Even with instruction in collaborative group work, however, some students have difficulty knowing how to give effective feedback on writing because they lack confidence, skills, or knowledge.
It is important, therefore, that students receive instruction in this process.
First, he or she must be clear about the purpose of the activity.
Is the goal to provide support as students generate ideas, help the writer see the writing with "new eyes," or to do a detailed review of a complete draft? Will students give feedback orally, in writing, or electronically? Third, the teacher will need to decide how to ensure accountability for the process.
Simply designating a day for either peer editing and giving each student a red pen and free range to check his or her best friend’s paper is not enough.
Peer editing with mentor sentences is a great way to not only teach students how to write correct and effective thesis statements and topic sentences, but it also guides students in the because they are looking for and correcting or complementing specific aspects of the essay.
Finally, they recommend having the writer list issues or concerns he or she has with the writing to elicit specific feedback on areas of concern.
Students benefit from this self-reflection and often know what kind of feedback would be most helpful for them.
Second, the teacher must decide how to structure the activity. What kind of guidance will students get about the kind of feedback to give? Will students be given credit for reviewing each other's papers?
Will the teacher evaluate peer feedback for appropriateness? The answer to these questions will depend on the purpose of the activity, the dynamics of the class, and the nature of the writing assignment.