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Peer Feedback

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In reference to literature, Nicole et al. (2013) claim that “students often perceive the feedback they receive from peers as more understandable and helpful than teacher feedback, because it is written in a more accessible language”.

To what extent do you agree?

In your opinion, what are the benefits of peer feedback on learning, respectively on improving student writing?

Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Philology

14 November 2017

Peer feedback is the activity of helping students improve by giving comments to each other on their work (Nicole, Thomson, & Breslin, 2013). It contrasts the traditional method, that of the teacher to student feedback giving method. In contemporary times the peer feedback method is becoming a commonly used method. Undoubtedly, accessible language makes peer feedback practical and the benefits of peer feedback in writing range from syntax, word order to the overall idea and meaning of the work.

Learning a foreign language is quite a difficult task in itself so having people that help you go through the process is a significant advantage. Working with your peers is critical to the process because more or less you will have the same level of knowledge in the target language. Having someone with extensive knowledge of English provide feedback was not shown to be more successful than the feedback received from people with the same level (Li, Liu, & Steckelberg,, 2010). As suggested by Li et al (2010) it can be easily understood that when it comes to how students feel about the comments they receive about their work, it is easier to understand someone that has to work on the same writing task. Having the same issues on mind and having no established gap on the L2 language proficiency enables us as students to improve efficiently by working closely with each other. This substantially supports the idea that accessible language provides an easier pathway in regards to incorporating peer feedback. The comments given by peers were used to improve the writing in the following drafts of the work by both levels, the local aspects of syntax, word order and the overall idea and meaning of the work (Altsteadter, 2016).

Globally, peer feedback seems to prove its worth by being more accessible. Certain grammar constituents were improved by peer comments and such improvements derived from the accessible language (Berggren, 2014). This finding is not the only one to support the idea that accessibility makes peer feedback more relevant to further improving each others work. Such claims can be also seen in Min (2006), Rahimi (2013) and Zhao (2010). As evidenced in Yang (2015) students were able to find their weakest points in writing and work on them more effectively after having reviewed the feedback from their peers. Furthermore, most of the comments during peer feedback sessions were made on the areas concerning writing such as grammar, word order and lexicography (Yang, 2015).

Reading other works enables me to get in touch with different sentence structures and techniques unknown to me but fitting to the goal of improving writing skills. By seeing other perspectives on the matter at hand students can come up with more creative ideas and self-propel to higher margins. Having to criticize other people’s work is a vigorous way of obtaining valuable improvements in ones’ skills (Rollinson, 2005). It can be reckoned that all the evidence provided above supports the claims of Nicole et al. (2013) that accessible language is what makes peer feedback effective and especially when it concerns writing. Various and numerous research conducted on the matter provides enough evidence in supporting these claims. Peer feedback is a valuable asset to students and its benefits are numerous to further works and goals.

References

  1. Altstaedter, L. L. (2016). Investigating the impact of peer feedback in a foreign language writing. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 1-15.
  2. Berggren, J. (2014). Learning from giving feedback: a study of secondary-level students. ELT Journal, 1-13.
  3. Li, L., & Liu, X., & Steckelberg, A. L. (2010). Assessor or Assessee: How student learning improves by giving and receiving peer feedback. British Journal of Educational Technology, 41, 525-536.
  4. Min, H. (2006). The effects of trained peer review on EFL students’ revision types and writing quality. Journal of Second Language Writing, 15, 118-141.
  5. Rahimi, M. (2013). Is training student reviewers worth its while? A study of how training influences the quality of students’ feedback and writing. Language Teaching Research, 17, 67 89. 
  6. Rollinson, P. (2005). Using peer feedback in the ESL writing class. ELT Journal, 59/1.
  7. Yang, Y. (2015). Transforming and constructing academic knowledge through online peer feedback in summary writing. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 29(4), 683-702.
  8. Zhao, H. (2010). Investigating learners’ use and understanding of peer and teacher feedback on writing: A comparative study in a Chinese English writing classroom. Assessing Writing, 15, 3-17.
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