Reflection: Trust and Respect Utilizing Effective Peer Reviews & Crafting Intros and Conclusions - Section 1: Introduction


Check out any student Twitter account and you'll likely find TONS of criticism...and usually not the constructive kind.  However, when you ask students to constructively criticize others in areas like writing, the room can suddenly turn into an Utopian society with everyone throwing out compliments and ignoring their problems.  I've discussed this phenomenon with my students and colleagues on several occasions, and it seems to be a fairly consistent issue.  I think students hesitate to be seen as a know-it-all if they give criticism, and I also feel like some students lack the confidence in their own abilities to even give feedback at all.  To get around this, I showed this short video clip and our discussion was quite fruitful!  All students would have appreciated the more comprehensive critique, but simultaneously, most students felt that they didn't have the authority to give that kind of feedback.  My advice to them for getting over this feeling was as follows...

  • Your partner is writing their paper for their peers, which is...YOU.  If YOU are confused, don't understand something, or think something sounds "weird" (regardless of whether or not you know the grammatical reason for why), you can alert them to it.  It's the writer's responsibility to investigate further and fix it.
  • You don't need authority to share an opinion.  Focus on explaining how things resonated with you or your thoughts in response to their paper, rather than on showing them why you're right and they're wrong.  You need authority to show someone is "wrong," but you don't need authority to share an opinion.  Got it?  Good.
  • Be thankful for any feedback you get, even if you don't agree with it.  If you're committed to receiving feedback positively, people won't be so afraid to share their opinions with you.  If you hear something you don't agree with, don't argue the point.  Ask questions to better understand it or get a second opinion at a later date if you would like.

Between the video modeling and the advice pep talk, I saw some of the most effective peer evaluations that I've ever seen!  Students were engaged and working on this process, and papers visibly improved due to the activity.  In the future, I will probably move this video and pep talk earlier in the year.

  Facilitating Constructive Criticism in Peer Reviews
  Trust and Respect: Facilitating Constructive Criticism in Peer Reviews
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Utilizing Effective Peer Reviews & Crafting Intros and Conclusions

Unit 7: Drafting & Revising the Argumentative Research Paper
Lesson 4 of 7

Objective: SWBAT evaluate a partner's research paper draft for organization, effectiveness of argumentation, grammar, and mechanics and write effective introductions and conclusions.

Big Idea: Rejuvenate peer reviews, return relevance to conclusions, & banish the "I am going to tell you about…" introduction from your life FOREVER!

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