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The “Craft” of Peer Revision: Part IV

posted: 4.29.15 by Barclay Barrios

In this series we’ve looked at a few ways to make the craft of peer revision more “crafty.”  All of these exercises tend to be a big hit in my classes and I usually end up with stronger papers to grade because of this work.

But why?  Why do students do this work so enthusiastically and so well?  I have some theories:

  • Fun Factor.  Most of the students in the writing classes I teach are there because they have to be—the class is required.  Most of them also have a troubled relationship to writing, thinking they’re not very good at it for example.  Introducing craft-based activities introduces an element of fun into something many students find to be very hard work.
  • Nostalgia.  Teetering on the edge of adult responsibilities, students are reminded of a simpler time with these activities, a time filled with nap time and recess instead of exams and papers.
  • Switched Registers.  All of these exercises switch into a new register, allowing students a new perspective on writing, one in which they might see completely different things in their work.
  • Learning Modes.  Similarly, these activities touch on visual and kinesthetic learning in ways that can engage students who tend to learn in those modes.

I suspect there are other factors at play here and I will love to hear your thoughts.  Do you have any “crafty” exercises?  Why do you think they tend to work so well?

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Categories: Activity Idea, Drafting, Learning Styles, Peer Review, Revising, Teaching Advice, Writing Process
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