As composition classes grow larger and more diverse, writing instructors face new challenges. This presentation outlines the challenges of using peer-review in large, diverse classes. It summarizes various problems traditionally associated with peer-review (such as time consumption, skill differences, learning style differences), then focuses on two problems that are magnified in larger, more diverse classes: variant language skills and negative preconceptions of students. Taking into account the perspectives of five writing instructors and 150 students at the University of Toronto, this article offers three practical strategies for addressing these problems: 1) a carefully considered distribution of credits based on content, coherence, and clarity; 2) a rigorously organized process for peer-review; 3) clearly articulated expectations for peer comments. Sample evaluation criteria sheets and peer-review guidelines are included at the end of the article. By approaching these problems practically, writing instructors can, this article shows, enable both students who use English as an additional language (EAL students) and students who speak English as their primary language to improve their writing. A practical approach can also increase students’ appreciation of one another’s diverse strengths. Instructors across the Humanities can adapt these guidelines to help their own students write more effective essays.
|Keywords:||Composition, Writing, Diversity, Peer-Review|
Assistant Professor, English Department, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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