Peer review (also known as peer editing) is a great way to help children improve their writing skills and learn to interact socially. We’ve listed some tips for educators on how to integrate peer review strategies into their learning environments that will help students communicate better and enhance the educational setting:
- Help students understand the process. Effective peer feedback has three components: compliments, suggestions and corrections. Always encourage positivity in each lesson and impress upon students the importance of integrating positive feedback into their edits.
- Show students the importance of helping each other through writing. Emulate the peer review process by reading a selection aloud, then discussing the piece with the class after the student leaves the room. Formulate questions to ask the student by discussing what is missing. The student will then return, discuss and ask questions. This helps the student comprehend better and incorporate the feedback for revision. Younger students may also go through this process through the use of drawings prior to writing their stories.
- Have a strategy before starting a new project. Determine the cohesiveness of the students based on their interaction for future groupings. Use this process for the initial and revision steps. You may also do peer review in groups of three or more for large projects or group activities.
- Make sure students understand constructive feedback. Emulate this process for the students and then do an exercise to make sure everyone grasps the concept effectively. Have students demonstrate and comment on the types of feedback they should and should not use.
- Chart the process. Create a chart with the steps of peer editing that students can check when they go through the peer review process. As a class, go over the steps and have students comment and make changes as they complete assignments to incorporate what worked best for them.
- Do a big project. Assign a group class project where students will switch peer review teams periodically. Have them get constructive feedback at home as well to further reinforce the process.
The use of peer review is a tried-and-true concept in getting students to work together effectively in a non-threatening environment. Peer review helps in building social-interaction skills, comprehension, listening and public speaking. Knowing how to communicate is a key part of the learning process, and should be encouraged at every opportunity within the learning environment. For students who do not have English as a first language, this process is invaluable in helping them share their thoughts and comprehending on their grade-level.
Employing peer review strategies increases the literacy level of students and encourages positive writing experiences. Students will positively embrace the concept of written drafts, feedback and revision, which will continue to assist in situations beyond the classroom. Peer review builds social interaction, student collaboration and higher-level thinking that is vital for student learning and progression.