Peer feedback in writing teaches students how to use words to an advantage
- Writing for Edutopia, English language arts specialist Katherine James discusses the academic and social benefits of teaching students to provide peer feedback on writing assignments.
- By giving students specific strategies to use when offering feedback, teachers show students how to give and accept constructive criticism without negative emotional involvement.
- Peer feedback on writing assignments makes students more willing to produce their best efforts for review and more aware of the elements by which their work and the work of their classmates would be judged.
Neither "The Lord of the Rings" nor "The Chronicles of Narnia" would have been completed without peer feedback from the other members of a writing fellowship known as The Inklings. Authors often use the workshop method as a tool to improve their writing and to test the emotional or intellectual impact of their words. The concept of using peer feedback to workshop creative efforts such as writing is a tried and true method of honing writing skills.
In a classroom setting, the benefits of peer feedback are even greater. Students develop critical thinking skills by assessing the work of another student. They also learn to offer constructive criticism in an inoffensive way, knowing that their work will also be reviewed. And they learn not let their pride interfere with the value of the suggestions they are given. These soft skills will serve them well in life and in future employment.
There is also a social-emotional learning aspect to the process. Students learn the power of their words in uplifting a fellow student and inspiring him or her to greater efforts. They learn the value of teamwork in collaborating on a creative process. In the end, they learn the skills that are necessary for survival in a community.