Introduction to Peer Response aka Peer Review aka Peer Editing
What is it? • Peer response is when students of the same level read each other’s papers and give feedback on them. • The idea is that students in a class are at about the same level have received the same lessons, and they have the same assignment, so they should be able to give each other good information.
How do we do it? • In this class, and in most classes, your teacher will give you a guide to follow. • The guide is called a peer response form. It has you look for specific things within a paper.
Why is it useful? • The first reason is that through reading other students’ papers, you’ll be exposed to new ways of thinking and writing. • This might help you, on the current essay or in the future, advance your skills (in all areas: writing, vocabulary, grammar, reading.)
Why is it useful? • Another reason peer response is an advantage for students is that when you leave the session, you have feedback about your paper. • Feedback from another person is helpful – you can go home, read through their ideas, and decide which ones will help you as you revise your paper.
Why is it useful? • Finally, as you go through the process of peer response, as a responder, you are training yourself as a writer. • You are building habits of looking for important elements of an essay (thesis, focus, unity, paragraphing, etc.). • As those habits become stronger, you will automatically apply them to your own writing.
A few final notes: • You are not copy editors. This means you don’t want to, and should not, attempt to correct every mistake you see in your peer’s writing. • Follow the guide – those are the only elements you’re looking for.
More final notes • Remember that we are all human and we make mistakes. Most people feel sensitive about their writing. So take care when shaping your comments – remember you’re talking to a classmate who worked hard for that draft.
The final note • Finally, you are allowed to be judicious about which comments you incorporate your paper and which you don’t. You aren’t required to change everything your peers comment on. They might have different opinions from you and/or from each other. It’s your paper – you have the power to choose what goes in it. The peer response is meant to help, not to force.