(This posting includes a handout which you are welcome to use with your students.)
After a peer-editing session, a student said, “My peer editor was kind of rude. He was too critical and told me to change my grammar in places that were not wrong. He also told me to change my thesis statement. But I think I already had a good one.”
Another students said, “My peer editor read my essay and filled out the checklist. She said she found nothing that needed to be improved. I was surprised because I think some parts were weak.”
There is a peer-editing process which can alleviate the problem of the over-critical editor and under-involved one. In this process, the peer-editor is NOT expected to find places to improve; instead the writer solicits specific advice. In other words, the writer has control.
The peer editing activity below involves critical thinking on the part of the writer. Unlike the common peer-editing format of the instructor providing questions /checklists for the peer to complete while reading their partner’s essay, in the approach described below, the writers themselves decide what advice/help they would like from their peers.