So, What?

Most of my students get annoyed when I ask them the dreaded question "So, what?"

I'm not trying to be rude, and I tell them exactly that. I am trying to get them to go deeper. So you wrote this literary analysis essay. So, what? What are you really trying to tell your reader? What is the importance? Why should I care? What are you bringing to the table?

Most of the time, students have something to add, something to bring to the table. The problem is that they are scared. They are scared that they are wrong. They are scared of the grade. They are scared of being criticized, meaning they lack the confidence to take the criticism in the current state of high stakes education. 

How do I combat this problem? Trust and Relationships. It is of the utmost importance that you spend the time to build trust with your students. They need to feel comfortable sharing their ideas, and trust also makes it possible for students to accept the feedback you give.