Strategy

Peer Critique

Critical Friends

Peer Critique is a process where students give critical and constructive feedback to one another on projects or other student work while the teacher either facilitates or participates as a member of the critique group. During Peer Critique, students present their work to the entire class and their peers share insights about what they notice, things they like about the work, and where they see room for improvement. Peer Critique helps students gain knowledge and ideas from each other through reviewing each other’s work. Peer Critique also helps students develop ‘real world’ skills of giving and receiving evaluation and feedback, which can be used in the future when working with colleagues and supervisors.

Implementation Tips

Set Expectations
Review expectations for Peer Critiques with students, including how long the presentation should be, areas to focus on when giving feedback, how to give and receive critiques, and expected behavior during the process (such as no speaking while the presenter is speaking, or using a talking piece). Give students written lists of expectations or display on boards during discussions.
Sentence Starters
Provide sentence starters to support students in giving constructive feedback. Some sentence starters that students can use include “I like how you…”, “I think it was helpful how you…”, and “One way this can be stronger is…”. Teachers can prompt students to rephrase inappropriate comments using sentence frames during critiques. Click [[https://docs.google.com/document/d/1EE64ti4DmL6V2lXQPPBh87udg3duORZw_q4LKXadxpY/edit|here]] for more sentence starters that students can use when providing feedback.
Positive Peer Critique Culture
Teach and model appropriate behavior to create a positive Peer Critique culture. Students can follow the feedback format of giving a positive comment first, followed by a constructive suggestion during critiques. Teachers can model how to accept correction when students correct their mistakes during class. Also have students practice accepting constructive feedback from peers (“Thank you for your suggestion.”, “I see how that will be helpful.”, etc.)
Silent Critique
Have students engage in silent critique by writing down their positive comments and constructive feedback instead of sharing out loud. After the presentation the students give their written feedback to the teacher to review and give to the presenting student. This format of Peer Critique supports students who are shy, have anxiety, or with a class that is not ready for a verbal critique. Students can also use a feedback form to give feedback.
Students as Leaders
Have students engage in the leadership roles during Peer Critique, enabling the teacher to participate as a member of the group. The student presenter can identify areas of focus for the critique and share with the class, review expectations before the critique, and call on students during the critique. Other students can lead by monitoring time, ensuring that feedback is positive and constructive, and keeping notes of feedback to share with the presenter.
Limit Presentations
Plan to have only a few presentations each day to ensure that each presenter has sufficient time for presenting and receiving feedback. Teachers can also manage time by rotating which students participate in Peer Critique for each assignment. Rather than discuss every student's work for a particular assignment, students can engage in Peer Critique more deeply on a few presentations.

Examples

Student Planning
Groups of students in a science class create plans for experiments regarding states of matter. Before conducting the experiments, the class has Peer Critiques to give each other feedback. One student in the class is designated to keep notes on the feedback given to each group. When groups receive the feedback notes, they edit their plans based on the feedback and then conduct their experiments.
Technology Support
Technology can provide support to students who experience challenges in communication or public speaking. When an English class uses Peer Critique to provide feedback on their Persuasive Essays, one student presents their work by playing a prerecorded video of herself reading her essay. Another student presents a powerpoint presentation with a peer reading his essay as well as related pictures. Their peers give feedback as usual regarding the presented work.
Small Group Critique
Peer Critique can also be done in small groups when there are time constraints or if students need a more private discussion setting. For example, a school band director decides to use Peer Critique as a self-reflection tool with her students. She has the students watch a video of a recent concert then get into groups according to their instrument. Each group has a Peer Critique discussion and keeps notes about things that went well in their instrument section and areas for improvement.
Conflict Resolution
After a group of students are involved in a physical fight, the school counselor has the group of students participate in a critique of the events that led up to the fight. The group first agrees to use respectful and constructive language during the discussion and identifies goals of the critique (e.g. determining alternative solutions to solving conflict). Then the group discusses the key events that led up to the fight, consequences of previous reactions, and positive responses to use in the future.

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