CUNY COMPosition & Rhetoric Community

Investigating the Indirect and Immediate Benefits Peer Review Workshop

(This workshop was developed by Sean Molloy in 2012; it has been offered by Sean, Joshua Belknap and Erin Anderson in 2012 and 2014 at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center.)

Review these three quotes and the framing questions below and briefly discuss and/or write about them. 

Then review several models of peer review and revisit the framing questions, with more discussion and/or writing.

At the early draft stage, what we want to say is, more often than not, still unformed, often fragile. Key ideas and experiences may only be hinted at, lurking somewhere below the surface of the words. To coax them into the open, we need people who know how to listen generously and respond by giving back to us what they hear, sticking close to our texts. These responses, if delivered thoughtfully, are what often encourage us to keep going, to keep digging, to keep shaping….

(Perl and Schwartz 2014 p. 77).

What distinguished collaborative learning in each of its several types from traditional classroom practice was that it did not seem to change what people learned (a supposition that now seems questionable) so much as it changed the social context in which they learned it. Students’ work tended to improve when they got help from peers; peers offering help, furthermore, learned from the students they helped and from the activity of helping itself. Collaborative learning, it seemed, harnessed the powerful educative force of peer influence that had been—and largely still is—ignored and hence wasted by traditional forms of education.

(Kenneth Bruffee 1984, p. 638).

In setting up the teacherless writing class I am trying to deny something—something that is often assumed: the necessary connection between teaching and learning. The teacherless writing class is a place where there is learning but no teaching. It is possible to learn something and not be taught.

(Peter Elbow 1973, p. vii).

Framing Questions

  • Can peer review provide indirect benefits for your students?
  • Can peer review teach meta-cognitive writing skills?
  • At what point in the drafting process is peer review valuable?