Thursday, September 22, 2011

Peer Review Guidelines and Response

You will always need three copies of your essay brought to class for peer review.
Peer Review is a necessary part of revising writing assignments in stages. It’s beneficial to writers to always be writing for an audience. It’s beneficial for student readers to see how other students approach similar writing tasks. It’s also important that writers write in communities. Socializing the experience of writing helps develop ideas and accelerate thinking.
The actual experience of peer review can be a strange adjustment for those who have no experience with it. It’s important to remember the following rules:
1.       No matter how attached you feel to a piece of writing, it isn’t you. It’s something you made that has an existence of its own. Comments and criticisms about this piece reflect it, not you.
2.       No matter how unattached you are to a piece of writing, peer review can help you become more attached. Remember that someone else will take pleasure in reading your words and ideas.
3.       When discussing someone else’s writing, it’s generally a good idea to say something positive about the piece first.
4.       When you make a criticism, always make a specific suggestion for how to revise the part of the essay you’re criticizing.
5.       Always begin with “higher-order” concerns first. Higher order concerns involve the essay as a whole: the coherency of paragraphs (how unified and organized they are), whether or not the essay fulfills the assignment, and the general meaning of the piece. Look at the big picture. DO not spend time discussing grammar unless it impedes your ability to understand the piece. You may mark grammar issues on the page by circling them, but do not spend time discussing them unless you cannot understand an idea.
6.       Do not go easy on someone because it’s a strange and unfamiliar thing to do. The more critical you are of an essay the better grade someone will get. You will help another writer by honestly telling them what you think can be improved, and how you think they can improve it.

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