Enroll

How to Give and Receive Feedback during Peer Editing

When working on writing assignments, you may participate in an activity that can help or harm you or your classmates’ assignments. Whether peer editing helps or harms depends largely on how your teacher or professor structures it, but you can have a hand in the outcome. Here are ways to give and receive feedback effectively during peer editing.

Giving

Above all, be respectful. Janet E. Gardner writes in “The Writing Process” that you should give constructive criticism, that is, suggestions for improvement rather than insults (27). I often use I-statements when giving feedback because saying you and your too often can sound aggressive. For example, try saying, “I find this paragraph confusing. Maybe describing this situation more would help,” not, “Your writing doesn’t make sense.” Gardner adds that even if you disagree with an expressed opinion, avoid being mean to its speaker (27). Remember, do unto your classmates as you would have them do unto you.

Also, balance your feedback because no draft is completely bad or completely good. Mention something specific that the writer does well. When doing this, try to avoid the construction, “I like (something positive), but (something negative),” which causes many people to forget the positive half.

Receiving

Hearing feedback on your writing can be uncomfortable, but try to remain positive and open-minded. It’s better to learn about a problem with your draft from a peer, while there’s time to correct the problem, than from your instructor during grading.

Here are two pieces of advice from Gardner. First, don’t assume that answering questions classmates ask about your writing will make revising the points in question unnecessary (Gardner 27). If you’re having to explain multiple sentences verbally, that means your writing could be clearer. Second, if classmates offer little beyond, “It’s good,” Gardner says to show them what portions of the draft you think need improvement, and ask for advice (28). If your peers think you can handle criticism, they will be more comfortable giving it.

 

Whether you’re giving or receiving feedback, be respectful and open-minded. Remember, even professional writers seek guidance on their work from others because seeing how a reader reacts to their words is valuable. Developing skill in giving and receiving feedback is useful in life, not just in the English classroom. Think of peer editing as a chance to develop those skills.

Work Cited: Gardner, Janet E. “The Writing Process.” Writing about Literature: A Portable Guide. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2004. Print.

Photo: ninniane, Flickr

 

Darla Word

About Darla Word

I'm a writing tutor and editor from Michigan. My favorite subject to write about is writing because making better writers is my calling. I also enjoy reading, singing, swimming, and cardmaking.

Darla Word

Top Posts | For Students

How to Paraphrase a Difficult Text

Paraphrasing is essential when using sources in writing, but it’s challenging when a source uses difficult language. You can still use the source. However, you need to break down the steps for writing an effective paraphrase. The four steps are to look up difficult words, rewrite the passage ... ...

What to Expect from AP Language and AP Literature

You know these two Advanced Placement (AP) classes are college level and prepare you for taking the exams that determine whether you’ll get college credits for the coursework, but what does a day in the class look like? Classroom activities are similar despite AP Language’s focus on rhe ... ...

Get Pumped for High School!

If you’re nervous about starting high school or unsure what to expect, keep reading and relax. Many people find high school is the best part of their education and even of their lives. High school teaches a greater variety of subjects that will prepare you for college and your career. After s ... ...

Know What You Want to Do

It is said being a student or teenager is the best part of a person’s life. At some point of our life, we feel like setting the clock back and going back to our student life. But I wonder whether it is true in the present scenario. Studenthood is a very stressful period in a person’s li ... ...

8 Useful Tips for Home Study

Home study might seem like a great idea but it takes a good deal of self-discipline to keep your mind on the job in hand and make effective use of your time.  Here are some tried and tested tips for successful home studying to help you stay on track.1. Create the Right EnvironmentLaying on you ... ...

Spotting Your Procrastination Symptoms

For as far back as I can remember in my student life, I have always felt squeamish at the thought of sitting down to study. I can bet that the majority of students can relate with it when I mention vague headaches, words going out of focus, random hunger and dizziness as symptoms of the thought of ...

Useful Tips for Clearing the UPSEE Examination

The Uttar Pradesh State Engineering Entrance, or UPSEE (also called as UPTU, GBTU, and UPTU) is the state entrance examination of Uttar Pradesh, conducted by the UP Technical University for students seeking admission to undergraduate engineering courses in Uttar Pradesh. Aspirants for engineering c ...