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Doing Peer Response

"No praise, no blame--just response." William Stafford

Receiving feedback on our writing is one of the most important things we need as writers to improve our writing. Feedback leads to revision which leads to more feedback and yet more revision. With each cycle of the "writer-feedback loop" our writing improves.

Procedures for doing peer response

  1. Read the essay AND the Draft Letter before you begin doing your peer response (if there is a draft letter).
  2. Follow the specific assignment's guidelines for peer response as you respond.(Number your responses.)

Please use these principles to guide you as you respond to your peer's writing:

1) Respond in a constructive, respectful way
Praise those aspects of their work that deserves praise and point out weaknesses constructively, in a voice that suggests that their work can and will improve with work. This doesn't mean being dishonest, nor does it mean to sanction insincere flattery.

2) Point directly at their writing; be specific
Rather than making general and abstract comments like, "You had some good description in here," make comments that point specifically at their writing: "I liked the description you had in the story, especially when you described your grandfather and that moment when he dropped the cat."

3) Be observational; comment as a reader (not as a teacher)
The best help you can give your peer is to serve as a good reader for them. You need not respond in the role of the teacher or fixer of their writing. Respond as a fellow writer and as a reader. Observe closely what you see in their writing as well as what you experience as a reader. Being "observational" means that you point out and notice aspects of their writing, but you don't infer what those "facts" suggest--let the author do that. For example, rather than saying, "You need to include a better 'lead' for the beginning of your introduction," say, "I did not notice a 'lead' in the beginning of your introduction." Instead of saying, "You need to move your thesis to the end of your introduction," say "I noticed your thesis in the first line of you second paragraph."

4) Follow the peer response questions:
Let these questions be your guide as you respond.

Read the Writing Guide on Peer Response for more

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