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John Rivas

on 19 February 2013

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Peer Response: Teaching Specific Revision Suggestions
Authors: Gloria A. Neubert & Sally J. McNelis Research in the Classroom: Learning through Response
Author: Alice M. Gillam Dr. Gillam received her Ph.D. from Ball State University and is currently the Director of Composition as well as an Associate Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is more concentrated with the area of Reading Rhetorically associating theories for the benefit of students. Gloria A. Neubert Summary of Main Points Peer Response - Books Published: Putting It All Together:
The Directed Reading Lesson in the Secondary Content Classroom New Teachers Helping New Teachers" Preservice Peer Coaching Dr. Neubert received her Ph.D. at the University of Maryland and is currently a Professor at Towson State University under the Department of Secondary Education. She typically writes on subjects pertaining to the classroom and how education for students could be improved. Specifically in this article Neubert talks about the importance of specific revision strategies like the PQP technique. Sally J. McNelis Words You Should Know - Vague Concrete - PQP - "Fish Bowl" Technique - Metacognition - "Believing Game" - Books Published: Reading Rhetorically: A Reader for Writers 3rd Ed. Writing Center Research: Extending the Conversation Is a response given by peers to improve quality; feedback; it is also used as an editing technique for written work. Ex. Peer Response can be familiarized by a student and teacher, the student gets peer response or feedback from the teacher to improve their work as well as the teacher finding new ways to teach through different students. Alice M. Gillam "Comments that are full of generalities, providing little or no specific direction for revision or for transfer through praise." (Neubert, and McNelis 53) Ex. "Try to revise the entire second page." or "I liked this piece." (Neubert, and McNelis 53) McNelis was the first Professional Development School Facilitator for the Secondary Education Department at Towson University. McNelis taught for 33 years and taught Humanities for the Baltimore County Public Schools at Eastern Technical High and received the Teacher of the Year award for 1994-95. Articles Published: The Resource Center: Hub of Inclusive Activities Peer Response: Teaching Specific Revision Suggestions Improving Writing in the Disciplines A technique used in peer response groups where they praise, question, and polish drafts in order to teach students how to properly peer response Ex. Praise - What is good about the writing?
Question - As a reader, what do you not understand?
Polish - What specific suggestions for improvement can you make?" (Neubert and McNelis 52) The authors of these articles are explaining the effectiveness of Peer Response. They believe it is important because "peer response benefits the respondent as much as the one whom the response is directed." (Gillam, 98) It is important to read and under stand this article because Peer Response not only helps both peers but also assists the first-year composition students to build their metacognition to better understand their thoughts processes granting better performance and tap into the "believing game" state allowing students to be more tolerant of their drafts. "The ability to monitor one's own thinking processes." (Gillam, 99) Ex. To know and understand why you do certain learning behaviors and how they associate with your learning. Neubert & McNelis have teachers grieve over the use of peer responses because they have students who aren't effectively responding to their peers and students complain over the lack of concrete suggestions their peers gives them. So in order to fix this problem they conduct a one-year research on middle school students to figure out how to teach the students to give focused and specific responses to their peers. They want to figure out whether peer response is actual help in the classroom or is it the lack of suggestions and responses the students are giving each other? Concrete suggestions provide the writer receiving the feedback specific direction for revision. (Neubert and McNelis 52,53) Ex. "I still can't get a picture of Anna. What clothes does she wear, and what do her hair and face look like?" (Neubert and McNelis 53) The technique used to teach/show students now to conduct a proper PQP exercise. Ex. Sally and three students rehearsed and then role-played a PQP session while the remainder of the class watched and noted the process." (Neubert and McNelis 53) Ex. "Tutoring has taught her to see early drafts as "half full" instead of "half empty." (Gillam 98) "Trusting in the students capacity to learn from one another and for themselves." (Gillam 99) The research brought on by the author concludes that when "students receive concrete suggestions for revision, they do revise with the suggestions in mind" (Neubert and McNelis, 52) this study was conducted by Nina D. Ziv and it meant that students who do receive constructive feedback implement it in their work. This study compliments the general subject, Peer Response brought on by Neubert and McNelis because it shows how students are willingly to accept other peer's concrete suggestions. In Gillam's article she uses the study conducted by Karen Spear where she argues how peer response "offers the best opportunity for students to develop the higher order reading skills" (Gillam, 98) this invokes high-level critical reading skills in students. Summary of Main Points Neubert and McNelis conducted their own research through experimenting middle school students and using past strategies which were used on high school and college level students. Where as Gillam made an observation of her peer tutors and started to quote and gain resources from Karen Spear's experiences of peer response groups and resources of peer response groups through other works like Ann Matsuhashi and her peer tutor Brad and many other theorists like P. Pearson, Robert J. Tierney, Anne Gere, Robert Abbott, Peter Elbow, Mary Healy. Gillam in her article referred the importance of peer response as an act of metacognition where a person who is aware of how they think allows them to understand the language of peer response. This ability not only gives concrete feedback but also shows information on how that feedback was constructed by their thinking process allowing them to perform better in their next peer response because of the learned processes. In Neubert and McNelis their experiment only magnifies what Gillam has spoken of already because when the students were taught to effectively use peer response their percentage of specific rose up and the percentage of vague plummeted down showing that metacognition of peer response helps students become more aware of their processes of peer response. The Paradox of Theories In reading "Peer Response: Teaching Specific Revision Strategies" by Gloria A. Neubert and Sally J. McNelis as well as "Research in the Classroom: Learning through Response" by Alice M. Gillam both articles defend peer-response from the sheer criticism of teachers and students. They believe students who use peer response effectively will "invoke high-level critical reading skills" (Gillam, 98) and develop "critical capacities which will serve them well as writers" (Gillam, 99). So if peer response brings the benefit of both disciplines, would the peer response of a different discipline invoke high-level reading and writing skills, or does peer response only function for reading and writing classrooms? If peer response is brought on by other peers then how would we ever satisfy the expectations of every reader? Question: Response: It isn't that peer response automatically invokes high-level reading and writing skills but through metacognition where I as a student understand the processes of my thoughts where i am consciously aware of my learning behaviors. So through every teaching of life lesson or discipline where i am invoked to either have a conversation with a person about a problem or thought, or whether I'm at home alone arguing my self about whether i should work out or not it is through these conversations where i begin to learn how and why i have that problem or thought or why i don't feel like working out or why i should. So, i believe that every person goes through a "personal peer-response" where they reflect with themselves or others and quickly begin to learn how to overcome those problems or that attitude of laziness. So in a classroom setting where we use peer response to analyze our peer's drafts and have them review ours helps us to reflect ourselves and go through the process of thinking how this draft comes together or how we missed that certain objective on our draft. We then learn high-level critical reading and writing skills through the practice of knowing the learning behaviors we go through by perfecting any mistakes found in our drafts or any mistakes we found in our peer's drafts.

The only problem I possibly see with peer response is that not every person will have the same thought process as you do. Like Keith Hjortshoj states about variations in a essay "subject of the writing, its purpose, and the reader's expectations" (Downs & Wardle, 558) that last variation is a huge one pertaining to the exercise of peer response because the whole point of peer response is for various peers to read your draft but "what seems clear to one audience might not be clear to another" (Downs & Wardle, 558). So how could you ever satisfy various peers' expectations? Well the only solution for such a problem would be the PQP technique that Neubert & McNelis use with students. The way it would simplify the process of peer response would be to give feedback in a praise, question, and polish form. Praise, where I am given an example of "good writing" from my draft this allows me to remember the thought process that went through the construction of that example (metacognition). Question, where i am given a question where it forces me to use metacognition because they ask examples like "why did i say ___ ?" this allows me to think back to when i wrote that particular line and i could explain to them what i was feeling at the time or give them my perspective on the issue. Polish, this is an important step for the reader because now they are challenged to think and are given the position of the writer and not only that but they are benefiting the writer by giving specific suggestions to perfect the draft. This PQP technique helps by incorporating various opinions about the draft and to give concrete suggestions that could be useful to the writer and as a writer learn the expectations of a reader. Word Count: 532 McNelis, Sally, and Gloria Neubert. "Peer Response: Teaching Specific Revision Suggestions." English Journal. 79.5 (1990): 52-56. Web. 19 Feb. 2013. <www.jstor.org/stable/818375>.
Works Cited Gillam, Alice. "Research in the Classroom: Learning through Response." English Journal. 79.1 (1990): 98-99. Web. 19 Feb. 2013. <www.jstor.org/stable/818918>.
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