Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Peer Editing - First Drafts

As we are following a Process Approach in this class, revising is an important part of the essay development.  Because your instructor is lazy we use peer editing.

Actually, "because lazy" is only half-true.  (Yes, I'm lazy!)  We use peer editing because as learners you learn from each other, and activate knowledge you picked up in previous classes, when you edit.

Similar to the book, I'm following a two-level peer review process.  There can be more, or fewer, levels of peer review.  And if fewer, it means that probably the writer needs to do self-editing, which can be very difficult.  (It's hard to see your own mistakes!)

Remember, we are using two colors of pens, plus a yellow highlighter.  The Green pen is for things we (editors) like, and Purple (or Red) is for things we think can be better.  Try to use green more than purple. The highlighter is more useful than underlining everything

Peer Editing, level one (after the first draft)

The peer reads the essay for general issues.  Spelling and grammar are NOT part of the job for level one peer editing. We want to make suggestions about ideas that might be changed, or general organization. Perhaps vocabulary may be commented on. Remember that we want to talk about ideas, phrases, and sentences (even paragraphs) more than little "errors."  Only comment on grammar when it actually makes things confusing, hard to understand.  Hopefully the writer has already done a basic grammar check (perhaps using MSWord's function, or just practiced their old TOEIC grammar-spotting skills).

Write your comments on the side of the page as much as possible, so it's easy to find.

After the first peer editing, the writer should re-write without copying everything from the first draft.  It's a rewrite, not a copy!  Many things might stay the same, but many things may change.

Peer Editing, level two (after the second draft)

When a peer editor reads the paper in level two, it will hopefully be easy to follow the ideas in this second draft, and the writing should be interesting and enjoyable to read. (The person doing level two peer editing may not have seen the paper before, it's better when it's a new peer editor, so no opinions from the earlier draft affect the reading of the second draft.)  We will talk more about level two editing in the future, but it can include level one issues as well as higher-level grammar issues such as choosing between two different forms (simple past versus past perfect?), developing more complex sentences (such as using dependent clauses to merge shorter sentences), or beautifying sentences that are already perfectly correct.

In a separate blog entry we will talk about using MSWord's Grammar-check tool.