The process of peer-review is often an evaluative one, where the focus becomes about finding the mistakes within the work and pointing out areas of improvement. The student then goes back to simply make those corrections or revisions. Albeit, the process is a passive one.
While peer perspective on a task is important in developing a polished and high-quality product, students are more likely to think critically and internalize the feedback when the process becomes an active one.
So, how do we do that? How do we make peer review more dynamic so that students are practicing and employing their critical thinking skills?
We reframe peer-editing, to peer-exploring. Peer exploration emphasizes the discovery of new ideas and perspectives, rather than solely focusing on evaluating and correcting mistakes.
We recognize the peer-editor as the liaison between their peers’ current work, and the substance necessary to elevate the quality of that work. This obligates the student on the receiving end to actively incorporate the feedback into their writing in a way that is meaningful to them, because rather than being told what to do, they are being guided to think about what is missing from the work.
The peer-explorer can actively investigate and seek knowledge from the work in the following ways:
-look for an alternative perspective/ or interpretation that could be applied.
-identify the key-takeaways and denote how these takeaways are (or are not) interwoven throughout.
-keeping the audience in mind, distinguish how the work will build upon their knowledge base.
-acknowledge that the text structure is organized in a manner that is appropriate for the task and allows for a clear and comprehensive understanding.
It's important to note that peer exploration doesn't mean that the evaluation aspect is not important, it just means that it is not the only focus. Peer exploration can be done in conjunction with evaluation, but students should have a clear understanding of how exploration and evaluation are different.