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Peer Feedback Teaching Strategy 

Many students often think peer feedback is simply checking for spelling and grammar errors. This teaching strategy helps students provide more depth with their suggested edits.

The peer feedback strategy is a great idea to add to your lesson plans. It is very important that students follow the writing process when working on formal writing pieces that they will submit for a grade.

Many students often think peer editing/feedback is simply checking for spelling and/or grammar errors. This peer feedback strategy helps students provide more depth with their suggested edits.

How Does This Peer Feedback Strategy Work?

  1. On the day that written drafts are due, have students bring in a printed copy of their work. On the back of their paper, have students draw lines to divide the page into four quadrants.  (If there is no blank page on the back, have students attach a blank sheet of paper.) Title the quadrants as follows: Likes, Suggested Changes, Unclear Parts, Discuss With More Detail
  2. Place students in groups of four.  Have students rotate their papers one to the right and read the paper they have received.
  3. When they are done, have students respond to each of the prompts in the quadrants on the back page leaving room for others to comment as well. Particularly if this is a new strategy to your class, remind students to be specific in their comments. If it is easier to explain their comment, students are encouraged to make marks on/write in the rest of the paper in addition to or instead of on the back page. They should just make a note of the fact that their comments are in the text of the paper instead of on the back.
  4. When all group members have finished have them rotate papers and read again. Before they comment, I have students read all previous comments as I ban repeating anything that has already been said.
  5. Repeat Step 4.
  6. Give papers back to the original author. Have students read the comments on their own papers.
  7. Have students make changes as they see fit. I always ask that students turn in this draft with their final paper.  I do not require that students make any of the changes their classmates suggested, but if they do not I ask that they turn in a brief written rationale as to why they did not make any of the changes suggested by classmates. This cuts down on the number of students who don’t make changes just because it is more work while allowing students to maintain artistic control over their work.
  8. I have also used peer feedback stations where each station is assigned a specific task and that is the only thing they are looking for on each paper. I usually have the following stations: format, spelling, grammar, thesis checker (ensuring that a proper thesis is written) and overall quality control. I assign students to their stations based on their strengths. Each paper gets rotated through each station and comes back with a more thorough edit than if it was just read by two students.

How Do I Use This Strategy?

  1. Any major writing assignment: I have my students complete some form of peer feedback with every major written assignment that we do. Depending on the length of the writing assignment, I block out half a class period to a whole class period for students to do this and start to make changes.

Why Do I Love This Peer Feedback Strategy?

  1. Students often do not understand that the difference between a draft and a final paper is not just running a spell check. Peer feedback is a highly effective way of getting students to look over their papers and reconsider what they have written. 
  2. As a general rule, students like to help each other, but often the suggestions they give are vague, overly gentle, or harsh. This particular strategy seems to produce some of the best specific pointers for cutting down on these issues.

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