Teaching and Using Peer Response in the SWS Classroom

Last updated April 2014

Created by Charles Lowe, Dept. of Writing

You can also download a PDF version of this tutorial.

Why Peer Response?

Peer response activities are an effective active learning pedagogy for SWS courses.* They are collaborative processes whereby writers learn from other writers, both through the act of giving and receiving feedback. Knowing that they will have to share their writing with peers can be an incentive for students to work harder on their drafts, harder than they would have if merely submitting their writing to the teacher.

While many students may think that peer response is only about getting advice to fix their own papers, students can also become better at analyzing the needs of their own writing through the experience of responding to the writing of others. It can help students to see alternatives to how they have addressed the writing context of the assignment. It also can give them a better sense of how a reader will react to what has been written. During those times when a teacher’s recommendations are not getting through to a writer, students will often understand and respond to the same advice coming from a peer.

When directed toward specific goals, peer response can also be used to emphasize individual overall writing objectives for the course. For example, the teacher can plan peer response activities that focus on writing strategies discussed in a recent lesson. Students can practice applying specific writing skills through giving feedback. And they can learn where they might not have been applying those skills in their own writing.  

Consequently, the GVSU University Writing Skills committee strongly recommends the use of peer response activities for the teaching of writing. It is a collection of helpful ideas to assist you in better integrating peer response activities into the classroom.

Next: Peer Review vs. Peer Response (vs. Peer Editing)

* This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/. Any derivatives of this work must attribute the text to Grand Valley State University SWS.

Page last modified February 16, 2017