Peer Feedback: An Essential Skill to Teach

It is important for students to receive valuable feedback on their work. Typically as educators, we assume full responsibility for this and become the sole distributor of feedback in our classrooms. But developing students’ ability to give peer feedback is a much-needed skill. Even though we may have modeled how to provide good feedback, that doesn’t necessarily translate to students having the skills to give that same quality feedback to their peers.

I found this out the hard way when I was a classroom teacher. I asked my students to get with a partner and share feedback on a writing prompt assignment. Consequently, I almost needed to call in the counselor to do therapy for my students because their partners were brutally honest, sharing that this was the worst writing they’ve ever seen. That day I was reminded that even third graders can give honest but cruel feedback unless taught how to say it constructively.

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