Sunday, September 7, 2014

Blog Post #3

How Can You Provide Meaningful Feedback to Your Peers?

What is Peer Editing?

In order to define what peer editing is, we must first define the individual words in the phrase. According to nrpatric's video Peer Editing, the word peer means "someone your own age", and editing means "making suggestions, comments, compliments, and changes to writing." What does it mean when we combine these two words into the phrase peer editing? The video tells us that it means "working with someone your own age to help improve, revise, and edit his or her writing."

Stick man with megaphone shouting to his peers
Yes, this seems like a pretty general, simple concept. Most all of us have peer edited something at some point in time, whether we have been assigned to or not, and I'm sure we have all had someone peer edit something of our own. Peer editing makes us feel more secure about our work. If it's correct, then there is someone else that agrees with you. If it's wrong, then there is someone to catch your mistakes. Teamwork is taught to children at a very young age, so why not use that teamwork to aid you and your classes? No, I don't mean pair up to swap test answers, but pairing up to peer edit can not only help your partner earn a better grade, it can also improve your own overall writing skills by seeing what others do well and the mistakes others make . So, we may all know how peer editing is supposed to work, you'll check my paper and I'll check yours, but what are we checking? How do know where to start?

Steps to Peer Editing
Both the video Peer Editing by npratric and the slideshow Tutorial Peer Editing by Adriana Zardini present three steps to peer editing.

1. Compliments
When peer editing, start with compliments. This means to state what the person did well. If the person for whom you are peer editing feels as if you are just tearing them down with the mistakes they made, they won't want to continue improving their writing. Rather, it is more than likely that they will just want to give up.

2. Suggestions
Giving suggestions means telling your peer editing partner what could have been done better. What they did may not have been wrong, but sometimes there is a better way to express those ideas. Topics such as word choice, organization, and amount of details could all be improved through suggestions; however, you must always be extremely specific when giving suggestions. If something needs to be fixed, tell your partner exactly what it is.

3. Corrections
Corrections are also specific things that need to be fixed, but corrections should be made about punctuation, grammar, spelling, and other word errors.

Bring Them All Together

 Orange watercolor background with stay positive written on top
Bring all three of these steps together and we get the perfect formula for peer editing! Peer editing is not meant to hurt feelings or undermine motivations. The task of peer editing is to improve writing skills through positive feedback. Focus on those last two words, positive feedback. POSITIVE. The most important concept of the entire peer editing process can be found in that word. Stay positive under all circumstances, whether it be in giving compliments, suggestions, and corrections or in receiving these things. No one likes a mean, overbearing peer editor, but no one likes a sore writer either. To avoid both cases, peer editing should be kept a positive process by both parties. We are here to help one another! This brings us around to our next subject, peer editing mistakes.


In the adorable video Writing Peer Review Top Ten Mistakes, several children discuss and enact the top ten mistakes that can be made when peer editing by giving those mistakes names. These names encompass the general idea of each mistake:
  • Picky Patty 
  • Whatever William 
  • Social Sammy 
  • Jean the Generalizer 
  • Mean Margaret 
  • Loud Larry 
  • Pushy Paula 
  • Off-Task Oliver 
  • Speedy Sandy 
  • Defensive Dave


After looking at these videos and slideshow, I feel as if I am ready to begin the peer editing process with confidence. Before, I never knew where to start or how to provide advice that was appropriate without feeling mean about it; however, I have learned that there is no need to feel mean. Peer editing is all about bettering yourself and your partner. If you both stay on task, stay positive, and are specific, each of you should feel motivated to change and do better. The three steps provide an easy way to give meaningful feedback each and every time!

Remember: Stay Positive, Be Specific, and Follow All Three Steps!

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