I always seem to have students who believe that effective writing is verbose. If they exceed the page minimum, they expect a high grade. These students tend to applaud themselves for the hard work on essay assignments, and it can be very difficult to convince them that their style of writing is actually quite lazy. As English teachers, we try to teach students that writing should be precise and concise. In order for students to accomplish this goal, they must have an extensive vocabulary and clear command of syntax. In short, we teach the adage:
Every school day, teachers everywhere arrive an hour before school starts and leave at least an hour after school ends, often hauling a bin or crate of grading or prep to complete. We spend hour upon hour researching the best methods to teach, to differentiate, to engage. We spend hours, creating, preparing, and tweaking lesson plans, activities, and assessments. At the elementary level, teachers spend hours decorating and cutting and laminating and stuffing little sandwich bags for new activities. At the secondary level, English teachers, for example— sift through, read, correct, and comment thoughtfully on 120 students’ 3 page papers (which totals 360 pages of material – for one assignment.
Essay writing is such a powerful, necessary skill for students and such a arduous and draining requirement for teachers. A while ago, I shared a post with tips for getting through the essay stacksand today I want to share another process for peer editing that I use with students during the early part of the school year. I find it helps improve student writing and saves me time not writing the same comments over and over again!
I recently wrote an article about the importance of peer editing, and I took a step back and realized that many of you may not know how to implement a successful peer editing program in the first place. Here are some tried-and-true techniques for teaching your students the skill and practice of effective peer editing.
I am a strong proponent of peer editing. The
benefits of peer editing are numerous, and before any teacher sees an essay, it should have been peer edited at least once. It is crucial, however, that students know how to peer edit, and why. Here are 5 reasons students should be doing more peer-editing: