Wednesday, October 20, 2010


The room is full of noise, eight pairs of students hip-deep in peer-reviewing one another's drafts of their Senior Seminar written reports. I know some teachers are afraid of this sort of semi-structured clamor, but to me the din is marvelous: the class is boiling with activity, with life, with authentic knowledge-building. This is where ideas are born.

"I think that what concerned me about your project was this point, right here..."

"I'm not just saying this: I really want to read your paper when it's done. This topic is interesting, and you write about it really engagingly..."

"I can understand how you might read that sentence that way. I think what I was trying to say was..."

"I see what you're saying. I was trying to be really explicit, but..."

If you don't yet include peer review in your classes, start. Start now. I never cease to be amazed by the insightful comments my students offer to one another when primed prompted to do so.

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