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Page history last edited by Mariah Fairley 5 years, 2 months ago

Mazura, C., Rapant, J., & Sawyer, M. (2018). Teaching Revision as an Act of Voice and Agency. English Journal107(3), 81–86.



In this article, Mazura, Rapant and Sawyer revisit the peer review endeavor and explore how one teacher, Mazura, uses it as a site for the development of voice and agency. The authors lament the all-too-familiar tendency for peer review to attend only to surface-level errors and to be seen as an exercise in ‘correcting’ the peer’s text. Rapant and Sawyer observed Mazura’s 12th grade writing classroom as they engaged in peer review, and they describe how he slows down the review process using a six-layered approach to help students engage more critically with and show genuine appreciation for a peer’s text. After observation, Rapant and Sawyer conducted interviews with Mazura’s students. The authors assert that Mazura’s approach to peer review creates a sense of community and agency among the students and develops their writing voices.



Mazura, Rapant and Sawyer share some intriguing ideas about the peer review process. Many students may tend to struggle to find value in peer review, despite elaborate worksheets and other effrots to help structure the process, so Mazura’s approach offers some promising options for teachers to explore. The concept of slowing down the process and focusing on what can be appreciated or celebrated in a peer’s writing, rather than identifying ‘errors’ to be corrected definitely resonates with me. Each of the six approaches is explained clearly and includes the written instructions for teachers to provide their students. My concern about this article though is that it doesn’t provide enough feedback from the student perspective. Although the authors interviewed all of the students, only one student quote is presented, with the authors implying that this quote is representative of all of the students. I would have liked to have seen more student quotes and also mention of any struggles the teacher may have faced in implementing his approaches to peer review.


Key Quotations


Slow down the peer review process: “Layered instruction creates time for the thinking of student writers and the relationships within the classroom community to mature— similar to slow food, where additional time and iterations allow for the development of flavor” (p. 81).


Ask the writer first before peer reviewing: “If you are a reader, first ask the writer about their project before reading” (p. 83).


Focusing on the good during peer review: “While appreciation may include descriptive validation and musing about writerly choices, it may also surface conversation about how the text is working in a way not previously considered by the writer” (p. 84).


Annotation by Mariah Fairley, 2018


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