Peer Editing, a GOOD Idea?
by Zainab Al Balushy
As for the benefits of peer editing on teachers' part, it decreases the amount of their paperwork. Instead of marking whole class papers of first drafts, teachers will look at the papers after they have been reviewed by the students' peers, so some of the mistakes would have been fixed. This will give the teacher the chance to spot higher level mistakes that could also indicate the areas that need working out with the whole class. The teacher could also be observant as to praise strong editors who will eventually become highly appreciated by their peers. Their highlighted thoroughness and attention to detail will become qualities of positive competition in the classroom. The other students will seek the same as to become good writers and editors and hence will have their work completed more often. While they may have excuses for a teacher, they are less likely to give (or accept) them with their peers.
The process involved in peer editing increases student' autonomy and self-directed improvement as a life-long skill. They will seek that in all aspects of their learning as they gain rewards of their corrected products. This will also increase their overall fluency and similarly improve their reading comprehension because students learn more when they personally apply principles without being forced by higher authorities. They also learn how to give and receive constructive criticism and they begin to recognize the importance of process: outlining, drafting, and redrafting, rather than cranking everything out at once.
At the end they will notice that their work product is indeed improved, and their understanding of the legal issues is greater. They will learn to write a draft of their paper before the final deadline, emphasizing the writing process as ongoing and evolving. The process therefore motivates students to ask the teacher useful questions about their assignment besides receiving social and emotional support as they share problems and attempt to come up with solutions for themselves and their peers. It will prepare them for the future since peer editing is a skill highly desired by employers and one that is used in higher education. It also widens their information scope because they hear other students' viewpoints and questions on issues they might not have deemed or thoroughly comprehended.
Peer editing steps
Before starting the process of peer editing, students should have written a first draft on a certain topic and before submitting it to the teacher they undertake peer editing. There are some certain steps a teacher should follow and some issues to keep in mind, Kathleen Magone (1996):
1) Choose the peers.
Peers could be members of two students, three students or four students working together on their papers. That could be determined by the teacher depending on the size of the class and the seating style of the students besides the gender variations that exist in the class. Another point to be taken account of is whether the teachers choose the peers or they let students choose for themselves. This should be decided upon earlier so that it does not waste the class time nor cause any dissatisfaction among the students.
2) Let the students exchange papers
After settling down the specific peers there are two ways to distribute papers among students. One way is to mix all the papers and then allocate them randomly so that students get a chance to move around and meet their peers to discuss their feedback. The other way is to let students exchange each others' papers within their groups. This will depend on the number of students and the percentage of males/females variations.
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