give above I don't usually read my tutor comments at all. Not when I got a 43 ... not when I got a 79. Perhaps a quick glance. I like to chat int the tutor support group as we deliver the TMA and then in the aftermath where the tutor often joins and makes points that apply to everyone. I'm sure the comments are constructive. It may be your expectations that is reading a tone that doesn't exist at all? Good luck.
Bren P

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I hate to day it but.... it is a case of playing the game. It doesn't matter how much you use course materials to back up your own opinion, if its not what the tutor wants to see (or even has on their marking scheme), you won't get the points.

Last years L2 tutor constantly marked me down, suggesting that I needed to assess my own biases. Funnily enough, I scored just shy of a distinction in the exam - far higher than any TMA she marked. It was her than needs to examine her own biases! (at the time, I also got higher marks for my PG module - which were marked by a lady with a doctorate.....)

Stick to your guns & accept the lower marks, or take on board the comments and 'sell out'. How much will it affect your degree classification?

Sheena Bradley

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I do think that tutor bias is unavoidable at times. I have had one tutor whom I could not 'please'. One TMA was marked by someone else on that module and I got my first constructive comments of the course, and a considerably better mark. Like Jonathan, it made no difference to my overall grade, as the EMA was double marked and counts for 50% , but it certainly helps with motivation if you and the tutor are on the same wavelength. Don't let it demotivate you, Stacie. You have overcome greater obstacles.
Mike Green BSc (Open)

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One thing I always found with social sciences was the alergy to 'value judgements'. Your essays may well be marked down by the number of value judgement incidents.

My problem was that when you think about it, you cannot get away from them, when describing any humanity subject. There's the rub.

I prefer the term humanities to social sciences due to the fact that you cannot divorce your opinion from the activities of humans/humanity.

 You enter a 'double Hermeneutic' of the subject reading how they should behave, and so altering their behaviour accordingly. So is it ever science?

JoAnn Casey

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Hi Stacie,

If your tutor's comments are demotivating you (and that's what you are saying), then you must address this in the same courageous and honest manner that you deal with all the other issues in your life.

Tutors have a responsibility to phrase their criticism positively. They are paid to nurture you - not to be seen as nasty.  If your tutor has an unfortunate tone in the critique that you are perceiving as 'mean'. then he must be told, for his benefit as well as his other students.

My advice to you (and I did do this myself with a recent TMA and an EMA), is to email your tutor and request an explanation on the contentious remarks.  Do his as it is a way of causing your tutor to look again at the comments but, from your subjective viewpoint.

The tutor should be prepared to do this and also to listen your justification of why you did certain things. This action may not change your mark, but you will be addressing what you perceive as injustice - and that always makes anyone feel better!

I view the role of the tutor as part of the course materials and a means to an end - and the end is bigger than the means !

Do not be daunted by challenging your feedback - and if you're still unhappy then speak to Student Help Desk who may suggest another tutor.  (And who knows....there may be others who are feeling the same as you are).

Good Luck Stacie x


Mike Green BSc (Open)

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Sorry, link should have been :




Stick that in his ear.