There are several ways to successfully use peer review in class to help your students become better writers. The first step is to remember that students must learn about and practice peer review as they would any other skill. Below are guidelines that you can copy, handout, and discuss with students prior to having them review papers in class. In addition, you should provide a worksheet for each paper assignment that clarifies what you want the students to address. See sample paper worksheets: critique paper, argumentative essay.
How to Help Other Writers Revise
Successful writers revise their writing more than inexperienced ones. Students of writing often confuse revising with proofreading. Put simply, revising is the first and most significant step to improve how you convey your ideas. Revising addresses organization, content, and style. Proofreading is a second and necessary step to making the paper conform to accepted and understood language conventions. Proofreading addresses syntax: grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
When giving feedback to other writers in class, your main focus as a peer reviewer should be on revision. So you should discuss issues of organization, content, and style before looking at syntax.
Steps in a Peer Review Workshop
Please remember: You are working to make each other better writers, not simply trying to make the papers better.
By Gayla Mills