Beyond “Giver-Receiver” Relationships: Facilitating an Interactive Revision Process

Elena Shvidko
Purdue University

Published in 2015



Research has shown that in order to facilitate the development of students’
writing, teachers need to cultivate principles of effective feedback. However,
revision is a joint process, and for the maximum effectiveness of this process,
there should be more than just a giver-receiver relationship with the teacher
giving the information and the student receiving it. Instead, students should
be actively involved in the revision process by reflecting on and analyzing
their own writing and meaningfully responding to teacher feedback. This
teaching article describes a technique—Letter to the Reviewer—that facilitates
collaboration between the teacher and the student. A Letter to the Reviewer
is a memo that students attach to each draft, in which they provide a short
reflective note to their reviewer by identifying the strengths and weaknesses
of their draft and ask for specific feedback on certain elements of the draft.
The technique was implemented in two first-year composition classes for
multilingual writers in a large university in the Midwest. Teacher observations
of student work and students’ self-reports on this technique demonstrated
that the letters helped students approach their own writing more analytically,
ask the teacher and peers for focused feedback, engage in the collaborative
revision process, provide more specific feedback on their classmates’ writing,
prepare for writing conferences, and recognize the connection between
classroom instruction and their own writing.