Beyond “Giver-Receiver” relationships: Facilitating an interactive revision process

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Journal of Response to Writing






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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.