The first week – peer review

Graduating Teacher Standard 5b:

gather, analyse and use assessment information to improve learning and inform planning.

The first teaching week of practicum is always going to be exhausting – getting used to the school, learning the names of both staff and students, and staying on top of the work.

This week I jumped in the deep end, it wasn’t easy, but it was good. On my first day I taught the year elevens, and I have taught all of their classes this week. On the lead up to exams, the lessons I designed were all revision lessons. Challenging to do with a topic that you haven’t taught. But nonetheless, I did it! The week’s lessons were leading up to them handing in an essay on Friday, so I could mark them over the weekend and give them feedback/feedforward on Monday before they go on exam leave. Lessons included working on revising important content, going over essay questions, making essay plans, and eventually, bringing in drafts for peer review.

Peer review. It’s easy to think it is pointless. But it is not. And that is not just the teacher in me saying that. When students handed in their final essays, I asked them to also hand in their drafts and the peer review sheets. With the evidence of all three, it was easy to see the improvements that they were able to make just from the feedback of their peers. Most students went up a whole grade, and some students went from an achieved to an excellence.

Why peer review works:

– students have the opportunity to make improvements to work before handing it in

– students are able to see the common mistakes they make

– peer review allows students to read with an editors or a markers mind. This trains them to look at their own work this way

– feedback is in ‘student speak’. Often it is easy fall into the habit of explaining something how I understand it. I am constantly checking myself and the vocabulary that I use, but the joy of peer review is that the language used will always be at the level it needs to be.

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