Sharing TPS Drafts & Feedback

Leonne's second draft

Leonne's second draft

by Leonne Beebe -
Number of replies: 1

Oh, for more time before now... Now that I have added more of a personal touch, I feel like I'm on a rant at some educational/political rally, asking for more free ABE and more student funding, or taking an oath before I enter my class at the beginning of each new term.

Philosophy of Teaching – Teaching Fundamental Level Upgrading English/Math

I believe that Adult Basic Education (ABE) is a human right for those who have yet to develop their literacy, numeracy, and technical/computer skills to the level required for meaningful citizenship and achievable employment. As an ABE teacher, it is my responsibility to create a safe and supportive learning environment for all students in my classroom, where my students will become successful members in our learning community and therefor feel valued and validated for who they are now and for who they can potentially become.

I respect and respond to my role as my “learners’ learner”. Teaching is about my students learning and about me learning how to better teach my students. This requires my patience, compassion and a variety of teaching techniques and resources to teach each student individually. This is critical to student success at all levels, especially at the Fundamental level. Most of these students have experienced some form of learning disability or challenge, which now may affect how they learn. I encourage my students to learn about how they learn, so they can develop effective learning and study skills. Introducing students to the learning process and how to effectively study helps them to reduce their subject and test anxiety and achieve success.   When I teach my students about the “3Ms”: mindset, mindfulness and metacognition, this prepares and allows them to embrace change and dis-connect from past “mis-learning” behaviour, so they can pursue and re-connect with effective foundational learning habits. When one method doesn’t work, I need to look for another method to offer, until the concept/content is learned.  By using active learning strategies such as collaborative peer review and peer mentoring, I am empowering my students to become involved in their class learning community, their learning process, and their self-assessment. My success as a teacher is a reflection of my students’ success. Developing and including reflective and active learning activities to support ongoing self-assessment is essential. Having started with severe computer/tech anxiety to teaching online myself, I teach and support my students in learning how to use the technology needed for course work and where to find resources, which will  help reduce “tech-stress” and prepare them for future courses. 

I empower my students to be responsible for their learning progress. Students who already know the content and only need to review (“this is easy”) are encouraged to fast-track through each level, so they can move up to Intermediate as soon as possible. Students who used to know how to do math but have forgotten (“this is hard”) often just need to practice more. Students who never learned the concepts, calculations, and applications (“this is confusing”) are the ones who need the most teaching. Helping students deal with subject and test anxiety is critical to student success; marking tests as soon as possible with the students helps them to learn what was “easy, hard or confusing” for them.  Re-teaching what is confusing during the marking of the test helps students to relate with their mistakes right away and helps to reduce their anxiety of waiting for their results. I believe test are to empower students, not give all the power to the teacher.  I teach my students to use tests as a learning assessment, so they can tell me what they know and don't know and what I need to re-teach them. 

I believe empowering my students to become independent, self-directed and self-assessing members in a supportive, safe learning community is the basis and goal of effective and rewarding teaching.

Out of time....out of confusion comes clarity.  Feedback is always appreciated.



In reply to Leonne Beebe

Re: Leonne's second draft

by Sue Hellman -

Hi Leonne, 

I've waited a couple of days to respond to your second draft so that all the voices in the resources I shared and other drafts I read would fade. I'm not entirely comfortable in the role of online reviewer anyway. I'd much rather sit with you over a coffee and have a conversation about what you like in your piece, what I think best fulfills the 'requirements' (as loose as they are) of this kind of writing, and to test some possibilities together. In this case, I have my coffee within reach and will have to settle for imagining you with yours musing over my comments. 

Re: being on "a rant" -- I think that all ABE teachers have to feel their mission deeply in order to do the work well and over an extended time. Many of the students we work with are not easy. They depend on the fact that we believe in our mission and in their capacity to learn in order to to get through their most difficult moments. That's especially true in math. After all, it's the most hated and feared of all subjects. Society has decided that it's perfectly acceptable to be 'not good' at math. A pseudo-science has evolved to make it sound like this 'deficiency' is neurological which makes giving up the struggle just good sense. There are plenty of role models of high powered 'math zombies' including Judge Judy and Michelle Obama which makes giving up even easier. From my point of view, shaping one's life to avoid math (because even thinking about it causes extreme discomfort) is so unnecessary. That's where I get fanatical -- so ranting a little is permitted, even in at TPS -- although it might carry more weight if you accompany it with some statistics or research to back up your position.

I think you may be confusing injecting yourself into the piece as ranting, when it comes across to me as your inviting me into your world. I feel that I'm meeting you in those paragraphs, and I get a sense of how passionate you are with your using the word 'passionate' (big check mark). The point of a TPS is for the reader to get to know you as a teacher. Your first draft read like a how-to piece on ABE teaching. This one begins to paint a picture of what it's like to be in one of YOUR classes (another big check). 

So ... the big question is what to focus on next. Two things jump out at me: organization and examples. I suggest trying what's called 'reverse outlining' with the 2 paragraphs in the body This is a way to more objectively find gaps and overlaps in a first draft. In this case, I'd (a) list all the claims you make. Attach to each, (b) whatever explanation(s) you've provided and (c) the specific examples from your work that illustrate and research/authoritative sources that support each claim. This approach might be called: assertion; elaboration; evidence OR assertion, evidence, commentary (see Claremont Workbook, pp. 24-28 for excellent examples & exercises). This will help you cluster your content thematically and ensure that you flesh out your claims with specifics. You can also use the new checklist attached below to make sure you've anticipated all the major questions that your reader will have about your work. This will also help the flow of your piece. 

Now for a few finer details: 

  • sometimes you leap into a description without giving any background or definitions. If you're writing for an audience familiar with ABE courses and classes, this might work. If not, it can be helpful to set some common ground. If you explain/describe ABE programs and the 3 levels of students in one or two sentences first, that will set the scene for what follows and will get all readers onto the same page. 
  • I would combine the first and last paragraphs and simplify. You might do the readability test suggested by Cathy Moore at A score in the 50's would be the range to aim for in a TPS. She explains towards the bottom of the page how to do this using Word. 
  • Where did the stuff about 3M's come from? A good TPS includes sources that back up pedagogical choices. Is there research about the effectiveness of mindset teaching? 
  • "My success as a teacher is a reflection of my students’ success." This is a key statement. How do you measure their success and therefore your own? 
  • The conclusion needs work. Try going in a new direction rather than recapping the same main theme. There are a few suggestions here under Structure --

Whew!!! That's a lot for one review but, as we don't have the luxury of chatting back and forth, I thought I'd lay out what we might cover in several f2f conversations. I hope it's not too much. If you feel like sharing the next draft, I can be reached at

I can see a big difference between your 2 drafts. This is not an easy genre to learn, but you're on the right track.