Planning for the Conference: You’ll want to capture the details of the peer review by video/audio recording the conversation.
The writing conference is a time for focused, productive dialogue between writers and readers. This dialogue is important as writers work to revise their writing. Revision is a messy and complicated process, and the writing conference can provide a space for for writers to receive meaningful feedback, support, and encouragement. During a writing conference, the writer should talk as much as the reviewer– posing questions, thinking out loud, discussing his or her process, challenges and satisfactions.
The reader or reviewer should never write on the writer’s work and never tell the writer what to do or how to revise. Those are the writer’s decisions. The readers can, however, “I” statements to give thoughtful response to the writer’s work. For example, a reviewer might comment:
- “I think this strategy works because…” or
- “I am really drawn to this last paragraph because…” or
- “This sentence seems unclear because…” or
- “I’m not sure your draft meets the assignment guidelines because…”
- “I think this piece would better meet the needs of your audience if you…”
Step 1: Start the audio or video recording.
Step 2: The writer does the following:
- Thanks the reviewer for their time and feedback
- Explains the general assignment guidelines
- Discuss your specific audience, both demographics and psychographics
- Discuss your specific, detailed purpose
- Discuss what you are most satisfied with in this draft
- Discuss what you are least satisfied with in this draft
- Ask your reviewer to help you with one or more of the main challenges that you are having at this point in your writing process
Step 3: Pause the recording.
Step 4: The reviewer should read the draft, making notes in the margins or using Google Comments if applicable.
Step 5: Resume recording.
Step 6: The review does the following:
- Gives overall impressions of the draft
- Notes where and how the draft is effective for the audience
- Notes and how the draft might fall short of meeting audience needs
- Discuss how the draft achieves the author’s purpose
- Discuss where and how the draft might fall short of meeting audience needs
- Provides specific, actionable feedback that addresses the challenges the author state
- Provides specific, actionable feedback on anything else you think could be improved
Remember that being overly nice is not necessarily helpful for the writer. Also remember that the writer needs detailed, actionable feedback in order to improve.
An video example of peer review: