Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Peer Critique: Creating a Culture of Revision

Peer Critique: Creating a Culture of Revision, Dialogue, Critical Thinking, Understanding of High-Quality Work and Craftsmanship, and What it Really Means to be Done.

When it comes to the art of giving or receiving corrective feedback

or participating in peer critiques, students' need to rehearse and practice the procedures and protocols daily. Peer critique, critical feedback, formative feedback is a topic that has been widely discussed and studied, yet is only slowly gaining importance in schools today. Schools that want to help students develop problem-solving skills and critical thinking are adopting the cultures of peer critique, revision and cooperative problem-solving. From the teacher’s perspective, they have to give the right constructive feedback, critique or clarification, but in a way that doesn’t sound or feel judgmental and or a personal attack, yet still helps get the main point across. When a school adopts the protocols and procedures at all grades students know that they are always going to critique all work and make it better through inquiry, problem-solving and peer critique.


At Two Rivers Public Charter School, they have developed their own system of critiquing and it involves the students assessing, analyzing and looking for ways to help their peers’ improve their work at all levels. They are training their students to seek better ways to improve the inquiry process for all students, using Socratic methods, problem based learning, and peer critique that starts at kindergarten.
Before we go any further, we should point out that the school has outperformed the average score for the state on PARCC assessment for ELA and math. Furthermore, they have been rated as ‘Tier 1’ school since 2012 by the DC Public Charter School Board. During the school year of 2015/2016, they had one of the highest attendance rates in the region at 94%. Therefore, we can see that creating a culture of inquiry, peer critique and problem solving they are doing many things right and parents and teachers believe a large percentage of this is down to the culture or critical thinking, peer critique, problem solving, and revision.

Every day, the students come together to participate with peers in the Socratic inquiry process, regardless of grade, they review, analyze, and critique the work of their peers’. With three basic rules in place (Peer Critique Protocols), every question or comment they make must be kind, specific (truthful), and helpful, and this allows students to reflect on learning and advance or adjust their understanding. When a peer says ‘ I really feel you are using great details in your writing, but could you change the sentence syntax? it is not as clear as it could be, it can be improved by ‘….’’, it helps both parties discover and develop their strengths and overcome their weaknesses. Over time, students see multiple examples of what exemplary work looks like, they examine quality and standards, and internalize the values of a strong work ethic. Students grasp that low-quality work produced with little or no effort is never considered done! Students develop correct judgment; they learn to compare and contrast their own work and see how revision will improve their work. Growing a culture of peer critique and Socratic inquiry helps student develop critical thinking, this process is transformative for staff and students.

Peer Critique Protocols

Using "nonjudgmental" peer critique protocols that develops the students ability to give and receive meaningful feedback, that supports their academic growth and the growth of peers, creates students that are lifelong problem solvers. Your students will greatly improve their writing and other work by recognizing their strengths and weaknesses and the strengths and weaknesses of others. Giving and receiving critical feedback is the key to becoming erudite scholars. Giving critical feedback and receiving critical feedback helps students become better "Problem Solvers", critical feedback is all about finding a better, stronger, or more proficient way to solve problems! Critical feedback is about being hard on the work not the person.

Peer Critique Protocol - EngageNY (doc)
Peer Critique Protocol. Non-Negotiables. Be Kind: Always treat others with dignity and respect. This means we never use words that are hurtful, including ..
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Peer Critique Non-Negotiables

1. Be Kind: Always treat others with dignity and respect. This means we never use words or tones that are hurtful, including sarcasm.

2. Be Specific and Truthful: Focus on particular strengths and weaknesses, rather than making general comments like “It’s good” or “I like it.” Provide insight into why it is good or what, specifically, you like about it.

“This part is very clear, yet this part is unclear….”
“I notice the details are not very clear….”
“I suggest….”
“I notice….”
“I wonder if this way….”
“If this were my work, I would….”

3. Be Helpful and Supportive: The goal is to positively contribute to the individual or the group, not to simply be heard. Echoing the thoughts of others or cleverly pointing out details that are irrelevant wastes time.

4. Participate: Peer critique is a process to support each other, and your feedback is valued!

Rather than teachers giving critical feedback and then hoping for improvement or being resented, students now have something to compare and contrast their own work against and all students lift and push each other up to highest heights. As well as reviewing the work of others, they will also look at perfect examples or examples of work that has achieved the highest grade. With anchor text, anchor charts and multiple student exemplars, they split up into cooperative pairs and examine exactly why the work has achieved a highest grade. Once they see the components that make up ‘excellent’ work, they can further explore these ideas and use them within their own work. Immediately, they will have improved and learned new skills. Revision is the process of critical thinking, problem solving and adjusting knowledge, skills and or work.

As you can see, this has some great short-term benefits because they will improve their work with each critiquing session. However, it also has some fantastic long-term benefits because it will change the culture we see within the classroom. For many years, it has been a culture of ‘teacher knows best’ and that teachers are the only ones that can give advice. Now, we have an atmosphere where every student wants to help one another and this can only grow stronger with time. As they spend many years with each other in class, they will naturally help each other, point out mistakes, and explain how improvements can be made. Even without prompting, they will point out spelling mistakes, errors in understanding or miscalculations and this is something that has been lacking in many classrooms for years.

As children, we are focused on ourselves but this opens up a whole new world where the growth of our friends is just important as our own growth. All things considered, this is a fantastic school culture to adapt and promote, one that now has proven results since its implementation. When the culture is created within the class, all students will be involved, no student will ever be left behind, and the whole class can grow as a group with kind, specific, and helpful feedback!

Creating a culture of critique and revision:

Helps build student oracy

The ability of students to express oneself articulately, fluently and grammatically in speech. Students will become confident in voicing their ideas, opinions, advice and learn to give a friendly critique.
Helps students reflect on the learning of others
Students examining their understanding and the understanding of others, this examination and questioning is an important tenet of the Socratic method. Students reflect and think critically about new knowledge, learning and background knowledge develops faster and students make adjustments to their learning and understanding as needed.
Giving and receiving critical feedback helps develops a growth mindset
Giving and receiving critical feedback helps students become better "Problem Solvers", constructive feedback is the process of finding a better solution, a more resilient or cogent way to improve skills and ability. Building knowledge and problem solving skills are the key to adapting and overcoming problems! They see multiple solutions that may not have occurred to them working individually.
Helps students to actively listens and reflect on their learning and their peers
Students retention of information is increased, their understanding is expanded, reflection, enjoyment, and engagement in all learning activities. Seeks to understand the ideas, feelings, thoughts and viewpoints of others. Listens to others with the intention of understanding.
Helps students to become critical thinkers and problem solvers
(“critical thinking: process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action")
Maybe, if we set our goals to inspire our students to become Polymaths and not College and Career Ready widgets, maybe we will see a Renascence in education.

“The 'polymath' had already died out by the close of the eighteenth century, and in the following century intensive education replaced extensive, so that by the end of it the specialist had evolved. The consequence is that today everyone is a mere technician, even the artist...” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

A polymath (Greek: πολυμαθής, polymathēs, "having learned much") is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas; such a person is known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems.


[PDF]Peer Critique Protocol
Peer Critique. Fill this out prior to your Critique and have your artwork at least 60% complete. If you are not ready you will not get a critique or credit for the ...

[PDF]Appendix: Protocols and Resources - EngageNY
Peer Critique. 23. Popcorn Read. 24. Praise, Question, Suggest. 25. Quiz-‐Quiz-‐Trade. 26. Rank-‐Talk-‐Write. 27. Say Something. 28. Science Talks. 29.


[PDF]Peer Critique: Purpose, Models and Protocol - High Tech High
The purpose of peer critique is to provide the creator(s) with feedback that will help them to know what exactly is working well and specifically what to change.


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