You’re not an editor. You’re not a cruise missile. You’re not seeking to destroy all the grammatical errors in your peers’ writing.
Instead think of yourself as an invested reader and coach. A coach-reader. You want to see your peers succeed as writers and so you are worried about the big picture.
What’s the big picture?
For our Mapping the Problem Essay, the overarching objectives are to make a specific audience aware of an issue and inform them of that issue’s beginnings, development, scope, and failure to be resolved and then advocate for a specific solution or set of solutions in response to that issue.
With our purposes in mind, after you read your peers’ drafts, ask yourself these questions:
1) Did your peer offer you some understanding of the four areas (beginnings, development, scope, and failure to be resolved) above? If not, what do you need to know more about? Moreoverf, did they persuade you of the gravity of the situation? If not, what could they do to better express the importance of this issue?
2) What sections really worked? I mean, what parts of their drafts really captivated your attention, moved you, illuminated something, made you laugh or think hard about an issue? And how did your peer do that? Was it through writing style, imaginative research, vivid description, or something else? Highlight those parts. And try to offer reasons for your responses–especially in terms of technique.
3) And, conversely, were there are any sections where you, as a reader, felt really lost or confused? Where you sensed that you were not part of the intended audience? Where the essay took an unexpected turn that was hard to follow or seemed inexplicable? Highlight those parts as well. Point to specific places that bewildered you.
At the end of their drafts, write your peers a letter responding to these questions as well as any questions that might have occured while reading their draft. In your letter, remember that critiquing involves both praise and criticism and aim for sincerity and specificity. End your letter with three suggestions for revision. And, if you can, ask them questions in your letter that can guide their revision. Bring either a digital file or printed out copy with your feedback letter for both your peers to lab on Tuesday.
Cobras: Amanda, Rina, Matt, Daniel
Dogs: Brad, Nick, Megan
Giraffes: Fitz, Kristen, Jordan
Hawks: Emily, Liz, Sri
Sheep: Monica, Elizabeth, Kelsey
Squirrels: Natasha, Sanah, Katelyn