modeling peer-response groups

Nothin’ like doing what you ask of your students to increase one’s humility quotient. Last night I presented the first draft of an essay I wrote on Susan Glaspell’s “A Jury of Her Peers,” one of the stories we’ve read. I wrote the essay yesterday afternoon. The article I read by Ronald Barron (“What I Wish I Had Known About Peer-Response Groups But Didn’t,” English Journal) insists that the teacher introducing peer-response groups must use a first draft of his/her own. So I did. I read the piece aloud. Then the class started commenting. May I say that I prefaced my reading with, “I don’t really like this piece. It’s not very good.” Wow. Students really came up with great comments, but I swear, when one guy said, “It’s really more of a summary,” I almost wept. A summary! The kiss of death. I keep saying that students need to be taught how to become skilled readers, helpful peer reviewers, but this class was all over my paper, and they had only listened to me read it one time. I really hated putting my writing out there. I was nervous. I didn’t want to be criticized, even though I knew this was a first draft. I felt much more vulnerable than I thought I would. I’ve got much more respect for my students and what they go through in peer-response groups.

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3 Responses to modeling peer-response groups

  1. Toni D. says:

    I don’t like it when my writing is criticized either. When someone is reading my writing I feel like I am opening my mind and heart up for others to look around for something wrong. I know I am not very good at the grammer thing, but I am working on it. I think I just have a problem with all the rules and regulations people put on writing. I feel that writing should just be easy to understand while getting your point across. Nothing more technical than that.

  2. Katy J says:

    I am a very shy person and I am not in any way a speaker. I have so many reservations about my writting. I would love to be published one day especially now that I know I can write about something that I am passionate about. Just like the other day in class when we all got a “book deal”, I almost read my writting because it was about what I love but my nerves got the best of me. I am so glad that you aren’t affraid to let us know that your nerves still get to you. I really enjoy sharing this with you and I love this website. Thanks.

  3. Checkerberry says:

    So, I guess I just got some payback last night. At least when you read your paper it was followed by intentionally helpful comments from a majority of the class. All I got was crickets! 😦

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