What are some guidelines on erasing students' work such as on a chalkboard/whiteboard in a classroom or on paper in a private tutorial class?

Usually this is for the parts of maths that involves drawing or geometry rather than algebra I guess

  • $\begingroup$ How does erasing students' work differ from erasing the instructor's work? How would the etiquette or guidelines differ? $\endgroup$ – Joel Reyes Noche Mar 8 '17 at 0:33
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    $\begingroup$ @JoelReyesNoche like you ask a student to draw something and then it's wrong. How to erase without making them discouraged? $\endgroup$ – BCLC Mar 8 '17 at 0:47
  • $\begingroup$ When erasing student work, especially figures, I always make a complement to the student who did the work, then make a comment about moving forward. Sometimes I'll ask another student to do it- "Jimmy, will you erase Jenny's excellent work and copy your solution to number 3 in it's place?" or "I'm sorry to have to erase Jessie's beautiful illustration, but let's move on to thinking about the theorem for triangles that are similar, not congruent". No one expects their board-work to be permanent. I find that what students do care about is that their work is treated respectfully in its time. $\endgroup$ – Andrew Mar 8 '17 at 16:56
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    $\begingroup$ @BCLC Why erase it because it's wrong? Let the mistake a discussion about why it's wrong, then let the student fix it herself or allow her to invite a classmate up to the board to help. $\endgroup$ – Andrew Mar 8 '17 at 16:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Andrew good question. Student too young and/or (oh wait this is math site so I can just say 'or' ? Lol) running out of time. I was thinking teacher can compensate by saying 'let me help you' or something before erasing. Depends on situation I guess but let's say teacher erases. This isn't necessarily on board. Could be on paper in 1on1 teaching $\endgroup$ – BCLC Mar 9 '17 at 22:05

To answer your actual question about guidelines, I would say this. There aren't really any "official" guidelines that I'm aware of. Institutions may have their own policies regarding this, although to me that would be borderline micromanagement if they did. I've never been affiliated with such a place as far as I know, so I've always just gone by this:

  • If it isn't graded work, there's no harm in erasing anything as long as you aren't interfering with their note-taking or learning process in general. And preferably don't make them feel stupid in the process.

  • If it's graded work that they did then erasing it (or modifying it at all aside from corrections that are clearly part of grading) is a big no-no.

With that aside, I really wonder, why erase it for them? On a board I can understand if the student has already returned to their seat but I don't see why they can't erase their own work if it's a private tutorial. Having them correct their own work could be a better learning experience. Another option is to leave what they did alone, and then draw a correct version so the student can compare and see what was incorrect about their attempt.

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