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Three ways to Respond: In Peer Review

When peer workshops are appropriately structured and focused, they can supply students with useful feedback on their drafts and help them be more critical readers of their own work. Peer review can complement or even replace the instructor’s comments, particularly late in the quarter when students are more fluent in discussing writing. You can use peer review for most stages of the writing process, from thesis statements, to individual sections, to entire drafts. (Note: At the beginning of the quarter, ask your class if it’s okay to have them share their work in peer review workshops.)

  • Provide specific written directions for guiding the peer review, either on a handout, on an overhead, or on the board. Just as you respond to their writing as a reader rather than as a judge, formulate your peer review evaluation sheet from the same perspective. In other words, you’re not asking your students to see what’s “right” or “wrong” with their peers’ writing but what their reading experience suggests about the state of the writer’s work: Is it confusing or clear? Is it persuasive? Does the opening entice them to read more?

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