Meme Comments vs. Mean Comments

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Photo courtesy of Ainee Fatima, @axneef on Twitter

Careful to show that not all her stickers were negative, she tweeted this second picture saying, “Don’t worry, I did positive memes too!” (Photo courtesy of Ainee Fatima, @axneef on Twitter)

Since Ainee Fatima, a 27-year-old English and Media studies teacher in Illinois, used stickers with well-known memes to grade her senior students’ essays, the internet has been up in arms on this new teaching tool. There has been a resounding agreement that this technique could be beneficial to students.  

“I think it should be implemented because a student might be offended at a comment, so instead of putting something negative, they can put a meme,” said freshman Kate Odom.

The majority of students are ecstatic about meme-based commenting and believe it is a beneficial method in school for multiple reasons. Some of those reasons include: adding enjoyment to the school day, making students feel more cared about, being more constructive, and encouraging students.

Photo Courtesy of Ainee Fatima, @axneef on Twitter
Ainee Fatima originally tweeted this video saying, “I love grading with my new stickers!” The tweet now has over 10 million views (Photo Courtesy of Ainee Fatima, @axneef on Twitter).

“Meme-based commenting causes a student to feel more special. Instead of teachers quickly scratching notes in the margins, they took the time to find the right meme for that particular instance,” said junior Nate Mulcahy.

Students also believe that a meme comment could be more constructive than a negative comment. A meme sticker could make a student feel more uplifted and more likely to address the mistake, while a negative comment tends to make the student feel defeated.

“I think it will encourage students to correct the mistake more than a negative comment will. Personally, a funny meme would make me want to do better next time, rather than a mean comment would,” said Odom.

Some classes, such as math, would not benefit from using meme-based commenting because it is not often that a teacher has to make comments, unless to make to encourage students for good grades. However, in other classes where teachers have to leave constructive comments, such as English classes, this method could prove to be helpful.

“Meme based comments should be used in English classes on essays because that is where there are the most critics. Also, it should make grading faster for teachers because instead of writing out each comment, they can just use a meme sticker,” said Odom.

Photo courtesy of Liam Sinclair
Ms. Brown-Pressly, an English teacher at Greenville Technical College, gave her English 101 students an assignment to create memes and explain how they would be useful in meme-based commenting. This is an example created by English 101 student Liam Sinclair (Photo Courtesy of Liam Sinclair).

As for teachers, meme-based commenting could make the process more interesting and efficient. Many teachers are in favor of this as long as the meme is able to convey the correct message and gives feedback that helps the student improve. Meme commenting could make teachers seem more approachable.

Photo courtesy of David Thompson
Some memes are meant to show where the teacher was confused or stumbled while reading. As shown in this example created by English 101 student David Thompson (Photo Courtesy of David Thompson).

“Implementing meme-based commenting could be used at the digression of the teacher, if the meme is constructive, positive, and gives meaningful feedback. One of the pros is that it makes writing and learning in general more fun,” said U.S. History teacher Nick Pintz.

Reinforcement is the idea that by encouraging someone, the behavior will increase. Therefore, giving positive comments in the form of memes, similar to displaying kids’ good grades on the refrigerator, will help contribute to the success of students.

“Years ago, even some now, [teachers] would put gold stars or stickers to encourage students. I would say this is very similar to that, and could be beneficial because some students enjoy those rewards,” said Pintz.

The goal of school in general is to help students learn and improve, whether with comments or meme stickers stuck in the margins. Nonetheless, memes are a lot more fun. It all depends on the teacher and the atmosphere of the class.