Eli Review’s free and open article “Feedback and Improvement” encourages students to observe the Golden Rule:
Give the feedback you’d want to receive.
Reviewers GIVE feedback that describes what they understand the writer’s main ideas to be, evaluates how well the writer achieves their goals, and suggests ways to build on strengths or improve weaknesses. Especially in the early weeks of the term, providing sample sentences can help reviewers give better feedback.
Writers TAKE feedback. They need to work through reviewers’ perspectives on their drafts’ meaning, successes and struggles, and advice for next steps. Receiving feedback comes with a lot of feelings too. Encouraging writers to rate the helpfulness of the feedback they’ve received and to reflect when adding comments to their revision plans guides them through these decisions.
As instructors, you can coach the give-and-take by discussing three comments after a peer review:
- a kind and helpful one,
- an accurate but unhelpful one, and
- a simple praise.
Lead the class in thinking aloud about how to reflect on the kind and helpful comment. Then, lead the class in revising the other two comments to follow the describe-evaluate-suggest pattern. If the reviewer hasn’t done the work, the writer has to fill in the gaps themselves.
If everyone commits to giving helpful feedback, then everyone will get better feedback too.
Learn more about how to Mind the Gap: Giving and Receiving Feedback