Saturday, September 7, 2013

Blog Post #3

How Can You Provide Meaningful Feedback To Your Peers

Peer Editing
Peer editing is working with someone your own age to help improve his/her work while offering compliments, suggestions, and corrections. The videos What is Peer Editing and Peer Editing With Perfection Tutorial are excellent demonstrations on how we should critique the works of our peers. I have always found it difficult to tell my peers the areas in which they could improve. I now realize that my holding back is doing more harm than good. In essence, I am keeping my peer from learning through his/her mistakes and growing from the experience. As a future educator, I am going to have to critique the work of my students on a daily basis so I had better learn quickly how to do it in a positive way. the videos taught me that there are three steps needed to give constructive criticism: compliments, suggestions, and corrections.

The most important thing to remember when critiquing a peer is to stay positive and offer a compliment. There is always something positive that can be said even if it is only to say "I really appreciate the effort you put into this piece." You should always keep in mind how your words might make someone feel. Ask yourself "would this hurt my feelings?" or "how would I feel after reading this comment?" If you answer that it would leave you with a negative feeling then you should think of changing your wording. Peers can and will get offended when only the bad things are pointed out. No one wants to be put down or made to feel like their work is inadequate. Again, there is always something positive that can be said. When you have a difficult time thinking of a compliment, perhaps you could use one of the following: My favorite part was ____ because ____, I loved when you ____, or I think you did an exceptional job with ____.

Now here begins the tricky part. There will be times when something doesn't sound right or the sentence just doesn't make any sense. What should you do? You should be specific and offer polite suggestions using the words instead, rather, or substitute. The video gives us the example "instead of using the word good, maybe you can use the word exceptional." That is an excellent approach to suggesting the word choice be changed rather than saying "your word choice is boring." We should always remember that the main focus of our critiques are to allow our peers to create the best work possible. By making helpful suggestions, you are enabling your peer to learn how to better convey a message which in turn makes for a better final product.

Making your peer aware of the technical corrections that need to be made can be a tough. However, one of the most important components of a written work is making sure there are no incorrect punctuation marks, misspelled words, or incorrect uses of grammar. Bringing the mistakes to their attention is a must! I would like to recommend a bit of advice in which I write. If I am not sure about something, I don't do it. In other words, when I am not sure when to use a comma, I rearrange the sentence so that it doesn't need a comma. When I am not sure how to spell a word, I choose another word. When I feel a sentence might be too long, I break it into two sentences to be sure I haven't created a run-on sentence. Sharing advice like this with your peer can keep them from making mistakes on future projects.

Furthermore, I believe that when you finish critiquing the work of your peer, you should follow it up with another compliment or a reiteration of the original compliment. I think it is a good idea to leave the writer with a feeling of accomplishment rather than a feeling of failure. You have still enlightened them on the corrections that need to be made all the while reassuring them that their work is appreciated. In my opinion, it is an excellent way to prevent any negative thoughts towards the peer critiquing process.

Street signs
The video Writing Peer Review Top Ten Mistakes is a humorous illustration of the many mistakes that can be made during the reviewing process. Picky Patty, Mean Margaret, and Defensive Dave are a few of the characters demonstrating how to be too picky, too mean, and too sensitive. Watching a video like this is a fun way to realize the proper ways to critique the works of our peers without being too negative. As future educators, we need to learn how best to encourage our students while teaching them the correct ways of doing things. All parties involved in the reviewing process will learn to be more careful of the content they put into their works and be more confident that the work is the best it can be.


  1. Danya,
    You said, “I am going to have to critique the work of my students on a daily basis so I had better learn quickly how to do it in a positive way." I am in the exact same boat! I have always found it difficult to tell my peers the areas in which they could improve as well. And using compliments is the most important thing to start with when critiquing someone else’s work. Always keeping in mind what your words might make someone feel will only help you in the long run as well. And like you said being specific and straight to point will only help your writer. Being educators we should always try and find new ways to help our students in a positive way. Great Blog Post this week!