When writing an essay, do you ever think of who will revise it for you?Who is going to make sure you didn’t leave anything out? Well my job as a peer responder allows me to do just that. “We help you develop confidence and good writing habits”, says Jennifer Nicklay, the writer of “Got guilt?”I became a peer responder this year in English 1100 and it has really helped me develop as a writer. My job is to respond to my peers and give them some sort of feedback that they can grow off of. Not only do I give positive feedback, but I also relate with my writers, provide assistance and my input, and lastly I help them to create a final and finished product.
A major project we did in class was color coding our peer responses.”Qualitative coding involves an iterative process of reading and annotating the transcripts, noting patterns and exceptions(DeCheck).” Doing this was going to allow us to decifer what type of responder we were. It also helped us to determine what kind of syles we should reach out to. I learned what I should improve on as well as the rest of my classmates. Looking at everyone else’s color coding models, really showed the variety of responders we are associated with. This is necessary to expand our learning experiences inside and out of the classroom.
As a peer responder, I enjoy reading about the different stories and experiences my peers have gone through. It is nice to have a great group of peers that are willing to share their personal, private stories. I also enjoy comparing and contrasting the different writing styles that we obtain. Every responder has their own theme of delivering feedback. Writing in a blog everyday, I have noticed a theme in my responses. I tend to give positive feedback, words of encouragement, and I like to personally relate to the writer. I steer away from negative feedback, constructive criticism, and extreme detail.
“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will(Unknown).” This is a quote I choose to live by, and it seems to do me justice. When responding to my peers I always pull out the positive aspects before anything else. An example of positive feedback is, “Lily, I wasnt expecting politics as your topic, but I think you would be the best candidate to do so.” Stating my opinion then my positive words, shows Lily that I believe she can create a strong paper. Another example is, “Peek,what a great idea to do your project on something that does not want to be talked about, but it is definitely a problem!” Here again, positivity seems to be the first thing I nail. Being positive tends to help motivate the writer much more than negative feedback.
Next, I like to inspire my writers with wonderful words of encouragement. Encouraging others to do well or strive for success, helps them to find the confidence to encourage themselves. When I responded to my JHR student, I told her to “Let me know if you need any help or suggestions and keep up the good work!” Encouraging her has helped her to become more comfortable with sharing her writing with me, and has even helped her improve on her time management. She emailed me saying that she really appreciated the “words of encouragement” and that it really helped her to keep striving to do better. “Instead of giving myself reasons why I can’t, I give myself reasons why I can(Unknown).” A quote I have heard growing up is one that I have kept close to heart. This simply means to do the best you can do so you can achieve the greater things in life. I strive to give the best responses in return for the same from peers. I believe that never giving up is another great motivator when improving a skill that is very important in your life.
With the two of these response styles under my belt, lastly, I like to relate to my writers on a personal level. It never seems to hard to think of a story in my life that does not relate to my peers. A crazy example I have is, “My oldest sister had a mole removed from her back and I wanted to see how they did it, so I watched them scrape it out and it looked horrifying!” Shannon told us about her skin cancers and I related skin removal with my sister’s experience. Shannon had no idea about her skin cancers until they started to stand out to her mother. It was a good thing they were seen early because they can be very devastating. She described the pain and and fear she was going through and it reminded me of the experience I had witnessed with my sister. Another great example was in a response to Aaron, “I have had my fair share of nursing home visits, but it was a little different for me. My mom happened to work at a nursing home called Britthaven and although some of the residents were rude, mean, and senial, I really enjoyed keeping them company.” He did his senior project at a nursing home and I have spent many afternoons with elderly folks in several nursing homes. I was able to relate with Aaron and give him positive feedback.
My job as a peer response writer is to help guide my peers in the right direction to a great piece of writing. I try no to stress the grammar, punctuation, and mispelled words, because those are the simple mistakes that can easily be fixed. Instead I try to focus my attention to the content of the piece. This will help the writers to gather their full ideas and thoughts which are the main topics instead of the little mistakes. I have learned that trial and error is the best way to help improve a piece. Once you get a rough draft down and peer edited, it helps the writer to grasp a better understanding of what needs to be fixed. I have also learned many different styles of responding. I have concluded that I need to be more specific and straight forward to the writer to give them more options of improving. I also should use more ” I statements” and “you should” statements to benefit the writer. This experience of peer responding has helped mold me into a better reponder.”Many former tutors write about gaining confidence in themselves through a new intimacy with and understanding of the writing process.” By working with others, tutors gain the skills necessary to better develop their own ideas and compositions(DeCheck).”This quote from Natalie DeCheck’s web document, is one of the many gains I have obtained through my responding experience. I can say I havd definitely gained more confidence because of the great words from my peers. I plan to take all I have learned and revise my pieces as well as others’ to the best of my ability.
Nicklay, Jennifer. “Got Guilt?Consultant Guilt in the Writng Center Community.” . N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec 2012.
DeCheck, Natalie. “The Power of Common Interest for Motivating Writers:A Case Study .” . N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec 2012.