Working with peers


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Working with peers

  1. 1. Working with Peers:A Community of Learners
  2. 2. What is “peer work”?• In any class, peer work occurs when students work with minimal or no instructor involvement to create, solve, design, or review.• For the purposes of English 112, peer work refers to peers reviewing and providing constructive feedback for written work.
  3. 3. Common fears:• “My peers are in my class, too, so do they really know enough to help me?”• “Will someone be mean to me?”• “What if my feedback to my peers is useless to them?”• “Will I be graded based on someone else’s work?”
  4. 4. “My peers are in my class, too, so do theyreally know enough to help me?”• Your peers will act as “readers” for your work.• All commentary we provide peers should come from the perspective of an interested reader who also knows the assignment.• No one is expected to become an English instructor.• We will keep our focus on content—leave the grammar help to me. 
  5. 5. “Will someone be mean to me?”• No! • We are a warm, supportive, and encouraging learning community; we help.• We will treat everyone as if their work were our own. How would we like to be treated?• You are not your work; constructive criticism builds; it does not destroy.• The following slide will provide some guidance.
  6. 6. Expectations for peer review:• Each peer review opportunity will have a clear rubric to explain what you should do to help your peers.• Follow the rubric to the letter. Avoid offering assistance beyond what the rubric requires.• The exception to this rule is, of course, if your peer asks you a question about your feedback. Feel free to explain what you meant.
  7. 7. Things to note:• The feedback stays true to the rubric.• The peer reviewer is careful to be constructive and supportive.• The words the peer reviewer uses address the work and not the writer.
  8. 8. Example *paragraph forreview:The Ingalls family’s experiences with a harsh winter test the limitsof their civility, and routines help them pass these tests. Charlesand Caroline (“Ma” and “Pa”) have to set good examples for thegirls, or the tension of the difficult situation could destroy thefamily’s unity. Keeping up with customary routines is one waythey do this. If they do have to let go of a part of their routine,they acknowledge that they will get back to it as soon as possible.Ma and Pa maintain these rules not to be mean to the girls;instead, they want their children to be ready to return to anormal way of living after the blizzards lift. They want the girls tohave something to live for while they undergo hardships.*Based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long, Hard Winter
  9. 9. Example of rubric:Please provide feedback to your peer’s body paragraph based ononly on answering the following questions. Provide specificanswers; “yes” or “no” will not suffice. • What is the topic sentence? • Is the topic sentence well supported? How can you tell? Provide specific examples. • Do the ideas flow or seem to jump around? Provide details. • What is your favorite thing about the paragraph?
  10. 10. Example of feedback:• The topic sentence is present: “The Ingalls family’s experiences with a harsh winter test the limits of their civility.”• The topic sentence has solid support, but specific details from the book are needed. For example, how does the reader see these limits tested with specific events from the novel? As a reader, I would like to know about how bad things really got for the family and what they did to overcome their circumstances and stay “human.” What is the difference between surviving and maintaining “civility”? I was a little confused by the word “good.” Is there a more specific word to describe the examples the girls need? The examples might help clarify this word as well. The reader will then see what “good” means.• The ideas flow well overall because the writer organized the ideas effectively. I could follow the writer’s train of thought. What would help is more transition from one idea to the next. For example, the last two sentences of the paragraph explain the parents’ reasoning well, but the sentences read as a little choppy.• My favorite thing about the paragraph is that it makes me want to read the book. I never read the Little House series as a kid, and this paragraph makes me see how the novels could appeal to adults, too. It also makes me think about how I can help my own kids overcome adversity.
  11. 11. What does the writer do now?:• Be part of the learning community! • Use the suggestions that seem reasonable and well-founded.• Feel free not to follow any advice that does not ring true; the reader is trying to help and is not trying to become the author.• Ask questions of your peer reader(s) if needed.• Thank them for their help.• Let Prof. Tymon know if you need help with the process.
  12. 12. Thank you!• Your continuing efforts in our learning community help us all!• As always, should any questions or concerns arise, contact Prof. Tymon ( for assistance.Note: All images used under the Creative Commons license for free use